Key to maintaining sanity on the farm is a continual stream of podcasts and, occasionally, music. I spend all day every day with gadgets in my ears, and Verizon let me recently spend a few weeks with a BlueAnt Pump HD headset to see how it held up.
The BlueAnt Pump HD is rugged and resistant to sweat and water. It features large earpieces that sit over and behind each ear, somewhat like large, stylish hearing aids, connected by a cord. There are three control buttons, located on the right earpiece, that handle all music and call functions.
The headset comes with a selection of ear pieces comprising large, medium and small plastic “comfort seal” tips, as well as a set of Comply premium awareness foam tips. Also included in the box are stabilizers and a cable tie to tweak the fit of the headset about the head.
The headset is quite comfortable and, unlike other designs, I never had to worry about it falling off, even without the stabilizers. I usually wear the LG Tone+, and any time I get on a creeper or crawl under a piece of machinery it will fall off. The nature of the design of the Pump, however, makes it pretty much impossible to wear only one ear, which is frequently how I use the Tone+. It’s also very uncomfortable with glasses, making it less desirable than the Tone+ when I’m driving.
The controls are very simple to use. Three buttons are fewer than the control sets on the other headsets I’ve used, but all functions are present with only the three buttons and it’s nice to not have to remember which ear to find the volume rocker or the forward and back control. Everything is behind the right ear on the Pump.
I found that I would get about five or six hours of battery life with the Pump, which was somewhat disappointing to me. I use a headset about 12 hours a day, which means I’d need another option to get me through the rest of the day. If, however, you’re looking for something to use for a workout, or something to wear while servicing equipment, the Pump is would be a very nice option from a battery life perspective.
Finally, let’s talk about sound quality. As a musician, I’m a big audiophile. My preference is for crisp vocals, clear highs and a low end that is proportional to the balance of the rest of the sound. I used the plastic tips, as pictured, for the majority of my review. I found the sound quality to be fairly muddy, with a weak bass response and a high end that easily got lost. I got quickly used to it for podcasts, but it wasn’t a very good experience when listening to music.
Before wrapping up my trial, I swapped the tips with a set of Comply foam tips and was stunned at the difference in fit and sound. The Comply tips are isolation tips, both blocking out external sound as well as completely changing the sound entering the ear canal. The weak bass response in music I experienced with the plastic tips was replaced by a brain bumping low end that drowned out the rest of the sound. Now, I’m very critical of the modern trend towards bass-heavy music, and I would guess that the frequency response of the Pump is similar to that of other new and popular headsets on the market. I used the equalizer in Google Play Music to adjust the sound to a nature to which I would would enjoy listening and I’ve attached a screenshot.
If you’re a fan of a bass heavy sound, or you don’t mind making some tweaks to the equalizer, the Pump has an overwhelming punch and volume to spare when used with the Comply earpieces. With a behind-the-ear design, it’s a comfortable option for a workout or when working in awkward positions.