If you have ever listened to music on your Ultrabook, you will know what I mean when I say the listening experience leaves a lot to be desired in the vast majority of cases. Now portable speakers are all great in a fixed position and all, however they become fairly inconvenient to carry around on your person and not ideal should you have to rush downstairs to answer the door or rush upstairs because you just remembered you left the bath running (feel free to reverse those as to the layout of your home).
Enter headphones then, your number one friend for the perfect listening experience. If you are in a noisy environment such as on the commute on a noisy train on your Ultrabook, headphones make complete sense especially if they are of the noise-cancelling variety, enabling you to work and play without the distractions of louts cheering football anthems or that child across the carriage coughing relentlessly.
Today, we received for review some headphones manufactured by ‘Jay Bird’, and these particular headphones interest us for one very big reason; they are of the wireless Bluetooth variety, meaning they are fully compatible with any Bluetooth enabled laptop or any Ultrabook on the market.
So, let’s take a look at them to get an idea of what they are all about.
In the box
The packaging for the Jay Bird Freedom headphones is pretty nice to look at and unbox. It utilizes magnetic fastenings and a black / gold tone. Open it up, and you’ll be greeted with a clear plastic box inside the cardboard outer, with a warranty / booklet neatly tucked away at the bottom.
Inside the box, you will find:
- Jay Bird Headphones
- Manual and Warranty Booklet
- Hard shell protective carry case
- Three sizes of ear bud
- Three sizes of ear cushion
From the outset of receiving these headphones, it became clear to me that they are aimed at sporty individuals, or those who run. Now, that’s perfect for us at Ultrabook News, because our authors regularly run for trains. Both are comparable, in our book (laugh as you like).
To re-affirm the above, the Jay Bird Freedom headphones are in-ear buds, which hug the insides of your ear canal snuggly however inside the box you will also find three different sizes of secure fit sport ear cushions, which aim to completely hold the headphones in place by fitting to the contour of your ear. In practice, these actually work extremely well; the combination of rubbery in-ear buds and ear cushions both work together to form a headphone which never budges, no matter how many hurdles (or garden walls) you need to jump over.
The headphones are a combination of matte and gloss black plastic, which looks better in real life than perhaps our photo’s show. Towards the bottom of the headphones just as the wire which connects the two buds starts, there is a chrome plastic ring which adds a touch of welcome to class to what would be ordinary if striking to look at for the first time headphones.
On the left headphone you will find the Jay Bird logo on the back (imaged above) whilst on the right headphone, in the same place, you will find an on / off / connect / play / pause button (it serves multiple purposes). The button itself is rectangular and has a solid click to it once pressed, offering good feedback. On the same headphone as the button mentioned are two volume buttons, which again work well.
The wire which connects both buds feels well made and strong. It’s rubber, and fairly thick, offering reassurance that it won’t snap if pressured (I personally hate headphones with thin connection wires).
Other than the above, there is little else to note in terms of design and build. Overall, the headphones feel of a decent quality with no creaking if gripped hard and they are light weight, making them great for people who desire portability.
I must also stress that when I mentioned running and hurdles in my literature above, I was building up to tell you that these headphones are the ‘Official Training Headphones of the USA Triathlon’. Great news, for the triathlon athlete.
Sound quality, music, media
Whilst looking great and being fashionable whilst fitting snuggly in ones ear is important, all headphones are rendered useless if they sound like crap.
Overall, I was impressed with the design for the Jay Bird freedoms, and can report I was equally impressed by their sound quality. You see I like my music to sound extremely neutral and just like it did when it came out of the studio (essentially how the artist wanted you to hear it), and the Freedom headphones satisfy this need.
They aren’t very loud though. With the volume cranked up full, music was at a respectable volume, however not window shattering. This perhaps works in their favour however, as I am positive that if I had the option to crank up the output of these headphones anymore than physically possible, the sound would fall apart.
As is though mid-range, low-end and highs are handled respectably. The rubber buds do a good job of isolating most outside noise providing you are not in a welding factory, and the bundled three sizes of ear bud make sure you get the best listening experience possible.
Songs I played; Johnny Cash – I won’t Back Down, Dizzee Rascal – Scream feat. Pepper, Mos Def – Mathematics, Crystal Castles – Not in Love feat. Robert Smith.
Sound quality, media, online
If headphones sound good during music, you can generally assume that they sound good watching video’s on YouTube, tutorials from a website and just generally consumer media online. The Jay Bird headphones do this well, and sound great from Windows noises to some Google tutorials from Matt Cutts.
Sound quality during calls
As noted these headphones connect via Bluetooth, which automatically means they will connect to any mobile phone or smartphone wirelessly. I connected my HTC One X to these headphones and they sounded good during calls, with the in-built mic doing a good job of isolating any noise in the background. The reciever of my test calls noted I sounded crisp and clear.
Note: These headphones will work with any phone which features A2DP technology.
Due to these headphones being wireless they rely on an in built 250 mAh Lithium Polymer rechargeable battery. They charge via USB. I used these headphones for around 7 hours , on half volume, before they died on me. For casual users, this should mean you’ll only need to charge them perhaps once a week.
These headphones have a maximum quoted range of 10 meters according to a small leaflet within the box for the headphones. Indoors, this quote is about right, due to the signal being able to rebound off walls and travel around. Whilst out and about, or running for example, Jay Bird recommends you keep your smartphone or MP3 player on a right armband, so that the Bluetooth signals are clear between sender and receiver.
Although these headphones are aimed at active people such as runners, gym goers or bikers, I used them mainly indoors, and found no trouble going from room to room without any loss or dip in signal, reaffirming my position that these are decent indoor headphones.
The Jay Bird Freedom headphones roll in at a cool £99.00 in the UK at Advanced MP3 Players, the online store kind enough to ship us them out. Overall I feel this a decent price for the JF3′s, considering their wireless nature and ability to handle calls and music / media.
I spent 4 hours listening to music non-stop on a rather boring night on my HP Folio 13 Ultrabook through the Jay Bird Freedom phones’, and never grew tired of them. They are comfortable, non-intrusive, perfectly weighted and they sound good for the price asked of them. They also perform well during calls and are more than capable of handling online content. The addition of a decent hardshell carry case only serves to sweeten the deal further, however it is the volume the headphones output on max which lets them down enough to sway some people away.
All in all then the JF3′s are solid performers, and not just a great option of Bluetooth headphone for the US Triathlon athlete.