Wireless headphones and earbuds have become commonplace now that Bluetooth has reached the point of being easy and reliable enough for the masses. Over the last couple of years, that wireless capability has extended so the left and right sides of earphones no longer need to be connected. That's given rise to a new generation of listening devices that are completely unencumbered by cables. Enter the BlueAnt Pump Air Sportsbuds.
BlueAnt is something of a pioneer when it comes to Bluetooth gear. However, I've mainly known them for their in-car accessories. They were popular with those wanting to add a hands free kit into their car before they were a standard feature. But the company has since boosted their personal audio products as the car segment changed.
I've tried a few different sets of totally wireless headsets and have had mixed success. While many of the ones I've tried before have fallen out during activities like running or other exervcise, the Pump Air stayed in my ears. The trick is to try all the different silicone ear-pieces they have to find a set that work for you.
Incidentally, this is one of the challenges of these sorts of buds. Others I've tested, that look similar, have fallen out during even moderate activity. I'm not sure how you can test them beforehand but keeping your receipts in case you buy a pair of buds that aren't right for you is a good idea.
By happy coincidence the ones that shipped with the Pump Air fitted me but there are larger and smaller fittings to pick from.
The pairing process is straight forward. I connected them to both my iPad Pro and iPhone X. With the iPad, I used them while watching some movies and TV shows on Netflix. Sound quality was great - something BlueAnt has been well known for with their in-car gear. Dialog, music, explosions and other action were all clear, letting me blissfully ignore the carnage of a household full of kids on school holidays.
For testing on the iPhone X, I streamed a workout playlist from Spotify and did my kettlebell circuit wihich includes skipping, pushups and crunches between sets with the bells. The music was pumping and I never felt that the Pump Air buds were going to fall out.
Phone calls were easily handled with the integrated microphones doing a good job of picking up my voice. However, people I spoke with did note that they could pick up a bit of wind noise when I was outside and it was breezy.
Charging is handled through a protective case that looks after the buds when they're not in use. Connection via micro-USB to a wall adaptor or computer will charge the case which, in turn gives some juice to the buds. A set of four LEDs light up to indicate when the charging process, which takes around three-quarters of an hour is done.
Battery life between charges is rated at three hours - enough for a decent workout or run. In practice, I was able to get a little more than that but it's unlikely I'd run them down on most workouts. I don't listen to music when running, even on long runs, so they're fine for weight training and other exercise sessions for me.
With a retail price of just under $170, the BlueAnt Pump Air Sportsbuds aren't cheap. But they are comfortable and sound great. If you're looking for a decent set of completely wireless buds, these are a great option that's well worth considering.