There are so many nice, high quality earphones coming out from various manufacturers this year. We already saw a bunch of headphones from Philips and Bose in our past reviews. Bose has come up with another budget, high quality in-ear headphone and named it as Freestyle earbuds. Let us begin by observing the design and construction. For the next model up, be sure to read the Bose SoundSport review.
Construction and Design
Everytime we unbox a new headphone from Bose, there is a a bunch of plastic and user manuals. Underneath it is the actual product. Surprisingly, that is not the case with FreeStyle earbuds. The packaging is elegant as always and you will find the beautiful earbuds sitting in the moulded plastic case.
The vibrant colours and the design is what catches our attention at first. There are two colours to choose from, indigo and ice blue. One of the buds has a solid colour with white splatter, and vice versa on the other bud. The clothing clip is bright red in colour and so is the inline microphone. The red colour with blue and white appear very gaudy and not that attractive. In other words, the FreeStyle headphones lack that premium look.
Like the SoundTrue and SoundSport versions of in-ear headphones from Bose, these have shark fin shaped ear buds as well. What changes is the tip, which is a little bit less pointed. It instead sits slightly shallower in your ear canal, which could be a problem for some people.
The cables on the earphones are thin, and feel like they would break if pulled too hard. Inspite of being thin, the cords are quite strong and hold up to normal use. It would have been great if the cords were little thicker and tangle-free. There is an inline microphone connected on of the cords which has a button to answer calls. As usual, the iOS version of FreeStyle earbuds have the extra buttons for volume control which are absent on Android and Windows Phone versions. The cord has a length of 5 feet 10 inches, which should be enough for most people, however if you are a very tall person with large torso then you could be stretching the cord to the limit if you happen to put your device in your trouser pocket.
The good part about these earphones is having water proof and sweat resistant ear buds. This means they can be used during workouts or running sessions without the worry of damaging them. Even if they are water resistant, it does not mean you can submerge them in water. So be careful about that while going in the water with these headphones in your pocket. You also get a rectangular carry case from Bose which is not a hard shell cover.
Sound Quality and comfort
Most users are happy with the comfort they get with the StayHear ear tips. These ear tips are provided with almost all other Bose headphones and are one of the most comfortable in the market. Please remember that FreeStyle earbuds are not active noise cancellation earphones and all the noise blocking comes from the ear tips. So, if the ear tips that come with the box do not fit in your ears, you may not get optimal noise blocking. Nevertheless, the StayHear ear tips are not designed to block all the noise and are intended to keep your aware of the environment and thus, you will never have complete silence once plugged in.
The FreeStyle earbuds are not the basshead type of earphones. The sensitivity towards the low frequencies is good and bass reproduction is acceptable although it is not that tight. You can expect to hear the same bass with FreeStyle buds as you would expect from a mid end over-ear headphones. If you are not that much of a sound critique, you will be pleasantly surprised to hear the good quality bass.
Mids are exceedingly well, and you can hear the tiny details produced by guitar strings and vocals which are very sharp. The highs also happen to be very good to the point where you can hear the hushing air from vocals and the crystal clear sound that occurs after smashing the cymbals.
The overall audio response is nearly flat and thus, produces natural sounds. This means the sound reproduction is of high quality and there is no boosting or attenuation of any frequency. It would have been great if Bose provided some technical data sheet which would have allowed us to dive deeper into the internal construction of the circuitry and drivers.
The Sound stage is quite poor when it comes to ordinary, low quality earphones, but with Bose you are able to get impressive performance.
It would have been one of the recommended earphones if there were no better products at the price range of £100. SoundTrue happens to give similar sound performance at a sub £90 price but the only thing absent in those earphones is sweat resistance which is offered with FreeStyle. If you are looking for a more funky look and intend to be more environmentally aware, then FreeStyle earbuds are what you should go for, otherwise the SoundTrue earphones offer a more premium feel and great audio at a lower price.