Under the Radar

PUMP HD Sportbuds: Rugged & Wireless


PUMP HD Sportbuds are wireless Bluetooth sport headphones that are both sturdy and waterproof. They charge quickly, offer eight hours of listening time and are designed to take a beating. They're not cheap at a $129.95 list price, but they're one of the few wireless headphones rugged enough to fit in with the other gear in your gym bag.


Bluetooth headphones offer an extra freedom of movement that you can't really appreciate until you've trained with a pair. You no longer have to have your audio source on your body or in an armband. If you're using your iPad to watch movies on the treadmill or stationary bike, your movements aren't limited by a cable.


These things are designed to last. The cable that connects the two earpieces should survive years of twisting and bending and they're not likely to fray at the connection points.


They charge via a micro USB cable and the port cover is designed to keep the water out. Fair warning: there's a lot of water on the PUMP HD website and in the video embedded above, so you might think you can use these in the pool. You can stick these things under the faucet to wash them off after a workout, but Bluetooth technology won't transmit underwater, so swimmers aren't going to get any satisfaction here and divers will have to accept that the music will always cut out when they hit the water.


There are three sizes of tips for your ears and a backup set in each size. There are also a pair of foam "awareness" tips that are supposed to let in more ambient noise. If you're using the PUMP HD headphones in extreme conditions, there's a set of in-ear clips to lock them in place while you're doing backflips. If you've never worn headphones with clips designed to lock into your ear, they're going to take some getting used to, but they're no less comfortable than any other ear clips I've tried.


There's also a cord clip to give a better fit at the back of your head if you're worried about the cord catching on something.


They're available in three different color combinations. Any of them are going to attract notice at the gym or on the track.


Like most sport headphones, the PUMP HD emphasizes the bass in an attempt to keep you motivated. Unfortunately, that extra bass comes with some muddiness in the lower mid sound range. These earphones don't sound bad, they just don't quite have the premium sound you'd expect for over $100.

Otherwise, though, these are pretty close to perfect and exceptionally well made. I don't really notice the audio issues if I'm streaming TV or listening to sports. If you read the reviews online at Apple and Amazon, most people who've purchased the PUMP HD headphones love the construction and convenience and don't have any issues with the sound. If you're annoyed with tangled cords at the gym, these are a really good (almost great) option.

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