Heart rate training is an essential part of many athletes’ workout routines. We’ve seen a few companies integrate heart rate measurements into their devices, with varying results. Though other wearables like the Apple Watch can also read and track heart rate data, watches might not be well suited for every type of workout. Cleer’s new Edge Pulse is the latest Bluetooth headphone we’ve seen to add heart rate monitoring technology. Though we had some issues with its ergonomics, it did a great job adding some fitness tracking to a wireless headphone.
The Edge Pulse is an attractively-designed headphone but, after using it for a few weeks, it’s clear that its features are aimed squarely at fitness enthusiasts. Its battery, electronics, and controls are all housed in pods that rest behind the ears, with the driver housings hanging from flexible (but not moldable) over-ear guides. This design not only keeps the Edge Pulse seated securely on the head, it also places all the headphone’s weight in places where the user is least likely to feel it. The Edge Pulse is also IPX5 water resistant. Overall, its build is sturdy and high-quality — we have no doubts about this headphone as a workout companion.
This design is not without its disadvantages, however — the Edge Pulse’s three control buttons end up behind the user’s right ear, which made them difficult to discern and operate in our testing. The over-ear guides are also a bit bulky as well, which made them somewhat impractical to wear with sunglasses. The guides move with a fair bit of freedom, but not quite enough for our ears — we had some issues getting a good seal with the Edge Pulse, which necessarily limited our experience with their sound. We’re not going too hard on the Edge Pulse for this, however, since fit is at least partially dependent on the user’s anatomy and you might have no problem at all. We were able to kind of force a good seal by holding the headphone in place, letting us hear that the Edge Pulse’s 5.8mm dynamic drivers sound just fine for a headphone at this price — not overly bassy or v-shaped like many fitness headphones we’ve reviewed.
The Edge Pulse worked nicely with iOS using Bluetooth 4.2, and through our commutes and workouts gave us about the advertised six hours of battery life. Its standout feature is its built-in heart rate monitor which, as far as we can tell, is hidden nicely under the silicone ear tips. The last heart-monitoring headphone we reviewed — the JBL Under Armour Sport — gave us a lot of trouble, but not so with the Edge Pulse.
To activate heart rate monitoring, simply touch and hold the outside of the right driver housing until a voice prompt indicates that monitoring is connected. After that, a light tap on the housing and your heart rate is read to you instantly. Since using this all the time most assuredly accelerates battery drain, you can use another long touch to turn the functionality off. We found the Edge Pulse’s readings about in line with that of our Apple Watch, which is good enough for us. Though the Edge Pulse didn’t quite fit us, we were impressed by its heart rate monitoring implementation and overall quality.
Company and Price
Model: Edge Pulse