Call me nitpicky, but I hate corded headphones…when I work out. So enter the BlueAnt’s Pump HD Sportbuds. Unveiled in March, these headphones underwent three years of development, include Kevlar (yes, the same stuff in bulletproof vests) and promise exceptional sound despite being wireless. So are they any good? In short, yes, and here is why.
In the box there are a variety of earbud tips to accomodate those with large to small ear canals, as well as a microUSB plug for charging. Since I was eager to try these things out, I went with the default set of earbud tips and they’ve severed me fine. You might want to try a few different sizes, since the better the fit the better the bass. That said, the Pump HD Sportbuds stayed securely attached to my ears and head while running, lifting weights and even while performing some kung fu moves – the latter might best be described as jostling to say the least. However, putting on the Pump HD Sportbuds will take a bit of fiddling the first few times, and while this is a small caveat, it’s one that ensures that they stay in place.
Now, to control the Pump HD Sports there are a set of controls on the right speaker’s ear brace. These include volume buttons, as well as a power/play button which doubles as a pairing button and Siri/Google Voice button when you double tap the power/play button. To skip or reverse tracks, just hold the volume + or volume – buttons, respectively, for 2 seconds.
To charge BlueAnt’s Pump HD Sport headphones there is a small flap at the base of the left headphone. It’s relatively secure, though if left open it will compromise the Pump HD Sport’s IP67 rating (water and dust resistant – more on that in a bit). Charging is spec’d at about 2 hours, and battery life is 8hrs – I got pretty much that with some slight variance, but for the most part it’s solid in this department.
It’s also exceptionally solid in terms of range. I’ve used a wide variety of Bluetooth headphones in the past, and more often than not they tend to lose their connection at about 8-10 feet. Not the Pump HD Sports. In my experience I was able to move about 25 feet, without direct line of site, and not experience any loss in audio quality. Sure, Bluetooth 3.0 is spec’d at 30 meters, but that is rarely the case with anything Bluetooth, including all those Bluetooth speakers.
Sound quality. How is it? Good. Not great, but good. And not great because that’s the nature of Bluetooth. So in the grand scheme of Bluetooth headphones, the Pump HD’s sound excellent. Relatively speaking I’ve got odd, or perhaps large ear canals, so more often than not in ear headphones tend to lack bass for me. Your experience may differ. That said, BlueAnt spared no expense and invested in APTX and AAC codecs. I tested them with my Nexus 5, which from my understanding doesn’t support or include this codec, so another phone will likely perform better. Moreover, my source music was Spotify at the highest streaming setting- more a note than anything else. So, again, your experience may differ.
Putting aside my actual experience with BlueAnt’s Pump HD Sports, it’s worth noting that BluetAnt spared no expense, or so it would seem. Kevlar and Teflon were used in the speaker enclosure, which explains the IP67 rating. Moreover, the cord that connects the speakers never gets tangled, and nor have they ever felt encumbering after wearing them for an hour or two. Battery life seems reasonable given their size and weight, and the overall build quality is so solid I’m not worried they’ll fall apart on me if I toss them into a bag with other gear. My only complaint, is that callers had a hard time hearing me, with often the complaint being that I sounded far away.