Quality Carrying case, full/deep sound but lacking in comfort.
When it comes to headphones, I have two simple requirements, fit and sound. I have gone back and forth between which one of these was more important. Personally, I think I could tolerate lesser quality sound if the comfort were exceptional. However, the reverse would be a deal breaker. We have all used headphones/earphones while trying to lay down and experienced the pain of an earphone jabbing you in the face. I want a quality sounding pair of earphones that can rest in my ears in multiple scenarios and enhance my options for movies, gaming, and sound. Tribit came close with the Tribit XFree One and even closer with the Tribit XFly Sport.
The Tribit XFree one Wireless Headphones arrived in a 4 7/8 inches tall by 2 3/4 inches wide by 1 7/8 inches thick retail package. The visually appealing orange coloration of the top, bottom and side panels strategically accented the white front and back panels. This coloration was also used as part of the white on orange Tribit logo at the top of the cover. Aside from the small image of the Tribit Headphones, the cover was relatively bland. The cover provided two logos detailing the Metallic Housing and Superior Sound. If you rotate the packaging ninety degrees counterclockwise you will learn that they are water resistant, the backs are magnetic, there is an included microphone and the device has a 120 mAh Li-ion Battery. The opposing side panel detailed the firstname.lastname@example.org website and QR codes to link to Facebook and tribitaudio.com. The back of the packaging provided the most useful pieces of information: Bluetooth 4.1, standard controller profiles A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP, 6mm drivers, 20-20kKz range, 10 hours play time with 2 hours of charge time and with a weight of 14 paper clips. Overall, I feel that the packaging succeeded in piquing my interest in the earphones.
To lift the lid off of the box, you will first need to remove the outer shrink wrapping. Grip the sides of the box and shake it until the inner/lower box starts to slide downward. You can then easily separate the two halves of the box. Within the box, you will find an amazing matte black pill-shaped Earphone case with silver Tribit Logo. The attractive case measured 4 1/2 inches long by 2 1/2 inches wide by 1 1/2 inches thick and was surrounded by approximately 9 inches of zipper. The size and shape were designed perfectly to fit into the front pocket of my jeans, cargo shorts/pants and even dress slacks. The black metallic zipper pull was well made, the zipper action proved to be incredibly smooth and when combined, you could smoothly open the clamshell case. The top of the case stored the Tribit XFree One IC-BTH32 headphones and the bottom was bisected by an elastic strap and a 1/2 mesh pocket. Within the pocket, you will find a 23 inches long USB-A to micro-USB cable and a bag with small and large round shaped grey/red ear tips. I was incredibly pleased with the oval carry case and the included accessories but wished the ear tips were oval instead of round.
Before using the earphones, it was recommended by the multi-lingual instruction manual (4 languages) to fully charge them. Using a 5V charging brick, I was able to fully charge the earphones in 30 minutes. Between the ear ends, you can enjoy 21 7/8 inches of cable, which will conveniently strap in front of your neck or behind your head. There were 3 1/4 inches of cable between the right earpiece and the 1 5/8 inches long by 3/8 inches wide tri-button control module. There were 17 inches of cable between the left earpiece and the controller and an included S cable clip. Each of the earpieces had a small plastic wing that jutted outwards from the main flange. This wing was designed to sit inside the antitragus and to hold the ear tip into the ear canal. I found the best way to install the earphones was to start with the wing pointing towards the upper/outer tip of your upper helix and then to rotate the earphones into position. When ready to start pairing the headphones, simply hold the central button on the controller for three seconds and listen for the female voice to announce “power on” and you can see an unobtrusive blue flashing LED. If you continue to hold the button, she will also say “pairing,” and the LED on the controller will flash red and blue. If you hold the button again, the female voice will say “Power Off, Disconnected.” The volume up and down buttons were responsive, controlling the phone directly instead of the earphone volume. Pairing was easy, I appreciated the included accessories and felt that the included headphone case was exceptional.
Having just tested the Tribit XFly Sport Earbuds, I was excited to try the XFree One model. The flat surface of the XFly Sport earbuds, the surrounding ear hook, and the comfortable ear tips proved to be one of the more comfortable pairs of earphones that I have tested in recent months. I like to listen to music laying in bed, and the flat nature of the Tribit XFly proved to be the perfect pillow companion. Unfortunately, the Xfree One headphones did not provide the same level of comfort as the other device. The metallic backing stuck out from the ear too much and caused pain when lying on my side. Additionally, the included hard plastic wing caused ear fatigue after 2-3 hours of continual use, whereas the Tribit XFly Sport Earbuds did not cause any fatigue of any kind. The S-hook on the headphone cable decreased the downward pressure on the cable and the jostling about with running, jumping, jumping jacks and burpees. I was able to run on the treadmill, able to jog and to jump rope without any movement in the ear tips. I tried each of the tips, small/medium/large and felt that the included medium tips fit my ear canals the best.
If you have read any of my headphone reviews, I generally use the same test tracks. One of my favorite initial tests is to navigate to audiocheck.net and to test the frequency parameters of the headphones. I was pleased with the sound tests and found full bass starting at 20 Hz using the Low-Frequency Response and Subwoofer Audio Test (10-200 Hz). Additionally, I felt that the blend of the upper sounds and the quality/roundness of sound was present during the High-Frequency Response and Hearing Audio Test (22-8 kHz). Even though the ranges are listed as 20Hz to 20 kHz, remember that upper sound is lost first and many of us cannot hear that high, even if we desired to. I enjoyed the high pitched ringing at 16kHz. Following the frequency test, I like to make sure that the Left/Right Stereo Audio Test showed correct channels. With this testing completed, I turned to my usual test tracks and the bass to be incredibly strong, but the comfort was not as good as the Tribit XFly Sports headphones. To treat them fairly, I compared songs between the two pairs of headphones. “Train Song” by Holly Coles provided absolutely engrossing bouncing bass and crisp accompaniment. Johnny Cashes bases, Josh Turners “Long Black Train” showed just how strong the bass was on these headphones. Amazingly, the heavy bass did not overwhelm. In fact, I wish that Tribit would combine the comfort of the XFly Sports Earbuds with the sound of the XFree One headphones. The soundstage was pretty good but tends to be better on more expensive earphones and over-ear styles. To demonstrated Soundstaging, I typically listen to Yosi Horikawa “Wandering,” and the earbuds did a good job showcasing the musical sound-stage. To further test the bass, I listened to “Why so Serious? Joker Theme” from Dark Knight Rises.
I have recently added to my upper range sound tests. To compare like tracks, I use the Far and Away Soundtrack and The Braveheart Soundtrack for instrumentals. I have grown to enjoy the Acapella sounds of Anthem Lights and the ensemble type of Gaither Vocal Band. Once completed, I wanted to listen to “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” by Meatloaf, and my nine-year-old son wanted to hear Ruth B. – Lost Boy (Official Video) – YouTube. I did the above tests with four clicks on the Apple iPhone X. The Pairing was easy, the sound was full, but the lower ends of the volume were much too strong. I found that the usual 4-5 clicks on my iPhone X, where I normally listen to music was actually painful. Even one click of sound was drastically louder than silence. What I often like to listen to quiet music and this was not possible with this headset. I did not like the sharp demarcation between off and the first click of sound. Do not misunderstand the statement, the sound was very pleasing and stronger/fuller than the Tribit XFly Sport Earbuds, with the same secure fit into the ear canal but the overall comfort was not as good. The buttons were responsive to a single press, accurate volume changes. Long pressing either the volume/next or the volume/previous buttons would activate the next/previous track as indicated. Single pressing the multifunction button allowed the user to pause/play/stop music and to answer/hang-up phone calls. The call features were very intuitive. Double press the MFB button and you can redial the last number called or hold the button for 2 seconds and activate Siri. Answering a call was easy. My good friend, mother, and wife were called, I was able to clearly hear the conversation and each felt that the conversation was easily heard. Many of these headphones cause a tunnel experience, and the recipient of the call gets to hear wind/background noise. The location of the controller fit just under my jawline and actually sounded okay.
Testing the headphones, I was pleased to find that I was able to listen to 8.5-9 hours of music on a single charge at ~1/4 volume on my iPhone X. When power gets low, you can see the change in the iPhone Widget, and when low you will hear a female voice note “Battery low,” and you can see the indicator light turn red on the controller. After a couple of hours, I was able to enjoy a fully charged pair of headphones. I was able to set my phone down, and I was able to enjoy sound throughout my two story home. I did not experience any glitching nor any cutouts. I was pleased with the quality of the Tribit Headphones but if I had my choice, I would buy another pair of the XFly Sport headphones over the XFree One.