Earbuds are one of those innocuous things that everyone from your coworker to your uncle has a strong opinion about. Devout loyalists swear by their listening device of choice and refuse to break up with that one tried-and-true pair.
As a living exception to this rule, I’ve gone through more earphones than I care to count in my quest to find a pair that’s actually comfortable. Cheap ones were always burning out on me, and expensive ones never seemed to live up to their claims. I’ve tried the uncomfortable generic buds that come with an iPod and the in-ear sport styles that twist and lock into place, but I’ve always ended up settling for the “good enough” kind.
So when I heard about Jabra Sport Coach wireless buds ($149.99), which are billed as the “world’s first wireless earbuds with cross-training coaching and music,” I was wary, especially when I saw the price tag. My main concern, apart from comfort, has always been cost. Why pay a fortune for earbuds when you know you’ll lose them in a few months?
But after giving the Sport Coach a couple of solid test drives, I’m a convert. They’re much more than just rechargeable, hands-free earbuds. They definitely won instant brownie points for the multiple earbud sizes with legitimate stay-put power and noise-canceling Dolby sound (seriously, don’t run through busy intersections with these things on!). But it’s the Fitbit meets Zombies, Run! coaching of the Jabra Sport Life companion app that really makes these earbuds worth the splurge.
The app is simple to use and works with both iPhone and Android platforms (though you’ll also need to download the Jabra Assist app add-on). Paired via Bluetooth, the earbuds allow you to work out to audio coaching that guides you through more than 40 exercises and takes your daily sprint or cross-training routine to the next level.
Not a hardcore athlete? Yeah, me either, and you don’t have to be. The Jabra buds are great for anyone who wants to work out solo, even newbies. You can select from 10 activities that are all beginner-friendly, from walking to skiing, and there are even warm-up circuits like CardiCore and BellyBurn.
The Jabra voice coach—a friendly female voice—plays alongside music at optimal volumes so you don’t have to fiddle with the volume control every 30 seconds (although you can do just that with the built-in volume bar on the right side). Plus, you don’t have to settle for old Top 40 hits from five years ago. Get moving to your own playlists via Spotify, Google Play Music, your own music library, or try Jabra Sound, a supplementary app that lets you play with an equalizer for each track.
And you don’t have to worry about your buds dying; they last for up to 5 hours when fully charged (and when they do run out of juice, just plug one end of the USB cable into the earbud socket and the other into your laptop or an outlet).
The best part for me? Now I don’t have to keep track of how many push-ups I did or count down the minutes to my rest break; I just use Jabra’s TrackFit motion sensor. It’s like having a personal trainer in your pocket that you don’t have to fork over a monthly payment for—and won’t feel guilty about flaking on.
Jabra Sport Coach Wireless Earbuds, $149.99; at Jabra