BlueAnt Pump Air True Wireless review: Light wireless sound
BlueAnt's Pump Air True Wireless earbuds offer comfort for runners with good sound quality for the asking price.
- Lightweight design
- Good battery life
- Less obvious than Airpods
- Battery case is quite large
- Tricky latch on battery case
- No associated fitness app
With so many smartphones opting to drop traditional 3.5mm headphone jacks, we've seen a renewed interest in Bluetooth headphones as the audio connection methodology of choice. Once seen as rather pretentious, they're now significantly more socially acceptable, with Apple's Airpods often cited as the style leaders of choice. BlueAnt's Pump Air True Wireless offer a style alternative to Apple's own in-house efforts without the rather more obvious microphone arm.
We've seen plenty of wire-free dual ear Bluetooth headphones of late, and BlueAnt's take is rather similar to offerings such as the Jabra Elite Sport wireless earbuds, in that they're just buds with battery and speaker compartments behind them, giving them something of the style of a pair of protective earbuds.
What you don't get is any kind of stalk microphone, a la Apple's Airpods. Some may prefer a slightly less obvious style that could be hidden under your hair if you feel particularly self-conscious wearing Bluetooth headphones in the first place.
BlueAnt's claim is that the individual Pump Wireless earbuds are the lightest in the industry at just 4 grams each. They're certainly not heavy on the ear, but then at this kind of size, you're not likely to notice a gram or two either way unless you have very sensitive ears indeed. BlueAnt makes the Pump Air True Wireless in Black, White and "Black Rose Gold" styles, and for the purposes of review, provided me with a pair of the straight white style.
The other part of any set of totally wireless buds is the charging case, and here BlueAnt's taken a rather larger approach than many competitors. While Apple's take on a charging case is perhaps reminiscent of a packet of mints (or maybe a lighter), the BlueAnt Pump Air True Wireless charging case is more like the size of a small egg. That has an impact if you're going to stow it in your pocket on the go. It's quite light, so you won't feel a drag from it, but it is comparatively large. It's also a minor quibble, but the snap-down case lid closes quite tightly, which means getting the Pump Air True Wireless buds out of their case can be a slightly fiddly affair.
The challenge for any set of entirely wireless Bluetooth buds is always managing battery life (because you don't have much space for power) against audio quality, and from its sticker price, I wasn't expecting top tier audio out of the BlueAnt Pump Air True Wireless headphones.
It was a pleasant surprise when I realised that, while they're not the final word in audio quality, they definitely punch above their weight in general sound. That's helped by a choice of earbud tips that can accentuate their noise isolating qualities, although there's no active noise cancellation at play.
General equalisation tends slightly towards treble tones, so if you favour muddy bass tracks you might find them a little soft, but for most music tastes, and especially the fitness crowd that BlueAnt pitches the BlueAnt Pump Air True Wireless earbuds at, they're more than sufficient. They're compatible with both Google Assistant and Siri for voice assistant capabilities, and the inbuilt microphones work acceptably well for call audio. Understandably the lack of a protruding microphone can make for a slightly echo-prone call experience, but in my tests few recipients had issues understanding a simple call.
One of the most common concerns with entirely wireless headphones for runners is that they'll bounce out of your ears and down the nearest gutter, becoming an expensive nuisance. The BlueAnt Pump Air True Wireless passed this test with grace, making it through multiple runs without dislodging from my ears even once.
Fit is obviously important here, and I was lucky enough to find the default buds sufficient for my ears. You may need to play around with the other sizes to get them to lock properly in place, with multiple bud sizes provided in the box.
Battery life is the other side of the wireless headphone equation, and here the BlueAnt Pump Air True Wireless offer reasonable but not exceptional battery life, with a claimed 3 hours of battery performance between charges.
That's obviously going to differ slightly depending on volume levels, but it's a fair estimate of the BlueAnt Pump Air True Wireless' battery capacity. I managed an easy two hours without stressing the Pump Air True Wireless headphones, but they're not going to be ideal if you're a long distance runner or triathlete looking for an all-day pair of headphones to train with.
Like its competitors, the carrying case also acts as a charging case, providing an additional 12 hours of battery playback time, but that's a measure of the total charge they supply. Given their size, it could have perhaps been wiser to make the case a little heavier with battery power to keep them charged even longer.
The BlueAnt Pump Air True Wireless earbuds are competitively priced if what you want is a relatively simple fuss-free set of headphones, but you do have a lot of choice in the fitness area. They're notably lacking in the area of fitness tracking where solutions like the Jabra Elite Sport or for that matter the Bioconnected HR+ manage more statistical analysis. Within the budget space, you could also consider the very similar Flowfonix Buddies or Cygnett Freerun headphones instead.
Pricing and availability
The BlueAnt Pump Air True Wireless earbuds retail in Australia for $169.99.
- Product Name
- BlueAnt Pump Air True Wireless
- Battery life
- 3 hours per charge, battery case 12 hours