Review by Jordan Trimas
The JayBird Freedom JF3 ($99) Bluetooth wireless headphones are a successful attempt to build upon a paramount technological concept: take something good and make it great — or in this case, take a good pair of IEM headphones and ditch the cord. It’s like a musical bris without the rabbi — or the baby.
When testing any Bluetooth stereo headphones, comfort and loudness are key, and JayBird achieved both quite nicely with the JF3s.
They are comfortable and loud like IEMs should be. They’ve passed the treacherous BART (San Francisco’s underground rail system) testing grounds, keeping me immersed in good tunes while drowning out noise like screeching train tracks, and rap music played over a cheap mobile phone speaker.
The JF3s come with no less than six different options for keeping them snug, so I’m confident they’ll fit just about any set of ears. They were perfectly snug on my girlfriend during her rigorous Bodyrock TV workout, which includes a fair amount of leaping, gyrating, and sweating. JayBird has guaranteed them sweat-proof for life — one less thing for the health-conscious user to sweat about.
Unfortunately, I found that the cord connecting the left and right IEMs gets in the way quite a bit when worn behind the neck as instructed — wearing a jacket with a collar renders them almost useless and certainly annoying — but with a little ingenuity, and a couple small rubber bands, I rigged the JF3s to have a shorter cord and secured it under my chin where it doesn’t bump into things. If you opt for a pair, I highly recommend doing this.
The three-button design, though simplified and relatively easy to use, could benefit from some improvement. Using the main function button pushes the earpiece further into your ear canal, which is a bit uncomfortable so you’ll have to find a way to secure the IEM before pressing it. When depressed for two seconds, the volume-up button is also the control to skip backward, and vice-versa, which is slightly illogical in my opinion.
They’re cursed with only average audio performance, with the audio lacking dynamic range and providing disappointing bass performance. My voice also sometimes sounded muffled to callers on the other end.
The Freedom JF3s are a good option for active types wanting to ditch the dangle and still have serious comfort and a secure fit, whether committed to a rigorous exercise regiment or just out for a stroll. Not the perfect set for those wanting superior audio performance and a good hands-free phone option.