The JBL Endurance Sprint (SGD 95) and JBL Endurance Jump (SGD 115) are two of the four devices launched in JBL’s latest Endurance line of active-wear earphones. They come in a range of flashy colours to match your active lifestyle (and black, if you’re intending to go low-key), and are purpose-built and designed to fit in your sweaty, rough-and-tough lifestyles – be it on the track, in the gym, or in the pool.
Not the most creative when it comes to the naming of these devices, JBL has opted instead for practicality. Not sure if the earphones are a fit for your range of physical activities? Their namesake could be a clue. The JBL Endurance Sprint and Endurance Jump fit in the mid-tier of the company’s Endurance offerings, sandwiched between the wired Endurance Run (SGD 35), and the waterproof Endurance Dive (SGD 135) that has an onboard MP3 player.
The increasing price-points in the line of devices also reflect an increasing level of sophistication in device build. The Run, like its name suggests, is great for runs and other casual and light activity, since it is wired and requires you to lug your phone or music playing device about. The Sprint is a step up, going wireless but yet retaining a wire between the channels to be worn at the nape of your neck. The Jump is next in line, this time with a thicker, more robust interconnect that is contoured and textured for a better, more comfortable fit. The Dive retains the form of the Jump, but adds an onboard MP3 player along with proper waterproofing.
We received the Endurance line of active-wear earphones from JBL for review.
For the S$20 difference, the Endurance Jump and Endurance Sprint are remarkably similar. Apart from the thickness of the wire between the channels to differentiate between the models, the only other distinction is the fact that the Jump comes with a nifty, well-made silicone carrying case.
Unboxing and First Impressions
Despite their affordable price, the Endurance earphones unbox beautifully. A clear window showcases the main features of the devices, and allow you to easily confirm the colour variant you are about to get.
Within, there’s plenty of goodies to help you enhance your experience with your Endurance earphones. Two alternate sizes of silicone ear tips settle the fit, and a nifty silicone carrying case (for the Jump is useful for lugging it around. There’s also JBL’s characteristic flat bright orange USB A to MicroUSB charging cable.
Both the Sprint and Jump come in two-toned colour finishes, one main one, and another as a highlight on smaller areas around the device. I received the Jump in red, and the Sprint in light blue. Both the Jump and Sprint are, however, available in the same range of colours. There are two black colour variants, one with understated dark grey highlights, and another with flashy neon green ones. There are also a dark blue and a light blue option, both with white accents, and a red one with grey highlights.
Right out of the box, the bold colours of the earphones made a strong visual impression. They’re great-looking earphones for casual and active use, but I would avoid the brighter colours if I were dressed in a suit or while commuting to the business district. Of course, that’s just me and if rocking out to ACDC in the lobby of Goldman Sachs dressed in a two-piece and sporting a flashy pair of earphones is your thing, go right ahead. Of course, if activewear is up your alley, the Endurance Jump and Sprint look right at home amidst flashy, tight-fitting Lululemons and Under Armour garb.
For the additional money, the Jump is much more robust – I wouldn’t hesitate to dump these to my bag. It’s ironic, since the Sprint with the thinner cables
The Endurance Jump and Sprint are in an over-the-ear configuration, unlike the Endurance Run, which allows you to wear it cable up or down. They sit securely in the ear, although I found the loop slightly high for my ears. Now, my ears and head are about average size, but I think even the biggest of heads (and ears) would fit perfectly.
I did wonder if having the cable rest on the top ridge of my ear would provide more support, but wearing the earphones themselves, I found them to fit very well. Key to obtaining a solid fit in the ear is choosing the right silicone ear tips to get a perfect seal. That’s also key to maximising your audio experience, but more on that later.
On the Jump, the thick connecting cable snugly encircles the nape of the neck, so there are no flopping or loose ends around your back. On the Sprint, the cable’s thinner, but only as thin as the cables on other wired earphones. So yes – the Jump fits perfectly for your jumping activities, since nothing jiggles, flops or dangles around as you bounce around.
The Sprint is an adequate choice if your activities do not include any high-impact manoeuvres, but the Jump is definitely the more robust, versatile choice. Both models feature JBL’s “Enhancer” that is found on all its Endurance devices. It fits in the concha – the inner hollow of your auricle, and fits like how earbuds do. This adds stability and reduces movement and microphonics even in high-impact situations.
Both devices sat snug in the ear during my regular gym routines, which include a high-intensity 5-kilometre run, yoga-mat core exercises and free weights. It stood up to the deluge of slippery sweat pouring from my head, clinging firmly to my ears. They are IPX7 water resistant, which means they’ll stand up to use even in heavy rain, but should have adequate sweat-proofing.
I felt no soreness, experienced no chafing during my lengthy review period. The earphones sit firmly in place and the soft-touch plastic covering does not have seams that irritate the skin.
Usage and features
The JBL Endurance Jump and Sprint have a nifty PowerHook feature, that powers on the earphones the moment you put them on. Connecting your smartphone takes an instant, and I often hear the power-on tone the moment I finish fit the earphones properly on my head. The PowerHook works with magnets within the ear hook and the earbud itself, which keep the earphones turned off whilst not in use.
Powered off, the earbud and the base of the ear hook touch, but splitting them apart whilst putting them on instantly turns it on. This meant that I tended to keep them stored in the silicone carrying case for fear of accidental activation. That’s a small issue, apart from a little battery drain and sucking the audio from my device until I figure out the culprit.
Controls are all touch-based and confined to the right channel. Tapping once pauses and plays the music, and also picks up and ends calls. Tapping twice skips the current track or dismisses the call, and tapping thrice plays the previous track (or replays your current track from the start depending on how much you’ve listened). Volume is controlled by swiping a single finger up and down the panel on the right side.
Touch controls are cool, but it meant I had to be extra careful to position my fingers around the case in order to not activate any controls.
Power is indicated with a nifty blue LED on the base of each channel.
My standards are necessarily lower for audio devices clearly intended for fitness use cases. I shouldn’t have bothered, because JBL’s characteristic sound quality definitely shows through on these earphones.
While certainly not analytic or audiophile quality to any extent, the JBL Endurance Jump and Sprint certainly have an absolutely fun sound signature. Like many fitness earphones, these have a strong, thumping bass, but delivers them with ample definition. Electronic music, which would feature heavily on any workout playlist, shines in particular.
Two Door Cinema Club’s Bad Decisions is a pretty bass-heavy ensemble, but the Endurance earphones easily dealt with rapid and complex passages. Passion Pit’s Where the Sky Hangs features lush mids and bass tones, which resonated well on the JBL Endurance Jump and Sprint.
The mids and highs, however, lacked a little in terms of clarity, but I did not notice that during my workouts.
When it came to calls, however, the JBL Endurance Jump and Sprint encountered a bit of difficulty. Perhaps owing to its IP water-resistant certification, microphone audio lacked in body and clarity. Perhaps the positioning of the earphones themselves were not conducive to such a feature, since the microphone could not be positioned anywhere near the front of my face.
Battery life is advertised at a very decent eight hours. I’m not an ultramarathon runner and my longest workouts do not last that long, but they did last for about three gym sessions before I felt the need to charge it. The low battery indicator was not even activated.
The wireless Endurance earphones, however, have a useful quick charge feature that gives an hour of use with just ten minutes of charging. I found myself using this feature often, giving myself peace of mind before going on my ten-kilometre runs that I wouldn’t have to deal with the ordeal of pounding away at the tarmac without any soothing music to ease the pain.
Get it, if you’re in the market for a pair of earphones for your workouts. They’re wireless, sound great, fit extremely well. Between the Jump and the Sprint, they’re pretty similar in terms of most features. However, the added robustness the thick cord on the Jump offers makes it the pair of earphones I use for all situations that require perspiration and pain.
At SGD 95 for the JBL Endurance Sprint and SGD 115 for the JBL Endurance Jump, these are some of the most affordable fitness earphones in the market right now. Couple that with JBL’s great legacy of sound, and you’ve got yourself a package.
However, if call quality is paramount, or you’re looking for a more versatile pair of earphones, JBL’s other lines of earphones, including the true wireless JBL Free are some of my top picks.