The JABRA SHOW: Hands-on with the Sport Pulse, Halo Smart and Freeway

Written by Martin Regtien on . Posted in Audio

Jabra 1Here’s an overview of some of the innovative products from the House of Jabra, purveyors of great bluetooth audio.

We’ll be looking at (rather: listening) the Sport Pulse, Halo Smart and Freeway.

First up: the Jabra Sport Pulse

When I opened the box I took out the small headset and rummaged around in the box some more to find the other bits and pieces that would comprise this wireless headset, like: where is the battery that would power the Sport Pulse for 5 hours??

Where do you charge this device? Couldn’t see the USB charging port either...

All I could see were the 2 earphones and an in-line volume up/down and multifunction button array.

If it had a battery it must have been very tiny to fit in these earbuds!

Anyways, the USB charging is done by lifting up part of the silicone “EarWing” on the right earbud.

Jabra Sport Pulse Black 02

In practice, the battery life is not bad, getting close to the promised 5 hours. It should be enough for your daily workouts but if you use these headphones for call and music during the day, be prepared to juice up the device before the end of the day. It takes a couple of hours to fully recharge.

The main feature of the Sports Pulse is the built-in heart rate monitor.

You’ll find that in the left earbud. Also on the left earbud is the Sports button. A quick press on the this button will give you an update on your progress, with distance, time, heart rate and other tracking metrics when the Jabra Sport Life app is running.

Whilst there is a plethora of devices that are capable of measuring heart rates, it seems that it is a bit pointless unless you go really hard and want to stay in the correct zone.

Wish they could measure blood pressure at the same time, which is a much more useful thing to know when you suffer, like me, from high blood pressure.

On the Run

The Sport Pulse is made for hard work: running, getting sweaty, wet and dirty.

One thing you need to be sure of is that the earbuds stay put.

These are the best fitting earphones I have ever tried. They stay secure in your ears thanks to 4 different “EarWings” and 4 sizes of EarGels.

The sound quality (enhanced by Dolby) is reasonably good for music but lacks bass. Call quality is good as reported by the parties I called. On my side, I found the sound fairly sharp with a bit of feedback from my surroundings.

There are various apps that go with these products.

The Sport Pulse needs the Sport Life app and the JabraService app is required for all of them. There is also the Jabra Assist app and the Jabra Sound app...

Sport Life

It can be a bit confusing to know what you’ll need if you have various Jabra devices.

It would be better if, like DJI, you can address all products through one app portal.

On the whole, the Jabra Sport Pulse performed well for its purpose: a great and reliable headset for training and workout sessions. It plays nice with apps like Runtastic and RunKeeper if you want to keep track of your training scores.

The prices mentioned in this article are the official ones from the Jabra site. If you shop around a bit you’ll find them for quite a bit cheaper.

A$ 259.99

Jabra Halo Smart

Jabra 2

The Halo Smart is a bit like the Sport Pulse’s bigger brother: clever design that rests on your neck with the thick part at the back clearly containing a fairly large battery which will last the day.

Jabra claims a 17 hour talk time, slightly less (15 hours) for all day music. With that massive duty time you might forget to check the status of your battery but the Jabra Assist will give you an update. Or just press the Volume Up or Down button and you’ll hear Battery Full if you have more than 50% remaining. There’s a tiny multi-colour LED on the left that also confirms the status.

The Assist app also has a quick tips section and manual .

One of the handy buttons on this headset gives direct access to Google Now or Siri but you don’t need to press a button to answer a call. Simply detach the 2 magnetically attached earbuds or press the Multi-function button which also turns the headset on.

If you’re prone to forgetting where you left your headset you can use the app to Find My Jabra.

You can also Find My Car if you have a Jabra device in there, like the Freeway (see below).

At A$129.00 the Jabra Halo Smart is good value.

Again, the sound quality is too sharp with not enough bass. The Jabra Sound app can help adjust with the equalizer program. However, there are no preset values so it’s a bit of finding out what settings would work best for you.

The very best Jabra as far as sound quality is concerned, has to be the Halo 2. Excellent bass. I still use that one every day ever since we reviewed it many years ago... It’s a bit tattered now but I would buy that one in a heartbeat if it were available.

I would like to see if Jabra has a comparable headset at the moment. Perhaps Revo Wireless?

Anyways, talking about long lasting Jabra gear, let’s look at the Freeway for in car Bluetooth use.

Jabra Freeway

Freeway

Jabra sent me a Freeway unit which you can clip onto your visor. I thought this was the upgraded model but it is exactly the same unit we reviewed 5 years ago. In one sense that is pretty good because we rated it very highly back then.

The fact that it is still going strong is a testament that Jabra makes good gear. My car does have Bluetooth but it is the earliest version BT 1.0 and I find it easier to use a device like the Freeway to handle my calls.

Call quality is excellent, the unit switches on automatically when you open the car and there is also the option to transmit sound to your FM car radio from your mobile phone.

For other comments see our original review here.

STILL highly recommended but I AM waiting for the Mark 2 version...

A$169.99

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