I’m a big fan of American volleyballer Kerri Walsh Jennings, not just because she snagged three Olympic gold medals, but because she sets a great example for women across the globe by showing them that no dream is too grand or unreachable — just as long as one is willing to work hard to achieve it.
So when I discovered that Kerri endorsed the new Jaybird Freedom Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, I was in. But first, I did some homework on the brand. Then I tried the buds out and hope I’ve covered all bases as I share my discoveries with you.
These Buds Have Deep Roots
Having learned that the Jaybird Freedom is a direct descendant of the X2 earbuds, I knew these had a decent pedigree, yet I discovered that the main complaint of the X2 was that they’re too bulky to be comfortable. Cyclists took issue with X2 buds protruding from their ears, forcing them to choose between safety and appearance because sliding a helmet over the buds was nearly impossible.
But Freedom engineers addressed this, fixed what needed to be fixed, and left features wearers love. The new signature bud design is my favourite: these removable fins literally nestle into my ear folds and fit so precisely, they feel custom made. And the new buds don’t budge; a huge perk for those of us who perspire a lot and take issue with buds slipping and sliding out of our ears at inopportune times.
The New Kid in Town
So the recent introduction to the world of the Freedom caused brand fans to sit up and take notice, and as one of them, I liked what I learned about modifications made. I’m not much of a fashionista when I tackle a distance run, but appearance freaks can forget about looking like Mr. Spock because there’s a new downward curve to the bud design that remains flush against the lobe, so wearers can don a helmet with ease.
Yet, as Shakespeare would say, there’s the rub: while the bud has been streamlined, the remote is now bulkier because electronics were shifted to the remote feature that dangles just below the right earpiece.
In my opinion, this shift is noticeable enough to count as a negative because when I move along at a fairly rapid clip, the cable dangling beneath my chin proved distracting and annoying. By the time I figured out that I could loop it behind my head while in motion, I was wondering if Velcro might not be my only solution!
How About Sound Quality?
The question of sound quality is a concern to me, and I’m happy to report that Jaybird is correct when it says that the Freedom delivers “insanely big” sound quality. I used the Jaybird MySound app to customise and save my preferences to my buds.
Further, the Share Me feature makes a great icebreaker. I was listening to a tune when a guy I pass on the trail approached. I asked if I could test out the Share Me feature with him.
We listened to some tunes on connected buds, and by the time I explained how this system interfaces with my smartphone, he asked for my phone number! The Freedom, it seems, is also a matchmaker.
Can the Freedom Help You Live Your Life?
Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Multipoint allows me to pair and connect a couple of my Bluetooth devices so if I’m insane enough to want to stay connected 24/7 for fear of missing out on something big, I can connect my buds to my laptop and phone simultaneously so no phone call goes unanswered from my boss or my mum.
Is this technology overload? It is; but if God didn’t want us to experience a vast network of connectivity at the same time, why would He create the designers of the Freedom?
Of course, in the larger sense, audio enjoyment of all types won’t be blissful if, like me, one of your biggest ongoing complaints about electronics can be summed up in two words: battery life.
I was apprehensive at first, but after I mastered on-the-fly recharge protocols, the eight hours of battery life Jaybird promised proved accurate courtesy of four bud hours and four charging clip hours.
- I was able to leave my smartwatch home when I worked out because I synched my tunes to my headset.
- The premium metal used to fabricate this gear outlives plastic and doesn’t impact signal performance.
- Jaybird Freedom designers chose vibrant colours and sand-blasted accents that are fashion forward.
- Charge your batteries on the go using the clip that ups the amount of time you can go without recharging.
- Expect a secure fit, whether you wear it over or under your ears. The headset is helmet-friendly, too.
- I’m wearing the ocean coloured buds, but you can’t go wrong with the elegant gold option.
- Not everyone takes to the inline remote that charges the headset; it can feel both heavy and annoying.
- The retail price of around S$259 maybe a deal breaker for some on a tight budget.
- Since all of the electronics are packed into the inline remote feature, if it goes bad, you’re out of luck.
- Misplace the external battery clip and you can’t charge the Jaybird Freedom until you replace it.
- Availability could be problematic. Despite the high price, sales are brisk and these buds are moving fast!
It’s hard not to love a company that takes to heart the changes shoppers request, yet by shifting the electronics from buds to a separate device was a risky move. It takes a little wear time to get used to tucking the remote device away during athletic endeavours and retrieving it to only when it’s needed.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t compliment the unique battery life feature: it’s the “shared responsibility” of the remote and the buds to deliver a total of 8 hours of power to the wearer. These buds are space-age chic, can be worn in several ways and if you can get over the heart-stopping price tag, getting accustomed to the nuances of this audio product is easy to do.
In sum, the Jaybird Freedom delivers on its freedom promise in meaningful ways.
Is price a deal-breaker for you when you encounter a new electronic product that has the potential to make your workouts and daily activities more pleasurable experiences?