Jabra's fitness product isn't like the trackers that are offered by the likes of Fitbit or Jawbone. The Jabra Sport Coach is a pair of wireless earbuds first and foremost, with motion sensing built in. The earbuds integrate with the Jabra Sport smartphone app to relay voice coaching to the user. Rather than counting your steps, the Jabra Sport app puts a focus on pace and intensity instead.
Plantronics' BackBeat Sense headphones have a lightweight over-the-head design with soft cushions that can sit on your ears without crushing them. They are Bluetooth headphones that are simple to operate, they sound good, and you can use them with a cord if you find yourself running low on battery.
Bose has been working on technology that cancels noise -- and in effect, recreates silence -- for 35 years. The technology was integrated into its over-ear QuietComfort 25 headphones. Now it has been miniaturised and implanted into more convenient in-ear headphones, the QuietComfort 20.
If you want an unobtrusive, no-fuss fitness tracker, the SMS Audio BioSport earbuds are an interesting proposition. They are not just for listening to music while you workout; they can also be used to track your heart rate. They do this via a little optical sensor that's present in the right earbud, which bounces light off your outer ear in order to measure your pulse.
The Jabra Sport Pulse headphones are designed to appeal to those of us who like to walk, run, or hit the gym as part of an exercise program. They use a wireless Bluetooth connection rather than a cord, and they also have a built-in heart-rate monitor that negates the need for an extra strap.
Bowers & Wilkins has taken the technology from its large P7 headphones and implanted them into its second generation P5. The headphones are designed for use with smartphones when out and about, and even though they’re a petite pair of headphones, they’re sure to please the most demanding of audiophiles.
Four hours into my flight from Sydney to Taiwan and the faint hum of the engines sound more like a roar. It’s not the sound that’s driving me mad, but rather the feeling it will never stop. Ever.
A compact form factor, lightweight build, suede-like material, and very soft earcups make the Bose SoundLink on-ear headphones enticing -- and that’s before you even turn them on to experience convenient and easy-to-use Bluetooth, great sound, and respectable battery life.
At $229, the SoundTrue over-ear headphones promise plenty despite being significantly cheaper than Bose’s signature QuietComfort 3 and QuietComfort 15 models. The headphones’ highlight is the physical design that makes them the leader in comfort.
How do you cram almost 50 years of rock-n-roll legacy into a pair of headphones? That’s the weight on the shoulders of Marshall’s Monitor headphones, the latest headphones from the company whose amplifiers backed rock stars such as AC/DC, Eric Clapton, The Who and Jimi Hendrix.
The Parrot Zik wireless headphones have been designed specifically for smartphone users. These Bluetooth headphones are packed full of some very cool technology including NFC, swipe touch sensitive controls and a jawbone sensor.
Audio-Technica's latest noise cancelling headphones are cheaper than Bose, and promise excellent sound quality. Noise cancelling blocks out 95 per cent of aircraft, office or study ambient noise, making the ATH-ANC9 headphones an investment worth considering for any serious commuter.
The Plantronics Explorer 395 is a good-looking, easy-to-use Bluetooth headset that is obviously designed (and priced) for the casual user -- somebody who wants to be able to do hands-free calling but doesn't need to be glued to a mobile phone.
For the last couple of weeks, I've been running with a new gadget: Adidas' miCoach Pacer, a set of three small devices that combine audio coaching with a stride sensor and a heart-rate monitor. There's a lot to like about the miCoach Pacer, but a buggy Web site and the lack of native application support undermine what otherwise could be a very useful tool.
It's been a good year for headphones, with a huge range of innovations and interesting technologies released to the market. We've picked our favourite five pairs of the year.
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