JBL Free Truly Wireless Headphones Review

JBL Free Truly Wireless Headphones Review
8.6 Total Score

$106.99 $149.95

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  • Great sound and bass
  • Lightweight
  • Charging case (with 5 additional charges)

Pricing

$106.99 $149.95
November 12, 2019 1:31 am
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9 new from $99.95
10 used from $59.99

Sound Quality

As is typical with most JBL products, the JBL Free headphones sound great when pressed properly into your ear.  Highs and mids sound good and bass is prominent, but as these earbuds work themselves loose, bass decreases quickly.  So if you’re wearing these for a workout or a run, you’ll notice a drop in sound quality as your ears get sweaty and these start to loosen.

Bluetooth Connection

Paired to an iPhone 6S, these earbuds performed very well indoors even if I walked into another room without my phone.  I did notice a significant increase in brief disconnects of the left earbud in the following situations:

  • Walking outside with the iPhone in my left pocket.  The right earbud seems to need an almost “line of sight” connection to my iPhone when outside.  Indoors, the disconnects happened less frequently when carrying the phone in my pocket.
  • Wearing my earbuds near my computer or router.  I’m guessing WiFi signals can interrupt these earbuds, which makes sense as WiFi and Bluetooth both can operate at the 2.4 GHz frequency.

Design

The earbuds kind of just “stick” in your ear.  Initially, they were too loose for me, so I put on one of the included silicone jackets on the earbuds which helps add some “grip” and makes them less prone to sliding out of my ear.

There are also different size ear tips included so you can find the right fit for your ear.  However, the earbuds do not have the stabilization “wings” that I typically see on other Bluetooth earbuds, so the fit is not as a secure as I would like.

The earbuds have a splash-proof IPX5 design that means they should be resistant against sweat and rain.  However, only time will tell if they will stand up against my workouts, but so far so good.

Features

The earbuds can be used either as a pair or one-at-a-time for when you need to keep one ear open to hear your surroundings.

The controls for these earbuds are a little different than what I am normally used to.

Right Earbud:

  • Single press: Play/Pause
  • Double press: Siri/Google Assistant
  • Triple press: Pair the left and right earbuds

Left Earbud:

  • Single press: Skip track
  • Double press: Rewind track
  • Triple press: Pair the left and right earbuds

Unfortunately, you cannot control the volume directly on the earbuds.  You will need to use your phone’s volume controls.

The earbuds can be used to take phone calls as well, but please be aware the you’ll only hear the call on the right earbud.  When your phone is ringing, single press the right earbud to answer it.

To power off the earbuds, place them back in the charging case.

Battery Life

The earbuds themselves will get you about 4 hours of battery life.  The battery case holds 5 additional charges, allowing you to get a total of 24 hours of playback.

To recharge the case itself, connect it to a Micro USB cable (plugged into a wall charger).  The case’s cover is translucent, so you can see the 4 white LEDs of the charging case and the white LEDs of the earbuds themselves while they’re charging and the case is closed.  It kind of reminds me of the charging indicators of that “dog” robot on Black Mirror.

8.6 Total Score
Very Good

The JBL Free are completely wireless and deliver great sound quality when pressed firmly into the ear. However, the earbuds are not very secure in my ear and tend to work themselves loose the longer I wear them. Battery life is decent at 4 hours with the charging case holding an additional 5 charges

Sound Quality
9.1
Bluetooth Connection
7.5
Design
8.5
Features
9.0
Battery Life
8.8
PROS
  • Great sound and bass
  • Lightweight
  • Charging case (with 5 additional charges)
CONS
  • Loose fit
  • Left earbud occasionally disconnects
  • No volume controls on earbuds

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