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Stereo Bluetooth Headphones: Headsets For Running And Working Out

Updated on September 20, 2011

Running is a great workout but it can get boring especially if you are running alone. A good way to kill this boredom is to listen to music. Listening to music can also keep you motivated while you are working out. Sometimes, after many long periods of running or working out, you headphones can die out. This is due to sweat getting into them and burning them out. Another problem with common headphones is comfort. While most headphones are comfortable when relaxing at home or in the office, they are not always ideal for activity. This is where sports headphones come into play. Not only are sports headphones comfortable for running, but most of them are durable and water resistant.

There is still a better option. Wireless headphones are becoming increasingly popular. Bluetooth stereo headphones are the next logical step, replacing the wires of standard headphones.

Motorola S10-HD
Motorola S10-HD

Freedom From Wires

The obvious advantage of a Bluetooth stereo headphone is the freedom from wires. Being wired into your iPod, iPhone, Sansa, or other mp3 players can be a hassle. I've had times where my Sansa Fuze falls out of my pocket, or I accidentally drop my BlackBerry and my wired headphones are damaged because the wires gets pulled. Not only that, but my headphone wires never stay straight. They always get tangled and twisted after a few months. This happens because the wires gets stressed and kinked due to being stored and moved around. Everyday use of headphones can wear out your wires fast. Bluetooth stereo headphones solves this problem. Most newer mp3 and media devices have Bluetooth connectivity standard. Some Bluetooth stereo headphones have a Bluetooth receiver(dongle) that you can plug into the 3.5 mm headphone jack if your device doesn't support Bluetooth.

Plantronic(Altec Lansing) Backbeats 906
Plantronic(Altec Lansing) Backbeats 906

"Very cool and convenient."

All smart phones support the stereo Bluetooth profile known as A2DP (Advance Audio Distribution Profile). These include Android, BlackBerry smart phones, and iPhone iOS 3 and above. This is a standard that allows for mono or stereo music to be streamed over Bluetooth. Another common standard often available with A2DP is AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile). This is basically a set of controls on the Bluetooth headphone that gives you access to the play, pause, skip, and previous function on your phone or compatible mp3 player. If used on a smart phone, it will allow you to take calls over your headphone. These added functions make Bluetooth headphones more appealing than wired headphones. While you are running, instead of taking your smart phone out of your pocket to skip tracks, simply press the skip button on your Bluetooth headphone and it's done. Very cool and convenient.

Some stereo Bluetooth headphones claim up to 8 hours of music playback. Expect at least 5 hours. Some have been reported to last as long as 11 hours. Although battery life can always be improved, most people, including myself, are happy with the current performance. When choosing a stereo Bluetooth headset, make sure to read reviews. Not all Bluetooth headphones are built the same. Sound quality varies greatly between brands. While most wired headphones sound similar, Bluetooth headphones tend to be affected more. Complaints from stereo Bluetooth headphones range from flat sound quality, comfort, and battery life. Different people have different experiences so make sure you read lots of reviews. For example, I have the Motorola S10 and some people complain that they are uncomfortable but I like them a lot. They stay put and they don't hurt my head at all. If you are going to use your Bluetooth headphone for running or exercise, make sure you get one that is water/sweat resistant. The previous Motorola S9 had issues where people complained that the unit stopped working due to sweat damage. This problem was corrected with the Motorola S10.

"Buy proper headphones."

If you are looking for a stereo Bluetooth headphone that will be used while running, get one that has the over-the-ear design. When you are bouncing up and down, you need headphones that will stay in place. Some people buy the mono Bluetooth headset that goes over one ear. I wouldn't recommend these. These style of headsets are designed for making calls, not music. They don't have the media controls you would find with a stereo headset. They also look ridiculous while you're exercising. Get the right tools for the job. Buy proper headphones. Make sure you have a clear budget. Bluetooth headphones are not cheap and stereo headsets are no exception. For example, my headphones costs over $80 after tax. If your budget is under $50, don't expect to be blown away. If anything, put comfort at the top of your list. A stereo Bluetooth headphone should be comfortable. I'm the type of person that won't wear it if it's not comfortable. It will just stay on my shelf, unused. After comfort, aim for sound quality, then battery life. These priorities will shuffle depending on your needs. For example, if you are using them in an office and you're somewhat of an audiophile, be sure to spend near a Benjamin. In this case, audio quality should be paramount.

Bluefox Extreme BF-401
Bluefox Extreme BF-401

Final Thoughts

Not only are stereo Bluetooth headphones a good buy for leisure listening, but they also make great gifts. These high end electronics would be perfect for music lovers that own smart phones. I have used Bluetooth headsets in the past and they don't match up. I love using my S10's while I listen to Pandora Radio. It works great! I am thinking of buying one for my uncle. He loves electronics and he's been mentioning how much he loves his iPhone. I think it would be a perfect gift for tech lovers. Another good choice is the Bose IE2. They are wired but I've read some good reviews on them. Thanks for reading!

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    • toptenluxury profile image

      Adrian Cloute 4 years ago from Cedartown, GA

      Those Motorola S10's really are so amazing. My friend has some and they are by far the best for the price. Great hub!

    • profile image

      gav 6 years ago

      great article very good quality content and made me decide on the s10