Under Armour is making a big splash into digital fitness. Teaming up with JBL, Under Armour just launched their co-branded Under Armour JBL Wireless Headphone. Currently there are two distinct UA versions including a Wireless Bluetooth and a soon to be released over the ear Wireless Bluetooth/ Heart Rate monitor. Yes you heard that right. Under Armour is coming out with a unit that measures heart rate at the ear. This all plays into Under Armour’s overall Connected Fitness system approach.
Today we are talking about the Under Armour JBL Wireless Headphone. Recently we reviewed a JBL speaker called the JBL Extreme. We also have a JBL Pulse 2 that we will be reviewing sometime soon. When we get a chance to review a new new JBL product we are always really excited. Knowing that JBL was partnering with Under Armour to create a co-branded headphone really sparked our interest.
A few emails back and forth and the Under Armour JBL Wireless Headphone was on it’s way.
When the package arrived, the Under Armour JBL Wireless Headphone came tucked away in a bright red Under Armour – JBL box. It’s something you can’t miss. Each Headphone set comes with the following
- 1 set of JBL UA Wireless Headphones
- Carrying case
- USB to micro USB connector
- 2 sizes of Earphone plugs
- small plastic clips
- Instruction Manuals
- 1 Year membership to Under Armour’s MapMyFitness ($30 value)
As you can see the items provided are pretty standard as far as headphones go, the kicker of course is the addition of the Under Armour MapMyFitness program. MapMyFitness is a way of tracking your workouts and overall fitness. There are all sorts of challenges that you can participate in to motivate yourself and others as well as win cool products.
Key Features Of The Under Armour JBL Wireless Headphone
- Wireless Design: Bluetooth connectivity eliminates tangled wires & distractions.
- TWISTLOCK™ Technology: Twist & lock ear tips are guaranteed to never hurt or fall out.
- Sweatproof: Built to withstand even your toughest, sweatiest workout (Rated IPX5 water resistance).
- JBL signature sound: Pure Bass Performance delivers big sounds in a compact size.
- 3-button mic: Easily control track, volume & calls with an inline mic.
- 8-hour battery: Long-lasting battery life lets you keep moving.
The headphones are controlled using the 3 buttons located on the control pad. Clicking the arrow buttons advances/skips or plays back previous songs and also serve as volume controls. Pressing the button in the middle turns on/off the headphones, allows you to sync Bluetooth devices as well as answers phone calls. Since the headphones are Bluetooth, setup is quite easy and should work with any Bluetooth compatible music device such as an iPhone 5 or 6. During setup when looking for the Bluetooth device to connect to, the UA headphones should display “UA/JBL Wireless” After turning on the headphones you will hear a woman’s voice saying “Power On” and if the headphones are connect to a music device she will also say “Connected”.
Once connected a little blue light will blink on and off indicating the connection. To turn off the headphones simply press the middle button and a woman’s voice will say “Power Off”.
The controls on the headphones are pretty basic and give you all the functionality you need for playing music or talking.
- Power On: Hold middle button for 2.5 seconds
- Power Off: Hold middle button for 2.5 seconds
- Bluetooth Pairing: Hold middle button for 5 seconds
- Answer Phone call: Press the middle button
- Volume up: Click up arrow
- Volume down: Click down arrow
- Advance/Skip Next Song: Hold up arrow
- Previous Song: Hold down arrow
For those who are left handed, you may find the headset a little cumbersome, since the controller is on the right side and there is no option to switch positions.
The headphone ear pieces are specifically marked with a “L” for left and a “R” for right. There doesn’t appear to be an option to change these and as such a left handed person will need to use their right hand when controlling the headphones while in use.
To properly wear the headphones, the headphone wire is positioned behind the head, with the headphone controller on the right side.
JBL designed the headphones with what they call TWISTLOCK™ Technology. What this means is after you insert the earpiece, you twist them counter clockwise to lock them in place. I found the Twistlock pretty effective for keeping the earpieces stationary and only occasionally had to re-adjust/re-lock them.
People who have small ear canals may find the earpieces too large. Under Armour does provide 2 different sizes, but based on reviews I have read, some people are still having difficulty getting a good fit and would like a smaller size added to the mix.
As one who has sold headphones in the past, some people are never satisfied regardless of what is out there. It really boils down to preference. Some people just don’t like an in the ear headphone. The good news is Under Armour will have an around the ear headphone released soon.
The earpieces stick out a bit more than other ear pieces I have used. For some this may become a problem if they wear a tight fitting over the ear hat. It may add a pressure point to the earpiece, making them uncomfortable to wear.
IPX Rating Scale
The Headphones are rated at IPX5. The IP stands for International Protection Marking or Ingress Protection Marking. It basically tells you how the device will hold up against water. An IPX5 means the unit is basically impervious to sweat damage, but vulnerable to immersion in water. The table below goes into detail for each rating. Since the UA headphones have a IPX5 rating they are great for most outdoor activities except water sports such as swimming or surfing. People who sweat a lot will appreciate the IPX-5 rating as a peace of mind measure, which may be a factor with other headsets.
- IPX-0: No protection
- IPX-1: Protected against condensation or dripping water falling vertically
- IPX-2: Protected against spraying water when tilted up to 15 degrees vertically
- IPX-3: Protected against spraying water when tilted up to 60 degrees vertically
- IPX-4: Protected against splashing water from any angle
- IPX-5: Protected against low pressure water stream from any angle
- IPX-6: Protected against high pressure water stream from any angle
- IPX-7: Protected against water immersion. Immersion for 30 minutes at a depth of up to 1 meter
- IPX-8: Protected against continual water submersion in under water conditions
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to use these headphones during a pouring down rain storm, since it never seems to rain here in Austin. I have sort of forgotten what it looks like. Same could be said for sleet or snow. With an IPX5 rating the UA/JBL Headphones should hold up without an issue.
The headphones are powered using a micro USB port that is located on the side of the headphone unit. The port is covered with a plastic tab. Simply flipping the tab open reveals the power port. To me this design isn’t optimal. The plastic tab feels and looks cheap compared to the rest of the unit. A more elegant approach would have been to have charge connectors, similar to what the Garmin Forerunner 920XT has. In testing the tab hasn’t failed, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it.
Under Armour JBL Wireless Headphone – Tech Specs
- Premium 5.8mm Dynamic Driver
- Frequency Response: 10Hz-22Hz
- Support: BT 4.0 A2DP v1.2, AVRCP v1.4, HFP v1.6, HSP v1.2
- Connection: Micro USB cable for charging
- Bluetooth transmitter frequency range: 2.402 – 2.480GHz
- Bluetooth transmitter power: < 4dBm
- Bluetooth transmitter modulation: GFSK, π/4 DQPSK, 8 DPSK
- Battery: Rechargeable Lithium Ion Cylindrical Cell (3.7V 2 x 60 mAh) – lasts up to 8 hours
- Size adjusting clip for the perfect fit — wear in front for optimal sound & performance
- 1-year membership to MapMyFitness ($30 value) MVP with your purchase of UA Headphones Wireless
- Retail – $180.00
I am not going to try and get crazy technical on sound, because quite frankly I am not a sound engineer. I find the JBL UA headphones sound good, but not as good as my JBL Extreme, which obviously sounds amazing and isn’t a headphone. The max volume limit isn’t as loud compared to other headphones I have used. Sound is crystal clear, but some may find it not loud enough. To me though, it is probably more than enough for those wanting to protect their eardrums from noise damage.
A partnership with JBL and Under Armour can only bring success. The headphones work as advertised and with an 8 hour battery life the headphones can provide music for multiple workouts between charges. The headphones were designed for those who workout and it shows. They stay locked in place whether you’re walking or moving at a very fast clip. The IPX-5 rating means you never will have to worry about sweat damaging your headset.
Are there any negatives? Price is always and issue and with a retail value of $180, you can bet their is going to be competition that shows up at a lower price point. While MapMyFitness is include, some may already have a membership or are not interested joining and would rather have a lower retail price.
The headphone will not be for everyone, since they may not fit people with smaller ear canals or people who prefer around the ear headphones.
Check out JBL and Under Armour headphones and the rest of the JBL music line.
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