What More Could You Ask For In A Sports Headphone?
Updated post. With all the new wearable technology being released, the list for which ones to pay attention to is getting longer and longer. Well, you best make room on that list for the Biosport, the new biometric earbud with heart rate monitor from SMS Audio. The product, a collaboration between Intel and SMS Audio, is on the cusp of innovation and cutting edge technology. With these two brands coming together to change the way that you work out and exercise, something good is bound to happen. Welcome to the SMS Audio BioSport earbuds review (updated.)
Are These BioSport Earbuds The Total Package?
At a price of $150, I had some pretty high expectations for the BioSport. With features like these, can the SMS Audio BioSport earbuds meer them?
- IPX4 rated durability against water or sweat
- A powerful heartbeat monitor that doesn’t require batteries
- Works in tandem with popular fitness apps like Run
- Fantastic SMS Audio sound via 12.4mm driver
- Comfortable, new design and look
The packaging and branding are sleek. It perpetuates that fancy and put-together look of the whole product. In addition to the earbuds, you’ll receive a 30-day trial membership for the runkeeper elite app. You can find the runkeeper app for Apple and Android here.
So I took them out, put them to action, and saw just how well they lived up to my expectations.
Design Review of the SMS Audio BioSport Earbuds
The first notable aspect of these earbuds is the ergonomic design. With all the new earbuds that are supposed to “fit perfectly” in your ears and “never fall out,” I was a little apprehensive when I saw this take on a comfortable fit. The design looks modern and innovative, definitely something that no one else is doing. If you’ve found that other styles don’t fit your ears, these BioSport earbuds might be worth a try.
The BioSport earbuds come in 3 different sizes that slip on and off with little difficulty. Looking at the 3 sizes, the differences themselves aren’t too obvious, and they’re easy to mix up. On the inside, the sizes and designated sides are etched lightly to show the discrepancies.
The wire is flat to prevent tangling. There was one day while I was testing these out when I forgot them back home on a trip to the gym. I pulled out my tangled ball of Apple headphones and had to spend a minute or two figuring out the knot. The worst I got with these was some twisting up from turning my phone over too many times as I worked out.
Along the wire is a hub of the heart rate monitor. It’s much like any other mic segment you’d find on another earbud–a button to pause, skip, and skip backward. What’s notable about this is how large it is. I’m sure as the technology improves, there will be a decrease in size. But in this model, it’s relatively bulky.
Overall, the design is attractive. I love the in-ear section––it’s comfortable and value its originality. On the outside of the ear is a pod where the wires are attached. I’m pretty averse to the flashy, ostentatious look at the gym, so I try to avoid earbuds that attract a lot of visual noise. Although the amount is minimal, it’s still there, and it should be stated that it’s there. The best way to avoid the flashiness of the Biosport would be to buy them in some other color like grey. Other than grey, they come in blue and yellow (the latter being more like a lime-green if you ask me.)
For the design, I give the SMS Audio Biosport earbud the grade of an A-.
Introducing The Heartbeat Monitor
Intel is known for being on the forefront of new technologies and their contribution to the Biosport earbud may make or break this purchase for many people.
The best way for me to express the idea is to reminisce about high school sports. I’m sure if you’re considering buying these headphones, you’ve had a coach at some point and know the feeling of someone always yelling for you to run harder, lift harder, or push harder.
But now you’re grown up, and the gym is quite different than the practice field. There are no other players to compare to other than yourself. You decide how hard you push, checking it against how hard you feel you’re pushing.
The heartbeat monitor gives you a measure for your challenges.
Here’s how it works. The monitor is controlled by a little switch on the mic and it will start tracking your heartbeat through a sensor in the right headphone. When it’s functioning, you can’t use the mic to make phone calls. The mic becomes exclusively for the pause-skip-rewind button.
That seems simple enough. Unfortunately, that’s not all. The monitor must be connected to an app through your phone. SMS Audio and Intel suggest Runkeeper, and I would too despite the complications I faced. The headphones have to be connected through the settings of the app. After that’s finished there’s a little heart that shows up on the screen, whether or not the heartbeat monitor is actually switched on.
If everything is correct, just choose which activity you want to do, how you want it tracked through the app (GPS or Stopwatch), and then get to work.[envira-gallery id=”4411″]At it’s best, the heartbeat monitor is a fantastic addition to a routine. Every 5 minutes or so, a voice through the app speaks to let you know how long you’ve been going and update you on your average heartbeat, your current heartbeat, and where that sits on the scale of how hard you can go (50%-60%, 70%-80%, etc.) It’s especially satisfying when the voice activates and shouts excitedly that you’re working at 90-100%.
However, at it’s worst, it can be pretty aggravating. It takes some time to activate. If you don’t have the monitor turned on, it can throw off your stats. Once such case is if you’re running and waiting for the heartbeat monitor to kick in, and then nothing happens.
Compared to the struggles that accompany a separate heart monitor – wires, straps, batteries. These headphones make things pretty convenient. They don’t need batteries, and they plug right into your phone. The technology for receiving the information just isn’t quite there yet as it occasionally stumbles.For the design, I give the SMS Audio Biosport earbud the grade of an A-.For that, I give this feature a B+.
For the heart monitor, I give the feature the grade of a B+.
The Superb Sound
Now we come to the SMS Audio side of the earbuds.
These headphones aren’t noise cancelling. It doesn’t matter though as the sound is so powerful. Even at a low setting, these feel loud. Turn it up and the sound gets richer, more surrounding, thicker, and deeper. It’s very nice.
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself dancing along to your music, or jogging right along to the beat, submerged in the rhythm and sounds.
For their sound, I give the feature the grade of an A.
Although a smaller brand in the headphone arena, SMS Audio is known for their innovation and the BioSport earbuds do not fall short of that promise. From the I’ve never seen before design, to the integration of an @Intel biometric heart monitor, the @SMSAudio BioSports are a great pair of earbuds!
They’re durable, enjoyable, comfortable, and for the most part, they’re functional. If it weren’t for minor inconveniences and stumbles with the heart monitor, I would have given them an even higher rating.
There is a wide variety of wearable tech available right now. At a list price of $150, this model may not be your first choice. I suggest you check around a little more before making your final decision. In my opinion, the BioSport should be placed pretty high up on your list.
So what’s your opinion? Do you agree or disagree with anything in this review? Have you tried the SMS Audio BioSport earbuds? What did you like and/or dislike about them? Let us know in the comments below or over on the Beantown Review Twitter or Facebook pages.
And don’t hesitate to head over to the SMS Audio website. Feel free to check out their latest products as well as their press releases.[Tweet “to the integration of an @Intel biometric heart monitor, the @SMSAudio BioSports are a great pair of earbuds!”]
Updated April 2016: One great thing has happened since this review was posted last year and this is a drop in price. So, if you held back purchasing the BioSport due to it’s $150 price tag, you need not worry any longer. One check on Amazon and you’ll see all three colors of these earbuds selling for $39.99. You heard correct, a penny below $40.
FTC Disclosure: SMS Audio, LLC provided Beantown LLC with one (1) sample pair of BioSport earbuds for review purposes. This writer’s opinions are 100% his own.
Editor’s Note: Of all the brands and models of headphones Tom has reviewed, it was the SMS Audio BioSport earbuds he asked to keep. I believe this says something quite favorable about this reviewed product.
All photographs are the copyrighted property of SMS Audio, LLC and/or Beantown LLC.