I had my doubts at first purchasing these earbuds, being an audiophile with much experience and since preference with over-the-ear headphones; I'll add to that the fact I generally only buy pro audio line gear directly from wholesalers using my perks as a live audio engineer. However, after reading many reviews for these earbuds and given they were on sale, I decided to take the risk at only $50. What I can say after receiving them and using them as my daily driver now for around 2 months, several hours a day, is that I would've paid full price and here's why:
Out of the box, you receive many accessories those pertinent to my review are a shirt clip, 2 cable management 'buttons' with 3 lanes that are helpful when you want less cable dangling from your ears which is minimal already, I believe 3 pairs of varying size (small, medium, and large) earbud wings (the molded pieces that cup around your inner lobe to provide a more secure fit) , 3 pairs of varying size earbud gels,a small leather-esque carrying case with a snap opening, a small USB to micro USB for charging the external battery, and a physical external battery- the clarification here is that the earbuds themselves have an internal battery with around a solid 4 hours and some more of full volume listening time and there is no other way to charge this battery other than to attach the external battery which holds an 'extra' 4 hours of charge via magnetic and clip contact bringing us to an 8 hour total of charge time. What I do is charge the external battery while it is connected to my earbuds so the charge prioritizes the internal battery then goes on to charge the external, as I've come to find.
Comfortability is great! The gels and wings they provide vary in size quite a bit, so it's easy to find 'your' fit; I found a combination of gels and wing sizes that make perfect contact and provide a fit secure enough to jog with or just sit and listen to for many hours. The weight is decently light even with the external battery connected to the buds, however comparably heavier than some other Bluetooth buds; I haven't been bothered by the stretch of cable that dangles from my ears or the control panel, I tried using the cable management buttons but found myself uninterested in a tighter fit, most of the time I just use the shirt clip to secure a part of the cable to my collar and hide the rest underneath my shirt, which is hardly any.
Durability and reliability are great thus far, given it's only been 2 months so I might edit this review if anything changes, but if not, know my conclusion stands. The build is solid, the metal on the buds themselves is strong and the bit of cable is well insulated but still flexible enough to wrap up to fit snugly in your carrying case. I haven't had the issue addressed by another reviewer here pertaining to sweat seeping into the contact points of the control panel and I've sweat a few times wearing the headphones. I've had 0 issues with Bluetooth connection using an android phone and even a cheap adapter for my computer every now and then. Pairing is almost instant the few times I've had to pair them and the earbuds go from being off to being turned on and connected to the nearest paired source very quickly, almost instantly and I have not experienced drop out nonetheless total loss of connection once for reasons beyond hardware limitations, the only being a max range of which I've found is around 60 feet with minimal obstructions, realistically in a house environment, through walls, it may get dicey around 30 feet.
Now, on to my favorite attribute of these earbuds, which came to my delightful surprise is their lovely sound quality. When first using these buds I was not expecting to be replacing them as my daily driver over my ATH-M50x 's. However, after hours of listening over a few days, the soundstage of the Jaybird Freedom F5 's quickly grew on me and they decisively became my carry for everyday use. It has a very crisp mid range which I really love when it comes to percussive sounds or a crunchy guitar, the bass is phenomenal and clean (with a flush fit of course) and very prominent but not so much that it overtakes any frequencies. The high range of these buds is extremely clear, which makes vocals and even simple spatial nuisances such as the impact of a track's mastering pop-out. They have very good noise cancellation, even in noisy environments such as being backstage at a rock concert, they blot out a very good chunk of sound and are still amply loud enough to listen to thanks to low resistance. On a side-note, I've loved listening to everything from country to metal on these earbuds, however I find they shine for me with electronic and rock music. Finally, these earbuds sport a 20Hz-20kHz frequency range, which ,on paper, isn't the most spectacular BUT here's the thing, it's a range that's filled precisely and executed just about masterfully, which makes these some of the best sounding earbuds I have heard to date.
On to the subject of price. Now, these buds are of course no 'professional in ear monitors'; the way their soundstage compares to high-end, over $500, or even $200, NON-Bluetooth in-ear headphones, while surprisingly worthy, is irrelevant, because at their original price of $150 these earbuds are contenders for the top-notch spot in sound quality, utility and design compared to other similarly priced 'in-ears' in my book.. and they're Bluetooth... so on sale at $50 these are an ABSOLUTE steal.
Drawbacks.. If I had to say anything bad about these earbuds that wasn't nit-picky, it would be that their in-line microphone is not the best in sound quality for hands-free calling and is kind of an after-thought. I've had friends complain that my voice was unclear to the point where I've held the mic up to about 4 inches away from my face to talk with clarity, deducing that the microphone on these earbuds is a bit more directional than "dedicated" hands-free calling headsets (single bud sets). However, if you are buying these earbuds, like myself, with music listening as your main thought, then you can afford to squander the minor inferiority of their mic in favor of their beautiful soundstage and design.
In conclusion, the Jaybird Freedom F5 's offer a wonderful Bluetooth, audiophile experience, with a gorgeously crafted soundstage, an adequate pocket of accessories with gels included that allow for a comfortable and secure fit well enough for sports no matter your ear size for hours on end. The clarity and crunch of these earbuds is impeccable and will not leave the bass-heads nor the salient vocal connoisseurs unsatisfied. For the value, the Freedom F5 's are absolutely wonderful for $150 and if you catch them on sale for $50 are unbeatable. If you're still debating on buying these earbuds for whatever reason, stop and make the purchase, especially if they're on sale, and if you're an audio-head like me, you won't regret it and I'm positive you'll find something to love about them.
*Note I haven't even touched nor downloaded the MySound app and I had even forgotten about it completely before I relearned of it's existence in previewing this review so everything said on the subject of sound quality is of an out-of-the-box experience with no adjustments whatsoever to the Jaybird's stock sound.
I don't write many reviews but I love these earbuds so much I felt I needed to share my experience. Thanks for reading if you got this far and hopefully my review can help some of you considering purchasing these lovely earbuds come to a decision.