Introducing The Audio-Technica ATH-SPORT1iS In-Ear Headphones
Athletes and fit freaks should rejoice when they hear about the Audio-Technica ATH-SPORT1iS in-ear headphones. This feature-rich model comes with IPX5 waterproof certification (more on this later), U-type cables, an in-ear/behind-the-ear lightweight design, all for a price at under $40. Sounds like a dream, right?
So I thought I would give them their own workout while at the gym doing my workout. Are they the ideal sports headphones? Here’s what I learned.
I’m not usually one for wearing in-ear/behind-the-ear headphones. Suffice to say, this was a bit of an adjustment and a learning experience. Not to mention the unfamiliar design of these headphones from the wires to the pivoting hinge.
We at Beantown received a pair of the SonicSport ATH-SPORT1iS headphones in Navy-Yellow to sample. In my opinion, this particular color scheme is the least attractive. So it’s a good thing there are three more color schemes available.
Color patterns shown above are in order from left to right. They are the following: Navy-Yellow, Pink-Gray, Red-Black, and Black.
So let’s begin with the positives. These headphones are customizable for just the right fit. Now, whether that fit is comfortable or not is still, at this moment, up in the air.
The ATH-SPORTS1iS headphones ear tips come in two varieties and they are all interchangeable. The first is your typical, standard silicone ear tip which comes in 4 sizes: XS, S, M, & L. The second is of a more rigid design and it comes in 3 sizes: S, M, & L. It’s this rigidity that would lead you to wear this variety outdoors. You see, this rigidity allows for some ambient noise to make its way to your brain. So, if you want to hear that approaching car when you’re jogging alongside a road, then the rigid ear tip is the wiser choice.
When you’re in a controlled environment like the gym and don’t want to hear the surrounding noise, wear the softer design. This choice will isolate noise better allowing for you to focus on the task at hand.
The headphones plastic frames loop around your ears and secures the ear tips in place. It performs this function quite well. This frame also has a hinge that opens for better placement over your ears. Then you close it to a point that keeps the frame from maneuvering.
Simply put, the ATH-SPORT1iS covers all shapes and sizes of ears.
There’s more to headphones than just the ear tips, so let’s talk wires.
I have to admit, upon first use, the wires on the ATH-SPORT1iS headphones baffled me. I removed them from the case before leaving for the gym and then, fiddled with them in the locker room. I still couldn’t figure out the cord set-up. What followed was three adjustments over the course of my workout, before I got it right, or so I thought. But even after that, I noticed how they were supposed to work and came to the realization that I had actually adjusted them incorrectly all along.
The 1.2-meter long cable for these wires is called a U-type. This means that it’s supposed to loop around your neck like a wireless headphone, except there are a lot of wires. The gold-plated 3.5mm jack plugs into your mobile device with the wire going up the right side of your head. This is where you use the supplied clip to secure the wire to your clothing, to prevent any tugging. This wire splits into two around your neck to the headphones, with one side longer than the other. They wrap behind your neck to the ears.
To put it plainly, it was confusing for this first time user. But it’s undeniable that once you figure it out, it’s quite convenient. I loved being able to pull an earbud out when taking a break and just hanging it over my neck. It’s something I don’t usually get with wired earbuds, but this fits the pattern of the ATH-SPORT1iS thus far.
Aside from this feature, the wires are thin in order to be as lightweight as possible. On the flip side, the wires can easily tangle if you don’t take care to avoid it.
The (condenser) mic is on one side, with the universal button on the other. This button is to answer/end calls, control music, pause, skip, rewind, etc. What’s different is the slider between the two. I haven’t seen one like this since an old pair of headphones my parents purchased for me as a kid.
With it, you can adjust the sound on your smartphone (and other compatible devices) to make it as loud as possible. Then, slide the mic up or down to change the volume coming through the headphones. This change is independent of the volume on the phone for easy access to a wide range of volume.
Audio-Technica is a well-known name in the music and sound industry since 1962. From what my research tells me, the ATH-SPORT1iS headphones follow with the sound quality you would find in any other headphones produced by them. “Crisp/clear audio” is what the case says. The sound is crisp, sometimes too crisp. And a bit light when compared to Monster’s Adidas Sport Response earbuds.
The ATH-SPORT1iS in-ear headphones are equipped with 8.5 mm drivers so they can definitely push out some pretty good sound.
Functionality and Verdict
The ATH-SPORT1iS headphones are designed for athletic use, indoors and out. They’ll withstand water and sweat with their IPX5 waterproof certification. (I told you there would be more on this ingress protection later.) This means that you can wash them off after use, but don’t toss them in with the laundry. And with their lightweight and sturdy build, they won’t fall off or out of your ears.
In my opinion, this design comes with two sides. On one side, you’re getting a fantastic workout headphone. On the other, and this is just my opinion, I would feel a little embarrassed wearing these on a walk around say Boston Common or the Back Bay. It’s not designed for the street walk. In this situation, I would feel more comfortable with either the ATH-CKX5iS or ATH-CKX7iS models. These Audio-Technica SonicFuel models have a less complex wire setup but come with a $10-40 higher list price.
As stated above, a good fit can be found by anyone using these earbuds. The problem I encountered was that they weren’t ideally comfortable beyond the 30-40 minute run time. There was some minor irritation behind my ears. It wasn’t much of a surprise as my ears weren’t used to a behind-the-ear design.
If you’re planning on getting a lower-priced, good pair of wired sports headphones, these are worth looking into. The sound quality is good. It isn’t anything to go crazy over, but it isn’t weak either. The waterproof design is great, and the secure fit is one of the best I’ve found. The ATH-SPORT1iS is only $40 and for that price, you’re getting a decent product. If you’re looking for a higher level of sports headphones, Audio-Technica offers 3 more models as seen here ranging from $45-60.[Tweet “The ATH-SPORT1iS is only $40 and for that price, you’re getting a decent product.”]
Have you tried the Audio-Technica ATH-SPORT1iS headphones? Do you agree or disagree with any part of this review? Let us know over on the Beantown Review Twitter or Facebook pages. And don’t hesitate to head over to their website. Feel free to check out their 2016 product lineup, which was introduced last week at the CES.
FTC Disclosure: Audio-Technica U.S., Inc. provided Beantown LLC with one ATH-SPORT1iS headphones sample for review purposes. We’re not paid ambassadors. Our writers opinions are 100% their own.
All photographs are the copyrighted property of Audio-Technica U.S., Inc. and/or Beantown LLC.