In October, I will be running in my first Half-Marathon of 2020 and raising money to raise awareness for Mental Health (more on that on a later post). I decided during my training process I would pick up a Bluetooth headphones to test its fitness and durability. My prerequisites was the headphones had to be durable, inexpensive and comfortable. All too many times, I pick up a Bluetooth headphone and they constantly slide off my ears or are difficult to run with.
Ultimately, I decided to pick up the JBL Endurance Sprint from my local athletic store. They retailed for $49.99 and came in a charcoal black color. To be honest, I was looking for something that matched the theme of my brand but a black on purple trim (or vice versa) is hard to come by.
The Dummy Test: Mildly Difficult
When I test any type of equipment, I like to start with the Dummy Test. The dummy test for me is using a product right out of the box without consulting the instruction manual. Unfortunately, this product failed the dummy test for me.
Out of the box, the JBL Endurance Sprint was very difficult to turn on. There were no indicators or insignias on either ear and it took me about 3 to 5 minutes to figure out how to power it on. After figuring out that a long press/hold to the right ear turns the device on there was a matter of figuring out the controls.
Again, nowhere on the JBL Endurance Sprint does it show you how to control your media. Cannot find the mute, volume or the skip button. I felt like a volleyball being hit around, especially as I was trying to figure out if the left headphone had functionality at all.
Eventually, I figured out all controls are done through the right earpiece where the LED light is present. I can see less patient people, taking it back citing it doesn’t work just from a sheer ease of use perspective.
Pros: Inexpensive, Excellent Quality, Battery
One would think based on my initial dummy test, that I would think this is ultimately a bad product and that notion would be furthest from the truth. Once you get the hang of the JBL Endurance Sprint, things become clearer.
Durability. The sleek design makes this Bluetooth headphone one of the most comfortable devices ever worn around my ears. When worn, it feels nearly constraint-less when I rotate my head in a 180 degree angle. Its durability allows me to look up and down and side to side without fearing the device will pop out of my ears and dangle. JBL includes a variety of sizes for the rubber earpiece that is placed in your ear.
Functionality. The Sprint makes it easy to pair this device with others.
Batterylife. The Sprint makes excellent use of the rechargeable battery. I believe the box advertises it around 9 hours but I have gone two to three days without a charge. I like that it senses when the device is not in use and places it in sleep mode to conserve battery. The packaged contained a USB-C cord to charge the battery but was sadly disappointed that it didn’t come with a base charger. This is a minor gripe and I don’t hold it against JBL as many companies do that to help bring the cost of the product down.
Sound. In the end it always comes down to sound. Does the sound make this device worth it. In my opinion I would say yes. When testing any audio device I use the Slipknot Test.
Slipknot is one of my favorite rock/alternative bands growing up. When I get a new device, I typically play Left Behind and test how it handles the base, tremble and mono/stereo of that unique song. If it can play it without buzzes and both ears handle the mono then stereo transition during the intro with ease, the sound quality will almost always get a A+.
Price. This is nearly a steal at $49.99 retail. Amazon has them on sale as a recommended item for $39.99. In comparison to the Bluetooth headphones that cost in excess of $150, this is a strong candidate as an alternative.
Cons: Hypersensitivity, Connection Issues
The primary issue I have with The Sprint is that the controls are hypersensitive. It is for this reason that I recommend that if you have to take off one earpiece to interact with someone, take off the left earpiece only. The right earpiece when left on your chest or surface will pause or skip media unknowingly.
The other issue that I have is at times while running, I will have connectivity issues. It’s akin to a CD player skipping parts of a song. One thing I noticed is that it only happens when I drop my hands to waist and not while my hands are in normal running positions. I figured at first it may have been to me streaming music, so I decided to switch to songs that were saved on my media player and it would do the same thing.
I haven’t checked online to see if there is a firmware update that corrects this issue or not. If I find out it does, I will update this part of the post.
The Bottom Line
If you are looking for an affordable Bluetooth headphone with great sound quality, I believe the JBL Endurance Sprint may be a great option for you. I plan to use these during my marathon run in October.
If you have any experience with this product or have a recommendation of another, please feel free to leave a comment below. In June I plan to start taking donation for Mental Health Awareness. If this is something you are interested in, please subscribe to our community mailing list on the right. Take care.