Just a quick note: there are a few affiliate links below and your support by shopping through these links helps us create more awesome content. This comes at no extra cost to you. So a big thanks in advance, we appreciate you!
Step into any gym in the world and you’re likely to find the vast majority of people tucked into their own corner of the world, working out in silence, seemingly oblivious to everyone else. The reason for this isolation is almost immediately obvious once you look around, MUSIC!
Almost everyone I know, myself included, listens to music while exercising and while there are many different reasons why that is, one of the more common ones is focus. In short, listening to music while in the gym helps to maintain your focus on the exercises and distracts from the pain of physical exertion, increasing your athletic performance by up to 15%.
That being said one of the hardest things to do is find a pair of earphones/headphones suitable for exercise, most headphones are too heavy and bulky, and common earbuds will almost certainly keep falling out (which, let’s be honest, is probably up there with the most annoying things in the world).
Therefore it’s essential you choose headphones that practically disappear on your head (lightweight, perfect fit and great comfort) and still maintain a lively/fun sound to get you in the zone!
So, what are the best wireless workout headphones? Let’s find out!
Design and Comfort
The first thing you’ll notice about the Rowkin Surge is, of course, the complete lack of wires. The earphones are simply two unconnected earpieces (similar to Apple’s Airpods), each with its own charging dock and full set of controls.
The Surge comes in two colors, Bold Orange and Fearless Green, although they aren’t quite in the way you’d expect. The colors are quite literally just used in writing the Rowkin’s logo on each earpiece, leaving the rest black in color. It’s a slightly odd tactic but it works, managing to add some color to the headphones without making them garish.
Unlike Apple’s Airpods, the Surge isn’t designed to randomly fall out of your ears. Each earpiece features an over ear hook to keep it in place, strengthening its appeal for use in sports or the gym.
The TPE over ear hook can be molded to fit the wearer’s ear shape, thus providing optimum comfort. While that level of comfort isn’t exactly provided for by the rubber eartips, it’s still comfortable enough to have in your ears for quite a few hours.
With an IPX5 rating, the Surge headphone is also water resistant and sweat proof, so no worries about sweat messing up one of your earbuds as you workout.
Going back to the controls, each earpiece features 3 buttons which mirror each set in functions. The center button which has several functions, play/pause/power/Bluetooth pairing as well as activating Siri or Google assistant.
The other two buttons function as volume up/down buttons as well as for skipping forward/backward when playing music.
The charging ports are at the bottom and protected by a rubber cap.
Inside the box the headphones come with is a two-headed USB cable so you don’t have to worry about charging each separately.
A few years back, wireless headphones were usually dismissed without a second thought (by audiophiles) because everyone knew the sound would be likely poor. These days, not so much.
The Surge is one of those wireless headphones that has pretty good sound quality. The sound profile is not the most balanced as it tends towards bass-heavy but unless you’re looking for reference headphones that shouldn’t bother you.
The mids and lows are balanced and manage to hold their own against the slightly emphasized bass.
When switching to phone calls the headphones sound clear and there’s no struggle to hear the person on the other side. The mic picks up on sound easily, meaning you won’t need to shout to make yourself heard when you speak.
On that note, it’s worth mentioning the Surge headphones can be used separately (much like old school hands free Bluetooth devices) so should you want to be able to hear your surroundings say, when jogging outside, then these will be ideal as you can wear one and leave the other behind or simply turn it off.
Bluetooth and Battery Life
Pairing with Bluetooth on the Rowkin Surge headphone is kind of a tricky process, especially given the documentation doesn’t come with that information readily available. Rather, you have to log onto the Rowkin’s website to access that.
That said, once you do it becomes much simpler to figure it out.
First, each earphone needs to be paired individually, which you do by holding down the power button until you hear “power on,” continue holding it down until it says “pairing.”
Next look for the earphones on your device’s list of available Bluetooth accessories, select and wait to hear “connected,” at which point you’ll be good to go.
Also, it goes without saying but your device’s Bluetooth needs to be on throughout this process.
At 5 hours, battery life is good enough for short activities, gym, riding, commutes to and from work, etc. However, for someone who might want to use these as their daily headphone, that might be a little too short. The same goes for long commutes, etc.
Finding a completely wireless headphone that works well is easier said than done, combine that with making it gym compatible and your task becomes twice as hard.
The fact that the Rowkin Surge manages to hold its own in most categories, except for battery life, makes it a worthwhile, tangle-free investment for exercise enthusiasts who like a bit of music to go with.
Samsung Level U Pro Wireless In-Ear Headphones
Samsung’s Level U Pro In-Ear Wireless headphones are part of a series of three (currently) released by Samsung in recent times to combat LG’s popular Tone range.
The Level U Pro Wireless In-Ear’s sit right between the Samsung Level U’s and the Samsung Level U Pro Active Noise Cancelling Headphones in terms of their price as well as the order of release.
Although all three sets bear huge resemblances, there are still some key elements that differ and I will pay special attention to those differences in this review.
Design and Fit
The neckband design pioneered by LG has gained traction and is increasingly finding its way into just about every Bluetooth enabled headphone on the market, including this one. To be fair LG hit a goldmine here as this design is really convenient (for most people) and solves so many of the problems that have generally plagued wireless headphones, so it’s no surprise that Samsung, like so many others, lifted it for themselves.
The Wireless Level U Pro’s come in four distinct colors ranging from the usual all black, to a glossy bronze, and daringly sporty blue and purple. While the blue and purple versions are boldly sporty and playful, the black and bronze versions are understated elegance at its best.
Going back to the neckband, it houses the usual assortment of playback and volume controls on the right side, a microphone on the same side and a well-placed USB C port. All of the above are arranged in such a way that they’re distinct and easily accessible and yet don’t look the least bit clunky.
Last but not least, the same neckband houses the all important battery that powers the whole set.
The ear-tips are silicone gel that molds to the shape of your ears when you stick them in, providing a tight but moderately comfortable seal that makes them noise isolating. The same ear-tips are used in exactly the same way in the Samsung Level U Pro ANC’s but the Level U’s feature a pair of Stabilizing Wing Ear Gels.
Honestly, while I do like the tight seal of the Wireless Level U Pro’s, I would have liked to have the Stabilizing Wings too as they would make this set more stable when exercising, which would be great as the current design means they will inevitably fall out if you use them in that context like I did.
While they do tend to fall out during vigorous activity, the headphones are very light and can quite easily be forgotten when not in use.
Of course like it’s cousins, the Wireless Level U Pro features magnets at the back of the earbuds to clasp them together when not in use.
The fact that they’re water resistant (they don’t have an IP rating though so might be best not to dunk them in water) is another tick in their favor.
Featuring a dual 13 mm speaker design, the Wireless Level U Pro’s provide a sound well above their price range (for Bluetooth headphones of course) and are a sign that wireless headphones might finally be starting to catch up to their wired counterparts.
Samsung maintains that they are best used with any Samsung device that supports UHQ audio (of course) in order to enjoy their full benefits, and while those claims may or may not be true, they’re worth noting at least for information’s sake.
The bass response from these headphones is tight and rumbles like distant thunder at all the right times and that’s all without being significantly boosted.
The presence of a midrange is equally welcome as it is authoritative enough not to be drowned out by the bass. The only problem seemingly comes with the treble, which is boosted somewhat to the point of sibilance, a flaw especially prominent at high volumes and in quiet environments.
Nevertheless like I said above, the sound quality is pretty good, and you won’t find many sub-$100 Bluetooth headphones out there that can match it.
The Bluetooth connection is seamless and shouldn’t give you any trouble whatsoever, both when pairing and in terms of range.
The battery lasts for about 9 hours after just over an hour of charging, which is just about what Samsung claims.
Like its cousins, the Wireless Level U Pro is compatible with the free android app by Samsung called Level. With it, you can adjust your equalizer settings, dramatically improving your listening experience.
You can also customize your settings to make sure you receive notifications in the form of the neckband vibrating when you have incoming calls or texts.
The headset will also read your text notifications for you if you so wish.
The wireless headphones are still behind wired ones in terms of quality of sound, comfort, etc. However, it’s clear to see that it’s catching up fast and it’s no wonder because so many manufacturers are racing to perfect the wireless headphone. The first to that line will undoubtedly corner a huge slice of what will surely be a considerably huge cake.
And while the Samsung Level U Pro Wireless headphone is not perfect by any means, it’s a step in the right direction. Its problems aren’t too significant and could be fixed with a little more effort, for example, it’s comfortable but that comfort could be significantly improved and the treble could do without that extra push that leads to distortion at times.
That said Samsung got just about everything else right here from the sound quality, if you ignore that little treble push, to the design which is light, portable, durable, and really good looking regardless of the color option you go for.
And with that said, if you’re on the lookout for a wireless headphone this could be just the one you’ve been looking for. If you’ve been a skeptic, well, prepare to be seduced.