Unsurprisingly, given the inherent limitations of Bluetooth and the absence of a trick codec like apt-X, the quality of music playback isn't equal to the best a wired headset can provide. Compared to my reference cabled Sennheisers, the SB1 sounded just a little dull and lifeless in the mid range and the bass was a touch woolly.
Simple controls, easy to finger
On the plus side, there was no trace of sibilance in the vocals and plenty of volume on tap. When connected to a mobile phone or Bluetooth enabled PMP they are eminently usable, if not exactly spectacular performers. While finishing off this review I listened to Jennifer Warnes' Famous Blue Raincoat album from my HTC Hero and couldn't seriously fault the Sportsbands' performance.
The buttons on the right-hand earpiece offer full AVRCP music player control along with the facility to answer or reject calls and adjust the volume. The buttons are large and well laid out and fall easily to the finger so you won't be left tapping the side of your head in frustration while trying to adjust the volume or answer a call.
Paring proved straight forward to everything I tried including a mobile and a Linux netbook, though only two devices can be paired at a time. Jaybird reckons the SB1s range is a par-for-the-course 10 metres, which was borne out by my tests. As long as I kept within that range, the Sportbands remained free of interference or breakup.
Power comes from a 250mAh battery that should be good for 11 hours of talk time, 8 hours of music playback and 250 hours on stand by. I tested the second of those claims by streaming music until the phones died and recorded a time of 7 hours 20. Re-charging is from USB and will take 2.5 hours. The USB connector on the headphones is non-standard – apparently, the design helps with the sweat proofing – so don't lose the cable.
I'm guessing it must have been my big ears then.
What about security?
As Bluetooth < 2.1 devices with a relatively limited pairing process, aren't these headphones - Jaybird and Jabra both - liable to be tapped? Jabra in particular apparently can "talk to" two devices at once - I suppose they mean phone and MP3 player for instance.
So your phone conversation, or even anything you say while in the room with the headset, convceivably can be overheard.
Admittedly, someone probably would have to be almost close enough to you to overhear you without technological means...
...or their radio receiver or phone would.
And I suppose if somebody wants to bug your conversations, they can do it with their own gear and not bother you at all, but you still may not want to make it... fun.
@ Ioan - my regular run takes me under several sets of power lines and I never noticed any interference.
@ AC re. Nice Look. I watched all of Pope Joan with them on and that's over two hours long. Didn't notice any discomfort at the end of it.
So you tried them under a helmet before recommending them taking to the cycling track?
I'm guessing not.
there truely hideous
and £90! ive got a apir of itech blueband. cost £20 off ebay. over the back of the head style. and they are quite amazing. and not £90, and dont look stupid.