So the good folks over at JVC sent me a pair of their Sport Extreme HA-ETR40-B headphones to try out and review. I have found through the years of running with and generally using headphones that it’s a challenge to better those that come as standard with your iPhone, at least without spending $100s of dollars, something that I am not prepared to do as inevitably I end up losing them or sending them through the washing machine! That said my go-to pair for the last 5-6 years has been the now retired Sony MDR-ED12LP Budstyle Headphones. I lucked into these and as they are now retired I will probably never write a review of them. They fit my ears, they have a really good solid sound and they used to be well priced, depending on where you picked them up, for between $15-20. Essentially they are the barometer that I hold all headphones to. The only thing they lack is an inline mic for talking with so you can use you phone handless. That said this is a review of the JVC pair and not the Sony pair and so on with the review.
Out of the box there are three noticeable features;
- The inline mic that can also be used to answer the phone, toggle tracks backwards and forwards as well as adjust the volume. This is splash/sweat proof.
- The “ear hook” used to fit the bud into your ear. This ear hook is JVC’s new Pivot Motion Fit, a soft rubber rotating hook that fits within the part of the ear just above the ear canal to provide a secure but comfortable fit. To tailor the fit the hook rotates to fit into your ear comfortably. Additionally there are three sizes of buds to ensure a snug fit within your ear. The HA-ETR40 includes additional open-type earpieces that allow ambient sounds to be heard, such as approaching traffic.
- The short 2” cable comes with a 2” extension cable; this allows you to shorten it to right size the cable if you are wearing an iPod etc on your arm rather than on your waist and avoid having a mass of cable in front of you or under your shirt.
What you don’t see it that the Extreme Fitness headphones are IPX5/IPX7 rated, so there’s no need to worry if caught out in a rain storm, and they can be safely washed, either by rinsing under running water or rinsed briefly in a basin of water.
So how do they sound? Well to be honest this is where they fall down. The sound is tinny, the bass is not bassy. They sound like the sound is leaking and not getting out through the earbuds. I have a pretty broad music tastes so I tried it with everything ranging from House through to Rock and all points in between. I also included podcasts and a talking books. While I am not expecting an audiophile’s dream come true in a set of $40 headphones the sound quality was below those from the $15 Sony pair mentioned above.
Overall I was really hoping for a better result. The technical features noted above are really nice and make for a very athlete friendly and useable set of headphones. However the overall sound quality was, in my opinion. too poor to let the technical features be more compelling than the quality of sound.
It’s always hard to write a poor review but I have to be honest. That said my hearing is 4X years old so they may well work for you.
These are available online or through you local Best Buy or something similar for $39.99.