Late last spring, Bluetooth accessory maker SuperTooth, revealed the FREEDOM wireless headphones at CTIA2013 in Las Vegas. SuperTooth also knows that audiophiles often love their products, so I was jazzed about securing a review unit!
While the packaging wasn’t worth photographing, the unit itself impressed me with how light it was. At only 8oz. the complimentary headphones sport a glossy black exterior and grey accent interior. The other options include a black/blue, or white/grey color combinations. The soft earcup padding also made the ultra light headphones extra comfortable.
Unlike most headphones of this price point, the FREEDOM comes with a microphone for taking phone calls handsfree. My experience with using the FREEDOM on calls, however, was not really acceptable. While the most common problem with Bluetooth handsfree devices make the owner sound as if they are in a tin can or tunnel, the SuperTooth FREEDOM did not. Unfortunately, during my use the recipients heard themselves in a disturbingly delayed echo. This made it difficult and disorienting for them to hold a conversation.
Another feature the FREEDOM sports is NFC connectivity.
This new technology offers an easy pairing experience, allowing users to simply touch the FREEDOM against their NFC-enabled phone in order for the devices to recognize each other.
As you might be aware, Apple isn’t keen on NFC (read here) so I couldn’t test that feature, but most Android and Windows phone users could take advantage of it. For the purposes of pairing a Bluetooth device – usually a one-time action between an iDevice and a product – I shrug off this particular feature for now.
The earphones do rotate one direction for 90 degrees to lie flat. This is convenient so the headphones take significantly less depth when not in use. This approach differs from comparable headphones that reduce their size by collapsing each earphone in toward each other.
According to the SuperTooth website, the FREEDOM sports some impressive specs, and I can attest to long battery life! After weeks of intermittent use, I have yet to recharge them.
The perfectly located power and volume controls are diminutive and discreet on the right earphone by your right-hand thumb. As pictured below, the Play/Pause is activated by pressing on the right headphone – no need to feel for a button.
The most important feature of headphones should be the sound. The FREEDOM did not disappoint in their richness but also didn’t overly impress: trebles were sharp without piercing and they partnered well with the midranges. The bass could be deeper – especially for headphones – but overall the sounds remained sufficiently balanced.
Oddly enough, though, it seemed to me that the volume maxed out too low. I wanted more of that balanced sound and just couldn’t get it with all devices turned to their highest settings. The 40-mm drivers just didn’t seem to have enough thrust – especially when compared to a competitor (reviewed here).
Besides the too-low max volume setting, and the poor quality handsfree capability, the FREEDOM also suffers from the glossy plastic that attracts and holds fingerprints. I don’t consider this a deal-breaker, however, and simply an annoyance. But heck, I’m used to it.
What I am concerned more about is the rubber covers that are designed to hide the mini-jack and mini-USB ports (one on bottom of each earphone). While I have had no problems with them, I anticipate that since they dangle by thin rubber, this will too easily either snap off or break. Again, they have shown no signs of weakness under the use I have given them, but they don’t appear very sturdy.
What you get
Besides the unit, purchasers also get a cloth carrying bag, a 3.5mm mini-jack cord for wired connections, and a mini-USB cord for charging. And because SuperTooth is designed overseas, the FREEDOM also comes with multiple sets of individual instructions – precisely 6 sets in 6 different languages. But most importantly, the FREEDOM comes with a 2-year replacement warranty!
The Supertooth FREEDOM has a lot working for it; and it has some a few downsides. While I love the light weight without feeling cheap, I would expect more volume from a set of 40mm driver headphones. I also worry about flimsy looking covers over the inputs (though the headphones will function and look just fine if these break). Lastly for consideration is price. At 139 Euros listed on their website (and only one color model from which to choose), that translates into approximately $190 today.
SuperTooth FREEDOM was provided for review on iSource.com. For questions about our review policies, see our About tab.