Pros: Small size, sturdy design, battery life, sharp sound
Cons: A bit hard to keep in ear, sound needs tuning with an app
I first heard of Jaybird when they donated a pair of their X2 headphones (the predecessor to the Freedom) for our Winter 2016 Image of the Month contest winner. With their new Freedoms coming out I reached out to them and by way of disclosure they sent me this pair as a demo model to review.
This is my impression after about one week of use. Upon unboxing I was initially struck by how small they really are. Their brand ambassador told me that they were the smallest buds they made while still using the same driver from their previous models; I wasn't expecting how small they managed to get them. It's actually rather impressive that they can get that much battery life and good quality sound out of such small earbuds.
The Freedom has a lot of options for keeping the headphones in your ear. when you unbox it you'll find 3 different sizes of silicon ear pieces, 2 sizes of foam one, 3 different size ear wings (as I call them), plus some cable management stuff. I'll preface this part of the review with the fact that I seem to have very weird ears. Normal cheap ear buds (like the ones that come with an iPhone) fall out of my ears in a matter of seconds even just sitting completely still. Even with my day to day in ear headphones I have to wrap the cable around my ear once and put it in to keep it from slipping out. I think it's because I have a fairly small ear hole.
That said, at first I struggled a bit to keep the headphones in my ear. With the smallest silicone tips they kept just sliding out after about fifteen seconds. The larger ones didn't even fit in my ear canal and just fell right off. I switched over to the foam tips and had more success, but when I went to move very much they also fell out. After about ten minutes of trying different combinations of things I settled on the small foam tips together with the medium wings and that seems to keep them in pretty well thus far. I find that they stay in much better with the little clip to attach it to the back of your shirt as well.
Yesterday by way of an experiment I walked around for about an hour with the headphones in. They never got to the point of falling out although every once in a while I did adjust them, but that is primarily due to the fact that I like them to be really pushed in to cut out as much background noise as possible.
Now obviously the most important part of a pair of headphones is how they sound. My very first impression of them was that I was impressed. The sound was amazingly crisp. I listened to everything from rock, classical music, pop, hip hop, etc. to get a feel for how they do across the spectrum. The highs are very crisp, but I found that out of the box the low end was underwhelming for a premium headphone like the Freedom. However Jaybird offers an app to go with the headphones that allows you to tweak the sound. Their standard EQ preset on the app drops the highs and raises the lows with a fairly neutral change in the middle. In my opinion that sounds much better for the music that is more likely to be listened to while exercising so I'd suggest that be the out of the box configuration for future models, but it is a very simple fix and I am a big fan of the fact that I can easily tweak the sound coming out to match the music I'm listening to.