MF reviews the latest headphones
Latest in Equipment
Here, we review four pairs of headphones based on their workout performance.
This hooded top has headphones incorporated into the drawstrings, connected via a jack in the front pocket that runs inside the zip seam. This solves the annoyance of having to untangle cables before each use and eliminates cable friction noise. Unfortunately, audio quality isn’t great, with the bass particularly lacklustre, and the pocket for stowing music devices isn’t secure enough for vigorous running - we had to hold ours in place by hand. However, the low price combined with the novelty factor could help you overlook these shortcomings if cable tangle drives you crazy.
Ministry of Sound MOS006
Appearances should matter less than sound quality when it comes to headphones, but it’s hard not to be seduced by the MOS006’s sleek design. Luckily, the combination of anti-tangle bright orange cable with neoprene headband and anodised aluminum cups is also highly durable. They sound great too, with deep bass and a crisp top end that suggests a higher price tag. They’re too heavy to run with, but work well for steady state work on an exercise bike. One major downside is the synthetic material covering the cups, which quickly makes ears sweaty.
JayBird Sportsband Bluetooth
These wireless headphones are ridiculously easy to sync – just hold a button then find them on your device – and have the seal of approval of the USA triathlon team. Sound is crystal clear when used outside, although less so in a busy office, but for the most part interference isn’t a problem. A concealed microphone means they also double up as a Bluetooth headset so you can take calls mid-workout. They fit snugly and are so light you could forget you’re wearing them, which is impressive but also means they feel a little more flimsy than we would like.
JayBird Freedom Bluetooth Headphones
Also from JayBird, this in-ear version is just as easy to set up as the Sportsband, with identical Bluetooth performance. The audio quality is better though, with significantly fuller-sounding bass. In terms of exercise practicality these are the best headphones we’ve reviewed: light and unobtrusive, they’re nearly impossible to dislodge thanks to a patented design that holds them comfortably and securely in your ears. One slight criticism is the small volume buttons can be fiddly to use and not all phones support track skipping. Both these and the Sportsband also come with a lifetime warranty for sweat damage – grim, but useful.