Jaybird Freedom Sprint Bluetooth earbuds: Follow-up review
At the end of August I posted an initial review of the Jaybird Freedom Sprint earbuds. That review, which was extremely favorable, was based on approximately 25 hours of use. At the time I was inclined to add the Freedom Sprints to my Favorite Things list, but I decided to wait and see how the earbuds held up to a couple of months of near daily use.
I’m glad I waited.
About a week after I posted my review, the earbuds could no longer establish a Bluetooth connection with my phone, or any other phone. I tried everything, including calling Jaybird support. The earbuds had simply gone bad. Hey, things happen. I decided not to give up on the earbuds, as I was otherwise thrilled with them.
The replacement earbuds lasted less than two weeks. After finishing a ride one morning, I put the earbuds aside while I showered and ate. Then, as I always do, I plugged them into my computer using the micro USB charging cable to recharge. The next morning the earbuds were dead. I tried plugging the buds back in, and the charging light was flashing red (it should be solid red when charging). I called Jaybird support, and they confirmed that my earbuds were, once again, bad. I returned them for yet another replacement. Third time’s the charm?
No. The third set worked fine for almost three weeks, and then died…A couple of days ago I was not too far into a ride when earbuds cut off (they had a full charge). Irritated, I removed the buds and placed them in one of my jersey pockets. When I got home I plugged the earbuds in, and… nothing. Not even a blinking red light this time, just dead.
I again called Jaybird support, and they said that it was very unusual that I’d had so many failures. I directed the support representative to Jaybird’s very own Facebook page, which is rife with similar complaints.
The support rep asked me if I was a “heavy” sweater. I replied, “Yes, I sweat–a lot. I live in Florida, and ride for hours at a time every day. This is why I bought your earbuds, which are marketed as “Sweat-Proof”, and have a lifetime warranty against damage from sweat.”
I explained that Jaybird’s marketing clearly indicated that the model I bought was Sweat-PROOF, and that it was backed up with a LIFETIME warranty against damage from sweat. That seems pretty unambiguous to me.
I went on to say that while I appreciate Jaybird’s willingness to stand behind their product and replace the defective units, it’s not realistic to expect customers to return bad units every few weeks–presumably forever.
Clearly the Freedom Sprints are NOT “Sweat-Proof”, and after three failures in about two months, I wanted my money back.
The most aggravating thing? Apart from the fact that they keep dying on me, I absolutely LOVE the Freedom Sprint earbuds. I still stand behind every word I wrote in my initial review. The Freedom Sprint is a phenomenal Bluetooth earbud, that suffers from a very serious design flaw.
I want to add that Jaybird support has been excellent. All the support representatives I’ve spoken with have been polite, knowledgeable and seemed genuinely concerned about the problems I’ve been experiencing.That high level of support was demonstrated again yesterday. After explaining the whole situation to the rep with whom I was speaking, I was placed on a brief hold. When my support rep came back, he said that they were going to upgrade me to a new pair of their higher end Bluebud X earbuds.
The Bluebud X earbuds, as compared to the Freedom Sprint earbuds, have a longer battery life (8 hours vs 4.5 hours), are lighter (13.8g vs 16g), have a greater Bluetooth range, are smaller and are “more sweat-proof” (they have a Liquipel treatment, which the Freedom Sprint lacks).
It will be interesting to see if the Bluebud X earbuds can hold up to sweat better than the Freedom Sprints.
Cliffs: if you’re using your earbuds in such a way that you won’t be sweating much, you’ll probably like the Freedom Sprint model a lot. If you sweat when you wear your earbuds (that’s most of the people reading this), I would stay away from them.
I’ll be posting a full review of the Bluebud X earbuds in a few months.