Best wireless headphones for sports: comfortable, good sound, and inexpensive

Read Time:6 Minute, 50 Second

We tested five popular models and identified all their advantages and disadvantages

Many years ago, I came across two pairs of wired headphones. A mysterious manufacturer from the Middle Kingdom proudly painted the coveted Stereo inscription on one box, and the Sport inscription on the second, and the ears did not differ from each other in appearance. And this is precisely what aroused interest. But everything turned out to be simple, the manufacturer only changed the packaging design without changing the content.

Things are different now. Headphones for sports are not just a marketing lure, but a truly special genre.

How do sports headphones differ from conventional models? Which ones are the best? Headphones for sports and running – are they the same thing or not?

Let’s try to figure it out.

What’s the most important thing about sports headphones?

  • They should be wireless so you don’t think about where to put your smartphone or player.
  • Moisture resistant sports headphones are always better. Because training without sweat is money and time down the drain.
  • Sports headphones should fit snugly and comfortably so as not to distract the owner while exercising also known for its dust proof and waterproof
  • The sound should be of high quality, but at the same time, it is better to hear what is happening around you, especially if you are doing sports outside.
  • And the price, of course, should be adequate for the quality.

How we ranked wireless sports headphones?

We’ve picked 5 popular sports earbuds – from expensive to budget – and rated them based on those requirements. We rated each of the devices on a 5-point scale. The final score consisted of the following components: functionality 30%, usability 40%, price / quality ratio 30%. We have summarized all the technical characteristics in a table – so that it is easier for you to figure out how some sports headphones differ from others.

Samsung Gear IconX 2018 – the most functional sports headphones

How do they work?

These are high-tech sports headphones that delight with an abundance of various chips. The earbuds consist of two wireless-only modules that are inserted into the auricles. You can use only one earphone, the second is simply turned off in the proprietary application that is installed on the smartphone.

The app itself is very useful. It allows you to get information about the current charge of the headphones, and most importantly, to select the source of the sound signal. It can be not only a smartphone but also the headphones themselves, which are equipped with their own 4 GB memory, which allows you to store musical compositions.

A special case is supplied with the headphones, which provides a charge of the headphones’ batteries. It is enough to attach them to the contacts and close the case. It also connects to a PC to transfer files. The capacity of the built-in battery is enough for 3 hours of music playback.

If the early Gear IconX model had a built-in heart rate monitor and pedometer, then this one only has the last one, which, in my opinion, is not very logical. It uses Samsung Health software to monitor and collect information on physical activity.

How do they sit?

Despite the small weight, the Samsung Gear IconX 2018 earbuds do not sit too tightly in the ears and often fall out when running or sudden movement. The best option, in my opinion, is to use it with headgear or headband that covers the ears.

The package also includes a set of several silicone pads and a pair of adapters that allow you to connect them to your smartphone.

How do they sound?

When listening to wireless sports headphones, you often feel a lack of depth of low frequencies, but this point cannot be reproached with the Samsung Gear IconX 2018 headphones: compositions with an abundance of bass are played back vigorously and richly. But the middle and high are still a little lacking.

Thanks to the built-in microphones, you can activate the surround mode in the headphones to hear what is happening around. This feature is really useful.

Plantronics BackBeat Fit 305 – the most understandable sports headphones

How do they work?

The emitters in the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 305 have an unusual oval design. In terms of weight, they are not inferior to competitive models, here it is about 14 grams. The headphones are easy to clean, but the fabric version of the cable does not look very practical – it gets dirty quickly, but the remote control is made of rubberized material.

The manufacturer also claims protection against dust and moisture according to the IPX5 standard. Our tests have shown that they can withstand light rain without problems.

This model is synchronized with a smartphone via a Bluetooth interface, so the effective measured range of communication with a signal source is about 9 m.

I was glad that the battery built into the headphones was able to confirm the declared 6 hours of operation in our tests.

How do they sit?

In the ears, the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 305 sports headphones sit quite well and do not tend to fall out when running. I liked the color design of the cable sheath: the one suitable for the left radiator is made in black, and the right one is light gray. So you are unlikely to get confused about which one to insert. And in order not to lose the headphones, there is a clip on the cord that fixes them to clothes.

The disadvantages include not the most successful location of the remote control, it was attached, perhaps, too close – a few centimeters from the right earpiece, so there is a certain skew in weight. This emitter, according to my feelings, is held less securely.

The included case contains a set of silicone pads of various sizes, which is convenient. Also included is a USB cable for charging the battery built into the remote control.

How do they sound?

The sound transmission quality in the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 305 sports headphones can be assessed as average, the sound is dominated by high frequencies. But it is worth noting the clear voice transmission by the built-in microphone.

MEIZU EP52 – the most inexpensive headphones for sports

How do they work?

MEIZU EP52 Wireless In-Ear Headphones are useful for those who are more involved in jogging or similar sports training. The earbuds themselves are well made — small and lightweight. But the lower part of the wire seemed rather weighty (by the standards of in-ear headphones), because it has a rubberized coating that smoothly turns into the coating of the control panel and the battery located at the edges. The charge of the latter is enough for about 8 hours of music playback.

Another advantage of MEIZU EP52 is that they are resistant to sweat and are easy enough to clean.

How do they sit?

These sports headphones fit perfectly into your ears. The rubberized bow at the bottom of the structure prevents the earbuds from being lost when properly secured.

The package also includes a rubber case with several pairs of silicone pads.

How do they sound?

This model does not have the richest sound and not the most abundant bass, but they are noticeable enough to play most of the musical compositions cheerfully and pleasantly. The highs are well done and the mids are far from perfect.

Which wireless sports headphones should you choose?

The sports headphones we tested vary quite a bit, both in terms of capabilities and sound.

The leaders in sound quality, although it loses to wired devices, are models from Samsung, Monster Sound and Creative.

In terms of functionality, the Samsung Gear IconX is ahead of the rest of the participants, however, these sports headphones have a number of disadvantages, including low battery life, not very convenient design, and of course, high cost. However, these headphones will pleasantly surprise you with a sound transmission function that the other participants do not have.

But in terms of price/quality ratio, the best unambiguously Meizu EP52 sports headphones, the average sound quality of which is more than compensated for by the low cost and ease of use.

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