(Pocket-lint) - Gibson has come a long way beyond just its guitar-making origins. Now with high-quality audio subsidiaries like Onkyo under its belt it's using the brand name to offer a wider range of products - Trainer being a range of audio offerings that are being punted as Usain Bolt partnered sporty earphones, including some headphones that are a bit less sporty.
For this review it's Trainer Ti100 super-mobile sports earphone under the spotlight - apt, given they feature a visibility light to help you be seen - which are designed to be light, mobile and adhere to your ears when working out.
But can a relatively new audio brand offer the combination of quality and comfort that a £150 price tag commands? We made our ears home to the Trainer TI100 wireless sports earphones to find out.
Gibson Trainer Ti100 review: Safety first
The Ti100 earphones are certainly minimal thanks to their wireless Bluetooth connected build. But some of the competition, like the Jabra Sport Coach, manage the same feat without the battery unit hanging off the back.
However, this battery unit - which we found delivers 6-hour's of use, outliving all but the most ultra of marathons - has been cleverly worked into the Ti100 headset to also house an LED safety light.
We were worried the battery weight would pull as we ran but included is a magnetic clip which holds it to a t-shirt to avoid it jumping while out jogging. The clip fits onto your clothes, separate to the headset, then the magnetic battery unit attaches to this. While this is great for fit while running it's also useful for letting the Ti100 hang around your neck without worry of losing them.
This clip also locks the light in place so runners can be seen at night - or what Gibson calls "NightNav" - although it's not very bright, and positioned on your back, so we wouldn't rely on it too much. NightNav mode can be easily activated with a double press of the power button on the in-line remote. Turning off is just as simple, helpfully, as this is definitely not something you want on when in the gym, unless you like attention for the wrong reasons.
Furthering the safety angle is the Trainer Ti100's SafeSound mode, which lowers audio so external sounds can be picked up more easily. While this is surely safer it doesn't make for a great listening experience and as it's activated by holding the power and down volume buttons together it's awkward to activate, so we doubt it'll be used very much, if at all.
The only downside to this clip system is that it's entirely separate to the earphones, which we discovered when we lost it. Suddenly running was impossible as the battery unit flapped about, tugging the earbuds out. Essentially this renders the sports side of the headset useless. The magnetic clip can be left looped onto the band, which helps - just don't lose it or your £150 may be wasted!
Gibson Trainer Ti100 review: Earbuds & fit
The earphones themselves are comfy enough and fit without much movement. They're harder than some so don't quite mould to the ear canal to the point of offering great passive noise-cancellation.
Gibson includes not only varying sizes of earbud but also varying styles - so there's something for everyone and all ears - and the fact that the earbud ends are also magnetic to stick together is a bonus that makes this like a geeky necklace. They are also water-resistant for rain and sweat so there's no need to worry about moisture damage while caught out.
The ability to adjust the earbud attachments so that the cable can either hang from your ear or be looped over the top gives two ways to wear the Ti100. Over the top tidies away the in-line controller but leaves the other side flapping about still. As a result the standard way of wearing them turned out to be more comfortable.
Gibson Trainer Ti100 review: Sound quality & performance
For most users the highest quality of sound isn't something that's expected at this price point. And since the Ti100 are aimed at sports users, most will simply want music to help them through training rather than something to blow them away. Still, the Ti100 does the job well, delivering decent quality audio.
Despite the size and obvious battery constraints on earphones of this size there's still plenty of bass and power, but the output does lend itself slightly better to the higher-end of the frequency range.
NFC is built-in which makes setup as easy as a tap of a phone to the headset. Controls are simple with in-line music, play and pause, plus skip track and volume controls. There's also the ability to take and ignore calls, as well as to skip between call waiting.
The Gibson Trainer Ti100 earphones offers great safety feature ideas such as the NightNav, adding something extra beyond the current wireless Bluetooth sports headphone offerings out there. Sound and battery life are decent too, with enough quality to keep most runners happy.
However, while that battery unit and NightNav light may be the selling point for some, having to attach that magnetic clip behind your head each time you go for a workout is a bit of a faff. The magnets and clip that hold the headset in place are a great idea in principle, but they feel like an afterthought to help negate the issue of a heavy battery unit and, if the clip is lost lost, then the Ti100 won't fit so well.
The £150 price tag might be a little steep when there are plenty of wireless Bluetooth earphone alternatives out there already. It comes down to personal priorities.
Overall, for extra potential safety, a comfortable fit and good longevity the Ti100 earphones are a perfect idea, just not perfectly delivered in this current guise.