(Pocket-lint) - Jaybird is a company with sports in its DNA. Company founder Judd Armstrong is an athlete, his intention with Jaybird to create a whole range of fitness-orientated headphones and wearables.
But the sports headphone market is an ever-increasing one, with new competition arriving all the time. In the Freedom 2, which succeed the original Freedom, does Jaybird have a winning pair of sports headphones on its hands?
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How well do the JayBird Freedom 2 sports headphones fit?
The Jaybird Freedom 2 is a wireless pair of in-ear sports headphones, although they're not completely wireless like the Jaybird Run, as there's still a cable that runs around the back of your neck.
Integrated into the neckband is Jaybird's SpeedFit adjustment feature, which makes it quick and easy to change the length of the cable by putting on two small pieces of plastic. We feel this is a more accomplished system than the one used by the Beats Powerbeats 3 Wireless.
However, we found the volume control and in-line mic module of the Freedom 2 to be a bit too heavy and in an awkward position. We had to tighten the cable quite a lot to get a comfortable and secure fit, which meant the volume control module had to sit behind our right ear. Changing the volume and accessing the play/pause button, therefore, became a bit tricky, and the weight of it occasionally dislodged the right earpiece.
We changed the fins that came pre-attached to the Freedom 2 for a pair that provided a more snug fit, but we still had a few issues with it coming loose. We also felt the eartips could be pushed too far into our ear canal too easily. It's not a major issue, as it only happened when we were trying to adjust the fin to fit properly and give a secure fit, but it's something worth noting. We prefer the over-ear hook design of the Beats Powerbeats 3 Wireless as they're easier to put on and weigh less.
There is a good range of accessories included with the Freedom 2: four pairs of silicone fins, a clothes clip for helping to keep the headphones in place, a carry case, and a battery charging module.
How long does the Jaybird Freedom 2's battery last?
The Freedom 2 has a fairly short four-hour battery life from a single charge. To combat this, Jaybird provides a small clip-on battery module that doubles the life. You'll need to clip this on whenever you need to recharge as it houses the Micro-USB port.
However, this attaches to the control module on the headphone's wire, which, as we said, we already found too heavy. Adding the battery module adds more weight and makes the Freedom 2 even more susceptible to coming loose. However, Jaybird may envisage you not wearing them while they recharge, but that means no music!
The other thing that bothered us about the control module is that it can't be used to skip tracks. Usually a double tap will skip forward a tune, but there's no such feature here - only a single tap for play and pause.
Bluetooth performance is very good though. The Freedom 2 connected to our phone as soon as we turned it on and voice feedback direct to the ears tells you when they're on and the remaining battery level.
One feature we do like about the Jaybird Freedom 2 is the companion app. It's a fairly in-depth offering and allows you see the battery level, change the sound profile, even locate these in-ears if lost.
The app also offers a selection of curated playlists for various situations and you can join a community by liking different playlists and equaliser presets, or making your own and sharing them. Best of all, it's completely free.
The presets are a great way to customise the sound to your personal preference. By default, the Freedom 2 comes with a flat sound profile, but this can be quickly changed to either one of Jaybird's own presets, or ones created by the wider community. You're sure to find something to suit your tastes.
What do the Jaybird Freedom 2 sound like?
While we can't say much for the design and fit of the Freedom 2, we can praise the sound quality, as there's a decent serving of bass to help you along with even the most strenuous of workouts and runs. It's not an overbearing amount of low-end, though.
The Freedom 2 delivers an exciting listen with great rhythm. So much that we often found ourselves tapping our feet and dancing while in the gym, to the bemusement of other gym-goers.
It needn't all be about the bass, however, as the Jaybird is a great companion for less upbeat tracks with vocals at the fore. We tried an acoustic version of a Jessie Ware track and were impressed with how well these in-ears conveyed the delicacy of both the guitar strings and Jesse's soft, seductive voice.
The high-end frequency can get a little ear-piercing at times, but it's nothing that a slight volume change can't resolve, and it's a trait shared by several other pairs of in-ears that we've listened to.
The Jaybird Freedom 2 has some fierce competition in the form of the Beats Powerbeats 3 Wireless, the latter fitting better into our ears. This could be a case of personal preference, but we certainly favour the over-ear hook design of the Beats design over the Jaybird.
However, once you do find the right fit, the Jaybird Freedom 2 reward with impressive sound. In fact, we'd say they sound better than the Beats rival, so it's a shame the battery life isn't great and we just couldn't get on with them from a fit and therefore comfort point of view.
Beats Powerbeats 3 Wireless
The Powerbeats 3 Wireless has a sound profile just as impressive than the Jaybird Freedom 2. What sets the Beats apart is the fit, comfort and battery life. Sure, there's no companion app, but the Beats' simplicity and instant connection to iOS devices makes for one of the best pairs of sports in-ears available right now.
Read the full review: Beats Powerbeats 3 Wireless