A decent set of headphones for sport is hard to come by. Most of the time you are given a choice: either a set that stays in but sounds terrible, or one that gives you decent audio quality but keeps falling out.
We are already fans of Atomic Floyd, having used a set of SuperDarts as our main headphones for a good while now. Now Atomic Floyd has a sports headphone; the AirJax + Remote. Hoping some of that sound quality had been transferred, we wrapped a set of the new headphones around our ears and headed out for a run.
Right from the off we had an issue with the AirJax design. Not the actual earphones, their metal construction and use of premium materials is brilliant. No, it was the metal band used to attach them to your ears. It just isn’t comfortable and they are far too delicate in your pocket. We didn’t manage it, but we can easily see that band bending if you accidentally sat on them or squashed them in a pocket.
Atomic Floyd does include a set of rubber covers for the earhooks and a hex key so you can adjust them in different directions but they are still just not comfy sat on the ears. The problem is that over time the earhooks move slightly, especially while running, resulting in them putting just enough weight on the top of your ears for it to become uncomfortable. Admittedly this might be the shape of our ears causing an issue, so for some the Atomic Floyds might prove a lot more comfortable. One thing is for sure, they certainly don’t fall out in a hurry.
Included in the Atomic Floyd box is a pouch to store the headphones, DJ jack, flight adapter, earhook covers and a hex key. All of it comes in that usual metal material that Atomic Floyd wraps its headphones in. It looks ace and has a seriously premium feel. The SoundControl remote is also placed high up on the left-hand side of the headphone cable and is light enough not to interfere when running.
Plenty of logical design touches and a premium feel ensure the Atomic Floyds justify the price tag on feel. Shame about the earhooks being uncomfortable but we can’t help but feel the fundamental idea is flawed. Would have been nice to see Atomic Floyd try something different.
Atomic Floyd tends to change the way its headphones sound across the range. We like the SuperDarts for their balanced yet rich and detailed sound quality. For the AirJax it went for something different, adding a lot more treble and doing away with most of the bass. Listening to them at home, this results in audio that is a touch flat. Outdoors though they make perfect sense.
By putting a bit more into the top end of the treble you can make out more detail in music when running or doing other sports that generate a lot of background noise. Going downhill on our bike for example we could hear much more from our test audio than from other sports headphones, despite all the wind noise in the background.
You also don’t get total noise isolation, which is important when wearing the headphones and doing things outside. Running with them on allowed us to hear enough going on that it wasn’t dangerous, yet we could still enjoy the best bits of our music collection. It might not be the best sound, but the audio design is so logical with the AirJax we can’t really fault it.
The AirJax is a tricky one to score. On the one hand it's a great set of sports headphones, but that’s it. They are pricey and most other non-sports orientated headphones in the same bracket sound a lot better.
So if you are the running, cycling or gym type, who mostly listens to music while doing sports, then the AirJax is a no-brainer. For anything else, saving money and looking at other headphones might be a plan. Atomic Floyd has plenty else in its product line up worth considering.