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As if being a speaker at Fitbloggin' was not amazing enough, our speaker gift was a set of Jaybird Freedom Stereo Bluetooth Earbuds (Amazon affiliate link). I didn't know I needed these, but I really, really did. I have ruined several sets of earbuds because I like to walk around my house and clean while listening to podcasts, but I continually do things like snag the wire on the dishwasher rack and yank the phone right out of my pocket.
The Jaybirds are a wireless Bluetooth headset that allows me not only to run without that annoying wire connected to my phone, but allows me to set my phone down on the counter, walk around the room, and even walk into a nearby room. The sound quality is great. Because Bluetooth is an industry standard, it will work with most phones and portable music players. There is a fairly simple synching process to make it work with the iPhone, and I'm sure it's just as easy for Android.
The earbuds come with three different-sized covers and three different-sized rubber wings to hold the earbud securely in place. The Jaybird comes with a little clamshell case to keep the headset and all its associated paraphenalia together. Everything seems very well-made. The little tip of the rubber wing tucks under that little cartilidge ridge in the ear. It was a little tricky for me to get the fit right. It's very hard to see my own ear, so I had to have help deciding which set to use -- turns out I need the smallest of each, and could go even a little smaller on the wing. Determining the placement was also trial-and-error for me.
Once I got that all situated, though, the earbuds stay secure even when running. They are relatively comfortable too, now that I'm used to them. It took me a while to get used to the feeling of the little rubbery wingtip in my ear. There's a tiny volume control on the earpiece but it's so small and fiddly to try to adjust while keeping it in my ear that I usually just use the volume buttons on my phone instead.
Reportedly there are fancier, more expensive sets with a wider range, but I don't mind carrying my phone in my pocket, I just don't want a little wire hanging down and tempting fate. These are great -- the only wire connects the two earbuds together into a headset, and hangs loosely behind my head.
When I saw them, my mind jumped immediately to running, but a Zumba instructor at the conference said she was going to use them to practice her choreography so that the other people in her household didn't have to listen to the same song over and over again. They would be great for walking or most other sports, except maybe swimming. They aren't noise-canceling -- I put them into my ears to take the extreme ear closeup photo below, and I can hear the birds singing outside -- so you can still be aware of your surroundings as long as you don't crank the volume too loud. I still wouldn't wear them for biking or running in an unfamiliar environment -- in those situations, I want to keep distractions to a minimum.
Sorry, no giveaway -- like I said, I really need these.