At the beginning of the year I was looking for replacement Bluetooth sport earphones after my trusty Jabra Sport Wireless+ finally gave up the ghost. I stumbled across the iFrogz Summit Wireless, which for R500 proved itself rather affordable and it does the job when out running.
The iFrogz Impulse Wireless was sent for review a few months later, and can be seen as the Summit’s fancier brother. Costing about R200 more, the Impulse Wireless does not come with the ‘wings’ add-ons used to securely fit them in your ear when you are out in the gym or on the road. What it does provide is a much better sound experience, something midrange Bluetooth units sometimes struggle with.
The hub is where it’s at
The Impulse Wireless is not quite as wireless as for example Apple’s sticks-in-your-ear AirPods, since there’s still thin wires leading from the main hub to the earbuds. The hub comes with a magnetic clip to wear it on your shirt, a microphone, and three easily accessible buttons (volume up and down, and play/pause) appearing on the front.
With most of the electronics housed here, it allows the earbuds to be light and free standing, unlike other Bluetooth units that sometimes include everything inside the around-the-ear units. The volume up button has a ridge that runs through the centre, allowing it to be easily identified when adjusting sound, while the size of the buttons makes them big-finger proof.
The Impulse proved to be no-mess no-fuss, working as expected in set-up, usability and sound. It connected with my Android devices without hassle and battery life was close to the five hours promised.
And the sound
What about sound? The good news is that this is one of the best Bluetooth units we’ve tested, and at its price point will be hard to beat. Responsible for this is 11 mm neodymium drivers (the sporty Summit’s are 8 mm) and aluminium acoustic chambers housed in each earbud.
Bluetooth speaker sound tends to be bland, with bass and high frequencies neither here nor there. The Impulse’s manages to achieve solid, well defined sounds on both ends on the spectrum. Listening to Radiohead’s In Rainbows I was surprised at just how well it isolates all the different instruments. Are they as good as, for example, the B&O H3 wired earphones? Definitely not, but it also doesn't have a R3.5k price-tag.
As with most in-ear earphones, the best sound is achieved if the earbuds fit snugly; if they move out sound quality decreases quite a bit (the reason why I prefer overhead headphones). Apart from the standard earbuds, iFrogz also provides noise-isolating ones, which looks a bit like to two regular ones stacked on top of each other. These didn’t fit well and I preferred the regular one. Both types come with an Earbud Tips for Life guarantee.
Two quick things need a mention. The earphones can roll up tightly around the unit, and is shipped this way, but it left the wires coiled and not straight - a minor irritation. Also, to show connection there’s a blue light that flashes at the bottom of the hub, which if you are listening to tunes in a low light environment can be bothersome. Both are far from deal-killers, however.
At R699 the iFrogz Impulse Wireless Bluetooth earphones are a fair bit more pricey than regular wired ones. But if you are looking for a Bluetooth unit (and not sporty ones), they come strongly recommended, since the sound on offer beats out other at this price-point, plus is really hassle-free. They should be available from Incredible Connection, Musica and www.takealot.com (priced here at a must-buy R535 when last checked).
FULL DISCLOSURE: iFrogz Impulse Wireless earphones were provided as a seeding unit.