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Customer Review

Update: Dec. 22, 2012

Since I wrote this review, two (2) new stereo bluetooth headsets have hit the market: one by Jaybird ("Bluebuds X") and the Motorola ("S11 Flex HD"). An acquaintance bought the Bluebuds X, not wanting to wait for it to be sold on Amazon and was floored by the results. I have the Motorola S11 and can tell you, it is better than these Jaybird Freedom Sprint. The Motorola S11-Flex HD Wireless Stereo Bluetooth Headset - Retail Packaging - Black/White has 5.5 hours of battery life, the comfort and the sound is impressive. That's not to say that "Freedom Sprint" is not good, it is. It's just that the battery life is VERY poor and the knobs are very small and delicate, but audio-wise, it's top-notch.

I also need to mention that the Jabra Sport which I heralded for it's battery life is, most recently, not holding up a charge as it first did 18-months ago. The ethical question I pose to myself with regard to the Jabra's is this: Do I say that if you're considering buying the Jabra Sport that it only get about 3 hours before needing recharging (after having it 1.5 years) or do I leave the original comment that when new, the battery life is about 3.75 hours?

So, concerning the Jabra's in regards to the newer models, if you buy them, the battery charge will decrease noticeably after about 1 year.

Original review follows below:

*** ***

The Jaybird brand came highly recommended to me last year and after having them a few weeks, I know exactly why they're loved. But, with a couple of minor and annoying issues, this is one terrific device.

From a practical standpoint, there's really no good reason to keep spending money on inexpensive to moderately priced ($15- $65), wired headphones with the majority of bluetooth headsets approaching 4 hours of use time and the new Motorola ("S11 Flex HD") well over 5 hours.

*** Design ***

The Jaybird is a compact left and right headset with an enclosed microphone.

On the right earpiece, you'll find the volume control/ track advance and mute button combo and on the opposite side is the micro usb to usb plug. On top is a slightly raised and nearly invisible power button, which also serves to activate the Bluetooth pairing receiver.

This is my greatest concern.

Because it is compact and slimmer than the previous model, all of the functions are crammed into a smaller space. After I had trouble connecting the device to my desktop, I called customer service in Salt Lake City for assistance.

Having the power button only slight raised above the unit (not to mention, it takes holding down this button for 7 seconds before it's activated) means that this button will eventually - and long before its life expectancy--wear out. If you need to pair a device, you're forced to turn off the device (another 7 seconds) then depress the same button again for 10 seconds: five gives you ten, the wear and tear of daily use will probably make you replace this, otherwise, stellar device within 1 year.

Why not have separate and raised buttons placed on the left earpiece? From an engineering standpoint, you can only reduce the size so much.

*** Sound ***

Fabulous. Simply great. Call reception was very good and that's considering that they were worn outside of a nippy and windy South Florida night, just days after Hurricane Sandy swept through. And, the Jaybird's don't have a noise-cancelling mechanism built in.

Streaming music from Amazon or iTunes or playing songs housed on my phone's SD card sounded crisp and full. They were on par, sonically, with the garrulously-priced Sony ("XBA-BT75") and significantly better, in comfort, than the Motorola SF600 Wireless Sports Headphones - Retail Packaging - Black and the Jabra SPORT Bluetooth Stereo Headset - Black/Yellow.

*** Comfort ***
The Jaybird offers you two (2) different ways to attach the earphones. One is the standard earhooks. Earhooks are a hit or miss proposition. On some brands you don't know they're on; on others, your ears are throbbing within minutes.

With the Jaybirds, they hook on to my small ears very nicely and they're definitely not intrusive.

The second option is the ear wedge. A cute design that is popular with Bose products. The issue with the wedges is that they don't fit everyone (even with a selection of S-M-L) equally well. Jaybird found the sweetspot with their design.

I could use either comfortably, but I like the safety of the earhooks.

Compared to the Sony's--The Jaybird's are much softer and fit snugly.
The Sony's design Sony XBA-BT75 - Balanced Armature Bluetooth Headset is horrendous to hold: they're hard and intrusive to the ear canal.

Compared to the Motorola, the Jaybird is just as snug. The Motorola hugs the entire ear and simultaneously blocks out a lot of extraneous noises. I'd give the Motorola a slight edge in comfort and safety.

The Jabra is the lightest to carry in the ear canal and they're also comfortable. But, the Jabra's work their way out of the ear after about 30 minutes and you're constantly re-adjusting thereafter. Advantage: Jaybird.

*** Battery life ***
Charging time for the Jaybirds are two hours long. Two hours. It was one hour and fifteen minutes to charge the headphones out of the package and two hours subsequently.

The tech support from Jaybird offered this explanation: The Jaybird headsets use a stronger battery which takes longer on average to charge but they also last about a year longer than those found in the headsets of their competitors.

I asked if it were practical to expect a customer to wait for 75- 90 minutes until their headsets were re-charged after about 3 hours of actual audio use?

So you're essentially giving up longer use time and a longer re-charge time than the Sony's, Motorola's and Jabra's. So, of the four wireless Bluetooth sets, this is the order of best battery life: Jabra's, Motorola's, Sony and Jaybird. Advantage: Jabra.

*** Price ***
The Jaybird's are a new model and the $125 is typically the high end of what you'd pay for a decent headset, wireless or otherwise. They're worth having even at this retail price, but it becomes a Must-Buy during the holiday sale season.

It offers the best of the other wireless, Bluetooth headsets and it is less than half of what Sony demands for their set and you have a much better sound than the Sony's and in terms of call quality, comfort they're equal to the Motorolo's and the Jabra's. So, even though the Jaybird's are roughly the same price as Motorola and about $50 more than the Jabra's, in terms of overall quality, the Jaybird's can't be beat.

+ Sound reproduction is excellent.
+ Call reception, very good considering no noise-isolating feature
+ Comfortable and you have a choice of two different holders.
+ Price vs. Quality--Very good buy.

- Battery life and charge time is deficient when compared to the competition.
- Power button and Bluetooth access is cumbersome and should be re-designed.

Overall, this is a very good quality device that allows to listen to music, have conversations, watch a Bluetooth-enabled device like Netflix without the burdens of a chord. But, the battery life and design makes it an annoying oversight.

So, better than 4 stars but not quite 5. Since, Amazon doesn't allow for half stars, I have to choose between 4 and 5--the issue of design (which I have no doubt will result in early replacements and the weak battery life can't be overlooked.

4 stars.
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