Monster does make headphones other than “Beats by Dre.” Monster recently sent me the iSport Freedom V2 Bluetooth Headset. As the name implies, it’s targeted to athletes. Since I’m a tech reviewer and not an athlete I handed them over to my athletic 12-year-old daughter who exclaimed with much pre-teen enthusiasm (read: no enthusiasm) “I like them.”
My only headphone/earbud experience extends to a wired pair of Beats earbuds and the URBN from Kinivo. Upon receiving the iSport Freedom, I opened the box and was disappointed to see that there was no carrying case. The headphones do fold up, so you can throw them into a bag or backpack, but even my URBNs came with a hardshell case. The other thing I noticed right away is that there appeared to be no initial charge. If there were, I just may have been having difficulty in turning them on. A micro-USB cable comes with the Freedom, so I charged the headphones for about an hour before giving them a try.
Initial pairing was easy. Since they were not already paired, the iSport Freedom entered pairing mode automatically as soon as they were powered up. I think I would have liked it better if it had NFC pairing. The URBN has NFC pairing. All I need to do is just tap the phone to the URBN and I receive a pairing request. Not so with the Freedom. I had them paired with my Chromebox, and then tried to add the Freedom to my phone and had so much difficulty doing this I gave up. NFC pairing would probably make the whole process easier.
The Freedom has a very good sound. I was commenting to my colleagues at YourTechExplained that I was listening to Parents Just Don’t Understand (don’t judge) and it was really hitting the bass. Monster says that the Freedom has a 24-hour battery. Since I didn’t listen for 24 consecutive hours, I’ll have to take their word for it. But, there are no indicators of the current battery level.
In the event that you forget to charge the Freedom or you are in a situation where you don’t want to or can’t use Bluetooth, the Freedom comes with a 3.5” audio cable. Just plug one end into the AUX port on the headphones and the other into the audio out of your audio device and you can use the Freedom with the headphones powered off. The audio cable also has a microphone for phone calls or webinars. I called my fellow YTE contributor, Ian McIlwraith, and we talked via Google Hangouts. Ian said that there was very good vocal quality and sounded better than a phone conversation.
Controlling the Freedom wasn’t easy. There is a touchpad on the right side of the headband. This touchpad does not have any texture to it. There is no way to determine that you’re actually touching it. I was able to increase and decrease the playback volume but was unable to skip a song or go back to the previous song.
I found that the elimination of background noise depends entirely on volume and the type of audio. During testing, I was sitting in the same room with my wife. She was on the phone and I could hear every word. Later, my wife came to get me for lunch and she told me that she called me several times and I couldn’t hear her. So, your experience may vary. The box does not advertise the headphones as being “noise canceling.”
The headphones are “on ear,” meaning that the headphone cups sit on your ears as opposed to covering them entirely. The padded ear cushions are comfortable at first, but after an extended listening session, start to get very uncomfortable.
According to Monster’s website, the iSport Freedom v2 has an MSP of $229.95 and a selling price of $199.95. With so many choices for personal audio out there, I feel the iSport skips a beat — so you may be better off looking for something else. But if you are interested in getting these, then check out the Amazon purchase link below.Purchase the iSport Freedom v2 from Amazon