Logitech FreePulse Wireless headphones

Propane - 2007-07-06 07:15:25 in Mobile, Speakers/Headphones
Category: Mobile, Speakers/Headphones
Reviewed by: Propane   
Reviewed on: July 16, 2007
Logitech
Logitech
Price: USD 99.99

Introduction:

The week of the fourth of July is all about celebrating freedom in the United States. This year, however, I was able to celebrate in a unique way, with Logitech's FreePulse Wireless headphones. The headphones are meant to be used on the road in conjuction with an MP3 player or other portable device. However, they can also be used with any computer or other audio player, as long as a quarter inch headphone jack is present. These headphones boast that they are lightweight, comfortable and of course, wireless. Will these headphones let freedom ring?

Logitech was founded in 1981 and has since become one of the leaders in computer peripheral manufacturing. Known mostly for its mice and keyboards, it has also expanded into the areas of headphones, headsets, webcams and media center remotes.

 

Closer Look:

The packaging that the FreePulse comes in is very typical of Logitech. There is a nice box with attractive coloring and a nice clear panel that allows the buyer to see the headphones inside. It also boasts on the front with a big sticker, just how lightweight and comfortable they are. The back shows some of the many features that the FreePulse has and is written in three languages.

 

When the product comes out of the box, however, is when it really begins to shine. Many little accessories are bundled, including a charger, the transmitter, a variety of bases that allow the transmitter to seat properly on any one of several mobile devices, a short extension cable, an extra pair of the earphone covers and an instruction manual. The small extension cable is so that the transmitter can connect with a device that might not allow a block to be plugged in where the headphones usually go.  However, the transmitter does have an extended jack, which gives a little leeway so that the extension does not need to be used with everything.  

 

The headphones are very sleek and lightweight (as promised). There are also several buttons on the right ear piece as well. which are a 'connect' button, a 'volume up' button and a 'volume down' button. These buttons can also be used to turn on a bass boost feature (by holding connect and volume up for several seconds) and to mute the music (by tapping the connect button).

 

Closer Look:

The included bases are labeled with what specific device they fit. These devices include the iPod (Large and small 5th generations, large and small 4th generations, mini and nano), the Zune and a generic insert. These loosely fit on the device (as long as no case is on) and are sandwiched between the transmitter and the device. It basically makes it so that the transmitter can't spin around. However, these bases don't have to be attached for the transmitter to work and I found myself not using them, so that I could switch the transmitter with ease, between my ipod, laptop and computer.

 

 

The charger is also simple. On one end there is the wall outlet and on the other end it splits into two identical connectors, so that you can charge the headphones and the transmitter at the same time.  When the headphones and transmitter are plugged in, the connector area glows orange while it's charging and then turns off when they finish charging. 

The instruction pamphlet is very detailed and walks the user through the basics of using the headphones. This includes connecting the device, charging the device and attaching the transmitter to the MP3 player of your choice. It also goes over what the different color lights mean and how to troubleshoot the device. 

Installation:

The installation procedure is very simple. Just plug the transmitter in and hold down the connect button until the light begins to blink red. Then, hold down the headset connect button until it blinks red. After a few moments, both lights turn blue and the audio starts pumping. Be sure, however, that the volume is at an appropriate level the first time you use it.  It starts on the minimum volume setting, so it might sound like nothing is coming through at first. 

There is also an undocumented feature that I found after 'googling' around.  This "hidden feature" allows the headset to connect to any device that has Bluetooth with the A2DP profile. The A2DP profile is what allows stereo audio to be sent to the headphones, so it is necessary for the headphones to work. To access this feature, all that has to be done is to hold down the connect button on the headphones for around 15 seconds. The light will start flashing blue and red and the headphones will become discoverable and will be able to pair with other devices. I was able to find and pair the headphones on both my MacBook Pro and my LG VX8300, but neither support the A2DP profile at the time of this writing, so I was unable to test to see if they work this way. If you want to go back to using the headphones with the included transmitter, you have to set the headphones back into discoverable mode while the transmitter is trying to connect. If all goes right, they will both pair up and allow you to listen to music using the included transmitter again.

Specifications:

Technical Specifications:

 

Testing:

The testing of these headphones was completed in several parts. These parts were designed to test the product in different aspects. The first part is, of course, how the headphones sound. The second part is the range of the headphones. The third part is the longevity of the battery, and the final part is the comfort. 

Testing Setup:

To test how the headphones sound, I used a variety of different music to test a full gamut of frequencies and intensities. I tested most songs with the bass booster both on and off. With the sounds of "Pop, Lock, & Drop it" by Huey, the bass came through at an acceptable level with the bass booster off, but when I turned the bass booster on, the bass really punched with out dropping any of the higher sounds like high hats. Along the more classical route (and along the theme of freedom), Tchaikovsky's "Overture '1812'" came through with crisp high instruments and punchy cannon shots that didn't bleed. Granted, these headphones don't sound as good as a home theater system, but they also aren't supposed to be. They outperform any other lightweight headphones that I have heard in a long time and left me very impressed with the quality of battery driven drivers (speakers). I was able to hear numerous details that I never had heard before on any ipod headphones. I did test more than the two songs and all songs left me with the same impression.

The range of the headphones was easy to test. I was easily able to go well past the 33 foot range that was given on the box, so long as I had line of sight. As soon as a wall or other solid object was put in between the headphones and the transmitter, that distance came closer to 15-20 feet. For all practical purposes though, there were no problems with the range, seeing as the farthest you will probably be is a few feet.

The battery on my first full charge lasted just shy of the advertised mark of 6 hours, but it was acceptably close. The charge time was short, only around 2 hours.  For most trips, the 6 hours is plenty, but on a long flight, you'll be out of luck. The batteries last about as long on both the headphones and the transmitter, so you won't be giving one a partial discharge every time, which will benefit the life of the battery. 

Finally, the comfort of the headphones. These headphones are lightweight as advertised and are comfortable for the first hour to two hours of having them on. After that, however, my ears started to become sore and I kept finding myself trying to readjust the placement on my ears to no avail. Also, the band that goes behind my head was constantly against my neck, which bothered me at first, but was something that I quickly got used to. All in all, these are pretty comfortable, but I just wish that they stayed comfortable longer. However, the discomfort is most likely also dependent on the size and shape of the ear. 

Conclusion:

Logitech's FreePulse Wireless headphones are awesome. The combination of great sound quality and cordless mobility, is something that is very welcome and will keep me reaching for the FreePulse time and time again. The battery life of 6 hours is more than plenty for most day-to-day activities and the quick recharge time means that you're never too far away from being on the go. The comfort is the only thing that I feel could be improved upon, but only very slightly, as most headphones will cause my ears to be sore after several straight hours of listening. The ability to pair with any bluetooth enabled device (with the A2DP profile) is an added benefit with future proofing qualities, as the next MP3 players may well come with out-of-the-box wireless capability. These headphones are just great.

Pros:

Cons: