Having music with you wherever you go is easier than ever these days. With traditional plug and play headphones and various Bluetooth connected options available, it’s easy to find something that works for your lifestyle.
For active sportspeople, having a compact and durable pair of headphones is an advantage that cannot be overstated. From the gym to the running track, having the ability to listen to music as you train is a way many uses to stay motivated. With the advent of Bluetooth enabled smartwatches that can store and play music files, you don’t even need to have your smartphone with you.
The Jaybird Freedom 2 that we’re trying out now claims to be a sweat and water resistant piece of kit that is made to withstand the rigours of fitness training.
It’s actually one of two Bluetooth connected headphones on the Jaybird product roster, a step below the slightly heavier Jaybird X3. The Freedom 2 appears to have kept its weight off by using a more compact battery unit. It has a four-hour battery life, compared to the eight-hour play time of the X3.
The trump card here is that the Freedom 2 has an additional four hours of power tucked into a tiny little battery clip that also doubles as a USB charging adapter, so you do actually get eight hours of use until you need to charge its batteries again.
The earpieces are designed with the flexibility to be worn in either over ear on standard downward hanging configurations, with the now standard interchangeable tips and fins.
A slightly fiddly Speedfit cable management system uses a pair of clips to shorten the connecting cord to your preference, doubling the wire back on itself. It takes some patience to set up right out of the box, but it’s an operation you need to do only once. After that, shortening or lengthening the cord is simply a matter of sliding it between the clips.
What we all want to know though, is how does it sound? When fitted right, noise isolation is excellent, and the small driver housing, along with the lightweight, make this a pair of headphones that will fit a wide range of ear sizes. We’ve tried units that have large and heavy bases that simply didn’t sit well in smaller ears, but the Freedom 2 is so compact that this never became an issue.
Music playback is of above average quality, though this has the potential to reveal limitations of your source file. Low quality and highly compressed tracks will sound slightly tinny and may lack bass though playback from Spotify isn’t too bad.
Jaybird has its own sound app that allows you to customise the sound profile of your headphones, adding an additional layer of personalisation. But even without downloading the app, the headphones work perfectly well on their own, with a clear and detailed soundstage.
When running with them in busy places it’s a good idea to keep the volume low or not seal the eartips tight into your ears (which will result in less bass), because the isolation is good enough to reduce your situational awareness a little.
Batteries lasted as long as they claimed to able to go, and charging them through the USB cable plus little battery pack/adapter was a breeze. From our experience, they go back up to near full in less than an hour when plugged into a laptop’s USB port.
An inline microphone is also fitted, allowing you to answer phone calls on the go. It’s pretty much a standard feature these days, and the feature works as advertised on the Freedom 2.