Review: Jabra Wants You to Rox Your Next Workout

If you’re like me, you can’t get any kind of workout done without music. A driving beat helps to regulate breathing, encourages you to keep up the pace, and energizes you when you’re ready to call it quits. But sometimes the toughest part of working out isn’t my burning muscles, it’s getting the right pair of headphones that sound good, stay put, and deliver my tunes. There’s a lot out of offerings there these days, and Jabra is entering the fray with their first Bluetooth sport headphone, the Rox. But do they have the fortitude to go the distance?

The Jabra Rox are sealed in-ear bluetooth headphones with a cord that wraps behind your head. Water resistant and solidly built, the first impression with the Rox is a good one. There’s metal detailing and a sturdy cable that feels like it could handle whatever my trainer throws at me. They fit well, too. 5 pairs of tips as well as 3 sets of optional “wings” for added stability allow you to tinker and find a good seal that will stay in place. Pairing is a snap with NFC, or you can set it up through the traditional Bluetooth methods.

But what really makes the ROX special is the magnets in the earbuds. Not only do they allow the buds to connect to one another, making it easy to hang them around your neck when you don’t want your headphones in your ears, but when those magnets click together, the headphones automatically go into sleep mode, saving the battery life. Unclick and voila! They power back up. Pretty cool.

Volume, track selection, voice command, and call answer/end work through the in-line remote. Shockingly, despite the mic placement hanging behind your head, the folks on the receiving end of my phone calls said they could hear me just fine. I found the overall fit snug and comfortable, though I definitely need the wings to keep them in place thanks to my bouncy gait when running. When just walking around, they’re not as necessary, so it’s nice to have the option to pop them off until you go jogging.

The sound is pretty darn pleasing, especially for Bluetooth. Jabra has proven they can do Bluetooth sound well before, and the Rox are no exception. Clear highs, rich lows, and full mids sound really great no matter what kind of music you choose. And, if you care to tweak the sound a bit, Jabra also has an optional free app which enables you to EQ and add Dolby Processing until you get just the sound profile you’re looking for. What I appreciate about this most is that, unlike other headphones that offer apps, the Rox are enhanced by the app, but don’t require it to function or sound good.

There are a few downsides. The wings tend to slip around a bit, and I could see them easily popping off and getting lost. Also, despite all my attempts to turn the Rox off for good, once you click and unclick those magnets, they’ll connect to your phone… even if they’re in a bag tucked away. A permanent off button would definitely help avoid unwanted accidental battery drain. That said, with all the positives, the Jabra Rox are still a great buy at $130. They’re sure to give their competitors a run for their money...they’ll be a formidable opponent...or, you know, some other sports-related platitude.
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