Jaybird Freedom F5 Review
The Jaybird Freedom F5 is the latest set of premium in ears to bear the ‘Freedom’ moniker from Jaybird – aimed squarely at the premium end of the market.
But as soon as you spot the beautiful ear pods you will stop & take a breath.
Jaybird has really gone to town on the construction & has shot for best in class with the design. The buds them selves are super tiny & slim (really impressively slim), with a gorgeous all aluminium construction that has a subtle sand blasted texture to it. They stand out a mile from the plastic fantastic brigade of ‘me too’ products that they will be lined up against on the shelves, make no mistake they look & feel fantastic.
The premium feel carries over to the design of the inline remote control too – whilst it is pretty standard in it’s function (volume / track skip etc), it is constructed of the same brushed aluminium alloy as the ear buds themselves. Jaybird say it is a full metal construction, but there are small sections of high quality plastics used as highlights.
The impossible slimness of the Freedom earbuds stems from the fact that all the electronics & battery is housed in the remote control pod – this does make the remote a little larger than others, but the design is spot on & it looks and works great.
Inside the box you are greeted with over 500 small parts to play with! Well…. not quite, but lots of bits n pieces – it’s like opening a Lego set! There are 3 sets of soft silicone tips, 3 sets of Comply branded foam tips, 4 sets of wing tips (optional – if you are struggling to find a secure fit, use of a wing tip that fits against the ridges in your ear lobe will clear it right up). There are also a couple of cable management clips, a soft carry pouch, and a charging ‘clip’ with a micro USB cable.
Battery life for the Jaybird Freedom ear buds is rated unusually – they state 8 hours runtime, but the truth is that you get 4 hours for the buds alone. You can then extend this by connecting the charging clip to the earbud remote (it houses it’s own rechargeable cell) which then effectively doubles up the runtime.
Using the Freedoms with the charging clip connected does make the remote section pretty clunky though – and noticeably heavier than we would like. Best to consider the battery life as being 4hrs to get the best of them, but we found that you can use the charging clip in a similar way to the apple airpods charge case. So – you can connect the charge clip whilst the Freedoms are in the case & boost the charge back up to full (takes about an hour) – effectively giving you 2 bites at the cherry and 2x 4 hour runtimes before you need to connect back up to the mains.
The Jaybird Freedom wireless are touted as sweatproof (but not waterproof), with no official IPX rating from the manufacturer.
In use we found them super comfortable, but need a few minutes getting the perfect combination of tips in place to get the perfect seal. Once sorted with medium silicone tips (no wings), they gave a super comfortable fit with excellent passive noise isolation from general outside noises – very nice!
You can actually wear the Jaybird Freedom earbuds 2 ways – the unique super slim form factor means they can be worn the normal way with the wire hanging down, or ‘upside down’ with the wire passing behind your ear lobe for extra security if using for running or working out.
We did try it in the ‘upside down’ stylee – but to be honest we did not like that the remote control pod was located behind your neck when worn this way.
More secure – yes, and probably the way you would use them if running. But we stuck to the standard ‘wires down’ which just felt more natural & comfortable for us, and decided to avoid running.
Maybe we are just a bit lazy? Probably. But the Jaybird Freedoms are aimed kind of ‘in between’ the full on sports sector and the general use sector – we stuck to ‘general use’ for our tests as we felt that is more suited to the Freedom in ears blend of style over ‘fitness function’.
Jaybird Freedom Review – Sound Quality & Performance
It’s a standard bluetooth connection on the Jaybird Freedoms, so the sound quality is just the same on our android Samsung Galaxy S7 as on the other test phone, an iPhone 7. It does support multiple connections at the same time though, so you can listen to music being streamed from your laptop & still handle a voice call without any unpleasantness.
Once you get a decent fit from the supplied eartips (essential), the Jaybird Freedoms put in a decent enough performance sonically. At the default settings out of the box, tunes come across very clean & well balanced – if a little ‘flat’ sounding.
We weren’t as impressed by the initial sound profile as we were with the superb form factor – but luckily the Freedoms come equipped with an app for android & IOS devices to tweak the sound profile.
After a few minutes playing with the app, the new profile is then saved back to the headphones & stays in place even if you move the headphones to anther device (which we liked).
With the new profile, we found that the sonic performance was significantly better with much more bass & midrange punch, whilst maintaining decent definition in the upper frequency ranges. Of course this is a personal preference, but the point is that it is easy to change & setup to your own tastes with just a few minutes of effort.
In comparison sonically to the standout leaders in the wireless in ear marketplace – the Sennheiser Momentum In Ears – the Jaybirds cannot reach that dizzying level of openness & separation, that illusion of ‘being there’, nor can they match the outright musicality of the delivery. But then I guess the sennheiser’s are a step up in price too – so maybe that is an unfair comparison.
Placed alongside the more similarly priced Beats X in ears, it is a much fairer fight & the audio performance is pretty evenly matched – but the Jaybirds would be our pick here just for the ‘specialness’ that the build quality gives you.
- Feature Set 82%
- Build Quality 90%
- Sound Quality 83%
- Value for Money 86%
- Overall Rating 85%
Jaybird Freedom Review – Final Thoughts
The Jaybird Freedoms are a lovely looking set of wireless earbuds, with top notch comfort, build quality & design. We weren’t great fans of the 4 hour (+4 hour) battery life though, and ultimately for a few pounds more there is a significant step up in sound quality available from the competition.
If you love the looks though….. they are a special thing for sure!
Price at time of review: UK £139 / US $149