Logitech FreePulse Bluetooth Headphones

Advertisement

INTRODUCTION

    I love my iPod. I love
having all my music available to me wherever I go. I
love how easy it is to use. I love the excellent
sound quality.
What I do not love is dealing with cables. In fact,
I hate them. When I travel, all the cables I bring
with me are retractable. All my mobile devices have
cradles, including my iPod, Treo and even my
Nintendo DS Lite… because I can’t stand to deal
with a bunch of loose cables on my desk. I refuse to
use wired mobile phone headsets. I don’t use corded
mice. Call me obsessive-compulsive if you wish.

   
Let’s get back to how much I love my iPod. Let’s
also remember how much I hate cables. It would seem
that there is still one cable that I haven’t managed
to eliminate… the one between my iPod and the
headphones. My current headphones of choice are
either the Bose Quiet Comfort 2 (for traveling on
planes) or the Shure E3c. Both sound great. Both
also have cables so it is truly a love-hate
relationship.

   
Along comes Logitech with their brand new FreePulse
Wireless Headphones. I purposely avoided 1st
generation wireless iPod headphones because I
seriously doubted the ability of Bluetooth 1.x to
deliver good stereo sound. When I saw that the new
FreePulse headphones were Bluetooth 2.0+EDR I knew I
have to take them for a test drive.

WHAT’S HOT

    Let’s see what Logitech is highlighting
about the FreePulse Wireless Headphones:

  • 30mm Neodymium
    drivers that deliver crisp, powerful audio
    performance
  • Lightweight at
    2 ounces (56.7 grams)
  • Bluetooth
    2.0+EDR with interference-free frequency-hopping
  • Adapter fits
    all devices with a standard audio mini-jack
  • Custom plates
    included for most recent iPods
  • 33 Foot (100
    meter) range
  • 7+ Hours of
    battery life
  • Volume
    controls on the headphones

SETUP

(all images link
to higher resolution
)



The
FreePulse comes in a very nice package which
includes everything you need to get going.



Included in the box are the headphones, wireless
transmitter, stereo mini-plug extension cable, 6
iPod custom fit plates, the AC charger and instruction booklet
(not shown).

   
You must first charge both the headphones and the
wireless transmitter. Logitech has provided an
interesting dual-plug AC charger. You only need to
plug in one 2-prong AC adapter and it will charge
both the headphones and the wireless transmitter.
Although I dislike cables, this is about as elegant a
charging solution as possible… unless they made a
cradle to charge them!


Here
are the headphones and wireless transmitter
charging. It is kind of hard to see, but the tips of
the charging cables each glow orange while the
device it is attached to is charging and stop
glowing when fully charged.

PRODUCT FEATURES

    Although the FreePulse is targeted at iPod
owners, it will work with any device that has a
standard stereo mini-jack output. Logitech even
includes a small extension cable in case you are
unable to plug the transmitter directly into the
output of your device. This is nice because you can
also use the FreePulse with your PC or laptop. I
will definitely get some use out of this while
traveling and watching moves on my laptop or playing
my Nintendo DS Lite.

   
Like I said, the FreePulse is targeted at iPod
owners… at least most of them. Included in the
package are fit plates for The 30 GB 5G iPod with
Video, the 60GB 5G iPod with Video, the iPod Nano,
the iPod Mini, 20GB 4G iPod and the 40GB 4G iPod.
Actually, I should clarify that. The instruction
manual says it comes with separate fit plates for
the 20GB and 40GB 4G iPods. The package I was sent
had 2 fit plates labeled 40GB 4G. I am not sure if
this was simply a packaging error or what, but it
did not affect my testing since I have a 30GB 4G
iPod Photo. The plate fit perfectly.

   

The
mini-plug on the transmitter is a rather clever
design. It can move within the transmitter’s housing
allowing it to fit many different iPods.


The
transmitter is relatively large, which is a
drawback. Here you can see it attached to my 30GB 4G
iPod Photo.

   
The headphones look like any other behind-the-neck
headphones. They are very lightweight and the
surface that makes contact with your ear is soft.
The headphones are a little bit tight, but you can
remedy that by bending the band. They still apply
pressure to the outside of the ear, which can be
uncomfortable for some people. If your ears are
sensitive to pressure, you may want to buy these
headphones from somewhere with a liberal return
policy.

   
To turn the headphones on:

  1. Plug the
    transmitter in
  2. Press the
    small power button on the transmitter until the
    LED turns red
  3. Press the
    small power button on the headphones until the
    LED red
  4. The LEDs on
    both the headphones and the transmitter will
    automatically turn blue, indicating they are
    paired and ready for use
  5. Press play on
    your iPod and enjoy!

   
All-in-all this was really easy. Even better, when
there is no sound coming through the transmitter,
both the headphones and transmitter will turn
themselves off after a few minutes to preserve
battery life. Speaking of battery life, I was very
pleased. Logitech’s claim of 7 hours is right on the
money.

   
OK, you probably want to know how these headphones
sound. To be honest, I was not expecting them to
sound very good. Let’s face it, Bluetooth is not
exactly known for high audio quality. After
listening to the FreePulse all I have to say is…
WOW. They sound great. I mean really great! Not
quite up there with the Bose Quiet Comfort 2 or the
Shure E3c, but they are close… very close. In
fact, I doubt most people would even hear a
difference. I let several people try them out and
everyone was very impressed and surprised by the
sound quality. To further enhance the sound,
Logitech has included a bass boost on the
headphones, which you activate by pressing and
holding the volume up control and the power button
for a few seconds. The bass boost made a BIG
difference.

   
I tested the sound quality by listening to the
headphones on several music tracks of different
types including rock, orchestral, and vocal. I
tested them with the iPod’s EQ setting on "Rock"
(which is where I normally leave it set) and also on
"Flat" to see how they performed by with no EQ
assistance. I repeated the same with my Bose and
Shure headphones. The FreePulse delivered clear,
crisp and accurate sound. They definitely sounded
better on the "Rock" EQ setting, but so do the Bose
and Shure.

   
There was absolutely no static, pops or noise in the
signal. It was pure and clean sound.

   
Keep in mind that the FreePulse suggested retail
price is $99.99, the Bose $299.99 and the Shure
$179.99. Especially considering the price, I can’t
stress how pleased I am with the sound quality of
the FreePulse.



HELP SUPPORT

    Included in the box is a
detailed instruction manual for the headphones as
well as some troubleshooting tips. I really cannot
imagine anyone having problems with the FreePulse.
In the unlikely case that the headphones and
transmitter de-pair, instructions are included to
re-pair them.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

   
All you need
to use the FreePulse is a device with a mini-jack audio output. As I
mentioned before, 4G, 5G, Mini and Nano iPods are the target here, but it’ll work with many other devices including your PC or laptop.

BUGS AND WISHES

   
The FreePulse worked flawlessly… however, I’ll add a few
items to a wish list. First, I would like
the headphones to fold somehow for travel. This
would also help when you wanted to put them away.
The headphones are definitely not big, but smaller
is always better.

   
Second, I would like a different kind of neck-band.
This one puts too much pressure on the ears. If the
neck-band was more adjustable, perhaps with a
sliding mechanism, it would be better.

   
Third, is something I always add…
mini-USB. The charging ports on the transmitter and
headphones should be mini-USB. As far as I am
concerned, all charging and sync ports should be
mini-USB. This reduces the number of adapters one
needs to bring while traveling.

   
Fourth, it would be nice if the headphones allowed
you to control the iPod for functions like pause,
forward and back. This would make it really easy to
just throw the iPod in a bag or pocket and not have
to touch it. Obviously, this would mean connecting
the transmitter via the docking port instead of the
headphone jack. There are pros and cons to this
approach, but I would really like the remote
control.

   
Lastly, a carrying case for travel would be nice.

PURCHASING

   
The suggested retail price for the FreePulse is
$99.99 direct from Logitech, however I found them selling for $88.99 at
Froogle.

PROS

  • Outstanding sound quality
  • Flawless pairing
  • No static
  • Easy to use
  • Good battery life
  • Lots of fit plates
    included
  • Can be used with any
    device with a mini-jack audio output
  • Excellent value
  • Did I mention they sound
    great?

CONS

  • Headphones place too much
    pressure on the ear
  • Transmitter is a little
    large but the width matches the iPod Nano perfectly
  • No noise canceling
Value
Ease
of Use
Features

Overall

What
do these ratings mean
?




OVERALL IMPRESSION

   

So maybe you don’t hate cables as much as I do. Most
people probably don’t. But, if you are the type of
person who loves a Bluetooth headset for your mobile
phone, you really should check out the FreePulse. It
is just as liberating to free yourself from the
cable between your iPod and headphones as it is to
eliminate the cable between your phone and headset.
Add on top of that excellent sound quality, easy of
use and a great price and Logitech has a winner.
Actually, I am quite enamored with the FreePulse…
this is one of the best mobile products I have used
in a long time. As long as the fit of the headphones
is comfortable to you, you cannot go wrong here.

   
Furthermore, using the FreePulse has given me a new
optimistic outlook on Bluetooth. I cannot wait until
more mobile phones and PDAs ship with Bluetooth
2.0+EDR and we get more Bluetooth 2.0 headsets. I
can only imagine how much better the sound quality
will be. Take it another step further and I cannot
wait to see an iPod or other MP3 player with
Bluetooth 2.0+EDR built-in! When that happens, the
3rd party manufacturers like Logitech can
concentrate even more on just the headphones and not
have to worry about the wireless transmitter at all.
The future of wireless audio is looking pretty darn
bright in my opinion.

   
Congratulations, Logitech on a GREAT product.


Share This Post
Advertisement
What's your reaction?
Love It
0%
Like It
0%
Want It
0%
Had It
0%
Hated It
0%
About The Author
Legacy