When I tested the JLab Go Air Pop headphones earlier this year, they went straight into Coach roundup of the best running headphones and best workout headphones as the highest budget option, costing just $20 in the US and £19.99 in the UK.
The only real concern with the Pop buds was that the fit might not be secure enough for everyone. That’s no problem with the JLab Go Air Sport headphones, which have ear hooks to ensure they stay in place. They’re $10/£10 more than the Pop buds, but that’s a small price to pay for a rock-solid fit.
JLab Go Air Sport Review: Price and Availability
Go Air Sport headphones are available now from JLab (opens in a new tab) and other retailers in the United States and third-party retailers like Amazon (opens in a new tab) in the UK and costs $30 / £29.99, which is an absolute cut, even if the JLab Go Air Pop buds cut them down slightly.
Design and fit
The ear hooks on the Go Air Sport headphones ensure a secure fit no matter what type of exercise you plan to do. I’ve run with the buds several times and have also used them for cycling, yoga and strength training with no issues with the fit.
There are three sizes of in-ear tips in the box, and I found that I could wear the headphones with the tips in my ear canal or just sitting out. Inserting them all the way in so they form a tight seal is better for sound quality, but being able to unblock your ears and still hear your audio is sometimes handy for keeping an eye on ambient noise around you, especially since there is no sensitization mode. Ear hooks mean that even when the tips aren’t fully inserted, the headphones stay in place.
The Go Air Sport headphones are fairly light at 0.4oz/12.3g each, but the case is bulky and not very pocket-friendly. It’s a necessary evil with ear-hook headphones as opposed to small in-ear headphones, but worth considering if you plan to take the case with you while exercising.
Another key difference with the Go Air Pop buds is that the Sport headphones have a higher IP rating of IP55 compared to IPX4 on the Pops. Both are suitable for sports use, but the Sport earbuds’ added water resistance gives a bit more peace of mind when you’re sweating buckets or run in the rain.
The logo on the outside of each bud is a touchscreen that you can use to control playback by touch and hold. The controls are delicate even when seated, and during workouts it often took a few tries to skip a track or pause my music.
You can use each headset independently, which can extend the already considerable battery life of using one while the other charges. The Go Air Sport headphones are available in six colors: graphite, green, light blue, sand, teal and yellow.
Having been surprised by the impressive sound of the Go Air Pop buds, I knew what to expect from the Sport, but it’s still satisfying to get such good sound from budget headphones.
The sound profile is front-low, which is fine for sports use, and while the mid and high ranges can be slightly tinny and aren’t as clear as on more expensive headphones, I never found the sound grating. or too distorted.
There are three EQ modes you can switch between using the controls: JLab Signature, Balanced, and Bass Boost. I found Signature the best option for the music I listened to. Bass Boost muddies the higher ranges more, while Balanced is primarily designed for classical music, which I don’t listen to much during practice.
Sound quality will never be the star feature of budget headphones, but the Go Air Sport buds are more than enough on that front to enjoy regular use, and they match many sets I’ve tested that cost more nearly three digits. .
Although the Sport headphones connect easily to my phone and maintain that connection well when I have my phone in a waist pocket or running belt, I found that if I used pockets on the sides of the shorts racing for my phone, I would lose connection to the headphones during races. We can’t say for sure if this is a common problem with these headphones, but it would certainly be annoying if it happened repeatedly.
The Sport headphones last eight hours on a charge, with another 24 hours in the case. It’s the same battery life as the Go Air Pop buds, which is a little surprising given the Sport’s earbuds and case are both larger, but it’s still excellent.
I’m also a big fan of how JLab integrates charging cables into its earphone cases, which means you don’t have to worry about carrying a cable around with you. The built-in cable isn’t the biggest, and it would be handy to also have a socket to charge the case with a longer cable if needed, but it’s definitely a useful feature.
Are the JLab Go Air Sport headphones worth it?
With the Go Air Pop and Go Air Sport headphones, JLab has cornered the budget bud market. The Pops are as good on all fronts as the Sport other than fit, with the increased water resistance on the Sport headphones being helpful but not essential, so if you don’t find the in-ear headphones little fingers pop out during exercise, so the Pop buds have better value for money.
The Pop buds also have a smaller casing and the lack of ear hooks makes them slightly easier to wear with sunglasses and hats, although I haven’t had any real issues with that when using the Pop buds. Sport headphones either. However, I would opt for the Sport headphones myself to ensure a secure fit.
There’s nothing else I’ve come across for $30/£30 that matches the performance of the Go Air Sport, but the Tribute Flybuds 3 are around £35-£40 and are another great set of headphones economic to consider. They have an in-ear design with wings that create a secure fit, but battery life isn’t as impressive as it is on JLab headphones.