BlueAnt PUMP HD Sportbuds

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Product: BlueAnt PUMP HD Sportbuds
Provided By: BlueAnt
Price: ~$110 Online at time of Publication

Introduction:

Today we are taking a look at a nifty product that helps you untether your sound from your phone. We have the BlueAnt PUMP HD Sportbuds on our bench and in our ears to see if these actually live up to their claims of an "audiophile grade" listening experience through a Bluetooth connection. As is the case with any earbuds, the fit will greatly impact the listening experience and with sportbuds designed for active use, we'll be putting these through the paces on land and sea (in the pool).

BlueAnt has a wide range of products and entered the market with a simple hands-free kit and a single Bluetooth headset. They've come a long way and now have a wide array of headsets that offer great noise cancellation on the microphone as well as great audio. They are not newcomers to wireless technology so they should be able to make a pretty good pair of sportbuds. Keep in mind that the PUMP HD Sportbuds are not a headset - they are not merely earphones and in fact the BlueAnt PUMP HD Sportbuds are in fact a full-on headset. 

Box Package Open

 

First Look:

The BlueAnt PUMP HD Sportbuds are designed and built for active use. They are geared toward someone who is working out or getting their exercise and doesn't want to be strapped with a cord to their phone. These aren't the smallest earbuds on the market and in fact the size of the behind-the-ear units may turn some people away. In some regards, they do look like an odd set of hearing aids, but let's face it - looks aren't everything.

 

In the box we find a manual, the PUMP HD Sportbuds themselves and a whole host of accessories that includes three different sizes of "Comfort Seal Tips" that includes two pair of the largest and smallest sizes. Other eartips include "Comply Premium" foam tips that allow ambient noise in so that you can hear traffic if you are running or biking in a populated area. Also in the bundle are two pair of "stabilizers", a cable clip and a short USB-MicroUSB cable for charging the PUMP HD Sportbuds.

Pump In Package Extras

 

There is enough hardware included in the bundle to get anyone going - from those with tiny ears to people with ear-holes large enough to put a cork in - BlueAnt has you covered.

Before we take a closer look at the PUMP HD Sportbuds, we'll leave you with a promotional video from BlueAnt that will give you the idea of what to expect.

 


 

Closer Look:

The PUMP HD claims to have a Kevlar® and Teflon® sealed speaker enclosure. When I read that, I expected the PUMP HD Sportbuds to have a very futuristic, industrial look. Instead, they appear to be made out of rubber and plastic - but they do appear to be very tough. I never did tear these completely apart, but I did abuse them throughout the weeks that I've had them and I can confirm that they stand up to a beating. 

Below we have the first real look at the PUMP HD Sportbuds and while they do come in a few other colors, I do like the color choice that I received in this sample. It's edgy and yet looks athletic - and while beauty is only skin deep, the skin looks pretty good in my opinion. The controls are located on the right side and include a "Play" button and "+" and "-" buttons.

Controls

Controls

Bare PUMP HD

No Eartips

Stabilized

Stabilized

 

The "stabilizers" can be used to ensure that the PUMP HD stays in place in your ears. I know that some people have a hard time making earbuds stay in place - and I'm NOT one of those guys. With the standard comfort seal tips installed, I could walk, run, bike, hike, climb and even swim without having these come lose on me at all. They stayed in place no matter what I tried.

I like on a small estate out in the country so I don't worry about much traffic when I'm out and about. I love the comfort seal tips as they do block noise so well and I used these extensively when mowing lawn or doing other tasks around small machinery. They won't be good enough to take to the shooting range by all means, but they are great for some minor noise reduction.


Comfort Tips

Awareness Tips

The awareness tips are handy if you're listening to music and running by a busy roadway or are sharing a path with other people. When these are installed, the audio quality takes a hit as the bass response relies on a good seal.

 

Detailed Information:

The following information has been taken from the BlueAnt PUMP HD Sportbuds product page and posted here for your convenience. As always, make sure to head on over to the manufacturers site for all the latest information. Below are just a few highlights and specifications before we jump into testing.

Train Unleashed:
With best-class-wireless range, PUMP allows you to train untethered from your Bluetooth enabled device. And with up to eight hours of continuous battery life you are free to train without the worry of the music stopping in the middle of your workout.

PUMP’s Superfit system gives you the confidence to move with intensity. No matter how you hard you go, they go with you, while ComfortSeal and Awareness tips provide long-lasting comfort and the ability to stay in tune with your surroundings.


Play Unleashed:
BlueAnt Pump is the only wireless headphone to carry an IP67 rating. What does this mean to you? It means nothing will limit you from bringing your music where other headphones fear to tread. From bringing your music along for a long paddleboard session to rinsing them under the tap after an intense workout, PUMP is built to withstand heavy exposure to wet conditions, leaving the premium sound components safe inside.


Unrivaled Audio:
PUMP redefines Bluetooth audio, creating an audiophile-grade music experience that cannot be matched by wireless rivals. We call this breakthrough experience: Energize HD Audio.

 

  • Kevlar® and Teflon® sealed speaker enclosure
  • Customized 12.5 mm speaker drivers with efficient and sensitive design
  • Cutting-Edge voice coil with powerful neodymium magnets and advanced cone materials

 

Product Specifications:

Play time: Up to 8 hours
Standby time: 2 weeks
Codecs: APTX, AAC
Charge time: 2 hours
Warranty: 12 months
Bluetooth: 3.0
Profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP

 

On the next page, we'll share our experience with the PUMP HD Sportbuds and draw some final thoughts in the conclusion.


General Usage:

Battery:

When I first opened the PUMP package, I paired them with my Nexus 5 and started listening. I never charged them up or checked to see if they came pre-charged. They did. In fact, I listened to them for over five hours on that initial charge and was pretty impressed with how long they lasted. As they neared the end of their charge, a tone would sound every few minutes until they disconnected and were dead. Battery life is the biggest drawback of any wireless device and while the Sportbuds have a nice large size, the battery life is not all that stellar. BlueAnt spins it this way. If you exercise an hour a day, they will last you a week. The truth is, many of us would like to listen to these at other times than when we are exercising. In that case, you may listen to these five or more hours a day and then you'll have to charge them every night so you don't run out of audio during the day. I had hoped for better battery life, but in the end you trade off battery life for audio quality.

Thankfully, they do charge fairly quickly and the charge port is under a watertight flap on the bottom of the left unit. As previously mentioned, it takes a standard microUSB cable and charging was done in less than two hours.

Charge Port

Charge Port

 

Range:

While standard Bluetooth claims to have a 10M range, the PUMP HD Sportbuds state that you can "Roam untethered with up to 100ft. wireless range". I'm not a mathematician, but that makes the range just over 30M. That is a nice boost - if it works. I used these in a building as well as wide open spaces, and out in the open I was able to get 30M away without any issues at all. In fact it was about 35M when I started to drop the signal. Keep in mind that this is with perfect line of sight, and your individual results will vary. When I tested these, there was no other wireless interference. The range is great and for all practical purposes, you'll be able to leave your phone anywhere in the workout room and still be able to hear your audio crystal clear.

 

Sound Quality:

The term "audiophile-grade" should not be confused with audiophile quality. While the Sportbuds sound pretty good, they are a little bit bass heavy and the midrange sounds are not as clear as a good set of wired headphones. If you're currently using some cheap $20 wired earbuds, these will likely outperform them hands down, but if you expected them to be a wireless version of a Sennheiser IE 60, you'll be let down a bit.

The audio quality is very good and with a proper fit, I was actually very impressed, but if you listen to these side by side with expensive earbuds, you'll be able to quickly tell the difference. Overall, the quality is very acceptable. The only real downside I noticed is that when these are connected to a device, and the music is paused, you will be able to hear a background hiss that does exist throughout the entire listening experience. It is imperceptible when music or other audio is playing, but if there is a break in the song, you'll be able to hear it.

 

Build Quality, Design and Fit:

The build quality of the PUMP is amazing. I abused these and left them in the sun, dropped them on the road, jammed them in a pocket, stuck them in the dirt and drown them in the pool and the still survived. While the IP67 rating states that these are completely "dust tight" and can be immersed in water 1 meter deep for 30 minutes, most people don't or won't try and put their hardware though this. We tested these out in every aspect and even took them down to depths of 2.5 meters - albeit for only a couple of minutes. The PUMP HD Sportbuds survived with flying colors. The build quality is excellent and the design of the product is very durable as we indicated from our abuse.

The overall fit of these will vary depending on how your ears are shaped, but for me, they worked great. The different sizes of tips should work for almost everyone, and if you need a little help, the stabilizers should help keep these jammed in your ear holes. That being said, I've never found stabilizers to be that comfortable and it would be a shame to ruin the comfort of these. I've worn these for hours and they were fantastic the entire time. I never tested with the stabilizers installed but without them, I could wear these all day without any discomfort. The fit and comfort on my head are fantastic.

 

Conclusion:

At the end of the day, the BlueAnt PUMP HD Sportbuds are a great product, but they aren't perfect. The audio quality is very good, but if you're expecting true audiophile quality, you'll be a little disappointed. They are some of the best Bluetooth headphones I've used, but they are a little bassy and mushy throughout the mids. Keep in mind that this subjective, and individual tastes vary.

The battery life is decent and if you wear these just for working out, you'll probably get through a week with no issues. If you wear these daily for extended periods for listening to your favorite music or even to try out a free audiobook (shameless plug), you'll probably have to charge these every night. For the size of the units, I expected better than eight hours of playback.

The controls are simple to use and work very well. Pairing is done with a long press on the "Play" button until the LED flashes. Once that is done, you can find the PUMP in your Bluetooth menu on your phone and you're good to go. 

A couple of things that are absolutely fantastic about these are comfort and durability. I wore these for hours a day without any issues at all and we abused these pretty hard and even took them deeper than their IP67 rating and have had no issues at all. They take a beating and keep on working. That is probably the most impressive and their best quality.

You can't really go wrong with the BlueAnt PUMP HD Sportbuds in my opinion. While they don't stand out in the quality or battery life department, they don't fall behind either. For around $100 you can get a pair of these and leave your phone in your pocket while you work, play, swim, jog, surf, bike and hike or skydive. They stay in place and provide very good audio no matter what you're doing.

Even though they have a couple of issues, I still give these a "Silver" here at BCCHardware. They score a solid 8/10 in my book.

Pros:

  • Decent audio quality
  • Great build quality and durability
  • Awesome range
  • Simple controls
  • Extremely comfortable

 

Cons:

  • Not "audiophile" quality IMHO
  • Battery life is a little lean

 

I'd like to thank BlueAnt for sending the PUMP HD Sportbuds our way for review. If you are active and can snag a pair of these, you won't be disappointed.

Please feel free to leave a comment, question or general feedback in our forum at the link below.