May 9, 2014
Getting in shape (and maintaining targeted points) is always laudable; music and such can be the perfect accompaniment, but getting a good, long lasting set of headphones that are impervious to moisture and the elements can be difficult. BlueAnt looks to help fill this niche with its Pump Bluetooth (3.0) Sportsbuds.
The review sample we received shows it is a fused piece of hardware, with the two ear-hooks connected by black cord. The black version has the main pieces encased in black hard plastic, with blue coloring for the soft ear tips, and grey and blue accents elsewhere. The cord is fairly flexible, in that it is possible to bunch the Sportbuds in hand; by extension, the whole unit feels durable, is immune to most normal drops and non-optimal contact, and does not pack in too much bulk. Pulling on the “joints” where the cord meets the end parts doesn’t cause any undue looseness, either. It’s a minimalist affair that somehow retains a bit of stylishness within its otherwise sporty look. The package also contains two pairs each of three different tip sizes, a pair of Awareness tips, a cable zip, two pairs of stabilizers, documentation and a USB cable.
The left earpiece serves as the control hub of the headphones. At the base, there is a recessed micro-USB port that is shielded by a protective, rubbery flap; on the frame there is an upraised Play button bordered by volume buttons, and that pretty much sums up the controls, as the Play button also doubles as the on-toggle. After the requisite charging (a shade under two hours), putting the unit on is a simple matter of a short long-press, which activates the hitherto hidden LED light to white. A longer press from being off puts it into pairing mode, and it was a cinch to do so from any and all of the Bluetooth sources I had (it can connect with up to five but only one at a time).
I loved the tip mechanism, in that they expand out to create a good seal. The whole thing feels quite comfortable. The sound was nice, and the unit gets quite loud; while I’m not an audiophile, I did detect a hint of base warble at the higher volume levels; surprisingly, the unit works well close to the advertised 100 yards distance between between the unit and source, but when obstacles like walls are present, skips can occur. The 90 mAH battery life is adequate, and I like that sweat and rain don’t bother it; indeed, I was able to rinse it off underwater and put it back on without turning the unit off. I like the call answering feature, even though it is a bit limited in that it lacks stuff like redial functionality.
On the mechanical side, I think the physical volume controls can be refined a bit, as fumbling around and then pressing on the frame can be tough on sensitive ears. There isn’t an Android-specific companion app either.
All in all, though, this is the type of unit that make you look for reasons to use it, and in that it wins. The audio is good enough to make it worthwhile the investment.
The Pump Bluetooth Sportsbuds are available on Amazon for $116.11