It’s been a long time since I’ve given over-the-ear headphones a go. I think I’ve always associated them with the kind that you used to get with your Sony Walkman; the ones held in place by a thin piece of metal that curled around the top of the head. Awful sound and they broke pretty frequently, but they did look awesome.
Anyway, the AL3+ Freedoms are a similar concept. Only with modern technology to turn a somewhat flawed design into a product made for hardcore fitness types.
What are they?
Well, basically they’re wireless headphones that fit on top of the ears. They’re held in place by a plastic covered wire that fits snugly against the head. Oh yeah, they’re also meant to be waterproof, have a great battery and have excellent sound quality.
Do they work?
I’ll break down the main elements based on what they’re meant to do and how I got on with them.
Firstly, I’ll do sound quality, as this is the bit that I’m most impressed with. I actually wasn’t hoping on a great deal from the AL3+ Freedoms based on my previous, and admittedly, quite archaic view of this type of headphone. But after sticking them on and using them, the sound is actually very impressive.
In relatively quiet conditions (sitting in the flat, walking down a quiet street), the volume goes a lot higher than I expected and the quality is crisp. When in scenarios with ambient sound they still hold up pretty well, but inevitably you pick up external noise. Up until recently I’ve avoided products that allow this, until I started using the Aftershokz Trekz Air for races. I’m a big convert to hearing peripheral sound when running outdoors now, largely for safety but also because I like having the music as background noise instead of taking up my full attention.
Next, battery life. The manufacturer states that they take 2-3 hours to charge from empty. I’ve tested that a few times and they seem to always be done well within those parameters – not that 2-3 hours is a massively impressive claim. As for the usage, they’re meant to hold up for 11 hours on one charge. I’ve tried that a few times and they were pretty much spot on from my working out (some turning on and off throughout the day).
Apparently they’re meant to work in sweat, rain and snow. I’ve ran a few races in them and, as most people will tell you, I can get quite sweaty. That didn’t affect them, but I did find them a bit uncomfortable/warm on my ears with the sweat as well. I’ve ran in rain and aside from them taking a bit of time to dry, they’re perfectly fine. No snow testing yet.
Now, how they fit is the area I’m not 100% happy with. As pair of headphones used for the gym or light exercise they’re a dream in terms of fitness (if you have loud music on in the gym already they’re a bit of a dual sound issue), but for hardcore running I’ve found they can become a bit loose. When I say hardcore running I mean when racing at full pace; sweat + pounding the pavement. Under normal running I probably wouldn’t notice, but, as you’re probably aware, even the slightest thing can affect you during a race.
Do I like them?
Yep, they’re a really nice, comfortable pair of headphones that I tend to use for the gym and outdoor training. They’re easy to set up and operate whilst training via the little five-button interface on the right headphone.
In-ear headphones aren’t for everyone – I know people that absolutely hate using them. Same goes for big over-ear ones when training. The AL3+ Freedom are a great option for people looking for a nice little pair of headphones for training in. I wouldn’t advise them for serious running training or use in loud gyms though.
How much are they?
You can get them for £75.71 at the moment on Amazon.
For more info on the AL3+ Freedoms, head over to the website here.