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Jaybird has created a product line that is dominating the workout headphone market. Their flagship headphone, the Jaybird X3, is one of the best sellers in the Bluetooth earbud market. But are they really worth paying double the price of the lesser known Freedom F5?
This guide is a side-by-side comparison of both headphones. You'll be able to see exactly where the two headphones differ and why the Jaybird X3 is twice as expensive.
Hopefully, by the end, you'll be able to make a better decision on which headphone is right for you. To summarize, we are going to consider:
- Battery life
- Sound Quality
- Overall ease-of-use
Our first stop is going to cover one of the most important features for Bluetooth headphones - battery life.
Battery Life Comparison
Battery life is often one of the first stats that people look at when judging Bluetooth headphones. As it should be. The original Bluetooth headphones were constrained by lack-luster battery performance. This drastically hindered their ability to be used for day-to-day use.
Luckily, both Bluetooth and battery technology has come a long way. Both the Jaybird X3 and the Freedom F5 have industry standard battery life performance. It often comes down to providing long lasting batteries without the user noticing physical consequences of a large battery size.
Jaybird X3 Battery Life
Jaybird X3 Battery Life
8 hours with a 2.5 hour charge
The batteries of the X3 are actually stored within the earbuds themselves. This does result in a little bit of weight to each earbud but it isn't very noticeable. It's charged using the inline control/mic.
Jaybird Freedom F5 Battery Life
Jaybird Freedom F5 Battery Life
The standard battery life of the Freedom F5 is half that of the X3. But, it does come with an external attachment that can boost the battery life by another 4 hours. You simply attach it to the inline control and it works exactly the same as a power bank. Some people have found this attachment to be annoyingly heavy while it hasn't bothered others.
While the 4 hour battery life may seem to be small, it does provide enough time to get through your average run time or gym session. The issues arise when you are planning on using the headphones for all of your daily activities such as commuting or during work.
My only gripe with the battery pack is you need it to charge the headphones. That means if you lose it you will have to pay an additional $24.99 to get a new pack just to charge your headphones.
Why Is Connectivity Important?
Having the latest Bluetooth connectivity is essential to being able to stream high definition audio without completely draining the battery supply. The last Bluetooth update was back in 2010 when it was updated to Bluetooth 4.0. The recently upgraded 4.1 offers many features that are important for wireless earbuds.
Bluetooth 4.1 has made some advances that allow it to coexist with LTE tech without straining the device's battery. It also provides more efficient data transfer as well as smart connectivity. These advances make 4.1 much lighter on batteries which is how the X3 has managed to cram 8 hours of battery life into a such a small package.
Jaybird X3 Bluetooth Connectivity
Jaybird X3 Connectivity
Bluetooth 4.1 is exactly what we want to see in a set of Bluetooth earbuds.
Jaybird F5 Bluetooth Connectivity
Jaybird F5 Connectivity
No difference between the connectivity of the two headphones.
Choosing the Most Comfortable Headphones
I used to have a set of headphones that worked well in every other area of my life except during my runs. They would constantly fall out and require constant attention during my run.
The lack of a secure headphone totally ruined the set of headphones as I tend to stick with one set of headphones for my everyday activities.
This is why it is so important to find a set of headphones that fit correctly.
Luckily, both the Freedom and the X3 do well in the category.
How Wearable Are The Jaybird X3s?
One of the most popular methods for securing earbuds nowadays is earfins. If you haven't had a chance to try these out then I highly recommend you give them a shot. They contour nicely to the inside of your ear without having to wrap around the back.
This provides a secure fit that prevents any issues that are caused by running or working out. The fin is also essential to carrying the weight of the headphones. As I mentioned above, the battery is contained within the earbuds themselves. This extra weight would be an issue if you were trying to secure the headphones with the eartips alone.
They also provide the extra support needed to counteract the weight of the inline control.
Jaybird has provided a range of earfins and eartips. You should have no problem finding a configuration to fit your specific ears. There have been a few reports on forums that the X3s fit much better than the Freedoms using the same sized earpiece.
How Wearable Are The Jaybird Freedoms?
The Freedoms are nearly identical to the X3s in regards to their comfort and fit. Both of these headphones are specifically targeting the running market so the earbuds are designed to lock in.
One note is that the freedom inline control seems to shift to the side when you are running and requires the occasional adjustment. The Freedom X2s offer 4 sizes of the fin and ear tip combo.
No complaints here - you will be getting the best in the market with both sets of headphones.
Why You Shouldn't Care About Sound Quality
A quick way to get a sense of the sound quality of earbuds is by having a look at some of the headphone specs. When I looked up the specs for both headphones they came out to be the exact same. This leads me to believe that Jaybirds is likely using the exact same internal components for both headphones.
Therefore, we can nearly conclude that the sound quality is going to be the exact same for both headphones.
I'd argue that the sound quality shouldn't be the top of your priority list if you are looking to use these headphones for listening while being active. There is too much noise interference when in the gym or on runs. You really ought to look for a headphone that has decent sound quality but excels in other areas such as fit and battery life.
The amount of sound isolation is going come down to personal preference. Do you want to be able to listen to your own music while cutting out the music being played in the gym? Or do you want a set of headphones that let you hear the sounds around you so you can be aware of your surroundings or have conversations easily?
As these headphones have standard eartips they will usually fall in the former category - more sound isolation.
The X3s also offer noise isolating foam eartips. These seal up your ear canals and block any incoming sound. You won't get the same isolation with the Freedoms.
While not as important as fit, battery life, and sound quality, the overall ease of use is still something that must be taken into consideration.
Ease-of-use covers the size, weight, and functionality of the headphones. Can you easily take calls with the inline controls? Are the controls intuitive? Do you notice the headphones when wearing them?
Similar to above, both headphones share a lot in common. Firstly, you can custom the EQ parameters of the headphone using the MySound App. This is something that is unique to the Jaybird and is definitely a nice bonus addition.
You can download custom EQ presets of different athletes and artists as well as share your EQ presets with your friends.
Both headphones are also water resistant. This is another crucial feature that every set of running headphones need.
The inline controls are intuitive enough to use. They allow you to accept a call, decline a call, skip forward and backward, redial, play/pause, change the volume, as well as a few other features.
Why The X3s Have A Better Design
The fact that the battery is located within the earbuds makes the overall design of the X3s much more appealing. There is no need for an extra battery pack to be used to get the full battery life or to charge the headphones. This fact alone is worth the price difference between the two headphones.
As you may have realized, the primary difference between these two headphones is the battery configuration. Personally, the design difference between the two headphones leads me to conclude that the X3s are worth the extra $40-50 you will be spending.
You won't have to worry about losing the external battery pack and not being able to charge them.
The Fit of the X3s is also reported to be superior.
Everything else about the headphones is practically the same. If you can live with a larger battery pack and shorter battery life, then there is no reason to spend the extra cash on the X3s.
- MINI WIRELESS BUDS – The X3 Headphones by Jaybird are designed to be as small as possible without sacrificing performance and looks
- UNIVERSAL SECURE FIT –The patented silicone ear fins securely attach to the top and back/lower surface areas of the ear for a snug fit, locking the earbuds in during workouts and intense physical activities; Includes multiple sizes of silicon and Comply tips for maximum noise isolation, fit, and comfort
- MICRO-SIZED METAL BUDS – The Freedom Headphones by Jaybird have sandblasted, injection-molded metal parts for premium comfort and fashion. The smaller housing doesn’t affect signal performance and can remove distortion, giving you crystal-clear audio wherever you go
- UNIVERSAL SECURE FIT – The patented silicone ear fins securely attach to the top and back/lower surface areas of the ear for a snug fit, locking the earbuds in during workouts and intense physical activities