When Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson debuted his new Project Rock headphones, they came with the promise of helping you “crush your workouts.”
But I was curious: as someone who isn’t quite as athletically inclined as Johnson is, could they do more than help me crush it at the gym? Could they become my go-to commuting, music, and everything-in-between headphones?
Why? Because for $US250, the headphones needed to fit into all facets of my life, not just my workouts.
I tried the Project Rock headphones – officially called the UA Sport Wireless Train headphones, Project Rock edition, which is a mouthful; – for about a week. I used them to work out, but I also wore them on the subway each day, and for making calls and listening to music at home.
After a week, they’re my new favourite headphones.
The Project Rock headphones are sporty, rugged, and relatively lightweight.
I was worried that the Project Rock headphones would feel too rugged and masculine, but that ended up not being the case.
The headphones are certainly sporty, don’t get me wrong – if you’re looking for something sleek and refined, these headphones do not fit the bill. But they manage to look and feel high-end without being too precious. I never worried about sweating on them, or tossing them into my bag without a case.
The headphones are also incredibly comfortable to wear. They’re certainly heavier than a similar-sized pair of wired headphones, but I found that the weight didn’t bother me, even while working out. The ear pads are made of a breathable mesh material, so they didn’t trap in heat, even on days of 90-degree heat with high humidity.
Plus, they don’t slip. I don’t exactly work out to the level that Johnson does – not even close – but they stayed firmly in place, even while running or doing jumping jacks.
The Project Rock headphones have oversized buttons, and now I’m wondering why all wireless headphones don’t do this.
Making the buttons extra-large is one of the smartest decisions Under Armour could have made.
Before using the Project Rock headphones, I never realised how much of a pain point the buttons typically are for me. I’m now realising that with most other headphones, I’m often fumbling with the buttons, hoping I’m pressing the correct one. This is annoying at best, and dangerous at worst – I don’t want to be fiddling around with my headphones while I’m running on a treadmill. Having large buttons eliminated that issue completely.
And if you’re worried that they stand out too much, don’t worry: they don’t. After a few days of using the headphones, you won’t even notice they’re there.
I did have one qualm with the design, however: the bulls.
The headphones have a bull on each ear, which is the logo for Project Rock, as well as one of Johnson’s earliest tattoos. The bulls have a dual purpose: they act as logos, but one of the bulls is also the “talk thru” button, which will automatically lower the volume so you can hear someone talking to you. I didn’t find myself using this feature very often, but it’s innovative and nice to have.
Tech features aside, I wasn’t a fan of the large bull logos. I’m not into overly feminine products, and in fact, I usually prefer the “men’s version” of products over the pink “women’s version.” However, even I was turned off by the masculine design choice.
There’s also the fact that the headphones say “Blood. Sweat. Respect.” along the top of the headband. This didn’t bother me quite as much, though, especially because it’s printed in a subtle finish. And, while that’s not exactly my mantra, it did hype me up a little before working out.
Under Armour partnered with high-end headphone manufacturer JBL to make the headphones, and it shows.
Sound-wise, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Project Rock headphones, but they blew me away.
I compared the headphones to my everyday pair of wired on-ear Sony headphones, and was shocked by how much better the Project Rock headphones sounded. Overall, the sound is richer and fuller, and the bass is heavy but not overwhelming like, say, a pair of Beats.
In fact, I’m willing to bet that most people who try these headphones will think they sound great.
I only have one negative thing to say about the sound, and it’s that the headphones were quieter than I expected. In quiet places like my house, my office, or while working out, they sounded great – loud, even. But if there was a lot of external noise, like on the subway, I felt like I was constantly cranking the volume to mask it.
A few other features to note:
- Phone calls. I make calls on my headphones all the time, but it’s usually a major shortcoming in most wireless headphones I’ve tried. The Project Rock headphones, however, worked great. The person on the other end of the phone could hear me perfectly, and it was seamless to switch back and forth between calls and music.
- Battery life. I’ve been using the headphones regularly for eight days, and I haven’t had to charge them yet. In fact, I’m only at about 50% battery. I’m not sure how they would stand up to heavy use, but if you’re using them for a few hours a day, you shouldn’t have to charge them very often.
So, should you buy them?
I can’t really think of a reason not to buy the Project Rock headphones.
While I’m not sure audiophiles will be blown away by these headphones, most people will probably be quite satisfied with them. For me, they fell in the sweet spot of great sound, comfort, and ease of use. Plus, they have excellent battery life and don’t fall off when you’re working out.
And at $US250, they’re $US50 cheaper than their closest competitor, Apple’s own Beats Solo3 wireless headphones.
Quite frankly, the only reason not to buy the headphones is the design, because the overall look and feel probably isn’t for everyone. They’re rugged, sporty, and hyper-masculine – not unlike Johnson himself.
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