I have a number of headsets that I use on a regular basis. Some are relatively inexpensive deals such as the buds Apple includes with each iPhone, and others are far more expensive units such as the Etymotic HF2s I have been using for about two years.
When FREETALK reached out and offered a review unit of their new FREETALK Handsfree headset, I was intrigued. Their site describes the unit as “The only headset you’ll ever need“. That is a pretty bold statement to make, and I just had to see for myself if it was anywhere near the truth.
I’ve been using the headset for a few weeks, and I am now ready to render my judgment. So IS the FREETALK Handsfree the “only headset you’ll ever need“?
Read on to find out…
From The Company:
FREETALK Handsfree- Ground breaking audio, the only headset you’ll ever need.
In collaboration with Skype and MWM Mobile Products, a world leading ODM supplier of in-ear monitors, FREETALK has created the first Skype Certified super wideband in-ear headset. This sound isolating headphone delivers crisp, detailed sound with a significant base not usually associated with small diameter headphones. Multi-platform compatibility and a detachable super wide band microphone completes this great all around product.
Skype Certified- Engineered to give you the highest quality Skype audio experience available from a microphone and in ear headset today.
Sound isolating- Eliminates background noise from mobile phone conversations.
Take it and go- Kit includes travel case, cleaning gel, a range of ear plugs and PC adaptors.
Multi compatible- Perfect for PC, Mac, iPhone®, iPod®, iPad™ and any 3.5mm jack audio product available today
The first thing that struck me when I received the review unit was that it comes with a case for the headset. Most headsets that come with a case include what can best be described as a “throwaway”. That is definitely not the situation here. It is a nicely made case with a clip for attaching it to a bag and three separate pocket areas inside.
It also is rather large by “headphone case” standards. I was wondering what the headset came with to warrant such a relatively large case, and I received an answer as soon as I unzipped it. The FREETALK has two long lengths of cord (more on that later) and a Y-adapter so that the headset can be used with a variety of devices.
The FREETALK comes in two pieces, and in the above image they are together. As you can see, there is a good deal of cord here. That is a plus and a minus since more cord means more flexibility of use, but it also means more tangling up.
The two-piece design means you can use the earbuds without the mic to simply listen to music, or you can use the total package which has both the earbuds and the mic… and two extremely long lengths of cord which run from the device to the microphone and then to the earbuds.
One of the two main pieces of the headset is the microphone. It is a boxy but simple unit. On the top there is a grill for the microphone. On the back is a swivel clip that rotates a full 360 degrees. It works fine but is made of plastic and will, most likely, break at some point unless the end-user is careful. On the bottom is the cord that goes to whichever device you are using and a 3.5mm receptacle for the earbuds.
The earbuds are simple, in-ear deals that fit snugly in the ear canal thanks to an assortment of different inserts that come with the unit. At under $50 for the whole kit I didn’t expect the sound to be that good. Boy was I surprised. The earbuds are incredibly comfortable and they produce excellent sound. No, they don’t sound like $200 earbuds, but they don’t sound like $50 earbuds either. I have been using them almost exclusively since the review unit came, and I like them very very much. I can wear them for an extended period of time without discomfort or ear fatigue, and they are an absolute pleasure to listen through.
The FREETALK Handsfree is designed to work with handsets AND a variety of computers. After all, this headset is “Skype-certified”. My MacBook Pro has a single headphone/microphone jack just like my iPhone or iPad. My iMac, however, has separate plugs for the microphone and the headphones. To ensure that the FREETALK Handsfree can work with both, the company includes a Y-Adapter which splits the combined 3.5mm plug into two separate plugs. When using the unit with my iMac, I use the adapter; when using it with anything else I simply remove the adapter and use the single, combined plug. It really is a well-thought out package which allows maximum compatibility.
I would summarize the FREETALK Handsfree this way: At under $50 the headset is inexpensive, but it is far from cheap. A great deal of thought went into designing the FREETALK, and it shows. Having the flexibility to use the earbuds and microphone together or the earbuds on their own works great and is something I am increasingly appreciating. The sound from the earbuds is excellent. The sound from the microphone is, too. At under $50 this is a bargain.
So is it “The only headset I’ll ever need“? Is there truth in advertising? Let me answer in this way… If you were to tell me that the FREETALK Handsfree was the only headset I would be allowed to use for the next year, would I be unhappy? NOPE!
The FREETALK Handsfree is available directly from FREETALK.
MSRP: $59.99; currently $49.99
What I Like: GREAT Value; sounds good in both directions; a complete kit that includes a well made case
What Needs Improvement: In-line controls for the iPod would be nice