Whilst they still sound perfectly fine, these headphones aren’t designed to fulfill your audiophile desires and that’s okay because thanks to their cheap price point and practicality, JBL’s new range of workout headphones successfully become your workout partner – no matter the activity. From running to jumping and aerobics to swimming, the Endurance and Reflect line consists of different headphones that will cater to your distinctly unique needs.
Fresh off their Weekend Warrior Challenge launch party at Speedo Fitness Club and Panama House in Bondi that saw guests explore the workout experiences of 80s water aerobics, beachside runs, strength training and meditation under the expert leadership of Retrosweat co-founder Shannon Dooley, Masterchef alumni and The Cube Gym’s Hayden Quinn, Milestone Strength Trainer Nathan McCallum and The Indigo Project’s Mary Hoang and an event closing DJ set from Tigerlily, JBL has unleashed two ranges of headphones that aim to be your new workout partner that will motivate and inspire you.
To quickly break the tech side of the two series of headphones – in the Endurance line, the RUN ($29.95 AUD) is the only corded headphone of the new release, has a smaller dynamic driver (8.5mm) than the other three and is the cheapest. The SPRINT ($99.95 AUD) and DIVE ($139.95 AUD) headphones are all wireless and all feature the same 10mm dynamic driver but all three of the headphones have a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz. The Reflect Contour 2 (RRP $149.95 AUD) in the Reflect line has a 5.8mm dynamic driver and a 10Hz-22kHz frequency response. Whilst there is no JBL app to adjust the bass/treble, we strongly suggest changing the sound quality and effects in Settings on our phone which made the headphones sound stunningly better. The sound quality of the cheaper RUN was noticeably tinnier than the rest, but still perfectly fine for a workout or commute to work.
The SPRINT and DIVE both boast a legitimate and impressive 8 hour battery life and with their Speed Charge batteries gave us an hour of listening with only 10 minutes of charging. Our Contour 2 gave us just over 11 hours over a full day hiking in the outdoors even though its advertised as having a 10 hour battery life.
Comfort during their purpose is where these headphones really shine. The corded RUN offer a Fliphook design which allows you to either wear them in-ear or behind-the-ear and they did not fall out once during our testing. The SPRINT and DIVE all have a similar look and build that utilizes TwistLock for a strongly secure fit for when we were erratically jumping up and down and shaking our head. Whilst immediately comfortable with their FlexSoft ear tips and formfitting contour around the ear, after long periods of use (in-excess of an hour) the plastic hook behind the ears did start to irritate. When it came to comfort, the highlight came from the Contour 2 which not only stood out among the rest of the Endurance and Reflect ranges, but it is one of the most comfortable and pleasant headphones in recent memory. So light yet nicely snug, it was easy to forgot you wearing them.
The RUN and Contour 2 are sweatproof with an IPX5 waterproof rating and easily handled being doused with a bottle of water, where as the SPRINT and DIVE are IPX7 rated which means they can be submerged at a depth of 1 metre for 30 minutes. With 1GB of storage built-in to the DIVE headphones there is no need to rely on a Bluetooth connection. We swam for 45 minutes in them and as you would hope, they showed no signs of damage. Despite feeling super tight before entering the pool, water would occasionally enter the ear and require the headphones to be adjusted. But the ability to have music playing that helped us keep a rhythm whilst swimming was a refreshingly unique experience to doing laps. Their 1GB of memory (roughly 200 songs) and TwistLock build naturally means even if swimming isn’t your preferred workout, the DIVE is the best all-round option for any workout as it also offers the chance to leave your phone and device at home (and not swinging around in your pants pocked or strapped to your arm) and play music off the in-built storage.
Don’t let their single-activity-based-names confuse you, the practicality and broad-ranging use of the Endurance and Reflect ranges is what makes these products a success. The comfort, fitting and waterproof rating meant we used the SPRINT headphones whilst spending a full day out skiing. Constant snow fall from blizzards (and the occasional crash) were no issue and the headphones served to provide the perfect soundtrack of desired tunes over howling winds.
JBL Endurance and Reflect Headphone Range
Score: 4 out of 5
Highlights: Comfort of the Contour 2; Immediate comfort of all the headphones; Great form and fit – will stay in your ear; Ability to listen to music when swimming with DIVE
Lowlights: SPRINT and DIVE started to irritate behind the ear after long periods of wearing; DIVE would occasionally leak water into the ear and need to be adjusted
Price: $29.95 – $149.95 AUD
Website: JBL Endurance and Reflect Series
Review conducted using retail units provided by the manufacturer.