Beats, Beats, Beats….How about them PowerBeats2!

Well, by now everyone should know what a pair of Beats are. In my last post, oh almost 2 years ago now, I reviewed The Liberty Wireless by Yurbuds. At the end of the review I mentioned that I would be returning them, if possible (I have to say that Yurbuds was awesome about giving me back my money), and purchasing the Powerbeats2 wireless. It took me a long time to go out and spend the money for the Powerbeats. At the time, the retail price for these wireless headphones was $199.99, but I was lucky to get black and red ones on sale for $149.99 (not a bad price at all). The goal in purchasing these headphones was to find something to use during runs and workouts. As with almost any product, I saw a mixed bag of reviews, and the average rating I found for them were 3 ½ stars.

What’s in the Box: One of the things I love about the Powerbeats2 was the packaging. The box was simple to open, and the headphones were in the included cases. The case itself opens along the side with a zipper and is large enough to store all the included items. So within the case you have the headphones, four size eartip options, USB charging cable, quick start guide, and the warranty information. One of the downsides to most products these days is that the USB charging cables do not come with wall outlet adapters (lucky that I have enough of these from all the iPhones I’ve had over the years. Also, don’t forget, this also comes with that cool Beats logo sticker.

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Setup: As with all electronics, I recommend completely charging the unit before using them or trying to connect the Bluetooth. The setup process with the Beats was extremely easy and took very little time. The first step will be to press and hold down the power button, located on the left earpiece, for 4 seconds. If you have the headphones on you will hear some musical notes played that lets you know the headphones have been turned on. At this point you will notice that the little white light will be flashing. A flashing light is a good thing; it means that the headphones are ready to be paired to your device via Bluetooth. The next step with is to open up the Bluetooth settings on your phone and select the PowerBeats2 Wireless headphones. Congrats, you are now connected to your phone and can start listening to music, or whatever you listen to. Anytime the device is connected of disconnected, you will hear the same noise you hear when they are turned on and off. If you take a look at your phone you should see that the headphones are connected and it should also have a battery indicator. The battery indicator is not completely accurate, but it does let you know if you are fully charged, half charged, or almost out of juice. I do have to say that I am using an iPhone 7, so it may be different with other phones.

The Fit: Somewhat like the YurBuds, the Powerbeats2 have a part that goes over the ear and turns into place. Simply hold the headphones with level to the ground so the power cord is pointing straight back, place the ear tip into the ear, and rotate the headphone backwards until you feel the ear tip slide into place. If at anytime you need help, just reference the quick start guide. Personally, I always use the smallest of all the earpieces, since that is what provides the best fit. But hey, everyone’s different so try out the other sizes and see what’s right for you. The great part about the Beats is that the earpiece is angled just right so that it slides into the ear canal smoothly. Although the Powerbeats2 does not have a “twistlock system”, they twist and lock into the ear and stay put while moving around. When removing the headphones, you can simply just pull them straight out. Unlike almost every brand of headphones that I have tried, these actually create a pretty good seal. In my previous post, I felt that a perfect seal was not the best thing. I have since changed my mind and love the fact that these can provide more noise cancelation than many other brands. Be sure to place the power cord behind your neck. The Powerbeats2 come with a plastic adjuster on the cable so that you can slide it back and forth for a more secure fit. I really don’t use the slider since they fit nicely as they are. The cord itself is just over 19 inches long. I went out on another test run with my wife and only placed one of the earpieces in my ear and I tucked the other one into my shirt. Since these have an over the earpiece, they stayed in place on my shirt and never pulled on the earpiece that was in my ear. Overall, the fit for me was better than previous headphones. I will also add that the fit is still great even after sweating a ton after a long run in the Florida summer heat. Powerbeats2 are sweat and water resistant, but not water proof. They have also survived the occasional Florida downpour and dumping a bottle of water over my head.

Controls: The controls are simply to use, but also a little confusing if you are used to the Apple Earpods. The power button is located at the top of the left ear unit, and does not have any sort of label or engraving on it (it’s the only button up there though). The microphone has the answer/end call button combined with the volume up and down control. The confusing part is that the microphone is on the left side, instead of the right side with so many other headphones. After awhile you will get used to this. If you press and hold the answer/end call button, you will activate Siri (iPhone again). The volume up and down button also controls skipping songs with long presses. I will say that although the cable goes behind you head, the beats controls are low enough that they are right below your left ear instead of almost behind your ear like the YurBuds. The controls themselves feel great and have a slight rubber feel. They make a slight click when they are pressed, which let’s you know that you have pressed a button. The buttons are responsive and there is no need to press something multiple times in order to get it to work.

Sound: I have said in the past that I’m not picky about the sound my headphones provides. Apparently I was used to having crappy headphones. The sound that the Powerbeats2 provide is clean and crisp. One negative that I have found with ALL Bluetooth devices, is that sometimes the connection skips out. With headphones with will cause your music to skip a little. With that being said, the skipping, or disconnect, with the Beats is very minimal compared to all the other headphones that I have tested. The range of the Powerbeats2 was also pretty good. I am able to walk into another room and still have a great connection. Overall, I was surprised at how great the sound was from these little guys.

Phone Calls: Finally a pair of wireless athletic headphones that I am able to have a phone call on without sounding like I’m in a wind tunnel or very muffled. I’m not sure if the microphone is just that much better than everyone else’s, or if the placements of the controls is just slightly closer to the mouth, although, it is probably a combination of both. The microphone is so good in these that you can hear the other person breathing while running (now anyone who calls me while I’m on a run will know if I’m cheating). Powerbeats2 also allows you to walk down the street and talk at a normal level. As far as what you hear when the other person is talking to you, the sound is just fine (kind of like the Apple EarPods, I still love those things).

Battery Life: The Powerbeats2 came out of the box with some power, but to be safe I gave them a full charge anyway before I played around with them. The manufacture states that the battery should last about 6 hours after a full charge. Charging the headphones is simple, just pop open the dust cover under the left earpiece and plug in the power cord (don’t forget to plug the other end into a power source). While the headphones are charging, you will see a red light displayed. Once the headphones are fully charged, the light will turn from red to white. Beats also say that after just a 15-minute charge, you will have an hour of listening time. In order to receive a full charge, it will take about 90 minutes, if they are completely dead. Another cool part about these headphones is that the red and white lights have a meaning while your powered on and connected. White light indicates that you have up to 6 hours of power. A red light indicates that you have less than an hour of power left. And finally, a red blinking light indicates that you have less than 15 minutes of power (quick, find the charger!). The charging cord in short, coming in at only 6 ¼ inches long.

I would like to note here that I have never listened to my headphones non-stop from a full charge to they were dead, so I’m unable to verify how long the battery will last. What I can tell you is that after fully charging my headphones I was able to run a 10k on a Saturday, and turn around the next day and run a half marathon (this was for Disney’s Wine and Dine 2-course challenge in 2016). During that entire time, my headphones stayed powered on and did not die. Overall…solid battery life.

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Overall: The Powerbeats2 wireless headphones have:

  • A quick and easy set up
  • A snug and comfortable fit
  • Easy to use controls
  • Great sound quality
  • A solid build quality
  • A good battery life

I guess you do get what you pay for.

End Results: For me the search for running headphones is over. Although these are expensive (not so much anymore, around $139), I am in love with these headphones. I have run enough in them to know that these are the most comfortable headphones on the market (although they did come out with the newer Powerbeats3). So I have had these for a little while now, but I don’t plan on changing anytime soon.

 

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Yurbuds Liberty Wireless Headphones…

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The  Liberty Wireless are a pair of Bluetooth connected wireless headphones from YurBuds. I purchased these a couple of weeks ago since I was very unhappy with the BlueBuds X. The cost this time was just $99.99 (compared to the $169.99 BlueBuds). These again are used for my work outs and running, but mostly running. I read some mixed reviews of these headphones and decided that I wanted to try them on my own.

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What’s in the Box: Everything is packaged tightly inside the box. So if you need to put in all back together to return it, I recommend taking a picture of everything. Inside you will find the headphones, a micro-usb charging cable (41 inches), two different size ear pieces, and a small zip up carrying pouch (big enough to carry all items).

Setup: As with the previous headphones that I have tried, the setup process was very easy. I always recommend that first you charge the headphones completely before your first use, but they do come out of the box with almost a full charge. Once you have the headphones out, you will need to press and hold the center button for 3 to 4 seconds in order to turn on the headphones and enter pairing mode. Once the headphones are on and ready to pair, you will notice a green flashing light on the controls. Turn on the bluetooth on your phone and select the headphones. Once this is complete the audio voice will let you know that you are connected. The audio voice will also tell you when the headphones are powered on and off, and also provide you battery status when it is getting low. Like other wireless headphones, these also show you the battery status on the phones screen (iPhone 6).

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The Fit: The headphone go over your ear and YurBuds have a twistlock system to help keep the headphones in your ears. They have an instruction manual and also have a video that you can watch to learn how to place them in your ears. This is actually a very simple process. I used the smaller of the two ear pieces since I have smaller ears. What I like about these headphones is that the twistlock system really works for me and the music does flow into the ear nicely. As far as running, these staying in my ears the entire time and I never had to make any adjustments. They did not make a perfect seal in my ear (good thing in my option), so they were not really noise canceling. The cord goes behind your neck and I didn’t even notice it at all during my run. I went out on a run with my wife and only used one of the ear pieces and tucked the other one under my shirt. Since these have an over the ear piece, they stayed in place on my shirt and never pulled on the ear piece in my other ear. Overall, the fit for me was excellent.

Controls: The controls are typical and easy to use. You have the normal power on/off button that is combined with the answer/end call, and also with 2 clicks allows voice activation. The volume up and down button also controls skipping songs with long presses. There really is nothing revolutionary about the controls. I will add that the placement does take some time to get used to. Since the wire goes behind your head, you have to reach behind your right ear in order to use the controls. The controls themselves are not all that responsive. They feel very plasticey and make a noise when you press the button. The other main issue I have with the controls is that sometimes you need to press the button a few times for the command to take affect.

Sound: As I have stated before, I’m not too picky with the sound of my headphones, but these do not sound even as good as the standard Apple EarPods (I’m still waiting for Apple to make a wireless version of those). The other issue that I had was that every few minutes the sound would cut out, like a CD was skipping. This was annoying since I use intervals and at times I would miss my cue to run/walk. The range was not as good as the BlueBuds X, but I was able to walk into the other room and still had a connection (but it did skip/drop out from time to time).

Phone Calls: I once again had the same problem that I did with the BlueBud X’s. The location of the microphone makes calls almost impossible for the other person to hear you without you yelling. The other down side to these is that when you are on a phone call, there is a tinging noise (almost sounds like it is about to cut out. Actually it sounds similar to the old phone line connecting to the internet) that happens every few seconds. You almost want to rip them out of your ears. After one phone call to my wife, she reported that no matter how loud I was speaking I was extremely muffled and also sounded like I was stuck in a stairwell. That’s never a good thing when you are trying to communicate with someone. However, like I have said before, I am sure they will work if you are in an emergency.

Battery Life: These came out of the box already halfway charged, so I was able to use them right away. The manufacture states that the battery should last 8 hours. Out of the box it took me around 3 hours to drain the battery down all the way. Following the instructions I placed the headphones on the charger to charge for the night. I noticed right away that there was an issue with the charging. According to the instructions, if the light is green, the headphones are charging. If there is no light they are fully charged. After just a few minutes of being on the charger, the green light went off. I connected the headphones to my phone and the battery read that it was fully charged. Either this is the fastest charging electronic device I have ever seen, or there is an issue with my device. I have yet to run the battery all the way down again to see how long a full charge will last. The box and website states that these should last 6+ hours of music and talk time. I was happy to see that the charging cable was around 41 inches long. This gives you some room the place then on a table or in my case my nightstand with no issues.

Overall: After testing out a pair of more expensive headphones and dropping down in price range, I wasn’t really expecting to get better sound quality or anything like that. I was expecting cheaper build quality and sound (which is exactly what I received). The issue I have with these headphones is that you are still paying $100 for headphones. At this price I shouldn’t have to deal with poor quality in any area. The one thing that I was happy about was the fact that these headphone fit me and never fell out during a run or any other activity.

End Results: Sadly I am past the return period for Best Buy. So it looks like I will be contacting the manufacture directly for a return and refund. I feel like the next pair I will be trying will be the PowerBeats 2 wireless, but those are still $200.

JayBird BlueBuds X Review…

BlueBuds X are a pair of Bluetooth connected wireless headphones from JayBird. I purchased these last week since they were on sale at BestBuy for $129.99 (normally $169.99) and I was in need of some wireless headphones for running and working out. After hearing some great reviews I decided I would try out these ones first. So what comes in the package besides the headphones? Well you also get 3 pairs of ear tips, 3 pairs of secure fit cushions (these are like rubber shark fins that fit in your ear to help keep the earbud in place), 2 x-fit cord management clips, a micro-USB cable, and a hard protective carry case.

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Setup: The setup for these headphones was very easy. You only need to open up your phones Bluetooth and turn the power on the headphones. The phone will automatically pick up the signal and you will need to just select the headphones and let them pair together. The nice part about these headphones is that they show you the battery status on my phones screen (iPhone 6).

The Fit: For the life of me I could not get these headphones to fit and stay in my ears. I tried all sizes and shark fins, but in the end the buds would just keep falling out or lose their seal and the sound would be compromised. I have always had problems getting these types of in-ear headphones to work for me. I was able to get these to stay in for at least one short run, but again I had to constantly fix them and push the back into my ear properly. I tried these with the cord going under the ear and around the back of my neck. I hardly noticed the cord at all during my run. You can also wear these so that the cord goes over your ear, but this requires you to flip the shark fins around and use the clips to tighten the cord up (I did not try this at all, way too complicated).

Controls: The controls are typical and easy to use. You have the normal power on/off button that is combined with the answer/end call. The volume up and down button also controls skipping songs. There really is nothing revolutionary about the controls. I will add that the placement does take some time to get used to. Since the wire goes behind your head, you have to reach behind your right ear in order to use the controls. The controls themselves were very responsive and I never had to press the buttons multiple times from them to perform the intended task.

Sound: I’m not too picky with the sound of my headphones. I could not tell a major difference between these and my normal Apple issued EarPods. I will say that the sound was good enough and they never cut out/off, or skipped at all during my use. The range on these were also pretty good, I left my phone in the living room and went into the bedroom a good 60 feet away with a wall in between, and had no sound issues.

Phone Calls: Don’t even bother with them. Since the microphone is on your neck behind your ear, you have to talk at a loud volume in order for the other person to hear you (not something you want to have to do while on a run, or really anywhere). I made a call to my wife while I was just walking and she could barely hear me unless I was almost yelling, also she complained that there was the dreaded wind tunnel effect. I guess the phone portion would be fine in case of an emergency, but other than that, no thanks.

Battery Life: These came out of the box already halfway charged, so I was able to use them right away. The manufacture states that the battery should last 8 hours. I never used them from full charge to empty, but I can say that half battery life only lasted an hour and a half. So unless the full charge somehow creates another six and a half hours, I think that the battery life is shorter than what is stated. But once again I never used them with a full charge. On a positive note, there are audible alerts that let you know when the power is on/off and when the battery is getting low.

Overall: When I was handing over $169.99 (or $129.99 in my case) I was expecting something awesome, but I was just disappointed in the end. I could not get these to work for me at all. I have read great reviews of this product, but for me I would give these a 3 out of 5. I give it a 3 because the sound was good, the setup and controls were easy, and they stayed connected without and issues. These lost 2 stars since the fit was not good, the placement of controls was odd, and the phone calls were horrible.

End Results: These were returned to Best Buy and I purchased Yurbuds Liberty Wireless (review to come).

So what do you think? Have you tried the BlueBuds X? Leave a comment and let me know which wireless headphones you use and why.

Let Me Try This Again….

It has been a long time since I have written on this blog (not every good at keeping things up). Since I last wrote on here, I have had many issues that have prevented me from running. The biggest problem I have had is shin splints and no motivation. My shin splints have healed and my lack of motivation is on its way out the door. I have set a new goal, and this time I have my wife on my side running and training with me. We have both registered for the runDisney 2015 Wine and Dine half marathon.

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This seems like a crazy idea considering neither of us have run a race in over a year, and the last race we did run was only a 5k. In fact, we have never run anything more than a 5k (unless you count my time in the army. I am sure I ran more than a 5k on multiple occasions). We are both very determined and extremely excited to accomplish this awesome goal. Lucky for us we were both able to get registered during the AP registration. We have already secured our room and cannot wait for the time to come.

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So now begins the training, the dreaded long and painful training. We started last week with a nice easy 50 second walk and 10 second run split. This is a nice place to start since my wife (and I to an extent) haven’t really been doing any type or running. We were able to accomplish our two 30 minute runs, but did not do our long run over the weekend. My wife has already been hit with the dreaded shin splints. So she is out for at least the week to rest and recover. The issue with this is that I have become lazy again since she isn’t running with me. I know we have plenty of time to get ready for this race, but we are both wanting to get in a 10k before August in order to get a better corral placement. I guess I should be running instead of writing…..better get on that.

Odd Things Are Happening

I have been in a bit of a slump, both writing and running. I have made sure to keep up on the running until this past Tuesday. It was just supposed to be my 30 minute maintenance run, but I really, really, really (could go on) didn’t want to do it. So I didn’t. My excuse was that I was to busy, to tired, worn out from school, just ate, its storming outside, and everything else I could think of. Wednesday morning came and went, and by the time I knew it I was looking outside into a sunset. That is when I looked at the wife and said “I have no choice. I need to do this run”.

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It was raining all day and it was extremely humid outside. Horrible conditions for me to be running in, but I went out and on my way. I have never sweat so much in a 30 minute run in all my life. After all was said and done, I set a new average pace record (11:38) and a new distance for my time (2.58 miles). Talk about being happy about doing my run, I was ecstatic. After this run I am dying to sign up for a 5k sometime soon. Plus something odd happened.

I really wanna go out and run right now. I know, especially this early in my training, I need the rest day. I am so ready to get out there again and run and just enjoy myself. I cant remember the last time I felt so energized to workout. Instead of running today I will be doing a little core strengthening and maybe a light bike ride. Speaking of, I just bought a great looking bike worth $120, for just $40. Great deal and I have been really looking for a bike to do some cross-training.

Running Day 5

Another 30 minute tune up run was completed on Thursday. I decided to change my splits to 35/45 and what a difference. I felt great afterwards and was surprised at the results. I felt like I was running slower, and in fact I was. My max speed was slower than average and my walk speed was also a little slower (that was one of my goals), but my overall pace increased by half a minute a mile (what?). I think I found a good split time for me right now, especially in this heat. I am sure that this will change as I get more comfortable running and cooler weather comes around (in FL? Yeah right). Today is my 4 mile run. The last time I ran that far was back in 2003 when I was still in the Army. I really am nervous about being able to maintain my pace and splits. Only way to find out is to hit the road tonight and just do it.

3 Mile Review, and more….

So I may have, kinda, maybe, sorta, forgot to post about my 3 mile run on Sunday. Good news, I decided to go for the extra 0.1 miles and hit a new 5k PR of 38:28. I actually felt really good after my run and was kinda wishing I was running a little more. I still am maintaining my 30/1:00 splits since it is hot no matter what time I choose to run.

I also forgot to post about my 30 minute maintenance run on Tuesday. That one didn’t go as well as I was hoping. I think I pushed myself a little to hard, I had to walk my last few run splits. Even still, I was on a great pace and would have beat my old 30 minute distance. Well technicality I did beat it by a whole 0.02 miles. Not much, but better than my last run. Improvement is always good.

Tomorrow I have another 30 minute maintenance run. I am really thinking about changing my splits to 30/45 and slowing down a little, wanna see how that works out. I am also going to ATTEMPT to get up early and do this run. Waiting for the evening is risky this time of the year, you never know when it may start storming.  Ahhhh, gotta love Florida summers.

13th Anniversary

Today is my 13th year of being married to my beautiful and wonderful wife. I never have much to say on the social media side of things, so I figured I would say something on my blog.
Thank you for saying “I love you” back to me.
Thank you for saying that you would date me.
Thank you for saying “yes” when I asked you to marry me.
Thank you for saying “I do”.
And thank you for continuing to be there for me every minute of every day. I love you, and here’s to another 13+ years.

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Training Day 2:

I once again slept in and did not get started until later in the day. At least this time it had been raining all morning, so it didn’t feel as hot as before. I was lucky to go up to the local college and run around the campus, which is exactly 1 mile around (gotta love that). This was another 30 min run and I actually felt pretty good on the entire run. With the heat and my lack of fitness, I once again used the negative slits 30/1:00. I am happy to say that I finished my 30 min in 2.30 miles. I was a little disappointed that I did not meet my goal of 2.5 miles, but hey 2.30 is still dang good. Also, look what I got….

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Last night I finally was able to buy a foam roller. HOLLY PAIN! And then what great relief. Whoever came up with this torture device is a genius. I need to stop writing here and go get on roll on…….

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

First a little bit of history….. Independence Day is the celebration of Americas deceleration of independence from Great Britain. In truth, legal separation occurred on July 2 and not the 4th.  The first signatures on the Declaration of Independence were not penned until almost a month after the July 4th (August 2), and the last person to sign (Matthew Thornton) didn’t do so until November 4, 1776.

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(Wikipedia)

All that being said, as a former soldier in the US Army (and a lover of history), Independence Day is extremely important to me. To me it is more than just family, friends, food, beer, fun, and fireworks. I am reminded of the men who fought and died for something that they believed in so passionately. Had we not won the war for independence, these men would have been killed for treason, and the world would be a very different place.

Please take some time to remember what we are actually celebrating on this day. If you have a chance, find a solider and thank them for continuing to protect your freedoms. Be safe this weekend and enjoy the time with friends and family, and have a little fun to.US-Flag-Group-Waving-in-Breeze.images

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