In a post written about smart headsets vs earbuds, I stated that the earbuds today are being innovated and they become cable-free and smarter with some extra features. They are transforming to hearables/ear-worn devices.
- Heart rate patterns can tell a lot about your health, in the feature, earbuds with App connected and AI can detect abnormally high heart rate.
- HRM feature built in earbuds is in the first phase of development, it is not mature yet. By using light to measure blood flow the HRM sensor (most commonly are optical sensors) can collect much of info.
- HRM has been built in true wireless earbuds and wired wireless earbuds
It’s true that true wireless earbuds has become a culture phenomenal – Airpods, Airpods and Gear Icons reps are spotted everywhere.
They can be built with ANC feature, AI (Siri and Alexa) and realtime translation, which will be connected to companion apps. For sound they can be even customized the sound you like.
The popularity of smart devices together with their ecosystem and diversity of app stores contribute substantially to the development of wearable tech.
It seems we have a lot of wearable devices as never before from smartwatch to wristband and google glass, VR… The accessories are brilliantly accessible and controlled by app for convenience.
As a fitness enthusiast, you will receive more benefit from these wearable devices. They can perform voice commands and connect to apps and now. What more the earbuds can do? Let’s find out
Instead of wearing a wristband or strapping one more thing on your bicep, earbuds with extra features simplify your stuffs for fitness. You get all in one music and fitness tracker. Aside from music, it’s interesting to figure out how much calories you did burn each time you go to gym or the distance you took for outdoor running. So you know how to track and improve your health.
Furthermore, according to Intel the earbuds with heart rate tracking feature proves more accurate than wristbands since people still swing more even when you are not excersing.
In order to suit fitness activities, in which you will sweat a lot during excercise the water and sweat resistance feature will keep these “earbud trackers” more durable. For more secure fit, they include earhooks with different sizes. The LG MHR has earhooks let you wear behind ear. However it may not be comfortable for most people.
Heart Rate Monitor earbuds can measure your blood pressure*, track your heart rate, speed, oxygen comsumption, counting walking steps as well as calories… These things can be done completely sooner or later.
In fact, there are a couple of them can do some of tasks, including measure how long you have excercised for and how fast you are running, but using these features will drain the battery faster since you have to keep the GPS tracking tunes in and 4G stays ON.
Jabra Elite Sport Wireless Earbuds
The Jabra Elite Sport is one of totally wireless earbuds that can measure your heart rate precisely. The HR is tracked and recorded on Jabra fitness app, but this feature also works with third-party apps as well. They are also fully waterproof, and being designed for sports they would provide snug fit to anyone’s ears.
You can use them to take calls on single or both earbuds. The sound quality for listening music and for calls is quite good. But compared to other sets, the Elite Sport are more expensive and their battery life is only 3 hours. The included charging case provides two full charges to the earbuds
Bose SoundSport Pulse Wireless Headphones
Bose with their particular eartip design don’t isolate the noise at its best but, they are superb light and comfortable. Most importantly they stay securely in the ear and if you are sport lovers you will why this is important.
Their HRM feature also does the job.
The first HRM earbuds is LG HRM Earphone (FR74 SEE IT) introduced in March 2014
There is an app available to download from (LG Fitness on iTunes) iOS/Play Store (LG Fitness), along with accurately tracking heart rate it’s now about to monitor your oxygen consumption, distance, calories…
The LG HRM is paired your smartphones via bluetooth connection and it is compatible with Android 4.3 and iOS 6 and up. The Bluetooth 4.0 LE is required for connectivity. The LG earbuds also features voice guide, which will tell you for example the heart rate amid of your run. LG requires the internal battery that can last up to 4 hours for both tracking and playing music. The sound quality is never better than regular earbuds with same or lower price, you can find the $130 Bose Freestyle substantially better.
SMS Audio BioSport Earbuds
The latest fitness-monitoring biometrics technology of chipmaker Intel.
Wearable devices seems to be a trend, many hardware makers aimed to integrate their latest tech into new products. The chipmaker Intel that acquired Basic Science brand has recently introduced BioSport earbuds.
Available with 3 different colors blue yellow and green, the design of Biosport as advertised will reduce significantly microphonics – the noise caused by body’ motion, and the flat cable prevents tangle, the inline mic/control is a plus.
The BioSport earbuds are merely compatible with some devices, and sold for the same price as LC HRM $150 retail price, you also get one month free trial app, RUNKEEPER ELITE available on iTunes and Play Store upon the purchase. The Biosport seems to offer all fitness’ needs but they are still lack of voice in-ear prompts like LG HRM.
How it works?
There is an optical sensor placed in earbud body, the sensor looks for the blood flow through skin to evaluate heart rate.
Jabra SPORT PULSE Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Earbuds
Similar concept to LC HRM, the Jabra sport pulse did a good job in tracking fitness via app.(update soon…). The comfort and secure fit are essential when you choose the right earbuds for running, and the Jabra earbuds come with ear gel with 4 different sizes that assure those features– “stay in ear with comfort”. You can also play music from other apps such as Spotify, while connecting with other apps
Pros: Comfortable to wear, Jabra is ideal for anyone who puts HRM first.
Cons. Pricey. The heart rate tracking and sound would be improved. You also have remove the ear gel to re-charge them, and battery life is quite short.
The comparison chart of 3 best HRM earbuds
|LG HRM||SMS Audio BioSport||Jabra SPORT PULSE|
|Battery life||4 hours||Battery-free||4.5 hours|
|Bluetooth||4.0 LE||Wired||4.0 LE|
|Voice Guide||Yes||Via App||Yes|
|Tracking distance calories, steps, 3-axis accelerometer direction and VO2||LG Fitness App||Runner Keeper||Jabra Sport Life™, Nike Plus, Runner Keeper…|
|Additional features||water/dust-resistant||water-proof and sweat resistant||sweat/rain-resistant|
Some more apps for tracking your fitness like Runtastic, and Endomondo that works perfectly for both casual or professional runners. These apps track your distance, time, pace, and calories burned. Well, you need a smart device to run the apps. Don’t hold your smartphones while running so be sure to use the Premium Running Belts to keep your smartphones. These apps also have a voice guide to tell you your pace and speed after you reach your goal.
While with RunKeeper, you can set the workout reminder, Runtastic make runners more enjoyable by “Story Mode”, and Endomondo put you in the numerous challenges to compete with other members, those apps are available for free/paid vesions.
Let’s see these earbuds can take the place of the most popular fitness trackers: Wristbands, which will be probably replaced by smartwatches in 2015.
Why HRM is less interested by audio makers even trimmed off (such as Samsung removes HRM in Gear IconX)
Because HRM consumes battery
They aren’t used by users
They aren’t accurate
They are expensive to build in the earbuds
Comment below to use what HRM earbuds do you like?