This newest pair of Freedoms has tiny tapered earbuds that are about 20 percent thinner than the earbuds on the company's earlier models. The buds are also produced by metal injection molding, not plastic, which is rare for Bluetooth headphones because of the potential for signal drop-out. Jaybird says it has worked around this by putting all of the technology into the three-button remote attached to the headphones, rather than in the buds themselves.
The headphones' battery life estimate is four hours, which isn't great considering the Jaybird X2's have 8 to 9 hours. But the new Freedoms also come with a portable battery charger that offers an extra four hours. The charger itself draws power via Micro USB, but if you don't have time for a full charge, you can attach the portable charger to the remote on the headphones and charge as you go. It's probably not the kind of thing you'd want to go running with, but could be convenient in other situations.
Finally, Jaybird is released a compatible mobile app called MySound. The free app, which runs on iOS and Android, offers customizable EQ settings. It also lets you one-tap into the settings of Jaybird-sponsored athletes, like Kerri Walsh Jennings, to configure your headphones to sound like theirs. The app isn't backwards compatible with older pairs of headphones, but all future Jaybirds will work with the app.
The new Freedom headphones go on sale today for $199. That's about $50 more than Jaybird's X2 headphones and a lot more than some other sporty Bluetooth headphones out there. Jaybird is clearly striving for a more aesthetically conscious consumer with these. But the bottom line is if you want performance and battery life for less money, the X2 are the best on the market.
Jaybird has been making audio products for about 10 years now, and is known for making Bluetooth headphones with high-quality audio performance. Last month Jaybird was actually acquired by Logitech for $50 million in cash. Jaybird founder and CEO Judd Armstrong said one of the appeals of working with Logitech was the way the company has grown Ultimate Ears, which Logitech acquired in 2008 and has continued to expand but has largely left as its own sub-brand.