ISOtunes Free Review – Handy True Wireless Earbuds for Work
ISOtunes Free have 22 NRR certified noise reduction and are suitable as hearing protection at a workplace (mandated by law). At the same time, they’re great for any handyperson who wants to protect their hearing.
Overall score: 3.7 points (out of 5).
They have Bluetooth 5.0 and 7-hour battery life, which won’t last you the whole 8-hour workday but close enough. Also, they have a built-in microphone if you want to make phone calls.
But there’s one concern, the eartips are quite thick and can irritate your ear canal after prolonged use.
Nonetheless, if you’re looking for tough, wireless earbuds for professionals with superb passive noise isolation, then the ISOtunes Free are your best option.
There isn’t a lot of competition when it comes to certified workplace-safe noise protecting headphones, ISOtunes are at the forefront for a while now. And the Free are the only true wireless model.
PROS & CONS
- Superb passive noise isolation
- OSHA & NIOSH compliant
- Certified for the workplace
- High build quality with an IP45 rating (dustproof and waterproof)
- Good sound quality for most people
- Thick eartips can irritate the ear canal
- White noise at low volume
ISOtunes Free are one of:
- What’s in the Box?
- Comfort & Fit – 3/5 Good
- Noise Isolation – 5/5 Best in class
- Bluetooth – 4/5 Great
- Battery – 3.5/5 Almost Great
- Durability – 4/5 Great
- Features – 3.5/5 Almost Great
- Sound – 3/5 Good
- Why Buy ISOtunes Free?
Type: In-ear headphones
Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
Driver size: n/a
Frequency range: 20Hz – 20,000Hz
Weight: 9g (earbuds) 23g (charging case)
Cable length: n/a
Microphone & Controls: Yes (built-in)
Water-protection: IP45 (IPX5)
Battery life: Around 7h per charge
Charging time: Around 2 hours, 3h for the case
Active noise-cancelling: No
Charging cable: USB-C
Bluetooth codecs: SBC, aptX
Wireless range: 33ft (10m)
Type: Built-in microphone
Mic design: n/a
What’s in the Box?
- ISOtunes Free true wireless earphones
- Charging case
- USB-C charging cable
- 3 pairs of memory foam eartips (S, M, L)
- 3 pairs of double-flange silicone eartips (S, M, L)
- User manual
Comfort & Fit – 3/5 Good
ISOtunes Free come with thick memory-foam eartips that provide fantastic noise isolation but can feel a bit itchy over time. The earbud tips extend well into the ear canal.
The true wireless earbuds are lightweight, and you barely feel them. But you have to push them in quite deep to get a stable fit. They don’t budge even if you move your head a lot.
It helps with blocking outside noise, which is the main advantage of these but can be a bit uncomfortable during the process.
You get a wide selection of the eartips: 3 pairs of memory-foam and double-flange silicone tips.
Memory foams work best, but the M and L sizes are massive. Usually, I use medium, but with these, I had to use the small ones.
To make it safe for pushing the tips so deeply in your ear canal, they come with a screw design. This way, the eartips don’t accidentally slip off.
In the beginning, they’re perfectly comfortable, but over time, in about 1 hour, you start to feel them. It seems the pressure of the memory foam irritates the inside of the ear canal.
It may get better over time when the foam becomes softer, but you always have a feeling you’re wearing something in your ears.
Nonetheless, the buds are quite comfortable and compare to other true wireless headphones as long as you’re okay with feeling your ears.
Noise Isolation – 5/5 Best in class
They have high passive noise isolation that’s OSHA certified and blocks a lot of background noise. The memory foam eartips are highly effective; the included silicone tips a bit less but still decent.
In-ear headphones are generally known for great noise isolation, and the ISOtunes Free are no different.
When you put on the memory-foam eartips, that you screw on the buds, they block most of the noise.
Keep in mind, these aren’t noise cancelling and don’t reduce all the ambient noise. Instead, they make sure your hearing doesn’t get damaged even after hours of working with loud machinery (if that’s your thing).
On the other hand, the foam tips can irritate your ear canal, and you might opt for the silicone ones. They’re double-flanged, which are better than regular for isolation but not as good as the foams.
Bluetooth – 4/5 Great
They come with a reliable Bluetooth 5.0 and typical wireless performance for modern true wireless headphones.
You get the standard Bluetooth connectivity. The earbuds work fine in the range of around 33ft (10m) over 1 regular wall. If you put 2 walls in between they start interrupting, it’s unlistenable.
This is normal for most Bluetooth headphones and is perfect for doing your thing in a workshop.
Put your music device in a corner, and you can walk around without interruptions or wires.
The ISOtunes Free connect automatically once you take them out of the charging case. Of course, you have to set up the initial connection first.
There are no interruptions of the signal and generally works without hiccups.
But, every time you pause the music, you can hear white noise, which stops after a couple of seconds. So, if you get bored with your music and want a pause, the white noise isn’t bothersome (unless you listen to music at low volume, more on that below).
Also, onboard LED lights signal wireless connection by blinking every 10 seconds.
Is There Video Delay?
There’s a minimal audio delay when watching YouTube thanks to aptX. You won’t notice any difference, and you can enjoy videos in comfort.
Battery – 3.5/5 Almost Great
Solid battery performance with up to 7.5 hours per charge plus 15 more hours in the case. It’s enough for more demanding users but too short to last you a whole workday (without a charge up).
The earbuds power on automatically when you take them out of the charging box. You can always see the battery level on iOS and Android, so you know when to charge them up.
Nonetheless, you probably won’t have a problem with charging as they fill up every time you put them in the box.
We got 7.5 hours of music from 100% battery to turn-off point at half volume. The battery indicator still showed 50% battery but the right side gave out (Surprisingly the left side kept working). There’s a voice prompt telling you when the battery is low and then they just shut down.
But there’s an annoying “feature.” When you put the earbuds in the charging case and connect it via USB-C cable for charging, the box starts beeping.
For a while, I thought I got tinnitus as the high-pitch ringing was bothering me when I tried to watch a video on my laptop.
We’re not sure if this is an actual feature or an error in our model, but it’s annoying. So, when you charge them, keep the box away or isolate it.
What’s interesting is that sometimes the ringing occurs and sometimes it doesn’t.
Even so, the charging to full takes around 2 hours, around 3 hours for the case, which is standard for true wireless earbuds.
Now, if you take some time off during your working hours and put the earphones in the charger, then you can get well over 8-9 hours per day. Technically, you could get over 15 hours, but it’s probably not healthy to work so long anyways.
Durability – 4/5 Great
To make sure the Free earbuds survive the often harsh work environment with lots of dust, sweat, and water, they’re IP45 certified. This means full dust protection and high water resistance.
The true wireless earphones are fully plastic, which makes them scratch-prone, but you don’t need them to look pretty for a work environment. Functionality before looks is the mantra.
With IP45, you can expose them to lots of small particles like dust or use them in the rain. They’re workplace safe for most jobs.
Also, the charging case is compact and fits into a small pocket. This is great since your pockets are probably full of different tools.
You get a 1-year warranty, and in case you don’t find them useful, you can return them for a refund with the 30-day return policy.
Features – 3.5/5 Almost Great
Physical button controls, voice assistant support, and built-in microphone work but aren’t the best in class.
ISOtunes Free come with the usual features. You can make phone calls with the built-in microphone, and the controls are easy to use.
They’re physical buttons, but they don’t require much force to push them in. Therefore, changing songs and volume or taking a call takes one small push.
Calling up your favorite voice assistant takes one long press.
The Microphone Quality
Above’s a short microphone recording. As you can hear, the mic picks up a lot of background noise, so turn off your tools before accepting a call. Otherwise, it’s perfectly fine for a phone conversation.
Sound – 3/5 Good
The sound quality isn’t the main feature or competitive advantage of the ISOtunes Free. These focus on work-friendly usability and not sonic fidelity. Though, they’re good enough for what you pay. Plus, have a volume limiter for max safety.
You can enjoy your music with a slightly boosted bass that comes out punchy and decent treble and mids. They have a popular sound signature that most people will enjoy.
They’re not amazing in any sense but quite good for the category. You won’t complain, especially when you focus on your work and not sonic fidelity.
Also, you get aptX Bluetooth codec that helps with higher bitrate transmission, which results in slightly better audio quality.
The mentioned volume limiter sets the max volume to 85 dB, which isn’t very loud. But it makes sure that your ears stay under critical levels.
You can listen at max volume for hours without fear of damaging your hearing. Though the max volume isn’t that high (probably for the best).
Nonetheless, there’s one issue we caught. At very low volume, you can hear white noise in the background. That kind of white noise is common in most Bluetooth headphones, but with the ISOtunes Free, it’s more prominent.
Due to fantastic noise isolation, it’s more audible as it doesn’t get drawn out by ambient sounds. It’s not a massive issue since if you increase the volume to about 40%, you can’t hear it anymore. And 40% isn’t that loud.
Why Buy ISOtunes Free?
Compared to other work-certified headphones, the ISOtunes Free come with the latest Bluetooth technology, TWS design, and even aptX, they’re an improvement in every way.
It gives you more freedom to move and do your thing. And while they aren’t a huge advancement in noise isolation or sound quality over the older ISOtunes Xtra, the new true wireless design makes a difference.
How The ISOtunes Free Compare to Xtra?
They are similar wireless earbuds. They have about the same battery life that will last for the whole workday, come with Bluetooth, memory-foam eartips, voice assistant support, and fantastic passive noise isolation.
But the Free have a couple of advantages:
- A true wireless design without any cables to annoy you
- aptX Bluetooth codec support that improves the sound quality
- An overall longer battery life with extra capacity in the charging case, over 20 hours
- Newer Bluetooth 5.0 (compared to 4.1- Xtra)
If you still have the older version and you’re happy with them, then you don’t need to get these. At around $110, upgrading isn’t worth it just yet.
But if you’re buying a new pair of wireless work headphones that offer the best performance for professional use, then the ISOtune Free make the top choice.
You get tough work-friendly wireless earphones with certified protection for real specialists or busy bees.
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