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Press Release: Saucony® Unveils Game-Changing Technology- EVERUN™


Delivering Continuous Cushioning to Runners, No Matter How Long the Run

The All New EVERUN Technology
Global performance running footwear and apparel brand Saucony pulls no punches in writing the next chapter of its performance innovation success story. Maintaining its relentless commitment to elevating the running experience through innovation, the brand announced today the launch of Saucony EVERUN™, its most advanced technology to date. Brand-new for Spring 2016, EVERUN represents a new era of cushioning innovation, delivering a continuous cushioning experience to runners, no matter how long the run.

First launched at the New York City Marathon, Saucony’s Triumph ISO 2 and Guide 9 are the first models is the Saucony line-up to be powered by EVERUN. The technology will later be incorporated into the newHurricane ISO 2, Kinvara 7 and Peregrine 6 which is set to be available in Malaysia February 2016. EVERUN will be supported by the brand’s biggest marketing launch to date and will coincide with the retail launch of the Triumph ISO 2 and Guide 9 at the New York City Marathon.

“EVERUN is not only a game-changer for us but for the industry as well,” said Patrick O’Malley, senior vice president of global product for Saucony. “Runners are once again responding to the benefits of cushioning, including increased energy return and underfoot comfort. One of the primary objectives in the development of EVERUN was to deliver a continuous cushioning experience to runners, combining smoother landings in the heel with reduced pressure in the forefoot.

“Our designers came up with a fundamentally new approach we call Topsole™, a breakthrough construction process that positions our best cushioning material closer to the foot. The result is that EVERUN delivers the same plush feel in mile one as mile twenty, continuously giving back to runners, especially at the end of the run when they need it most,” added O’Malley.

EVERUN Delivers Two Key Benefits
Lowers Peak Pressures:
EVERUN’s patent-pending Topsole construction process positions a 3mm layer of Saucony’s revolutionary EVERUN foam material closer to the foot, directly under the sockliner, instead of embedding it in the midsole below a layer of rigid cement. This construction process distributes propulsion force over more area, reducing local peak pressures while delivering a dramatically more lively and responsive ride.

Absorbs Impact:
The EVERUN Landing Zone and heel insert provide remarkable impact protection, maintaining cushioning properties three times longer than standard EVAs while returning 83% of the energy absorbed, according to research in the Saucony Human Performance and Innovation Lab.

Typical EVA foam heats up, getting softer the longer the run just when the body fatigues and needs impact protection the most. The EVERUN technology addresses this breakdown of cushioning and consequently, joint protection, in running shoes during the course of a run.
————————————————————————————-
Introducing Max And Miles
The Saucony EVERUN Series of performance running shoes will be supported by the biggest marketing launch in the company’s history.

“Not only is EVERUN a breakthrough in cushioning and construction technologies, but this is also the first time that Saucony is using video animation in a marketing campaign,” said Mary O’Brien, vice president of global marketing for Saucony. “We’re always looking for the best way to tell our story. We knew that video animation would not only be entertaining and fun, but it would make a rather intricate technology story clear and meaningful to runners everywhere.”

The launch campaign focuses on the ground-breaking idea behind EVERUN, occurring in a secret laboratory in an undisclosed location. The new multichannel global marketing campaign features an animated video starring fictional lab technicians Max and Miles, the purported inventors of EVERUN.

The conversation between Max and Miles provides a unique and amusing take on their eagerness to share their newly-discovered continuous cushioning technology with runners everywhere. While Max delivers a serious high-tech explanation of EVERUN’s myriad benefits, Miles eagerly gives his own perspective of EVERUN in excitably unscientific terms: “There’s this stuff we came up with … amazing stuff! You should see the stuff this stuff can do!”

The EVERUN Product Lineup
Triumph ISO 2
The new Triumph ISO 2, the successor to the Triumph ISO (named “Editor’s Choice” by Runner’s World; Spring 2015 Shoe Guide), is the brand’s super-plush neutral trainer now featuring a full-length EVERUN Topsole and EVERUN Landing Zone, TRI-FLEX outsole and ISOFIT upper.
RRP: RM 529

Guide 9
The lightest Guide ever (9.7 ounces in men’s size 9) has been completely updated for Spring 2016. With an SRC Landing Zone in the heel, a Dual Density medial post and a full-length EVERUN Topsole, the Guide 9 provides an efficient stride while also delivering a lively, resilient ride. A new TRI-FLEX outsole helps prevent late-stage pronation while a seam-free toe box provides comfort and allows the toes to splay during the latter phase of the gait cycle.
RRP: RM 469

Hurricane ISO 2
The Hurricane ISO 2, heir to the Hurricane ISO (named “Best Update” by Runner’s World; Summer 2015 Shoe Guide), blends the benefits of a premium stability shoe with unparalleled cushioning. An EVERUN Topsole and EVERUN Landing Zone along with a PWRGRID+ platform provide shock attenuation and set the foot up for an efficient transition. The ISOFIT saddle is engineered to provide additional stabilizing support. A Dual Density medial post offers superb guidance while a lightweight Support Frame secures the heel upon foot strike.
RRP: RM 529

Kinvara 7
Lockdown fit, a quick, resilient ride, and a great underfoot feeling are the calling cards of the awardwinning Kinvara running experience. The latest edition gets an EVERUN Heel Insert for cushioning where it’s needed most, while the sleek, FLEXFILM-infused upper supports the foot with every stride. A new outsole configuration that includes TRI-FLEX and wider lugs delivers more ground contact and increased flexibility and durability.
RRP: RM 429

Peregrine 6
With a protected upper, heel and forefoot rock plates, and a new PWRTRAC outsole, the Peregrine 6 gives runners the means to conquer any terrain. EVERUN in the heel delivers shock-dampening cushioning, while the highly flexible midsole allows runners to adapt and react to uneven surfaces.
RRP: RM 429

For more information on EVERUN, visit: www.saucony.com/everun | https://www.facebook.com/saucony.my/

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About Saucony: 
Saucony, a division of Wolverine Worldwide, is a leading global running lifestyle brand that fuses performance, innovation and style to create compelling footwear and apparel with its widely recognized brands Saucony and Saucony Originals. Founded in 1898, Saucony continues to inspire runners everywhere with its award winning innovations, including EVERUN™, ISOFIT™, Geometry of Strong™, PWRGRID+™, and the Total Run System™ apparel line. At Saucony, a good day is when we get to run. A great day is when we inspire someone else to run. For more information, go to www.saucony.com.

About RSH (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd
RSH (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd is a subsidiary of RSH Limited., which is the leading Pan Asian marketer, distributor and retailer for sports, golf, active lifestyle and fashion products; with over 60 international brand names and a wide distribution network. RSH Limited has a over 420 free-standing stores and 570 shops-in-shop in 11 countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, India, United Arab Emirates, Australia and New Zealand.

For more information, please visit www.rshlimited.com, www.facebook.com/RSHMY.
For more information contact:
Advertising and Promotions Department
Tel: 03-5123 2668 Fax: 03-5637 0531
Yi Xuan Lai, Executive Advertising & Promotions │yixuanlai@rsh.com.my
Kiki Lee, Manager Advertising & Promotions │kikilee@rsh.com.my

Skechers GOrun Ride 5 Review

Just when I thought 2015 was a wrap, along came a text from Skechers Malaysia announcing that the GOrun Ride 5 (GRR5) just hit their warehouse. The news was a huge surprise since I was expecting the updated versions of the GOMeb Speed or GOTrail. Fellow shoe geek and GCAM Alumni Nick was kind enough to help with the pick-up and within a few days, I was already logging some miles in them. If you’re expecting the GRR5 to be yet another  same old shoe, you’re in for a surprise.

Old and new.

The GRR5 retains the 6mm drop with the sockliner and 4mm without the sockliner.

If the GRR4 saw a brighter colorway, the GRR5 upped that factor a bit more. Some may opine that the look is anything but exciting but I quite like the snazzy looks of the 5. The next thing you’ll notice will be the somewhat tapered look of the updated version. I’ve always found the GRR4’s fit to be somewhat sloppy in the forefoot. There’s just too much space up front and my toes had acres to spare even when compared with the Altra Torin. I’m happy to report that version 5 has the forefoot fit issue corrected by trimming excess areas. Visually, the GRR5 looks to have a constricted fit up front but fret not – your toes won’t be packed together like sardines with this one. How did they do it? The answers can be found in the photo below.

  1. Move the first row of the laces backwards -
  2. Widen the gap between the laces – nearly 50% more across
  3. Remove the 2 rows of stitching on the vamp

These tweaks ensure that while a narrower last may have been adopted, the shoe remains adequately roomy.

The GRR5 has a more tapered forefoot but with several smart tweaks, the area is still roomy enough. Without the sloppiness.

Elsewhere on the upper, 3D printed overlays are now widely used and an additional lace eyelet was added, increasing the count to 7. Be advised that you’ll find the laces too short to fully secure all the 7 eyelets through double-knotting. Nevertheless I find the added set of eyelets to be redundant personally. If that addition is important to you, you may need to swap out the stock laces for a longer variety.  The Quick-Fit Portal (QFP) is not only retained but it appears to be 50% larger on the GRR5. The downer is that the 2 large reflective strips on either side of it have been dropped, making the empty spaces appear rather awkward.

The Quick-Fit Portal is retained but the reflective strip is reduced to a little thread.

The changes are also extended to the Resalyte midsole. Firstly, the squishy feel of the earlier versions is gone, replaced with a firmly-tuned foam. The firmness is very obvious as you press down on the external midsole area with your fingers. It almost felt like the GOMeb Speed 3. The 3D design elements on the lateral side is a matter of preference, though. I thought it looks pretty neat, flashy even.

Moving on to the outsole, the GRR5 now bears an uncanny resemblance to the GOrun 4 (GR4), right down to the the midfoot cluster. Just like in the GR4, the lugs are deeper with 14 rubber plugs (the GRR4 had 11) adding a bit more durability to the high wear areas. Elsewhere, you can expect the exposed foam to wear out just as quickly. I can spot several nooks and crannies that will snag some small rocks. Have a look at the next 2 photos where you can see how different GRR5 is from the previous version and the similarities it shares with the GR4.

The GRR4’s outsole design (above) looks entirely different from the 5. Also notice the much wider forefoot of the 4.

GR4 on the left. Notice the similarities between the 2?

As a result of the tweaks, the GRR5 now wears a different persona. It now has an palpable performance feel to it even if the weight sees a nudge upwards (GRR4’s 8.65 oz vs GRR5’s 8.80 oz ). The denser midsole foam and the closer fit both conspire to change the character of the shoe. It still offers a cushioned ride except that it’s much more responsive than pillowy. I’d go as far as calling it a cushier version of the GOMeb Speed 3, instead of a cushier option to the GOrun. Needless to say, the GRR5 now feels great for uptempo sessions and Half Marathons. Efficient runners will be able to take it all the way to the Marathon distance.

A tinge heavier than the GRR4 but still under 9oz

I’ve not logged many miles in the GRR5 as I’m nursing a stubborn PF brought about by the Adios Boost. A smattering of 5 to 8Ks are all I can manage in firmer shoes for now as my base building continues. But as I wrap up this quick review, I wonder that with the new firmer take on a cushioned model, where is Skechers going with this series? There’s very little that separates the GR4, GRR5 and GOMeb now and the shopper would be advised to give all 3 a try at the stores before deciding. Give each a good skip-around in the store and let your feet be the judge.

Disclosure: The Skechers GOrun Ride 5 is a media sample provided by Skechers Malaysia. The GRR5 will be available very soon in Skechers stores in the country and retails for RM439 and RM399 for the men and women models respectively.

Jabra Sport Coach Wireless Review

Jabra, one of the world’s leading producers of headsets and earbuds recently added the Jabra Sport Coach Wireless (SCW) to its range of great-sounding, tough-wearing Bluetooth earbuds. Having put it through some sessions, I can now share some of my experiences with you. It helps if you’re familiar with their Sport Pulse Wireless and Sport Rox Wireless but if you aren’t, you can read about them by following the links provided. With that, let’s get going.

The SCW is optimized for cross-training and indoor workouts when paired with the smartphone but it works perfectly fine as standalone Bluetooth earbuds should you work it with your other Bluetooth enabled devices such as the iPod. The SCW rides on the Jabra Sport Life app on the smartphone, the same as what the Sport Pulse Wireless works with. But because the SCW is geared towards indoor workouts and drills, you’ll be prompted to update the app the very first time the SCW is paired with the smartphone. The update presumably includes additional voice prompts and programmed workouts.

The SCW shares the same design queues and battery life (5.5 hours) as the Sport Pulse Wireless (SPW). It’s lightweight, comes with different sets of EarGels and EarWings for a custom fit. Likewise, a FitClip is bundled for the wearer to secure excess length of cable behind the head such that the cable doesn’t flop around at the back. Once you’ve found your fit, the earbuds stay put – I can’t emphasize how important this requirement is, given how the SCW is intended to be used. A flat unit charges up to the max in 2 hours and this is done via a micro USB cable. The charging port is cleverly hidden away under the right side earbud. Connectivity with the smartphone or media player is made either via Bluetooth or NFC and like any sports earbuds worth mentioning, the Sport Coach is IPX55 certified for water and dust resistance.

So far, everything that has been covered is pretty much the same features you’d find on the SPW (minus the heart rate monitor) and Sport Rox Wireless. Now comes the feature-set that’s unique to the SCW, and that’s the audio coaching features. The SCW comes with the TrackFit motion sensor which measures distance, pace, steps, cadence and calories burned. Geared towards the fitness crowd, the SCW has more than 40 exercises built-in, catering to beginners and advanced enthusiasts.

A sampling of the workouts the SCW can handle.

Each workout comes with static images and descriptions.

The workouts are grouped into several circuits, 5 of which – CardiCore, TakeOff, BellyBurn, PushPerfection and MadCore – comes preset with the Jabra Sport Life app. Since I’m the curious type, I poked into the MadCore circuit just to see what’s in there. You can see from the screenshots below that it consists of a single set of workouts based on timing and reps, with 10 seconds’ rest in between.

If you’re mad enough, just hit the “Use Circuit” and you’ll get started right away.

If the preset is a bit much or still too mild for your liking, you can go ahead and duplicate the preset and then customize it according to your needs. You can tweak parameters such as number of sets, rest time, and add additional workouts. In the example below, I duplicated the MadCore circuit.

And since MadCore didn’t sound badass enough, I went ahead and created a circuit called Get Hammered. Just because I could :D

“Can’t touch this” would be a nice track to be included in this playlist.

Thankfully I checked myself before I got started and promptly changed my workout to CardiCore, albeit the modified version. I kicked things off with a slow jog, drills and some ROM routines. I selected Running as the activity and had the Jabra Sport Life app playing from my iTunes playlist. It was just a short run on the warm sunny morning yet I was sweating like I had just completed a 10K. The SCW performed as expected – it sounded just like any Jabras that I’ve worn, which is a good thing. The ROM routines didn’t dislodge the earbuds as I bounded here and there. Ending the warm up will bring up the summary screens. You can add a photo and share your session on several social media sites, no different from the usage experience as the SPW.

Then, it was time to get down, literally, to the circuits.  Press the Sports button located on the left earbud to call up the Sport Life app on the phone. Then on the phone, just select the desired circuit. I kept things relatively straightforward but over-estimated my fitness! In the course of performing these workouts, I also discovered that overall strength was unevenly distributed – something not surprising since running is just about the only sport that I do on a regular basis. Therefore the 20 reps of lower body routines were QED since squats and lunges are already part of my weekday post-run regimen. The push-ups are another thing, though :(

Now comes the part where my rating of the SCW drops a couple of notches. Conceptually the on-board TrackFit motion sensor should allow automatic tracking, progression and guidance for the athlete. It should be able sense how many reps have been executed and therefore knows when to move along to the next phase. The SCW, however, didn’t realize that potential. For example, it was able to track the time-bound routines but found itself at sea with the repetition-bound ones. What this means to the user is that she will need to count the number of push-ups, crunches executed and upon completion of those tap on the phone to progress the workout to the next routine.

Try doing that when you’re huffing and puffing, and trying to get into the zone and you’ll understand how frustrating the user experience can be. On the other hand, the transition screens were functional. Enough visual cues on your routine and the remaining time till the next one will keep you apprised. As will the audio announcements, inter-playing with your music playlist. However, since the SCW is unable to track certain types of routines, slowing down when completing a particular routine (for example, as you’re tiring) will not trigger a motivational message. It’ll be nice if the voice could scream out, “C’mon move it, you slug!” in full Dolby quality sound when you’re struggling 3/4 into your session!

Once you’ve completed the required sets (I only managed 3), you’ll be able to get a snapshot of what you’ve just accomplished. I seriously doubt that what I did burned only 55 kcal even though I rarely pay any attention to that measurement.

I’ve since used the SCW without the Sport Life app a number of times, pairing it with the iPod 7th Gen and the iPhone 6+ with no problems. In fact, switching between previously paired devices seemed easier with the SCW – I just needed to hold down the multi-function button for 5 secs till the blue light comes on for a new acquisition.

So is the SCW for you? It depends on the type of athlete you are. As a runner, I can see incorporating it as part of an overall fitness or post-run regimen. It works well as Bluetooth earbuds and if Jabra can work out the kinks in the tracker (not sure if it’s sensor or firmware related), the SCW will present a good buy for those seeking their first wireless earbuds. The other option is of course the cheaper Sport Rox Wireless, which is a solid alternative.

Pros

  • Retains the good stuff that Jabra is known for – build and Dolby sound quality, lightweight construction, custom fitting courtesy of EarWings and EarGels.
  • Less finicky pairing and repairing process in a multiple device environment compared to the Sport Pulse Wireless and Sport Rox Wireless.
  • Conceptually good, catering to the fitness crowd and the cross-training athlete.
  • Customizable circuits with a wide variety of routines that the user can mix up.

Cons

  • Tracking of repetitions is not quite there, resulting in a less-than-desirable user experience.
  • Battery life is still constrained to 5.5 hours.

Disclaimer:  The Jabra Sport Coach Wireless is a review unit courtesy of Jabra Malaysia. It retails for RM649 (including GST) and is now available at IT Hypermarket Sdn Bhd, Harvey Norman, Machines, Radioshack and Viewnet Computer Systems. Jabra is an official partner of International Triathlon Union events. For more information please visit: http://my.jabra.com/Products/Bluetooth/JABRA_Sport_Coach_Wireless/Jabra_Sport_Coach_Wireless


Thinking of running your best marathon on a scenic and flat course? Well, entries for the 2016 Gold Coast Airport Marathon is now open! With public holidays slated at that time of the year, join many fellow Malaysians and I in Gold Coast next July where you and your family can run and then enjoy what the world-famous holiday destination can offer. For details, please refer to my blog post here where I’ve shared some important info for you to plan your travel and race!

 

2015 Favorite Running Gear Wrap-up

As I’m getting ready to catch some really long-overdue break, I thought I’d put out a quick post to recap the notable gear that I’ve had the chance to try the past 12 months. My running are done almost exclusively on roads, within sane distances and timeframes, making my gear needs rather simple. I’ve no need for hydration vests, 50-hour GPS watches, trekking poles, whistles and space blankets :P ! While it’s not surprising that the resulting list came out rather short, it was eye-opening to discover that my favorites were nearly all old releases! It is true that good stuff need not be the very latest gear to come out into the market nor be the most expensive.

You’ll see that all my favorite shoes, aside from the lime-green colorway preference, were released in 2014, with 2 arriving on our shores early this year. In no particular order, here they are…

Shoes

  1. Saucony Kinvara 5 (Q2 ’14). Marathon PR shoe for 2 consecutive years. I didn’t review the regular K5 but did one for the Runshield version which you can read here.
  2. adidas Boston Boost 5 (Q3 ’14). Its forefoot fit is a little narrow and rides firm up front but I’ve enjoyed my races in them. Reviewed here.
  3. Nike LunarTempo (end ’14/early ’15). Looks like the Lunaracer but it’s not the Lunaracer. An all-round shoe for speedwork, long runs, Half and Full Marathons. This is one of the best shoes of the year and I rank it higher than the Zante for all the mentioned versatility. Plus the LunarTempo has a forgiving ride and even an accommodating forefoot! Reviewed here.
  4. NB Zante (end ’14/early ’15). Love it for shorter races. It just edges out the GOmeb Speed 2 due to its softer feel and sock-like fit. Reviewed here.

The observant runner will notice that the mentioned shoes retail between RM399 to RM450. With the price of goods ever soaring, that price range appears to be the sweet-spot for performance shoes nowadays.

Watch
I’ve worn the 405, 620, Fenix 1 as well as the Polar RCX5 over the years but where technological advancements progressively make better equipment can be seen on what we wear on our wrists. The Garmin Forerunner 225 is a simple watch, has no annoying bugs like the Fenix, easy to use, and has a built-in Mio-based HRM sensor which is accurate (as cross-verified during an ECG test). The sweetener was the fact that I bought it at the GCAM15 expo at a price that’s cheaper than in Malaysia (with a TNF backpack thrown in!) means this watch is a keeper. In case my wife reads this, I’d like to state that I’ve sold off all the older watches!

Special mention
Sony Smart B-Trainer. I don’t think I’ve seen a single piece of gear which can do this much. Your smartwatch definitely can’t spin your tunes without a paired phone, can it? Well, this Sony can. It plays music, tracks your activities with a built-in GPS, measures your heart-rate, reads out your run metrics via a plethora of sensors, takes voice memos, works in the pool, connects via Bluetooth and NFC. That feature set alone warrants a special shout-out. Last I checked, the price has dropped to RM799. Reviewed here.

Looking Ahead
Shoe geeks are already rubbing their hands in glee with the teasers coming out of the Outdoor Retailer expo in the US. But my wishlist is pretty simple. I’ve eyes on the Saucony Kinvara 7 and the Triumph ISO 2 which will be updated with the Everun material. If the K7 fits anything like the K5, my racing shoe of choice for GCAM16 is already a foregone conclusion! I’m also curious about the Skechers GOTrail Ultra 3 (moving away from the GOrun Ultra nomenclature) and other FitKnit models from the company.

What about you? Any gear in particular that you’re eagerly awaiting? What are your favorites of 2015? Let me know in the comments.


Thinking of running your best marathon on a scenic and flat course? Well entries for the 2016 Gold Coast Airport Marathon is open now. With public holidays slated at that time of the year next year, join many fellow Malaysians and I in Gold Coast next July where you and your family can run and then enjoy what the place can offer. For details, please refer to my blog post here where I’ve shared some important info for you to plan your travel and race!

 

Jabra Malaysia Celebrates 9th Anniversary – Discounts & Promos!

Enjoy special storewide discounts nationwide and promos – 9 lucky winners win 9 smartphones in 9 weeks

KUALA LUMPUR 30th November 2015 – Jabra, the leading manufacturer of innovative audio solutions, marks its 9th year in Malaysia and it looks to celebrate with you – the consumers who have helped make it the premium audio Bluetooth brand it is today.

In commemorating its 9th “birthday” to reward customers, from November 15, 2015 – January 15, 2016, Jabra is offering special discounts on all products nationwide throughout all stores.

In addition, to the discount, 9 lucky buyers will have the unique chance to win 9 smartphones in 9 weeks under its Jabra Rewards programme. This includes an iPhone 6S 16GB, a Huawei Honor 7 and many others. Check out Jabra Malaysia Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/JabraMalaysia/) for more details.

Click to enlarge image!

Click to enlarge image!

There is also the #Jabra9 photo contest. Just take a cool / unique or exciting photo related to music or sports. Upload it to your Instagram or Facebook account and hashtag #Jabra9. Now, you’re in the running to win a Jabra Sport Pace.

There are nine to be given away so don’t delay, get your photos up today! Just check out Jabra Malaysia’s Facebook page weekly to see if you’ve the lucky winner.

Click to enlarge image

Click to enlarge image

“The 9th Anniversary End-User Rewards Program is just our way to say thank you to all of you who have been with us on this incredible journey. Since our beginnings in Malaysia since 2006, we have grown from strength to strength and progressively have become a household name here thank to you.

We’d like to celebrate this success and reward all who have given their vote of confidence and approval to Jabra. Here’s to many more milestones ahead,” said Ann Goh, GN Netcom’s Sales Director, Central Asia, Consumer Solutions.

About Jabra
Jabra is the brand of GN Netcom, a subsidiary of GN Store Nord A/S (GN) – listed on NASDAQ OMX.

A world leader in the development, manufacturing, and marketing of a broad range of communications and audio solutions, Jabra has a reputation for innovation, reliability, and ease of use that goes back more than two decades. Jabra’s consumer and business divisions produce corded and wireless headsets, plus mobile and in-office speakerphones that empower individuals and businesses through increased freedom of movement, comfort, and functionality. Jabra employs close to 1000 people worldwide and in 2014 produced annual revenue which amounted to DKK 2,871 million. www.jabra.com

###

Distributed for and on behalf of Jabra by Mustard Tree Communications.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Jade W. at 012-219 5289, jade@mustardtree.com.my
Joshua Rayan at 012-368 8042, josh@wordswizards.com
Kelly Lee at 012-513 3986 or kelly@mustardtree.com.my

© 2015 GN Netcom A/S. All rights reserved. Jabra® is a registered trademark of GN Netcom A/S. All other trademarks included herein are the property of their respective owners (design and specifications subject to change without notice). Dolby® and the double D icon is the registered trademark of Dolby Laboratories.

Sports In-Ear Monitors (IEM): Corded or Bluetooth?

Word of caution: Please exercise vigilance when plugging in during an outdoor workout. Be always mindful of traffic and other safety threats. The majority of my listening happen in the gym, at the KLCC Park (where there are high human traffic) and 1K loops around my housing area. I don’t recommend running solo with the ears plugged. Always use your better judgment and never listen at extreme levels of volume, nor for an extended period of time.

With more than half of my week’s running done in the gym, I’m pretty much plugged into my iPod whenever I’m at it. Stock earphones that come with the media devices and smartphones just won’t do it for me. They’re sonically harsh to the ears and don’t fit well, often dislodging from the ears as you get progressively sweaty.

While you can wear just about anything (including over-the-ear types provided you don’t care about the sniggers you get from others) when working out, it’s always more practical to go with sports models which are weather/sweat/shock/dust-resistant. Consider as well, those that come with multiple sized ear-buds and in-ear hooks (usually made of silicone, example here) for a customized and secure fit, or how some brands are supposed to be worn. Case in point, Shure’s recommended method of fitting (see here).  As you can expect, there are a bewildering variety for which to choose from and much depends on your preferences and budget.

Since I’ve had experiences with IEMs of varying price-point and brands, from Sony, Yurbuds, Ultimate Ears, Shure, JBL, Bose, and Griffin to Jabra, I thought I could point out some obvious and not-so-obvious tidbits for you, what with the holiday shopping season coming up.

First, some pros and cons on each type.

Corded

  • Pros
    • No-brainer connection – Stick the 3.5mm jack into the portable and you’re ready to rock and roll.
    • Cheap to expensive – Prices can start from RM70 to RM450. Non-sports models can even sport a RM1,000 price tag, but you won’t be using those in the gym anytime soon!
      Audio quality – You get what you pay for due to the components (e.g. drivers, cabling) used in the production of the IEMs. Since audio quality should always matter if you love your music, a general rule of thumb is to stay away from those sub-RM100 models.
  • Cons
    • Pesky cords – You’re hard-pressed for time and want to just go but untangling those bits are a pain. These days, many manufacturers tend to put some attention to the design by using braided or flat cords to reduce tangling but it still happens to some degree.
    • Fit – Cheap IEMs may not come with replaceable ear tips and the last thing you’d want is your IEMs getting dislodged due to sweat. Noise-isolating types will improve sound quality as well.
    • Choices – There are a wide variety to choose from. Finding one that fits you well, provides good audio quality and yet doesn’t bust your wallet is often a maddening process of trial and error.

Bluetooth

  • Pros
    • Wireless! ‘Nuff said.
    • One-time setup/pairing – In theory. In the case of Jabra, switching devices will require a reset on the IEM and a fresh pairing on the new device. This is regardless if the 2 had been paired previously, which is annoying. Other makers may have different setup.
    • Audio quality – You get what you pay for, although in a critical listening scenario, a wired headphone will almost always trump a wireless one.
  • Cons
    • Pairing – If you’ve multiple devices in which your media files sit, such as an iPod and an iPhone, you may need to unpair the previously set device. I’ve only ever use Jabra and that’s one of their misgivings.
    • Battery life – Typically maxed out at 5 hours and below. OK for the most part but may be too short if you race an ultra, for example. Additionally a micro-USB cable or a proprietary charging dock (in the case of the Sony Smart B-Trainer) is necessary for recharging purposes.
    • Needs charging – Full charge typically takes 2.5 hours
    • Pairing – May not be a consistent experience, depending on the brand. Refer to the same point under Pros above.
    • Cost – Typically twice (or more) the price of a corded variety.

So here are my preferences:

Devices

IEMs

  • Sony AS800AP
  • Jabra Sport Rox Wireless (reviewed here)
  • Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless (iPhone required since it works best with the app. Reviewed here)

The RM317 (10% rebate if you hold a MySony membership) waterproof  Sony AS800AP has been a real joy to use. It has all the ruggedized features, great fit courtesy of the in-ear hooks and multiple-sized buds, and simply sounds fabulous. Its wide frequency response of 5Hz to 25KHz provides a controlled low-end (necessary in a workout setting) yet has enough of the mids and highs to keep you engaged in the train ride home. The AS800AP would be the one I’d bring along anywhere. There’s a significantly more expensive Bluetooth version as well but that one has a 5-hour battery life and a narrower frequency band.

Since we’re at it, I might as well cover a little on home listening. My favorite unit at home is the Sony MDR-1A (reviewed by What Hi-Fi | Head Fi). While there are esoteric and hi-fi brands out there which cost an arm and a leg, recent models from Sony have been fantastic, providing excellent listening experience each I put them on. While home listening doesn’t require the thumping bass of sports IEMs, the music doesn’t need to come out flat either, and the MDR-1A has an ultra wide frequency response to handle just about the genres I typically listen to. The amount of clarity alone was the best I’ve experienced. It works fantastic with the 64GB Mi Note which has a built-in DAC and amp (that bit of power brings the music to live and able to drive most headphones). Additionally, the Mi Note handles uncompressed and lossless formats like FLAC, APE, and DSD, among others, like a charm out of the box. If there’s one media device you should get as a portable media player, it’s the Mi Note (I’d use it like an iPod Touch). And yes, it’s a fine Android phone to boot. Since relinquishing the Note to my wife, I’ve resorted to pairing the RM250 Fiio headphone amp to the iPhone 6+ to get a bit more punch. The Fiio is very transparent in its duties and add no noticeable coloration to the sonics.

Hopefully there are enough tips in this post to get you started on the path to better audio-on-the-move. Keep in mind that great products need not be super expensive. Happy shopping!

Rhino Shield Crash Guard and Rhino Shield Screen Protector

Smartphones are ubiquitous these days. If you’re one of those not in possession of a hand-me-down, you would know that the price of a smartphone is hardly pocket change – a month’s paycheck if the brand is that of a certain fruit ;). It makes sense then that you will want to protect that investment of yours. Nope, not insurance (well, at least not what I’m alluding to in this case) but physical protection like the Rhino Shield .

That’s the Rhino Shield Crash Guard you see in the photo. Launched as a Kickstarter project, it was the highest backed iPhone project on the crowdfunding site. The Crash Guard is a 2.5mm slim profile bumper unlike the bubble-wrap thick ones you’ll find in some stores. Weighing under half an ounce you certainly won’t feel like you’re lugging a rhino. Instead of a smooth surface, the designers wisely opted for a matt texture for easy grip. An important consideration since I consider myself a somewhat power user. Unless you’re hardcore butterfingers, you won’t be dropping your phone anytime soon. Even if you do, you can count on the Crash Guard as your final line of defence against phone annihilation. All ports remain accessible with the bumper on, including Beats cans, if you’re one of those users. No issues plugging in my Sony MDR-1A and Shure SE, nor the Fiio headphone amp.

The Crash Guard comes in a nice box and includes the back protector and tools to help you fix the said protector. “Hang on, how about the front screen protector?”, I hear you ask. That’s where the separately sold Rhino Shield Screen Protector comes in, which I’ll cover below. But first some photos of the Crash Guard which comes nicely packed. The bumper comes with a back protector which can be found in a slide-out envelope/sleeve.

The nicely packed back protector. Comes with the Crash Guard.

So what’s so special about the Rhino Shield Crash Guard? EggDrop Technology. On the inside of the bumper (made of a new polymer blend) is a  series of honeycomb-shaped texture which disperses the impact across the entire bumper – much like how running shoes’ midsole material do their job – thus saving your phone.

The underside of the bumper reveals the honeycomb structure. Not very clear in this shot, sorry about that.

Before the bumper is fitted, you’ll need to first install the back protector. The thin layer is hardly noticeable as you can see below.

The back of the phone taken care of, it’s time to get the Rhino Shield Screen Protector (see the yellow envelope with the large “Impact Protection” words in the photo at the top of this post) onto the face of the phone. Now, the Screen Protector is the special one in this protective detail if you ask me. Sold separately, it’s just 3 times the thickness of a sheet of paper (0.029cm to be precise) yet offers 5 times the impact protection of Gorilla Glass 3. The Screen Protector is of the clear type and has the following properties.

Finally, fitting the Crash Guard bumper is easy. Snug and secure there’s no sliding around. It’s pretty much a personal preference but I thought the black bumper would complement the space grey model better.

The manufacturers claim that installing the Rhino Shield Crash Guard along with the Screen Protector can protect your device against more than 225 pounds (or close to 100Kg) of pressure. Now, I wasn’t about to use my phone as a test unit but check out the videos below.

The first is the 11 feet drop test. Unless you’re truly confident of your product, this isn’t something one would be doing. You can also watch David Pogue’s test here.

And how strong is the Rhino Shield Screen Protector? This strong. Mind you, I was wincing throughout the video! It’s crazy, man!

With the launch of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, the Crash Guard and Screen Protector tag team couldn’t have arrived on our shores at the right time. Per their website, they’ve solutions for popular models from HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony, OnePlus, Google, and Motorola too but you’d have to buy direct from their website http://www.evolutivelabs.com/pages/rhinoshield. Incidentally, Evolutive Labs was founded by some boffins who dabble in Material Science and Metallurgy from the University of Cambridge. Brilliant nerds, I say.

Now, the iPhone owners can get their units from the list of stores nationwide below. The Rhino Shield combo set which includes 1 Rhino Shield Crash Guard bumper and Rhino Shield front and back impact resistant screen protector. The set retails for RM298, a small investment for an expensive device, won’t you say so?

Kuala Lumpur
  • 1 Mont Kiara – iStore
  • Bangsar Village II – epiCentre
  • Cheras Sentral – IT World
  • Lot 10 – Machines
  • Low Yat – Mac Studio & ID Wholesale Smartphone
  • Fahrenheit88 – epiCentre & Connect
  • Mid Valley – Machines & Connect
  • Nu Sentral – Machines
  • Pavilion – epiCentre & Connect
  • Publika – iStore & My Chameleon
  • Suria KLCC – Machines
  • The Gardens Mall – Machines
Selangor
  • AEON Anggun Rawang – IT World
  • Atria – Mac Studio
  • Bukit Tinggi – Machines
  • eCurve – epiCentre
  • Digital Mall – iStore
  • Empire Shopping Gallery – Machines
  • Encorp Strand Mall – IT World
  • IOI Mall – epiCentre
  • Jaya Shopping Mall – Mac Studio
  • KLIA 2 – Machines & Connect
  • Lim Kok Wing University – epiCentre
  • Paradigm Mall – Mac Studio & My Chameleon
  • Setia Mall – Machines
  • Sunway Pyramid – Machines & Connect
  • The Main Place – Machines
  • The School Jaya One – iStore

Penang

  • First Avenue – iStudy
Perak
  • AEON Seri Manjung – IT World
  • AEON Station 18 – IT World
  • AEON Taiping – IT World
  • Ipoh Parade – IT World
Negeri Sembilan
  • Palm Mall – IT World
Johor
  •  City Square – Machines
  • Desa Tebrau – Machines
  • Komtar JBCC -Ascentouch Resources
  • Danga City Mall – Ascentouch Resources
  • Sutera Mall – Ascentouch Resources
  • Batu Pahat Mall – Ascentouch Resources
Kelantan
  • KB Mall – IT World
Sabah
  • Ba Zhong Commercial Centre- Pronova
  • Prima Square – mc.com
Sarawak
  • Bintang Plaza – Optiprimus

Disclosure: The Rhino Shield Crash Guard and Rhino Shield Screen Protector set is provided courtesy of Distexpress (M) Sdn Bhd, the authorized distributor of Rhino Shield in Malaysia.

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