When it comes to over-the-ear headphones, the number of options is a bit dizzying. You have the ultra high end coming in north of $300 while the low end, the sub-$50, often leaves a lot to be desired. And why you may find a pair that gives you reasonable audio, it may not work great on Bluetooth or even given you the option to go wired if you wanted to do so.
One of the newer player in the headphones and headset market is Tribit. The Chinese company makes a wide range of Bluetooth enabled audio accessories that are aimed at providing a premium experience without the premium price. The Tribit XFree Tune Headphones hit that mark.
Recently the company sent me a XFree Tune unit for review and I have to say, for the sub-$45 price tag, you will be hard pressed to find a better option out there, especially one with a built-in microphone to use for phone calls. Yep, they are versatile too.
The XFree Tune headphones are a classic over-the-ear design, with 4.5″ cups that are well padded for comfort. The padding does a good job of surrounding your ears so you don’t have much ambient noise leakage. Weight wise, you are looking at 2.12 ounces so they are comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Each of the ear covers adjust up or down on the over-the-head bar so they generally are going to fit everyone. That top bar is a rubberized plastic which joins the ear covers via an aluminum band. On the inside of the headset you will find a L or R engraved in that aluminum band to let you know which side is left and right.
On the right ear cup is where you will find the power/pairing button and the volume rocker. The power button is on the front and if you have previously paired the headphones with a device, you will hear an audible tone with the phrase “Paired” announced. If you have not paired the device, you will get a notification “Ready to Pair”. On the back of the ear cup you will find the volume rocker but, as with other Bluetooth headsets and headphones, you can use the volume controls on your devices too.
Inside each ear cup are 40mm drivers that produce what Tribit refers to as SoundStage. That is, it gives “live concert” stereo audio with excellent tonal quality across all ranges. You also have CVC 6.0 from Qualcomm built into the XFree Tune Headphones that do an excellent job of canceling out ambient noise on phone calls. Yes, there is a built-in microphone in the headset.
The big win for the Tribit XFree Tune headphones is the battery life and the ability to connect via a 3.5mm headphone jack. Tribit rates the battery life of giving up to 24 hours of continuous use which will vary based on volume settings. In my testing, it is providing near the advertised time and I can go many days without having to worry about charging it. If, however, you forget to charge it and your battery is low, you are not stuck with dead headphones. The XFree Tune’s come with a 3.5mm jack along with a cable to connect them to your phone or laptop. When using the cable, it is works like a traditional analogy headset, not requiring any battery power. This is a great “get out of jail” card if you are on a long flight and forget to charge the headphones prior to taking off.
There is another benefit of using the 3.5mm headphone jack when you are at home. If you have an Xbox One, you can use the jack to plug into your One’s controller. My son tried this out and was extremely impressed, indicating the sound was far cleaner than the Xbox specific headphones – and a lot less expensive.
Another key feature of the Tribit XFree Tune headphones is they foldable design. This makes it easy to put them into a backpack when you travel or into another carry on. It also makes them easier to store them when you are at home. Both of the ear cups fold into the headband.
As I mentioned briefly, the XFree Tune headphones have a built-in microphone so you can use the headset for your phone calls. It should be noted that it only works when you are connected to your phone with Bluetooth and not the 3.5mm cable. The microphone in the headset is very good and I had no problems using it both indoors and well as outdoors for phone calls.
Having used the XFree Tune headphones the past several weeks, including a few business trips, I have to say that they are an outstanding value for the money. Their performance is solid and the overall design of the headphones makes the comfortable and easy to store in a backpack while you are on-the-go.
You can pick up a pair and try them yourself at the Tribit storefront on Amazon. At the time of this review, they are $42.49.