Occasionally I manage to convince myself it’s time to exercise. I mean, it’s mostly purgatory but if you don’t want to die at an early age, look terrible on the beach or want to diet properly it’s just something you have to do eh?
One thing that makes such gym trips slightly more bearable is music, and for long runs an audiobook. Now the component of this is a decent set of earbuds and over the years I’ve tried quite a few. For all of them the most irritating part was the wires. Critical as they may be they tangle and flop, no matter how I tuck them down my t shirt from the front, down my back, leave it free – whichever way they’d be worn there was a compromise. Either the wires fly around and act as an irritant, or they catch on things inside the t-shirt and jerk out of your ears in an often painful fashion.
On ear headphones aren’t an option – I’m sorry if you wear them to the gym, but you look like a twat. That’s just how it is.
So I got rather excited by the release of the Samsung Gear IconX wireless earbuds… Say what you like, but it’s an awesome concept. Other have tried the same, and now with Apples notorious 3.5mm headphone jack decision (‘Courageous’!? Bitch please..) there are more companies leaping onto the bandwagon.
As ever I’m not going to throw in a description of the buds and blah on about numbers – they change enough with use to not really be that relevant, and if you’re reading this as a review then you’ll probablyknow what they look like. I mean, the picture’s here:
What you’ll want is to know what they’re like to use. Small, easy to control, and well made in short. The thought that’s gone into it all is seriously impressive. So, stuff that they can do:
- Bio track your heartbeat, distance and fat burn
- Play music with 4GB onboard storage
- Bluetooth stream the music/sound
- Automatically turn on and off when you put them in/take them out of your ears
- Control tracks and the biotracking with touch pad on the earbud itself
The in-ear detection is excellent and its distance accuracy when running is more than fine for the casual runner. In today’s tech world, it’s simply seamless. And price wise, you’re getting a fair deal for a leading piece of portable technology that, unlike the competition, actually looks good. (That’s right, Apple. I went there.)
The cons? The sound quality is only okay and I wouldn’t stream music for more than 50 minutes. It’s not going to win any awards for audio, but unless you’re expecting Bose mC35-level acoustic abilities, it’s good enough. You don’t buy earbuds for sound quality anyway – you buy them for convenience.
And knowing this, as fitness earbuds, I won’t use anything else but the Gear IconX (for now that is). Within the narrow sphere of fitness workouts, as long as your workout doesn’t last longer than around 45 minutes, you’ll be fine. They don’t fall out, they’re comfortable and you can easily forget they’re in, all without looking like a twat or being perpetually annoyed by the dangling, tangling wires. I’d even go so far as to say that when it comes to earbuds, whether for fitness or otherwise, I wholeheartedly recommend that you don’t bother getting anything with a wire at all. Thanks to Samsung, they’ve now been deemed unworthy.
They aren’t stupid looking either and they have remarkably few compromises; just you don’t try stream music into them for more than say 50 minutes, and you aren’t looking for Bose MC35 levels of acoustic abilities. For anything else, these should be your go-to headphones. I’m also particularly excited to find out what Samsung has in store for us next year… by some accounts, the Galaxy S8 won’t be having an audio-jack a la iPhone 7…