While at the Gadget Show a few weeks ago I took a look at a few different sets of headphones made by JayBird. At the time I was impressed with the whole range, but none more so than the Freedom Bluetooth ear-buds. So much so that I excused myself from the exhibition hall and posted an article about them there and then.
What you might not know is that a few days later I went cap in hand to AdvancedMP3Players, and begged them to sell me a pair, knowing that they weren’t yet in stock. The days couldn’t pass quickly enough, and I even went so far as to work from home on the day of delivery so that I could lay my hands on them as soon as possible.
Thankfully they turned up on time, and I’ve been putting them through some pretty intense usage ever since.
Lets start with the packaging.
The box itself is beautiful and looks like it takes good care of its contents.
In the box is:
The headphones themselves
A magnetic carry case
Standard ear-buds – 3 sizes
GeckoGrip ear-buds – 3 sizes
Warranty card and getting started guide
Straight away I was intrigued by the two different type of ear-bud. Reading through the getting started guide it became clear; the standard ones will work just fine for general use, and the GeckoGrip ones are designed to sit in the ear canal itself and should stick to your ears like a Gecko, hence the name.
Full instructions on selecting the appropriate ear-buds and correct wearing are given in the guide, as are instructions for pairing and using the headphones.
Look and Feel
In terms of appearances, the Freedom’s are quite sleek. The piano black finish should make cleaning the phones quite easy, which is good as most users will wear these while exercising.
The control buttons are well placed, on the right ear-bud, and give a satisfying click when pushed, another important feature for those on the go. My only criticism would be the main function button; some of the functions require it to be held in and I would have preferred a button with a little more travel in it. It’s too easy to wonder if you’re actually holding it in or not.
Other than this though the design is flawless, right down to the adjustment band to make sure that the connecting cable doesn’t sit too loosely around your neck.
When it comes to wearing them, the Freedoms are reasonably comfortable, once you find the right size (and type) ear-bud for you. I eventually settled on the smallest of the GeckoGrip ones as these gave the best sound and felt most secure in the ear.
The traditional ear-buds are fine for general use, but start shaking your head around and they will fall out. It’s only natural, the earpieces don’t weigh too much, but they are heavier than a standard set of phones, so some extra grip is definitely needed. Thankfully, with the GeckoGrip buds on I experienced no such problems and I’ve been able to workout while wearing them with no problems.
They can get a little itchy after extended periods of use, but so can any earphones that you wear during physical exercise: skin + sweat + rubber is never a good combination. They were certainly no worse than any other headphones I’ve used.
Usability and Sound
I was up and running with my iPhone within seconds, and pairing with an iPad was just as simple. Bluetooth connectivity is pretty universal by now, so you shouldn’t experience problems with any Bluetooth certified device.
When connected to my phone I was able to skip tracks and adjust the volume using the controls on the headset, as well as receive calls that came through while I was jogging. I did find that changing track while running could dislodge the ear-bud from my ear, but you’ll be pushed to find a set of phones that don’t suffer from this.
In terms of sound quality, your experience will differ greatly based upon the ear-buds that you use, but once you find the right ones you’ll be laughing. Sound quality is excellent, with highs and lows both being reproduced well, something that can’t be said of all headphones. I did experience the odd stutter with my iPhone, but this is likely down to the slowness of the device rather than the Freedom’s. On the iPad I experienced no such problem.
Jaybird have supplied more than enough power to deafen yourself, but I promise you; you won’t need it. The noise isolation works very well, in fact; I’ve used these to drown out background noise while at work in a busy office. Sound remains of an excellent quality at all volumes.
This is the first pair of Bluetooth of headphones I’ve owned, but not the first I’ve tried. That in itself tells you a lot. This is the first pair of wireless headphones that I’ve felt were worth the money, and at £99 that’s saying something.
The sound quality and volume are great, as is the independence of wires. In my tests I’ve found that battery life is around 4-5 hours of constant, loud use which is more than enough for your average workout session or train journey.
The noise isolation is another great feature, especially on a busy train or while out in the street running. It allows you to enjoy your music at lower volume levels without having to put up with surrounding noise. Great for battery life, those around you, but most importantly; your hearing.
Looks: 9 / 10
Usability: 9 / 10
Quality: 10 / 10
Price: 8 / 10
Overall: 9 / 10
By Matt with TechMadeEasy