When Apple made its internet-breaking, wireless headphones announcement earlier this year, the world practically erupted in questions.
“What happens if you lose them? Won’t they fall out when you run? Won’t they fall out all the time, like regular headphones do?!”
But with the debut of the Apple AirPods pushed back, with no release date in sight, those questions have remained unanswered by consumers. So, when I got the chance to try out a pair of Skybuds, a truly wireless, state-of-the-art pair of headphones—in advance of their release date—I jumped at the opportunity (hesitantly and with my hands ready to catch a falling bud, though).
Here’s what happened when I tried using Skybuds wireless headphones during my regular fitness routine.
The wire-free logistics
The headphones from Skybuds look a lot like the Bluetooth earbuds donned by every businesswoman in the early 2000s. Designed to fit perfectly in your ear, the Bluetooth Skybuds are two individual buds that come with a charging and holding case—similar to that of the Apple AirPods. On their own, they have four hours of on-the-go listening, but can be charged at anytime in their “case,” which can provide up to 24 hours of continuous listening fun. The kit is also outfitted with a charging cord, which is used to charge the case and keep you ready for action.
While some Bluetooth headphones can drop in and out, leaving you with a serious wire longing, the Skybuds are outfitted with NFMI within the earbuds—which I’m told stands for near-field magnetic induction, AKA the strongest and most reliable connection that Bluetooth can have.
The sizing issue is also something that the team at Skybuds worked diligently on. By testing hundreds of ear shapes and sizes, they developed three tips that are meant to fit 95 percent of the population’s ears. (As someone with notoriously tiny ears, I was instantly impressed.) While other headphone companies stick to a one-size-fits-all mentality, Skybuds provide three sizes with every purchase, allowing users to mix and match tips until they find one that not only fits comfortably, but stays put.
Lastly, but possibly most importantly, the headphones come with a free app that tracks the battery levels and where each earbud is at all times. (Fingers crossed they don’t end up in your dog’s belly.) Right now, the technology can only detect whether the earbuds are in or out of the case, but the team assures me that they are tirelessly working to extend the tracking further so you can see where they are at all times, similar to the Find My iPhone app. (They know where the panic lies.)
The wire-free challenge: what happened?
After the team took on all of my serious queries and small ear fears, I felt ready to go #wirefree. Out of the three color options, I chose out the all-white “Pearl” and set off on my testing. First up, an outdoor jog. (Full disclosure: I thought this was going to end with an earbud at the bottom of the East River and me writing an awkward email.)
Although I was slightly hesitant at first with the sizing, I used the smallest tip and they felt snug and secure the entire time. Not only did they never fall out, but I never once had to readjust the buds. After a three-mile run, they felt just as secure as when I put them in. The actual quality of the sound was about the same as my normal headphones, but the Skybuds are outfitted with noise-cancellation, which I don’t usually use. While it was very pleasant for me to drown out the noise of passing honking cars and ambulances during my midday Saturday run, I don’t know if I’d be as pumped about the total silence when I’m running alone at 7 p.m.—especially without the easy access to tugging on a wire to relieve you. (Although this is another area that the Skybud team is hoping to update before the end of the year—allowing some ambient noise to come in.)
Once I finished my run, I put the buds to the old HIIT test, tackling burpees, mountain climbers, and plank variations to test the headphones in a less vertical position. To my surprise again, the earbuds were locked and loaded. For some odd reason, when I began the floor exercises and hit play again on my music, one of the buds had stopped playing. But after a brief pause to turn both buds off and on again, they were back in action and my burpee-ing could continue.
While they’re certainly an investment at $249.99, if you’re looking for a high-quality, completely wireless earbud, these might be the answer to your tech-y dreams—especially while Apple plays cat-and-mouse with consumers. Plus, they offer an a la carte option for anyone who’s afraid of losing a bud, although I think that if this is the future of headphones, we all might step up our storage game and do a little less tossing around of our earpieces.
Skybuds are available today online and in Best Buy stores—will you try them out? Tell us in the Comments.
Looking to up your technology game on a smaller budget? Try out this app that brings boutique fitness straight to your phone. Or check out what happened when one W+G editor tried out this smart bra that’s designed to make you a better runner.