There’s a new kind of darling on the tech-cessory scene and, if you believe the hype, it’s gonna be the next big thing in wearable tech: activity-tracking headphones. We listened up after the Internet went into a tizzy over rumors that Apple is (not really :/) on course to release sensor-embedded EarPods that monitor your health. Then we completely tuned back in after the Kickstarter campaign for uber-smart wireless headphones Dash raised an insane $3M of funding — more than 13 times their goal(!!!). Those aren’t slated to start shipping until 2015, and while they seem well worth the wait, the buzz is too much for us to bear. We want to plug in and get moving like… now! That’s why we’re all over the first-to-market version from gadget-makers LG, available as you read this at a Best Buy near you.
LG’s HRM Earphones tune you into two kinds of beats while you workout: hi-fidelity jams + your heart rate. By measuring the blood flow signals in your ears as you bike to work or swing that kettlebell, the HRM Earphones can monitor vital data in real time, along with other metrics like distance covered and calories burned, and transmit it all wirelessly to your smartphone. Just pop in the earbuds, clip on its micro processing hub, and get your run on. The days of rocking bulky/awkward/WTF wearables to the gym are officially over.
But that doesn’t mean you should go and say your goodbyes to the most pervasive of activity trackers: the bracelet. At $180, the HRM Earphones certainly stand on their own as a fuss-free way to track all things Y.O.U. when you’re rocking out on the go. But when used in tandem with LG’s Lifeband Touch bracelet, the experience is totally seamless. That’s because, unlike its predecessors, the $150 lightweight wristband boasts a bright OLED touchscreen (hear that iWatch?) that displays your up-to-the-second stats as recorded by your in-ear heart monitor. You can even cue your most motivating tunes or take incoming phone calls — the HRM Earphones have a mic; the Lifeband Touch has caller ID — while you’re mid-stride. That’s quite the tag team.
All in all, we’re satisfied, but not completely sold on this first of its kind, and our main gripe lies where it usually does with wearable tech: its look. Making a smart device that’s both high-tech + stylish is something that few have nailed, and that does not include LG at the moment. The HRM Earphones are only available in boring black — no wild color selections like with Beats headphones — and with its clip reminiscent of an iPod Shuffle, we have to say, its design is pretty underwhelming. That’s especially true when set next to its peer Dash that’s equipped with a glowing interface and cord-free design. See that? We’re straying already, and if Apple ever drops its activity tracking earbomb, LG’s going to have to step up its game to keep us plugged in.
What are your thoughts on the HRM Earphones? Are you eager to try this new technology? Tell us in the comments below.