A couple of weeks ago, I nearly choked myself to death by getting tangled in my headphone wires on the treadmill. I went into the same sort of flappy panic that engulfs you when a wasp decides it wants a bite of your lunch, and pretty much made the entire gym floor stare at me in a mixture of confusion and amusement.
It was as it the Lord of Fitness himself had seen this embarrassing episode from his squat rack in the sky, because the following week I received a lovely email asking if I’d like to sample the new Motorola VerveRider+ wireless headphones.
They arrived looking heavenly and I charged them as instructed (they last for 12 hours once they’re charged up). As soon as I saw that little green light I popped them out of the USB port and practically ran to the gym to test them out.
How do they look?
They sit snugly around your neck, with a little magnet to pop your earpieces against when you don’t want your music in your ears. They’re certainly not invisible but they’re lightweight and once they’re draped round your neck you barely notice them. I’ve received some compliments about how cool they look, which has been nice, and I’ve taken to leaving them draped around my neck at all times to keep kidding people into thinking I’m not a dork. It’s working so far.
How do they work?
Once they’re charged, it’s a case of turning them on and connecting them to your music source via blutooth. I connected them to my iPhone and all I needed to do was wait for them to pop up as a device on my bluetooth menu, touch the screen, and they connected with a satisfying beep. One thing I kept forgetting to begin with, was to switch the headphones off when I took them off, which meant when I got calls, it took me a while to work out why I couldn’t hear the person… they were yelling into the headphones in my bag, which were still connected! (you can speak on the phone too, which was a really nice, useful extra).
How do they perform?
You can turn the volume very loud (mind your ears!) which I likes for drowning out the crap poppy house stuff they incessantly play in the gym. The earplugs themselves fit incredibly snugly (you get a choice of big, medium and small gel insert thingies so you can pick the right size for your lug-holes). Not once have they popped out of my ears once sweat has seeped in, which I’ve been very impressed by. This was a massive pet-peeve of mine when I was using my bog standard iPhone headphones.
I like to listen to a lot of hip hop and I didn’t find the bass overwhelming, but the sound quality was very good for a piece of wireless tech.
I tried them while running on the treadmill, spinning and in the weights section. The piece you wear around your neck wasn’t ideal for the treadmill, as it was a bit slappy against my chin. I’m not a particularly bouncy runner, having recently had some lessons at The Running School, so I know my technique is good. I just think that the VerveRider+ style headphones that sit around your neck aren’t necessarily designed for the way your body runs on a treadmill, or else you will get continuously hit in the chin!
I did however try them running outside and it was a far smoother experience. Less bouncing and they felt secure, even on uneven woodland ground.
Spinning was an even smoother experience, and weight training was a dream. They jiggled about a bit round my neck on the spin bike, particularly when I was standing up, but to be able to shift between dumbbells, the bar and numerous kettlebells without keep getting tangled up in my wires was a lovely experience. It helped drown out the unnecessary grunting of the dudes in the weights section rather nicely, too.
These retail at almost £80 but they’re definitely up there as a fashionable accessory rather than just a pair of headphones. I’ve barely taken mine off since they arrived, and my routine when I leave the house now is to pop them round my neck for whenever I need them during the day. They’re a far cry from those bluetooth ear pieces that you see dads and taxi drivers wearing…! I’ve had lots of interest and comments about them too, which has been a nice conversation starter in a place where I don’t know too many people.
Performance wise, I’d stick to lower impact stuff with this particular version of this VerveLife family of headphones, although try running outside and see if you had the same experience as me. I know that there are also in-ear cordless buds available from the same family, called VerveOnes, which I’m sure work better for the high impact stuff.
For me, these are primarily a cool, sporty accessory with the added benefit of being a dream to use on low impact stuff, especially when weight training.
Aaaaand, here’s a little video that the Verve guys supplied me with too – it explains a bit more about them!
Disclaimer: I received the VerveRider+ headphones as a gift, and all views above are my own, honest opinion of the product.