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NB639 Fitness Evolved Headphones

by Courtney on September 23, 2011

A couple of days ago, I was given an amazing opportunity to review the new NB639 Fitness Evolved Headphones from iHome and New Balance.

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*Disclaimer: I was provided with a set of the headphones in exchange for a full, honest review of the product. As always, all ideas and opinions expressed are strictly my own, which I’m sure you will be able to tell below.

To start, here is what the NB639 headphones offer:

  • Chronograph workout timer
  • Pedometer
    • Tracks total number of steps and distance traveled
  • Heart rate monitor
    • Measures heart rate beats per minute and calories burned
  • Real-time voiceover feedback
    • Announces heart rate, caloric burn, steps taken and distance stats without pausing your music or your workout
  • HeartPal™ Graphing software sorts your information by days/weeks/months, summarizes performance data, allows you to customize your results and set goals, and manages and graphs your exercise data
  • Detachable ear cushions fit a variety of ear sizes to reduce background noise

My first attempt at trying out these new headphones was yesterday during my 20 minutes of HIIT on the treadmill.

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(I had wanted to try them out the day before, during my lower body workout, but I realized upon opening it that they need to be charged at least 4 hours before using. Bummer.)

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So yesterday morning, I got all of the gear charged and ready to go. The headphones get connected right into my iPod just like my usual headphones do, so there was nothing crazy about that.

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But in the middle is where the “meat” of the product lies.

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The heart rate monitor and pedometer.

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Before starting my workout, I took my resting heart rate, which you do by simply pushing the button on the front of the display and placing your thumb on top.

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I also made sure to change the ear cushions to the smallest size so they would actually stay put in my ears (the ones that came on it in the package were too large, and the ear hooks were too large for my ears so I just did without them.)

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Perfect size.

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Then I went ahead with my 20 minutes of HIIT. What’s really about this device is that there is a voice of a woman who talks to you. So within the first five minutes, I had an update from her telling me my mileage, steps taken, minutes worked, and calories burned. She gave me three other updates during my 20 minute routine, which I realized were happening because I was hitting the front screen (this prompts the voice command).

When I finished my workout, I hit the stop button, took my heart rate again, and recorded my final results:

20 Minutes HIIT Stats

  • Resting heart rate: 84 beats per minute (bpm)
  • Final heart rate: 116 bpm
  • 2.2 miles
  • 3,117 steps
  • 23 minutes (I started it a little early)
  • 261 calories burned

The mileage tracked on the device was basically dead-on with my treadmill, but the calories were slightly lower. However, seeing as though treadmills tend to be more than generous with the calories burned, I’d be willing to bet that the device was more accurate.

This morning, I attempted to use the device again during my kickboxing workout to see how it would measure stats if I wasn’t physically running.

40 Minute Kickboxing Workout Stats

  • Resting heart rate: 76 bpm
  • Final heart rate: 110 bpm
  • 2.6 miles
  • 4,126 steps
  • 44 minutes
  • 265 calories burned

After seeing my stats from today, I’m pretty sure that I won’t bother using it if I’m not running. Since the main tracker is a pedometer, I don’t think its taking into account all of the calories being burned in the upper body (265 calories for 40 minutes of intense kickboxing seems low?). Many of the movements involve little or no movement in the lower body in kickboxing, so I’m not sure how they were being registered.

When I finished today’s workout, I plugged the device into my computer and used the HeartPal software to get a better read on my workouts.

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The software was extremely easy to install, and within about three minutes of registering my name and info, I was presented with a summary of the two workouts that I’ve done so far.

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There’s also other options with the software where you can set goals for distance, time, or calories burned. Since my new challenge doesn’t really adhere to these kinds of goals, I don’t think I’ll really be to concerned about that part; but for anyone who is running and/or training for a race, this seems like it would be a great tool.

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Once I got what I needed, I packed it all up into the convenient storage bag where it will be ready to go until the next time I hit up the treadmill.

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So, final thoughts on the NB639 Fitness Evolved Headphones:

Pros:

  • I’ve never had a heart rate monitor, so it was nice to be able to track
  • Great for tracking distance and calories while running/walking/performing standard, forward movements
  • Accurate pedometer; would also be good for everyday tracking of steps taken
  • Clips easily to top or waistband of pants
  • Easy-to-use software provided, offering helpful tools
  • Comfortable ear cushions

Cons:

  • Heart rate is not continuously read – you have to do this manually
  • Sound from headphones was not as clear as my normal set
  • The left headphone cord is twice as long as the right (not necessarily a con, but sort of weird, and was flapping around a bit)
  • Not as helpful for tracking calories when performing exercises other than running/walking

The NB639 Fitness Evolved Headphones currently retail for $99.

So now after reading about them, what do you think…

Do you think that this would be a product you would be interested in purchasing? Why or why not?

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lindsay@ In Sweetness and In Health September 23, 2011 at 2:19 pm

I think this sounds really cool! I’m not sure I would pay that much money for it though. I have a normal heart rate monitor and I much prefer the continuous reading I get and I think it does more accurately predict calories! Although, if I didn’t have that and if those types of headphones stayed in my ears I think it would be cool to consider it!
Lindsay@ In Sweetness and In Health recently posted..Healthy Health Care Providers

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2 Mac September 23, 2011 at 2:25 pm

I’d be interested in trying them, but I don’t know about purchasing them. I am conflicted due to the price, I think I would rather get a Polar HR watch instead for a little more money. Love the idea though!

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3 Emmarie @ Bananas And Beer September 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm

It seems like a cool product, but I could think of alot better ways to spend $100.
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4 Lauren September 23, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Those sound really cool, but I don’t think I would spend the money on them. It’s nice that it’s accurate for calories, especially since treadmills/other machines have high calorie estimates burned.
Lauren recently posted..Schweddy Hiking

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5 Corey @ Family Fresh Meals September 23, 2011 at 2:52 pm

wow, those sure are fun!
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6 Alyssa @ Don't Look Down September 23, 2011 at 2:54 pm

I think the headphone cords with one side longer are meant to be worn with the longer side worn around the back of your head. I’ve had a pair like that before and actually found them kinda convenient because then the cord doesn’t bounce around on my chest.
As far as the heart rate monitor, I think if someone was interested in one they should probably just go with a continuous monitoring one, like Polar or Garmin. And actually that would give you a much better calorie count!
I’ve wanted to try those ear hooks to see if they helped keep my ear phones in. Has anyone tried those before?
Alyssa @ Don’t Look Down recently posted..[Trendsetter] – move to Illinois

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7 Ruthie Hart September 23, 2011 at 3:13 pm

oh my gosh these are so cool and sleek! I wear headphones that look exactly like this but no fancy heart rate reading!

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8 May September 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I understand everyone has to make a living somehow – but why so many sponsored posts? It is seems like everyday is a new advertisement for a different company.

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9 Courtney September 23, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Hi May,
I can definitely see where you’re coming from, and I appreciate your comment.
I have talked about quite a few different products this week, and unfortunately, my commitment to write about many of them all happened to fall around the same time. Typically, I like to space these out, as I don’t want to bombard my readers with various product placements. It’s much more fun to share the food and fun photos of Cody anyways. :)
Thank you so much for your feedback, and I will certainly take this into account in the future.

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10 Juliet September 23, 2011 at 4:20 pm

FYI – I think the left side headphone cord is longer because it’s supposed to go behind your head and into your ear. Lots of new headphones are designed that way so they stay out of your way (in theory)!
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11 Courtney September 23, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Ahhh, good to know! That makes sense…thank you! :)

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12 Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles September 23, 2011 at 5:08 pm

I totally think that this is a great thing! Do they stay on when you’re working out?! that is always the problem I have! …Plus that computer program looks like it could help keep me in check! Neat, NEAT!
Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles recently posted..Chia Seed TORNADO

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13 Pamela September 23, 2011 at 6:02 pm

This is definitely a product that I would try. I have been thinking about purchasing a watch (or something like these headphones) that calculates distance, heart rate, calories, etc. I appreciate your honest opinion and will have to check them out!! The price is a little high, but not as expensive as some of the watches that I have been researching.

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14 Jodi September 23, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Great, honest review! I definitely wouldn’t turn these headphones away if they were provided to me, but I probably would spend 100 bucks on them, either. Seems like you can get a little more ‘bang for your buck’ with another product.

They do seem really neat, though!
Jodi recently posted..He’s the Man

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15 Rosa - Fitness, Food, Fulfilled September 23, 2011 at 7:07 pm

It sounds really interesting and like a great product, especially at $99. But I already have a BodyBugg that tells me a ton of that stuff and I usually run unplugged. Now, if I worked out in a real gym, I’d definitely be interested.
Rosa – Fitness, Food, Fulfilled recently posted..Prepping for a 20 Mile Run

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16 Samantha September 23, 2011 at 7:23 pm

I would not purchase those.

1) A voice over my music would make me crazy.
2) I have a continuous read heart rate monitor with my Garmin running watch.
3) $100 for headphones? Eek.

All of those things combined would definitely make me not buy those headphones.
Samantha recently posted..How I Beat Exercise Induced Asthma

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17 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey September 23, 2011 at 8:57 pm

That’s a pretty neat product for someone who doesn’t want to buy a separate HRM!
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18 Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy September 23, 2011 at 9:25 pm

I’ve never seen those before…they look pretty cool! I think I’d rather wear something that accurately tracked all of my workouts though, rather than just running.
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19 Khushboo September 24, 2011 at 12:41 am

Cool product although I don’t really like wearing HR monitors during exercise–> I know i would be too focused on the cals burned!
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20 Kirstie @ Musings of a Happy Life September 24, 2011 at 3:29 am

I’d definitely be willing to give it a go. Even just for running on the treadmill. Seems like it could be a pretty useful device :-)
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21 Stacy September 24, 2011 at 10:33 am

They look great, somewhat different from the regular earplugs, I would surely give them a try.
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22 kristen September 24, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I run with a garmin, and I like this. I don’t think I would use this product
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23 colleen @ thegiftofmondays September 24, 2011 at 8:15 pm

it all sounded really great until i read the price…$100 seems kinda high unless i was seriously training for something big!!

that’s cool though, that you got to try them out…i don’t mind your sponsored posts b/c you give such great details, pics and the pros/cons PLUS you don’t mind saying when you don’t like something…i for one, appreciate your honesty.
colleen @ thegiftofmondays recently posted..is God listening?

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24 Lizzie September 25, 2011 at 12:53 am

those headphones look super LEGIT!!!
Lizzie recently posted..I’ve got SPIRIT!

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25 Katie @ Plates and Paste September 28, 2011 at 11:43 am

At first I thought they sounded awesome. But if they are only effective for running workouts I probably wouldn’t buy it. I’d want something that would track my calories throughout other workouts as well.
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