Jabra PACE Bluetooth Headset
Speaking of defining components, audio quality is arguably the defining characteristic that separates the Pace the most. The new design largely — though not entirely — solves the noise bleed bugaboo of the past.
Why buy the Sport Pace when they don’t gather any data your phone/apps can’t get on their own?
The positioning of the buds is the main reason why. And for the first time, we didn’t bother reaching for a pair of gels from other manufacturers to try and plug the gaps. The result is one of compromise, however, because Jabra seemingly forgot to add some volume out of the gate.
A past consequence of the noise bleed was that the bass lost its presence, which could be a deal-breaker for those blasting hip hop or electronica. The Pace salvages more of that, but we needed to pump up the volume to get the right balance, constantly going more than three-quarters of the way up on both phones to get a feel for the tunes and drown out background noise.
The louder the background, the closer to full blast we needed to go. Granted, every set of ears is different and ours might have been a little less sensitive, but we were puzzled as to why more wasn’t done to crank up the volume by default.
We had nothing to really complain about with phone calls, finding voice quality and usability consistent with what we saw in prior iterations. Making and taking calls is easy, and integration with Siri and Google Now were each convenient to use while wearing the Pace.
Battery life showed no improvement, maxing out at about four hours, sometimes even less. Jabra rates it at five hours, except having to regularly push the volume up almost certainly contributes to the faster drain. To help offset that, the company does include rapid charging, which provides 60 minutes of usage after only 15 minutes of charging. That’s super convenient on a low battery before heading to the gym, but again, higher volumes all but assured we wouldn’t make it the full 60.
Features and design
Our review unit came in blue with black trim. Yellow and red are also available. A noticeable deviation from the previous two form factors, the Sport Pace now have over-ear hooks acting as anchors to hold the buds in place – an adjustment we’d later learn ultimately helps contribute to better overall sound quality – and though we got more consistent placement of the buds, the design change comes at the expense of subtlety. The Sport Pulse and Sport Coach were lower profile earbuds, and though they performed most of their functions admirably, they lacked a proper seal for noise isolation. We take the Pace’s change in design as Jabra’s compromise to make sure getting a secure fit and a proper seal is never an issue.
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