JayBird Freedom JF3 Bluetooth Earphones Fly Great, But They’re No Songbirds [Review]

JayBird Freedom JF3 Bluetooth Earphones Fly Great, But They’re No Songbirds [Review]

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.

The Good:

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.

The Bad:

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.

Verdict:

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.

Rating: ★★★½☆

JayBird Freedom JF3 Bluetooth Earphones Fly Great, But They’re No Songbirds [Review]

Related
  • brandon_t_davis

    I have these and I (mostly) like. I, typically, have a hard time keeping any earbuds in my ears, and these stay in nicely (and are comfortable). I do get periodic dropouts, in the bluetooth signal, but I don’t know if this is due to my iPhone being jailbroken (I have a Jawbone that drops bluetooth, too). I haven’t had any issues with the cord, but I feel that it is a bit long. Podcast and music sound good for my taste. I give a thumbs up. Hopefully the build quality is better than the previous model Jaybirds I had as I went through two of those (ear-loops broke twice on two different sets).

  • Jordan Trimas

    I haven’t had any issues with dropping the signal completely, if that is the problem you’re describing. There is, of course, the usual signal interference when there isn’t much to bounce the BT signal off of. Can you describe the problem in a bit more detail? Thanks for your input Brandon.

  • Jordan Trimas

    … and, officially, I can’t comment on a jailbreak having any direct correlation to a bluetooth connectivity issue, but my personal opinion is that the jailbreak itself would have no effect. As for what’s been modified post-jailbreak, that’s obviously a different story.

  • brandon_t_davis

    For feel compelled to say while I am jailbroken… I’m minimally jailbroken. I only use Lockinfo and Bitesms. With that out of the way, yes complete signal drop. I have to turn off bluetooth, on the iPhone, and reestablish a link. It shouldn’t be interference as it happens when I have the iPhone attached to my arm (i.e. the Jaybirds are less than 12″ from the iPhone). Regardless, I think Jaybird puts out the best sport oriented bluetooth headset, albeit there doesn’t seem to be a lot of competition. Now, I hope the build quality is WAY better than my previous gen Jaybirds (normal use and the ear loop, on two different sets, last less than a year a piece (and I think those were $130 ea).

  • Mnicoletti2

    Can anyone tell me how to use these with computer audio? I can connect them but my computer does not play back audio through them.

  • Jordan Trimas

    You have to select a device to use for audio. Won’t work automatically for any Bluetooth audio. They function just like any standard Bluetooth device though. If you still have issues, consult your computers help function for Bluetooth connectivity. Easy as pie :)

  • Jordan Trimas

    Definitely don’t think your jailbreak has anything to do with it. When in doubt with any Jailbriken device, just backup and restore. If that doesn’t fix it, then you should certainly contact Jay Bird.

  • Andrew

    Where do you get rubber bands this small?

  • Jason

    I have these and, just like another commenter, mostly like them. They are the FIRST pair of headphones that do not come out of my ears while working out (weight-lifting, running, plyometrics, etc). I sweat quite a bit when working out, so that says a lot for me. I’m not an audiophile and the music sounds decent to me, considering my only purpose in buying them was to have something wireless to listen to while working out.

    My gripes: The main button could have been put somewhere else than the outside of the unit so that you aren’t pressing the earpiece into your ear while pressing the button.

    It does seem backwards that you press the UP-volume button to go BACK a song, but I got used to it.

    The biggest complaint is the rubber coating on the wire connecting the two earpieces. If I put it behind my head, as shown in their pictures, the rubber catches on the skin on the back of my neck, tugging on the earpieces. I tried adjusting the length of the cord using the supplied “cincher”, but that didn’t help any. I ended up wearing the headphones with the wire in FRONT, below my chin, and that has worked perfectly so far. I would have liked to see a material covering the rubber wire that slides across skin more easily (some type of sweat-resistant fabric weave?)

    Overall I’d say a 4 out of 5. Minus one star for those minor complaints I had above, but still, these are the ONLY headphones I’ve ever found that actually do stay in.

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