On-ear and over-ear sports headphones can be a bit hit and miss. When it comes to sports headphones, sound quality is important, but comfort is arguably far more important. After all, the headphones have to stay firmly on your head even when you move around, while still ensuring that they’re comfortable enough to not be a distraction. JBL and Under Armor, however, think they’ve cracked the code with the JBL UA Sport Wireless Train headphones.
But do the headphones really remain comfortable enough to use during high-intensity workouts? Or should you stick with a pair of in-ear headphones? We put the JBL UA Sport Wireless Train headphones to the test to find out.
JBL has a certain design language to its headphones, but the JBL UA Sport Wireless Train headphones look a little different than other JBL cans. That’s because they’re clearly built to be rugged. They have rubber grooves along the edges, nice large buttons for easy control during workouts, and a generally well-built design. That’s good news for those that want to use these headphones for more than just basic jogs.
The headphones come in two colors — red on black, and black on black. They’re both sleek and stylish options — and we’re reviewing the black on black ones.
On the left ear cup, you’ll simply find a MicroUSB charging port hidden behind a rubber door. On the right ear cup, you’ll get your power, volume, and playback controls, as well as a 3.5mm port to use the headphones in wired mode — which is helpful in case you run out of batteries.
It’s really a nice look. You’ll find Under Armor logos on each ear cup and JBL logos on the sides of the head band. The headphones look like they’re built for sports — which is good considering the fact that they are. What you might not realize is that the Under Armor logo on the right ear cup is actually a button — and pressing it fades down music and allows you to hear your outside surroundings through the activation of three microphones.
Unlike most other headphones, the ear cups on these headphones don’t swivel. While we were a little taken aback by this, the angle of the ear cups didn’t bother us at all — so it looks like JBL and Under Armor set them up pretty well.
Apart from the headphones themselves, you’ll get a few accessories in the box. For starters, you’ll get a hard case that looks even more rugged than the headphones themselves. You’ll also find a MicroUSB cable and an aux cable.
When it comes to comfort-level, the JBL UA Sport Wireless Train headphones aren’t bad. In order to remain firmly on your head during the workout, the headphones have a pretty firm clamp — though thankfully there’s also plenty of padding in the ear cups to ensure that’s not that much of an issue.
The headphones are also relatively light, which is also helpful. In general, despite the clamp, we were able to wear the headphones for a few hours at a time — which we think is more than the average workout time.
Of course, comfort may be important but these are still headphones — so sound is important too. How do these sound? Well, as you would expect from a pair of headphones built with JBL tech, they sound pretty great.
For starters, the bass on the headphones is relatively solid, and definitely boosted. The headphones aren’t built for mega-bass fans that want something to shatter their skull — but it’s still powerful and refined. Kick drums feel focused and punchy, while bass guitars and synths are smooth and strong, without getting muddy or overly distracting. We liked the slightly bass-forward tone here — boosted bass is always helpful in keeping users motivated at the gym.
The mid range is well-tuned, but it is tuned. If you’re looking for totally natural-sounding headphones, these aren’t the ones to go for — but the tuning that JBL has done sounds quite good. The low mids are relatively warm, while there seems to be a slight dip in high mids, giving the headphones a relatively clear tone.
The high end sounds pretty nice here. Cymbals are clear and shimmery, while vocal sibilance is nice and present. The headphones in general have a nice level of clarity, which we really appreciated.
The JBL UA Sport Wireless Train headphones feature a 610mAh battery that JBL says will give the headphones a 16-hour battery life. That’s not terribly but it could definitely be longer. It’s likely trade-off to a larger battery, however, would have been heavier headphones — so JBL likely had to compromise.
The headphones connect to your listening device through Bluetooth 4.1, which means they’ll get a listening range of up to 10 meters, or 33 feet. We didn’t really experience any skips or jumps in playback, which is good.
The JBL UA Sport Wireless Train headphones have a ton to offer. They’re well-designed, reasonably comfortable, and they sound great — plus they’re one of the few pairs of on-ear headphones designed specifically for sports.
In fact, because of those things, we really don’t think there’s a better option. Sure, there are plenty of in-ear headphones out there for sports — like JLab Audio Epic Air true wireless headphones, Jaybird X3 headphones, and more. If you like the on-ear or over-ear form-factor, you could save a few bucks with the Soul X-Tra headphones — but we think the JBL UA Sport Wireless Train headphones offer enough advantages to make them worth the extra cash.
Because of the fact that these headphones make for such a great sports headphones option, we’ve awarded them the Headphone Review Silver Medal.
|Frequency response||16Hz – 20kHz||Active noise cancellation
|Driver size||40mm||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Sensitivity||Unknown||Earpad material||Memory foam|
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
||Unknown||Battery life||16 Hours|
|Maximum input power
||Unknown||Wireless distance||10m (33ft)|
||Bluetooth 4.1||Cable length||1.2m (4ft)|
||Yes||Case type||Hard case|