Jaybird has added two new pairs of wireless headphones to its lineup, including the company’s first ever pair of truly wireless earbuds. Today the company announced the $179 Jaybird Run earbuds and the $149 Freedom 2 headphones, each of which will be on sale in October.
The Jaybird Run earbuds are a departure for the company, even if it’s not a total surprise. Jaybird’s never made truly wireless earbuds before, but this slice of the headphone market has been growing since being kicked off by the Bragi Dash, and has only accelerated with the addition of Apple’s AirPods. So it makes sense that Jaybird wants in.
The Run earbuds don’t impress on paper, though. They offer a four hour battery life, but only two spare charges in the earbuds’ carrying case. And Jaybird is using Bluetooth all the way through, instead of Near Field Magnetic Induction between the earbuds, which Bragi and others have used to ensure a consistent audio connection. (AirPods only use Bluetooth but are aided by Apple’s proprietary W1 chip.) And while the retail price is lower than that of the Dash, it’s above the $159 bar that Apple set with AirPods.
The Jaybird Run buds are sweat resistant, though, and they connect to the company’s app, which lets you customize the way they sound. And each earbud has a button; the right’s defaults to play / pause and the left’s to Siri or Google Assistant.
Then there’s the Freedom 2, which is an update to last year’s iteration of the Jaybird Freedom earbuds. These “wireless” headphones still run a wire behind your head, but connect to your phone via Bluetooth and offer double the predecessor’s battery life. They’re water resistant, have bigger drivers than the Run earbuds for better sound, but are still sleek and small.
They also come with new comfort fit options, like swappable earbud tips and wings, and an easy way to tighten or loosen the overall length of the cord. It sounds a bit odd, but in a the idea seemed to work really well during a short product demo. Two small pieces of rubber and a carefully folded cord is all it took to make it so that a quick tug will loosen them, and then it’s just as fast to take out all that slack.
Double the battery life, a better fit, and $50 off the retail price of a proven product sounds good for the Freedom 2s. Jaybird’s first truly wireless earbuds, however, probably warrant a closer look.