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It’s difficult to imagine anyone complaining about having fewer wires, and as technology advances we have to deal with an increasingly large spaghetti junction of wires in every day life.
Pleasingly, significant progress has been made and there’s a certain feeling that we’re close to a revolution in wireless technology. CES 2007 saw the debut of wireless HDMI using Ultra-Wide Band wireless technology, and there’s increasing evidence that wireless power – the Holy Grail of technology in my opinion – is somewhere on the horizon.
As wireless technology goes, Logitech’s FreePulse Wireless Headphones are a rather mundane development. We have, after all, been listening to sound without wires for decades now with this thing we call radio. But, marrying wireless headphones with good design, high quality performance and practical battery life is actually harder than it might seem. Do Logitech’s FreePulse headphones pass the test?
Initial indications would be yes, they do; they certainly look the part. They’re small, lightweight, and stylish enough that you’d be happy to be seen in public with them.
For just over £45 you get a set of Bluetooth 2.0 EDR enabled headphones, a small square Bluetooth receiver that plugs into any headphone jack, a short 3.5mm male-to-female extension cable, an AC adapter with two leads to charge both the headphones and the receiver and a set of adapters designed to secure the receiver to – yes, you guessed it – an iPod.
The addition of iPod adapters isn’t too great a surprise since they’re so prevalent these days, but it does give an indication as to the market these are intended for. The average iPod user will likely listen to 128kbps AAC files or MP3s encoded at 192kbps; i.e. not very high quality. If you’re an audiophile who prefers music encoded in lossless formats these probably aren’t for you – and I’ll be covering sound quality a little later.
First on the agenda, however, is battery performance, which is very respectable. It takes about two hours for a full charge of both the headphones and receiver, and once charged they’re good for around six hours of playback with Bass Boost activated.
This ought to be enough for most occasions, as long as you remember to charge your headphones before you go out anywhere. One can’t help thinking, however, that Logitech has missed a trick by not providing a USB adapter for charging via a USB port. Moreover, as useful as wireless headphones may be, it would be handy to able to use them with a wired connection for those times when you run out of battery.