• Tue11March 2014
  • Tech on trial: Monster iSport headphones

    Monster iSport range of headphones

    Clockwise from top: Monster iSport Freedom, Monster iSport Intensity and the ones small enough for me, Monster iSport strive

    When I first received the invite from Monster to test drive their latest iSport range on a quick 5k around London, I thought I may as well give it a whirl. After all, I am a runner who enjoys nothing better than listening to music, podcasts and the radio while out on a run. I’ve also had a somewhat checkered history with headphones.

    Of course, this has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a wee bit clumsy. I’ve never accidentally pulled the wires out of the sockets when packing them in my sports bag, trod on them when in a rush or tangled them up in my bicycle wheels. As if by magic, they just seem to break. I don’t think a pair of headphones has lasted longer than a month in my hands and I have no idea why. Honest.

    And I think that my “lack of luck” with the various pairs of headphones I’ve tried in the past qualifys me as potentially one of the best testers for their new range. They are, after all, billed as being built to last. Made out of super-durable materials, the four new speakers-on-a-string (or not as the case may be with the Monster iSport Freedom) have been designed for sports such as skiing, running, cycling etc…

    Here’s a brief description of each pair on offer.

    • Monster iSport Freedom – on-ear wireless headphones
    • Monster iSport Victory – noise-isolating in-ear jobbies
    • Monster iSport Intensity – offer moderate noise-isolation
    • Monster iSport Strive – the most compact pair, which I happened to go for as I have teeny ears and the PR assured me that they would fit into my tiny ears.

    Pop over here to find out more about their features and functionality.

    Look blue

    I was tempted to try the Monster iSport Freedom (they certainly look pretty trendy and add a pop of colour to your running gear) but prefer my headphones to be as lightweight as possible. Blue happens to be one of my favourite colours and complements my running gear, so I was pretty happy to be given a blue pair.

    Feature-wise, they seem to look good on paper, especially when I read that they are waterproof (double-tick from me), but what I really wanted to find out is whether they are Becs-proof and would the in-ear headphones really stay put in my tiny ear drums?

    Did the Monster iSport Strive headphones fit?

    It’s a fact that I have abnormally small hands and ears. This has put me off buying in-ear headphones in the past. There is nothing worse than having to constantly rearrange your headgear when focusing on a run. And I have to say that I was sceptical at first with the Monster iSport Strive headphones. But I soon learnt it’s all to do with technique. You have to line the in-ear bud part of the headphone up with the right part of your ear so it’s straight and twist it into place. I’m not going to say, I managed it straightaway but after a few tries they felt firmly in place and rather snug. (Surprise). The real test, however, for these mighty speakers would come during the run.

    Will they, won't they? Fitting the iSport Strive

    Will they, won’t they? Fitting the iSport Strive

    5k of boom boom music and The Archers

    Now sound quality is never number one on my list of priorities. I couldn’t give a jot whether it’s blah blah Htz or any of those technical details you see on the specifications sheets. All that matters to me is whether or not I can hear the music, audio book or latest episode of The Archers.  Since I normally spend no more than a fiver on a pair of headphones, you can imagine what the clarity is like. Pretty dire. I usually have to turn the volume right up to hear what’s going down in Ambridge Village.

    Running London in my cool headphones, channelling Wurzel Gummidge with my barnet

    Running London in my cool headphones, channelling Wurzel Gummidge with my barnet

    So I was pleasantly surprised by how clear the playlist created by the Monster team sounded on the 5k run they’d organised for a group of us to get to know our chosen headphones. The real test however was on my morning #runcommute. Would I be able to follow what was happening in terms of sheep and water butts in my favourite farming radio soap? Well, let me tell you, I had to turn the volume down, which is a first for me.

    Another feature worth mentioning is these little in-ear headphones are not complete noise-isolators, which is a plus point in terms of personal safety. It’s kind of common sense but having awareness of the things around you is important when you #runcommute. Lastly, they are staying in my ears, not falling out and dangling around, waiting to be trodden on….

    Are they Becs-proof?

    They have lasted a week so far (no joke) and I’ll have to wait and see if they really are as durable as they claim to be but my experience of the Monster iSport Strive headphones has changed my opinion slightly. Would I consider paying more than my monthly fiver on a pair of headphones? Perhaps. The Monster iSport Strive cost £59.95.  All I can say is that I really hope these headphones last as they tick the boxes on sound and fit.

    In a phrase, the Monster iSport Strive headphones are…

    Small, mighty and offer clarity of sound.

    I was offered a pair of Monster iSport Strive to try and attended an event hosted by a bunch of friendly PRs. All opinions here are my own. To find out more about the particular headphones I tried, please click here.

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