If you want your sports headphones to be wireless, stay in place, be easy to control, put up with inclement weather, and sound good, then the BlueAnt Pump HD Sportbuds Bluetooth Headphones may well be the headphones for you. At $129 they won’t break the bank and, thanks to their design, they stay in place while you exercise.
Over the past few years we have reviewed a number of products from BlueAnt, and while they seemed to disappear from the scene for a while they’re back and pushing their latest product, the BlueAnt Pump HD Sportbuds Bluetooth Headphones. These headphones have an MSRP of $129, and they come with a good number of extras so that you can get the best fit and comfort for these headphones. That’s important, considering the fact that these are specifically targeted to athletes and other people who are looking for headphones they can use while being outdoors and active. We’ll come back to that shortly.
The initial impression given upon opening the BlueAnt Pump HD Sportbuds Bluetooth Headphones box is quite nice. Simply lifting the top of the folding box reveals the headphones themselves. Once the interior tray is removed, you are presented with an assortment of your tips and stabilizers. This is all part of the PUMP’s “Superfit system.” BlueAnt notes, this “system” gives you
the confidence to move with intensity. No matter how you hard you go, they go with you, while ComfortSeal and Awareness tips provide long-lasting comfort and the ability to stay in tune with your surroundings.
The written manual included with the headphones is rather extensive, and focus is largely on helping you to find the best fit for the headphones. It will take a bit of trial and error to get things perfectly set up, but the time spent is well worth it since the right fit will keep the headphones in your ears and — if you use them while swimming — will keep water out.
BlueAnt Pump HD Sportbuds Bluetooth Headphones Specifications:
- Play time: Up to 8 hours
- Standby time: 2 weeks
- Codecs: APTX, AAC
- Charge time: 2 hours
- Warranty: 12 months
- Bluetooth: 3.0
- Profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
While these headphones are not going to disappoint in the specs department, they certainly don’t offer bleeding edge technology either. You won’t find NFC connectivity here, nor will you find Bluetooth 4.0. No, the BlueAnt Pump HD Sportbuds Bluetooth Headphones have Bluetooth 3.0; it works well enough that no one but the most spec-conscious individuals will even take note.
BlueAnt Pump HD Sportbuds Bluetooth Headphones Video Look
The over-the-ear design of the headphones may look a bit bulkier than some of the small in-ear products currently available, but this design provides great battery life and a degree of stability you simply can’t find with something that sits inside your ear, that depends upon pressure on and within your ear, for it to stay put.
The design of the BlueAnt Pump HD Sportbuds Bluetooth Headphones reflects that fact that they are advertised as being waterproof.
Teflon coating and Kevlar shielding block water, salt, dust and sweat from entering the PUMP, making it more rugged and longer lasting.
These are, after all, designed for listening to music during activity. As such, they not only need to stay in your ears, but they also need to be able to deal with your sweat and whatever else might be thrown at them during your workout.
A hinged door on the bottom of one of the earpieces reveals the micro USB charging port. It’s easy to open and seems to be easy to close and properly seal. You’ll want to make sure you do the latter, since these won’t offer you any protection from moisture if the door isn’t properly closed.
This image, along with a few others on the product page, raise some real questions and concerns for me. They show the headphones being used the way you would a pair of truly waterproof headphones. This bit of text from the product page’s FAQ raises even more.
IS THE PUMP DESIGNED FOR SWIMMING?
The BlueAnt PUMP performs exceptionally well in the toughest training environments. The PUMP is primarily designed for running, cycling and training. It completely blocks sweat, rain, water activities, a water spill in a gym bag and being rinsed-off. PUMP can go up to 1 Meter (3.3 feet) of water for up to 30 mins (IP67). As Bluetooth signals from a music player cannot completely penetrate water, the BlueAnt PUMP reproduces best sound with your head above water. A quick rinse under a cool clean tap, cloth dry and the PUMP is fresh and ready to go wherever and whenever you are.
Yes these headphones have an IP67 rating, the same rating as phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S5. To me, that is more “water-resistant” or “water-ready” than it is waterproof. The numbers tell the story: the IP rating consists of two numbers. The first number speaks to the degree of dust-proof protection, while the second speaks to the degree of waterproof protection. In the case of IP67 you get “IP” plus…
The Number 6: This is described as “Dust Protected”: Totally protected against dust ingress.; complete protection against contact
The Number 7: This is described as “Immersion Protected “: Protected against short periods of immersion in water.Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion). Test duration: 30 minutes; Immersion at depth of at least 1 m measured at bottom of device, and at least 15 cm measured at top of device
At first blush these headphones look like they would be waterproof, but take a closer read and focus on the specific words used and you will see the phrase “under defined conditions of pressure and time.” For me this raises some questions. Sure, these headphones will be fine if you are out running and the skies open up. But for swimming, you’ll need to remain less than three feet below, and you can only be in the water for a half hour. Oh, and all the seals need to be closed and fully functional.
That may still sound like “waterproof” but consider this: the LifeProof cases I love to promote have an IP68 rating. That means so long as all the seals are closed and working properly, a phone placed inside can go under water and remain submerged for a few hours; that’s waterproof. This, to my mind, falls short, and the image of them being used for swimming raises questions.
The controls on the BlueAnt Pump HD Sportbuds Bluetooth Headphones are simple and straightforward. There is a volume up button, a volume down button, and between the two is the multifunction power/play/pause button. To turn the headphones on, you simply press the play button and hold for a few seconds.
The headphones can also be used to make and take phone calls. The multifunction button works well for that as well. And while I wouldn’t purchase these headphones for the purpose of making calls, the added functionality is nice.
BlueAnt is really pushing the quality of the audio put forth by the headphones. They include this graph but don’t identify who competitor 1 and competitor 2 is. Instead they offer this formula that needs to be taken at face value.
THE ENERGIZE HD AUDIO FORMULA: THUNDERING SUB-BASS LINE WITH ENERGIZING WARM BASS RHYTHM + SMOOTH MIDS + CRISP TREBLE + SHARP, YET SUBTLE HIGHS
Don’t get me wrong. The BlueAnt Pump HD Sportbuds Bluetooth Headphones sound good; they just don’t blow me away the way product page hype would suggest.
All in all, I find these headphones to be remarkably comfortable. The around-the-ear design of the headphones does the job of keeping them in place without having them move too much or place unnecessary pressure on my ears. The included zip tie allows you to take any slack present in the cable out. And, as noted above, as sound quality goes I’m certainly not disappointed with these headphones but won’t be standing on the top of a mountain screaming about their amazing audio quality. They do the job quite well, and that’s really more than enough for a pair of headphones targeted at the athletically-minded. They get loud, sound good, and they don’t suffer much (if any) distortion when they are loud, and they don’t come loose when you are moving. At $129, they’re right in the ballpark of other sports headphones, and they certainly are a compelling option. It’s a crowded market, so this will be as much about your esthetic taste as it will be about the headphones and their functionality.
Learn more and order yours here.
What I Like: Comfortable to wear; Stay in place quite nicely; Come with a good assortment of tips and stabilizers so you can find the right fit; Easy to control; Offer good sound; IP67
What Needs Improvement: BT 3.0 rather than BT 4.0; No NFC; IP67 is more water-resistant than it is waterproof
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample BlueAnt Pump HD Sportbuds Bluetooth Headphones