Harman Enters the Truly Wireless Earbuds Segment with JBL Free

September 1 2017, 03:10
JBL cut the cord with its new truly wireless earbuds for the everyday active lifestyle, called simply JBL Free. The new product unveiled by Harman as part of his massive new products announcement at IFA 2017, allows users to take calls, listen to music, and exercise. It's not exactly a cutting edge product, there are no smart features, the battery lasts for 4 hours, and they are available for a very affordable price. Samsung also announced the second-generation Gear IconX at IFA 2017.

Harman International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics (let's not forget), announced JBL Free, it's first truly wireless in-ear earbuds that intend to encourage music lovers to break up from wires and neckbands for truly unrestricted movement, whether on the phone (in mono mode), listening to music on-the-go or working out at the gym (adding silicone sleeves). "Users can either take a call with just one earbud for mono sound and continue to keep an ear open while at work or out and about, or use both for stereo sound to power through an intense workout at the gym or become totally immersed in a favorite playlist or podcast at home," the announcement says.

To amplify the listening experience, Harman says these in-ear headphones offer "the same superior audio that music lovers have come to expect from JBL." JBL Free earbuds use Bluetooth 4.1 and have a built-in microphone on both units, so users can take calls at the touch of a button. Outfitted with comfort-stay secure fit ergonomics, the earbuds are able to deliver long-lasting wear, using sweat and water resistant materials. To ensure a secure fit, three comfort-fit ear tips and two secure fit silicone sleeves are included. Users can interchange ear tips and sleeves for a total of nine different size combinations.

Like all the other earbuds out there, the JBL Free provide up to 4 hours of music listening, delivering 20 hours of backup power from the charging case. The lightweight case is equipped with a built-in battery, letting users recharge an entire hour of music playback in just 15-minutes. According to Harman, JBL Free will be available for $149.95 at select retail stores, in Black and White, starting October 2017.

Considering that Harman is now a Samsung company, users interested in smart features and eventually voice assistants will need to know that Samsung also announced its new second generation truly wireless earbuds, the Gear IconX. The updated version of the previous product was now enhanced to support Bixby, Samsung's own VPA. The earbuds are Bluetooth 4.2, come with 4GB of internal memory - in case anyone wants to transfer a few songs for a run - and feature accelerometer, IR, and capacitive touch touch. The battery now supports a playtime of up to 5 hours in Bluetooth streaming model, six hours in standalone mode, or up to 4 hours of talk mode.

According to Samsung, even with all the new "2018" updates, the Gear IconX are "more ergonomic and lightweight" so they can be more comfortable for fitness routines and they still cost $199.99 - which is not much more than the JBL Free. A major drawback is the charging case that only supports one extra charge(?). And of course they have a Samsung logo and come in black, gray, or pink.
www.jbl.com | www.harman.com
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