There were some things I liked about Jaybird’s original Freedom wireless sports headphone and some things I didn’t.

That model sounded very good and the buds were quite small and discrete, but to get that small form factor the engineers moved all the electronics and the battery to the inline remote, which made it a little heavy. With its downward pull, it had a tendency to disrupt the fit of the right earbud.

Additionally, I didn’t like the kluge cord-management system, which was a holdover from Jaybird’s earlier wireless earphones.

With its new Freedom 2 ($150, £110, AU$229), the folks behind the product have made some adjustments, adding new combined “Secure-fit” tips and fins (they come in a few different sizes), as well as a more user-friendly cord-management system called SpeedFit. The new tip/fin combo allows you to maintain a tighter fit — and tighter seal — which leads to better sound quality. You can also customize the headphone’s sound profile in the new Jaybird app for iOS and Android devices.

The headphones come with the same pouch but have a new tip/fin combo and cord-management system. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

Aside from those changes, the hardware isn’t different — the drivers, sound, battery life and somewhat awkward charging system remain the same.

Like with the original, battery life is rated at eight hours, which is good for this type of headphone. However, that number is a bit misleading because you get four hours from the buds and an additional four hours with an included charging clip that has a second rechargeable battery inside it. You can continue wearing the headphones with the clip attached, but the package does look a little funny dangling down near your cheek.

You charge the headphone’s internal battery and the external battery clip at the same time via a Micro-USB port in the clip. It’s a cool concept to have the extra juice at your disposal when you need it, but the battery clip does seem a little easy to lose and is kind of a nuisance. The big problem is if you misplace it, you can’t charge the headphone.

The long and short of it is while the headphone still has some drawbacks, it has clearly been improved and is one of the better wireless sports headphones out there. That said, with all the competition in the wireless sports headphones arena, it is a little expensive at $150 (the new, totally wireless Jaybird Run is only $30 more) and would be more tempting with a $20-$30 price shave.

I’ll post my full review and put a final rating on the Jaybird Freedom 2 after spending a little more time with it. In the meantime, you can read my review of the original Jaybird Freedom to get a sense of its performance. No word yet on whether Jaybird will sell the new “Secure-fit” tip/fin combo separately so owners of the original Freedom can upgrade their headphone, but I’ll add that info as soon as I get it.

The charging system remains the same.


Sarah Tew/CNET



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