The UA Sport Wireless Flex is another pair of sports earphones resulting from a collaboration between Under Armour and JBL. Previous collaborations have yielded decent offerings that, while good, didn’t get me overly excited. The UA Sport Wireless Flex is different. I love their design, am impressed by their features, and find them to be both comfortable and great sounding.
These earbuds are yet another example of neckband-style Bluetooth wireless headphones. The neckband is key for a few reasons. First, it means the weight of the earphones fits primarily on your neck. This allows the earbuds to not only sit comfortably in your ears but also helps them stay in place better than they might were the weight of the battery and electronics “floating” on a wire between the two earbuds. It also means the earphones are able to offer a more substantial battery.
Put this together with a few other key features, and you get headphones that UA and JBL describe as offering “all-day comfort and secure fit and safety for sports.”
Inside the box, you get the sport wireless flex in-ear sport headphones, a micro USB cable for charging, a quick start guide, and assorted other paperwork. Unfortunately, they did not see fit to include a protective pouch or case. That, to my mind, is a huge mistake.
Let’s start with the earbuds themselves. These earphones are built with “Sport Flex Fit ear tips.” Included in the box are an assortment of both winged and wingless ear tips. That means you can not only choose the size of ear tip that is most comfortable and secure for you, but you can also choose whether or not you want stabilizing “wings” that sit inside your ear and add a sense of security to the earbuds once they are in place. I chose to use the earbuds with winged ear tips and find that they offer a good seal while being exceptionally comfortable and remain stable even when I run on a treadmill or am out walking the dog.
The earbuds are magnetic. That means the earbuds will connect to one another when not being used and create a closed loop around your neck. I love this feature as it means the earbuds won’t accidentally slip off and be lost.
JBL Charged Sound: Bold sound tuned for sports with rich base to crush your workouts
As for sound, so long as you have a good seal in your ears, something you will get by trying all the assorted ear tips, these earphones sound fantastic. The JBL 8.6mm drivers offer a frequency response or 10Hz – 22kHz. Music is crisp and clear. Those tracks that have a distinct separation between the two stereo channels will sound fantastic! They are so good, in fact, that I have found myself listening to the UA Sport Wireless Flex at home just because they are comfortable and great sounding. Yes, these earphones are made for sports but you will find them worthy of use at far more times than that.
Flex Zones: Always-ready neckband features a flexible fit to stay secure during sport or loosen for all-day comfort.
The neckband itself has a fantastic design. Sporting a different look and feel than most of the other neckband-style earphones I have used, it sits comfortably on your neck and shoulders. Adding to the comfort of the neckband is the inclusion of Flex Zones. The Flex Zones can be found on both the left and right side of the neckband. They allow you to put on the earphones and then close the neckband around your neck so it fits more securely. This adds not only to the comfort but to the stability of the neckband as well.
The battery built into the neckband is large enough, 50mAh to be precise, to provide more than eleven hours of playback time per charge. More than that, if you pick up the earphones and discover they no longer have a charge, a quick five-minute charge gives you up to an hour of playback. I love this Speed Charge feature as it addresses one of my biggest criticisms of wireless headphones. In addition, the Bluetooth connectivity is strong enough that I have never had a problem with the connection dropping or sounding crackly.
These earphones were designed for sports use and have a few key features that stand out in this regard.
First, the controls are simple and easy to access. There are four-button controls, two at the end of each side of the neckband, that are finished in textures and shapes that let you access the control you want without having to look at them.
They are designed for easy access but, while the company states they provide a “highly tactile feedback when pressed” I find that I have to press harder than I would think to turn the earphones on and off.
Second, the earphones offer a strong, durable design. They look delicate but are built to last. In addition, they have been tested by athletes to ensure that are able to withstand the sweat and abuse of athletes. I would have loved if they had a serious IPX rating but, sadly, while they are sweat resistant, they don’t carry any specific water-resistant or waterproof rating.
The final feature making these “sports” earphones requires a bit of backstory. Last night Raina and I were returning from dinner with some friends. As I was making a left turn, Raina told me to watch the person coming into the crosswalk. She was wearing all black and, because the night was so dark, I could barely see her.
That experience made me appreciate the “RunSafe LED” built into the back of the neckband all the more. As the company explains,
Brilliant white safety light keeps you safe after dark with a choice of three flashing modes
That’s right, with the multifunction button you can activate a light along the back of the neckband and choose from one of three different flashing modes. That makes it easy for people to see you at night! It is worth noting that the multifunction button is also able to serve as a mute for calls and as a trigger for Siri or Google Now. Of course, when you first get the earphones it is worth spending some time to best understand the multifunction button’s operations.
Made to Move in Every Way You Do: UA Sport Wireless Flex headphones deliver secure fit for sports and all-day comfort. Flex zones adjust to find the perfect fit no matter the activity. UA Sport Wireless Flex headphones drive your workouts thanks to their big, powerful JBL Charged Sound. And Bluetooth wireless enables easy, cord-free connection. UA Flex headphones are sweat resistant with advanced nano coating. Stay safe after dark with the new RunSafe™ LED. A long-lasting 11-hour plus battery features Speed Charge to deliver an hour of playback on just five minutes’ charge. Control music, volume, calls, mute and unmute the mic when you’re in a call, and even activate Siri or Google Now with a long press.
Here’s the promotional video for the earphones that lets you see the RunSafe LED light in action:
At $129.95, the UA Sport Wireless Flex headphones are a fantastic buy. They are comfortable, get great battery life, and, thanks to JBL’s tuning, sound fantastic. The light on the neckband makes them great for use at night and the Flex Zones mean they will hug your neck comfortably. Of, and they also come with a one-year premium membership to MapMyRun. That’s a $30 value!
Sure, I find the controls a bit too firm and I wish they had included a carry pouch, but for the price, these neckband style earphones are definitely among the best I have tried. Check them out here.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the UA Sport Wireless Flex.
What I Like: Comfortable, Sound great: Amazing Battery Life: Running light; Flex Zones let you customize fit
What Needs Improvement: No protective pouch included; Buttons are a bit firm