Lately we’ve been digging in and working our muscles into a frenzy in an attempt to find you the best of the best… or at least the better of what’s available.  Lately I’ve been suffering from a pretty serious medical condition referred to as lazyasswithabunchofnewxboxgames… so when the time came to review some bitchen new wireless headphones, I got a little scared.  Thankfully… I have friends!  Today your going to hear from a good friend of mine… a friend who is in waaaaaay better shape than I am and knows what the hell he’s talking about.  He’s the dude in our little posse that everyone listens to (His nickname is even Doctor Dave… and brosif doesn’t own a stethoscope).  so, good buddies of the WGUB… it’s time to put your listening hats on and pay attention.  You’ll be stoked you did!

Demand Your Freedom, from headphone wires that is

Recently at the gym, I caught myself inadvertently eavesdropping on a couple fighting over some non-sense.  I couldn’t help it…they were occupying the squat rack next to me.  Trying to ignore them, I focused on the gym’s ubiquitous music…and well, it sucked!  That’s when I noticed all the cool kids had headphones on.  I was suddenly reminded of the mid-80s and those yellow Sony Walkmans…which is actually a bad memory for me…I was that kid who saved my money and bought the RadioShack version when everyone else had the cool-kid Sony.  Well that wasn’t going to happen again.  No, I had to up the bar!  I needed to cut the wire.  Cause wires are no good when you’re power cleaning 250lb (not really – try half that, I’m not 25 anymore).

In walks the Jabra Sport Bluetooh Stereo Headset ($99).  I wanted to test them against the Jaybird Freedom and the Motorolla S10-HD (amongst others)…but neither of those companies would return my calls (hint, hint)!  Losers!

So, how do I like them?  A lot.  They rock my world, but they aren’t the gold standard.  Here’s the skinny:

Setting them up was a cinch.  The settings on my iPhone 3GS immediately recognized the headset and synch’d within seconds.  Since then, I’ve been disconnected a few times for no apparent reasons.  But it seems to be my iPhone that’s the culprit.  Rebooting the phone makes it work again.

As you can see from the photo, it comes with three ear gels.  Honestly, all of them kinda suck.  But that’s largely due to the fact that my wired earphones are Shure blackout style, which fit snuggly into your canal (in-ear style) and do an amazing job of muting the outside world.  These Jabra are the standard earbud style (not in-ear)…and that’s my biggest beef (I wish I could have tried the Jaybirds…they have in-ear style…did I call them losers yet).  It would have been nice if they could have designed it to use in-ear gel too (not that I’ve ever seen an earbud style headphone do that…maybe it’s not technically possible…I’m just saying).  So, just realize these are earbud style, not in-ear style, so you can still hear the outside world pretty clearly.

The earpiece has an on/off button, an up/down volume toggle, and an FM button (does anyone really listen to radio anymore?).  The volume toggle doubles as next/prev track if you click and hold it for one second…but you have to read the instructions to figure this one out and I didn’t for a couple weeks (real men don’t read instructions.  I think it’s in the Real Man Manual, but I’m not sure because I never read it).

All in all, the key is “they work”.  And they are surprisingly comfortable.  Moreover, they don’t fall out of your ear.  At first, I was leery of running full sprints with them (I’m a track guy).  The first couple times out, I took them off when I upped the intensity of my workout.  However, after a few weeks, I’m now wearing them running hurdles.  And that’s just damn cool.

A few more things, the wire that connects the earpieces does stick to your skin sometimes.  Usually, I don’t notice it, but when I do it’s annoying.  Battery life is not great.  I get about 3 hours (Jaybird say they get 6, but who really knows…not me).  So, you really need to be diligent about plugging them in.  And given they charge in 2 hours, you can be back on the go pretty quickly.

Signal lose is a problem.  The sound disappears for half a second every so often.  The directions say to wear your phone/iPod/whatever on your right arm.  I’ve tried it in my pocket and on my arm and it does seem to be better on your arm…but that might just be a placebo effect.  I’ve also tried them just sitting at my desk and in that case, I’ve never noticed signal lose.  So, it apparently has to do with how/where you wear your music player.

And yeah, you can make and answer calls with them…but that’s kind of goes without saying, doesn’t it.

They retail at $99.99, which is pretty steep, but Amazon is showing them right now at $71.68.  Even so,  having no wires is really freeing.  Gone are the days of threading wires through your clothes and the earpiece popping out right when you switch gears in a run or dig deep for the last rep.  So, Demand Your Freedom from wires.

Here’s a quick video from the Jabra website to see them in action: