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UA Sport Flex wireless headphone review: Made for active music lovers

  • Tue, 13 Feb 2018 22:41

JBL and Under Armour are at it again, joining forces to produce this new wireless sports headphone, the UA Sport Wireless Flex. It’s a neckband design, where the left and right earbuds connect to a neckband that houses all the electronics and controls.

The headphones come with either winged or wingless ear tips. The pre-installed winged tips are outstanding. They kept the headphones securely attached to my ears at all times. They never fell out once during my tests. For me, the ear tips provided a good—but not excellent—seal, which reduced some of the headphone’s bass response.

Innovative features

If you don’t like your earbuds to dangle when they’re not in use, JBL has a smart solution: The back of each earbud is magnetic. Touching them will lock them together. The magnetic hold isn’t very strong, however, and I found that they separated all too easily. I liked the concept, though, and suggest that JBL include a stronger magnetic hold in a future upgrade.

The included winged ear tips provided a secure fit at all times. Theo Nicolakis

The included winged eartips provided a secure fit at all times.

Two bendable areas on the neckband—dubbed flex zones—allow you to adjust its fit around your neck. You can bend the neckband for a more snug fit or spread it back to a neutral position for more comfort. JBL doesn’t recommend bending the neckband’s flex zone out past neutral.

Adjusting the neckband tighter is great for highly active occasions where you want to minimize the possibility of the neckband sliding off. The flex zones worked well in my testing, but I ultimately found that the neckband was best suited for collarless sports shirts or tank tops. If I tried to wear the UA Sport Wireless Flex with a collared dress shirt and coat, the neckband would sometimes slide backwards or turn to one side. You might find that these headphones are best dedicated to your athletic wardrobe as opposed to formal office wear.

You can tighten or loosen the neckband thanks to the flex zones. Theo Nicolakis

You can tighten or loosen the neckband thanks to its flex zones.

If the UA Sport Wireless Flex’s batteries run out, there’s no way to use them passively like a traditional headphone. Thankfully, these headphones will deliver an hour’s worth of playback with just a five-minute charge. A full charge takes two hours and will give you close to 12 hours of playback. A status light on the neckband’s right arm alerts you when the battery is low.

The headphones come with a free 12-month premium membership to Under Armour’s Map My Run online service. The downloadable iOS or Android mobile app, which is also available for Apple Watch, helps you track, manage, and share your fitness data.

A free 12-month premium membership to UA Map My Run is included. Under Armour

A free 12-month premium membership to UA Map My Run is included.

The headphones don’t come with any active noise-cancelling or adaptive noise cancelling features.


Harvard Business Review

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