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Last Updated: November 11th, 2011

How many times has this happened to you: While listening to music, something snags the chord of your earbuds, forcefully ripping them from your head. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, and I agree -- there are few things in this world that make me that mad almost instantly. Fortunately, there is an easy way to avoid such a catastrophe from ever happening again: a stereo Bluetooth headset.

Today we'll be taking a look at one such headset: the Jaybird Freedom Wireless Bluetooth (isn't that sort of redundant?) Buds. I've used this headset nearly everyday for the last few weeks, and I can honestly say that I like it -- but it's not perfect.

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The Good

  • Very comfortable and lightweight.
  • Very good sound quality for music (more on that later).
  • The buds fit quite well, as they have different "secure fit ear cushions" to keep them in place (more on that later).
  • Wireless (obviously).

The Bad

  • The buds are pretty large, so they look slightly awkward in-ear.
  • It has an undersized microUSB port for charging. Since the port isn't a standard microUSB, you're stuck with the supplied charging cable (which is quite short). 
  • Horrible call quality (more on that later).
  • They sometimes slip during vigorous activity.

Price: $99

In the Box: Headset, three difference sized of earbuds, "ear cushions," ear hooks, USB cable (for charging), carrying case.

The Bottom Line: If you're looking for a good set of Bluetooth earbuds for listening to music, watching movies, etc. then this headset does the job, and it does it well. However, the call quality is awful, so if you're looking for a headset that you can use for talking in addition to playing media, I would look elsewhere.

Design

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This headset is designed with the athlete in mind. In fact, these are the official training earbuds of the USA Triathlon. As such, I expected a better fit from the buds since they're touted as "sweat-proof." Still, if you're not planning on wearing them while wrestling alligators or doing gymnastics, they'll probably work out just fine.

The overall fit and feel of this headset is pretty nice, despite the fact that the buds are pretty large. Moreover, they're much lighter than expected -- once in your ear, they don't feel much different than common wired earbuds.

wm_IMG_9404 wm_IMG_9403 2011-11-10 15h49_44

Left: earbuds, Middle: Ear cushions, Right: How the cushions look in-ear (no, that's not my ear.)

In order to stay in your ear while running, working out, etc. the headset not only comes with different sized earbuds, but a hook-type attachment called an ear cushion that actually helps "lock" the buds in place. At first glance, I thought this would make then extremely uncomfortable, but it was actually very easy to get used to. They felt awkward for about the first 15 or 20 minutes, but after trying all the different sizes to find the one with the best fit, I found them to be quite comfortable.

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The typical headset controls are located on the right bud: power, volume up, and volume down, along with the charging port (an undersized microUSB port). The power button also functions as an answer/hang-up, play/pause, and mute button. It is supposed to offer the ability to change playing track, as well, but, like with every single headset in the history of time, I couldn't get this to work with Android.

Audio Quality

First things first -- I am no audiophile, which is why this review focuses more on form and function. With that said, I am very pleased with the sound quality of these buds. Everything is crisp and clear, but they're not lacking any low-end whatsoever. That's actually what impressed me the most -- the low end is very present, but it's not overbearing. They really offer a great tonal balance. It's worth noting that the app I use for music playback offers a built-in EQ, but everything still sounds pretty good with a  completely flat setting.

Call Quality

This is where these buds really bombed. I could hear the other party just fine, but everyone I talked to said that I was very muffled. Honestly, this is not the type of experience that I expected from a $100 headset and is the biggest drawback that keeps me from giving it a solid recommendation.

Battery Life

Ah, one of the most important aspects of any wireless device. I can't say that I'm happy with the battery life of this headset, but I also can't say that I'm disappointed, either. I'm actually pretty indifferent. Sure, it could be better, especially if you consider the typical ump-teen day battery life of a regular Bluetooth headset.

So, how long does the battery actually last? All the documentation says it should go for about 6 hours of playing music, and that sounds about right. I actually managed to exhausted the entire battery in one day, but that was a one time deal with continuous music streaming. Still, you'll probably want to throw this on charge every day to ensure it's always ready to go when you need it.

One big complaint concerning the battery is the low battery notification. Once the battery hits a certain level (not sure what that level is), it annoyingly beeps every 20 seconds. Personally, I wish there was some way to disable this, as I would just let me music play until the battery died completely. Instead, you are forced to put it on charge since you can't really do anything else with an overbearing beep in your ear every 20 seconds.

Fortunately, the time it takes to charge is very minimal. From almost dead to full charge takes about an hour, which is quite reasonable in my opinion. The one drawback, however, is that they have to be charged over USB -- and supplied microUSB charging cable is only around 12 inches long. You can use a USB adapter to plug it into a wall outlet, but with such a short cord, this just isn't practical.

Conclusion

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Accessories and case

So, do I recommend these buds? For the most part, yes. If you plan on wearing them while jogging or working out and want them primarily for music streaming, then this headset is a very comfortable, well-made option. However, if you talk on the phone often and want good call quality (why wouldn't you?), then you should probably look elsewhere.

For more info and where to buy, go here; alternatively, if you want to save a penny or two, you can grab it from Amazon for around $94.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, and musician. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6- or 7-string, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • mastermind26

    LOL "prince"

    $99????? for low call quality that is a def. deal breaker for me. :/

    • Cameron Summerson

      haha, fixed. ;)

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    The thoughts from your first paragraph were running through my head just a few days ago when I launched my brand new Epic Touch flying and landing straight on its screen on the floor at the gym by accidentally yanking the cord. I need to get me one of these Bluetooth headsets, it's about time.

  • Magui

    I have this headset with my motorola photon and I can change tracks with it just fine.

    • Cameron Summerson

      What media player are you using?

      • Magui

        I'm using Google music.

  • Alex Sandy

    I have a pair of these, and they are awesome in every aspect excluding the call quality which I do agree... it sucks.

  • rustygh

    LG HBS-700. They rock! Check them out. Great sound, nice light fit in ear, most weight on neck, perfect call quality, stay in place better then expected during activity. Price around $55

  • Senectus

    wow man, I've been using the Sony Ericsson WM600.
    That think kicks the arse of the above units..

    Excellent battery life, awesome sound, comfortable earplugs AND FM radio to boot!

  • p3ngwin

    i don't understand the part about not liking the USB charging...

    how would he propose a better way ?

    everything charges by USB in portables.

  • Joey

    Even though the article states they use micro USB, it is a different style plug (at least on mine it is) so you have to use the tiny cable they supply. Wouldn't be an issue if it was the same as everything else.
    I use google music and an able to change tracks. You have to hold the button down for about 2 seconds to get it to change.
    I use these for working out and they are much more resistant to sweat than any other blue tooth that i have used

    • p3ngwin

      this should have been made much more clear in the review, showing exactly WHY it's not like standard USB plugs.

      • Cameron Summerson

        Why it's not like standard USB plugs? It's an undersized microUSB port, which I stated in the review. Furthermore, I dislike the fact that it charges over USB because it requires a proprietary cable and it's just too short to be practical.

  • Aatif Sumar

    THE best BT headset you can buy, hands down, is the Nokia BH-214. Great quality, great convenience and just costs around $17.

  • http://www.facebook.com/barbie.doll.keri Keri Newsom

    Yepp. I bought these and I kind of wish I would have just bought the motorola ones. They are extremely large for your ears. Not the actual buds, but the block pieces itself. When I used them to make a call, someone said that it sounded like my mouth was right there at the mic and they couldn't understand me. Some good things though, I like how it goes behind the neck. It doesn't get in the way of anything. And there's no cord so when I run I don't have to worry about the cord slapping my stomach when I run.

  • Scott

    The article is not clear about the USB cable. If it is a standard Micro USB connector, then wonderful. If it is not standard, then it is a piece of crap and don't buy it.

    • Cameron Summerson

      I updated the "Not So Good" section to better reflect the undersized port.

  • dewey1973

    How's the isolation? Could you use them while mowing the lawn?

  • KW Jenkins

    I bought a pair of these without realizing the power cable is not a standard micro usb, and so far haven't had much luck getting an extra one for the office. I contacted the company but was only told it was a just a micro 8 pin usb, which is not correct. so good luck with this one,

  • KW Jenkins

    Hey there just wanted to give a heads up that I got a working 8 pin micro usb from amazon that is compatible so there are available additional adapters out there, -

  • indiefan82

    you can change to the next song by holding down the minus volume button, even if you are using google music. holding down the plus volume button restarts the current playing song.

    • http://meatcastle.com/ Youre My Boy Bloo

      Yeah, but based off the way they sit in the ear they really should have switched that functionality because it is way easier to hit the plus, which just keeps restarting the same song, which kind of sucks.

      Also, they really should have let the user have some way to debug the settings because I find it takes way to long of a hold to get a song to skip.

  • rkm1

    Your pictures of the "hook-type attachment" are incorrectly placed; according to the manual. Did you read the manual? LOL!

  • danny blankstein

    Great company, products, and best of all after sale service