More and more in this modern era, exercising seems like the most moral excuse for our unprecedented levels of media consumption. Should you have watched an entire season of Breaking Bad in three days? Yes, because you did it on a treadmill and, therefore, earned it. This is a very modern problem, with a very modern solution.
You know what else is a modern problem? That horrible, stupid anger you feel, when you rip off your own headphones while exercising. There also seems to be a very modern solution, which is to ditch chords altogether and pick up a pair of Bluetooth headphones, so that you can stop accidentally slamming your sound out of your ears.
Because I know this instance of self-humiliation all-too-well, I recently went hunting through my friends to see if anybody had recently purchased a pair of Bluetooth headphones I could test drive. This is what I found.
One of the people who let me borrow their headphones for the afternoon was an exercise enthusiast, who had recently purchased a pair of Skullcandy Smokin’ Buds. These were a pair that I was particularly excited to check out. I have used quite a few pairs of Skullcandy headphones over the years and have usually found them to be fairly reliable.
One of the main problems that Skullcandy has as a brand is longevity. Skullcandy typically uses gold plating for their headphone jack, which is very malleable. As a result, their products typically become unusable faster than their contemporaries. However, without this connection, the ear buds should last long and generally be more durable.
When I wore these, I found the ear buds themselves comfortable and serviceable. Not only that, but they connected very well to my iPad and maintained their connection for the hour I spent watching Netflix on the treadmill. My sole complaint about these is the removable collar. Although it is perfectly comfortable to wear during less strenuous use, it can seem bulky and grimy during exercise.
Another friend, who commutes to work via train, very recently purchased a pair of Insignia Wireless On-Ear Headphones. This pair’s usefulness was of interest to me because I was with her when she bought them. What attracted her to this pair was their design aesthetics.
These Insignia headphones have a flexible plastic band that loops behind the head, with the lowest point of arc below the base of the skull without making contact. This design was very popular when we were in high school, an undisclosed number of years ago, and she found the throwback extremely charming.
Like the Skullcandy headphones, these function well enough. The connectivity is good and they are definitely as comfortable to wear at the gym as over-the-ear headphones can be.
The third and final set of wireless headphones I tested, I didn’t dare exercise in. They were a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-S700BT headphones. They belong to a composer and they are beautiful.
These headphones are incredibly comfortable. The material used for the earpieces is very soft and fit well over the ear. The overall fit is firm, but not overly snug. The simple physical act of wearing these headphones is great.
The sound quality you get from these headphones far outstrips that. Audio-Technica is a great brand for sound quality across the board and this product is no exception. These headphones sound great whether you’re listening to Adele remixes while cleaning or Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet under your covers. The sound quality alone makes ATH-S700BT a must-have.
The only potential quibble with this product is that it can be difficult to pair with a mobile device. It took a minute, and in the end, I’m still not quite sure what I ended up doing to make the connection. However, once the two had paired, the connection remained strong.
At the end of the day, price does matter, and Audio-Technica runs high. While these are the highest quality and the ones I would most recommend having in your life, you’d probably be happier buying a pair you won’t feel all that guilty about sweating on if you’re looking to use them out in the world. If that’s the case, I would definitely buy the Skullcandy Smokin’ Buds first.