The Summit Wireless are affordable wireless running headphones that, on paper, boast some impressive features for the money. They offer a robust 10-hour battery life, a rugged IPX-2 certified design, and wing buds to help ensure a secure fit.
This adds up to make them look like an outright bargain, considering the Summit Wireless’ modest £29.99 price tag. Massive issues with their sound quality impede their overall appeal, however, and mean anyone but the most cash-strapped of buyers would be better off paying a little more.
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The Summit Wireless tick all the right boxes when it comes to functionality. The headphones come with a winged design similar to the more expensive Jaybird X2. I’ve always been a fan of wing tips for running, as they make it easy to get a secure fit, without having to outright clip the headphones to your ears. The included three sizes of buds also made it easy to get a secure, comfortable seal.
I’m also a big fan of Ifrogz' decision to place the battery outside of the main headphones. Wireless headphones that house the battery in the earpieces themselves are generally chunky and slightly uncomfortable to wear. By using an external standalone battery, Ifrogz has been able to keep the earpieces' size down, ensuring a more comfortable fit – though as a consequence you will have to clip the battery to your shirt collar when running.
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During my tests the headphones also proved reasonably well built and survived sweaty runs in blistering London heat without hassle. Impressively, they also managed to stay firmly lodged in my ears, even when sweat got involved – something competing headphones, such as the Jaybird X2, struggle to do. The solid seal also offers reasonably good sound isolation, which is impressive for such an affordable set of wireless headphones.
The battery pack comes with controls for music and taking calls. The music controls are limited to volume, play and pause, but they’re still a welcome addition that make it easier to maintain your rhythm while listening to music when running.
Ifrogz' quotes the headphones as having "up to 10 hours battery life, based on 5 hours of play time at 70% volume and 5 hours of standby time”. During my tests I never came close to getting 10 hours' use out of the headphones. Using them for my daily 30-minute workout over a fortnight, the Ifrogz generally gave up the ghost after 5-6 hours of use. The battery also discharges quickly, even when the headphones are switched off. Leaving them switched off I saw them lose as much as 10-15% of their charge per day, which is pretty bad.
Given the Summit Wireless’ low price and wireless functionality, I never had high hopes for sound quality. But I found them to be bad even by affordable headphone standards. The 8mm drivers offer decent volume levels, but that’s the nicest thing I can say about them.
Music on the Summit Wireless universally loses any of its subtlety. There's no extension into the upper treble and sub-bass, so they end up sounding squished-together in the mid-range.
Bass lines in punk and hardcore songs that what would normally sound attacking and dynamic just turned into a dull dirge.
Guitars in blues and jazz tracks, which emphasise the high end, similarly lost their sparkle. Guitars that should sound jangly or have a bright tone, sounded dull and melted into the mid-range mire, creating a flat sound that was devoid of character. Sibilance wasn’t a massive problem, but the normally acidic quality of punk guitar similarly lost all force.
The issues with sound quality are semi-understandable considering the Summit Wireless’ low price, but I can’t help but be disappointed.
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If you’re strapped for cash, need a wireless pair of gym headphones and couldn't care less about audio quality (for instance, if you only want to listen to podcasts), the Ifrogz Summit Wireless are a passable choice.
Everyone else would be better off saving their money and waiting until they can afford an even moderately more expensive set such as the Jaybird X2, which you can now pick up for less than £100.
If wireless isn’t essential, but money's tight, there are a number of wired in-ears in the same price bracket that offer vastly superior sonics, like the Philips SHE9105.
The Ifrogz Summit Wireless are affordable and well built, but they sound terrible.