Previously I reviewed the Jaybird X2 Bluetooth headphones, which I deemed to be the best exercise headphones due to their excellent sound quality, durability, wireless nature, and battery life. As you can imagine I was really excited to hear that Jaybird released a new pair of bluetooth headphones called Jaybird Freedom as the successor to the X2’s. So naturally when Jaybird asked me to review their latest pair of bluetooth headphones I obliged.
So, let’s get started… shall we?
What’s in the box?
Like it’s predecessor, the Freedom headphones come with all the same stuff in the box. Three sets of foam ear tips, three sets of silicone ear tips, and three sets of secure-fit ear fins, cord management clips, and a USB charging cable.
What’s different is the way the Freedom headphones are charged, instead of the charging port being built into the headphones as it is with the X2’s, the Freedom’s come with a dongle that connects to the controller on the headphones that’s needed to charge them. The dongle can also stay attached after charging as a battery pack of sorts to make the headphones have better battery life.
This may or may not be an inconvenience for some people — having to keep track of one more thing. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of this new dongle.
The Jaybird Freedom’s sound good. There’s no denying that. The only other wireless headphones that rival them are the Jaybird X2’s. The nice thing about the Freedom’s is that Jaybird built an app for iOS and Android called MySound that let’s you adjust different presets/sound profiles for your headphones based on what kind of music you listen to.
Personally, I like the default “Signature” sound a lot, but also enjoyed the “Bring the Bass” preset as well.
Design and comfort
This is where I had the most issues with the Jaybird Freedom’s. The Freedom earbuds have been redesigned, they are much smaller overall (likely why the charging port is no longer placed in it). While this in itself isn’t necessarily a huge issue as finding the right ear tip and ear fin allows them to sit in your ear happily, well, at least when you’re not moving which turns out being problematic considering these headphones are designed for use during exercise.
Which brings me to my biggest problem with the new Freedom headphones: the controller that sits on the side of the right ear got bulkier.
It’s weird and hard to explain, but despite the Freedom headphones being the same weight as the X2’s, they just aren’t as comfortable and I think it has to do with the bulkier controller — it seems to be causing an imbalance of sorts with the headphones.
I kept feeling like the earbuds (mostly the right one) weren’t sitting properly in my ears and that I wasn’t hearing my music as I should be. The right earbud always just felt “out of place” or “loose” in my ear.
I never, ever experienced anything remotely like this with the X2’s.
Take a look at the pictures below, you can see the Freedom controller is much bulkier.
Jaybird advertises eight (8) hours of battery life with the Freedom’s, just like the X2’s. In my tests, I haven’t been able to get eight (8) hours without the additional battery/charger dongle, which is a little frustrating because it adds even more weight and bulk to the right side.
The Jaybird Freedom headphones retail for $199 and honestly, I’m not sure I’d recommend them over the X2’s. There isn’t that much improvement sound wise and to me, it seems the small but noticeable issues outweigh any of the benefits. My recommendation? Save up to $100 and go with the Jaybird X2 headphones.