ISOtunes Free 2.0 Review In-Ear Wearing Protection Earbuds

Monday, November 28, 2022

The closer the hearing protection is to your ears, the better the performance! This is why in-ear wearing protection earbuds such as the new ISOtunes Free 2.0 can be more effective than over earmuffs. 
Free 2.0 are also desirable because of their smaller footprint and ability to listen to music during work while simultaneously protecting your hearing

Free 2.0 is an upgraded version of the original ISOtunes FREE (aka FREE 1.0) hearing protection earbuds. Free 2.0 is aesthetically and functionally very similar, retaining the same glossy lime green faceplate and threaded nozzle, which prevents the eartips from ever coming off loose by accident.The Free 2.0 case and earbuds have a grippy soft touch rubbery finish. The Free 2.0 case has a tall and narrow pill capsule design with a shallow charging dock area that makes pinching the earbuds out of the case very easy.

The Free 2.0 earbuds weigh 4.5 grams each, while the case weighs 34 grams. The Free 2.0 case measures 8cm long x 2.5cm wide x 3.5cm high. The earbuds hold 7 hours of battery power, while the case holds 13 hours bring the total listening hour potential to 22 hours. Both the Free 2.0 earbuds and case have a charging time of 2 hours.

ISOtunes' Free 2.0 earbuds come with 25dB NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) similar to ISOTunes Link Aware. This means, Free 2.0 earbuds are capable of reducing external noise decibel level up to 25dB. For example, if you are on a building site with a decibel level of 156dB, the Free 2.0 wearing protection earbuds will reduce the building site noise down to 147dB. The way this is calculated is by using the following formula:
  1. Subtract seven (25 – 7 = 18)
  2. Divide by two (18/2 = 9)
  3. Going back to the example: (156 – 9 (new NRR) = 147)
And, it isn't just the construction workers that can benefit from wearing protection. If you ride a motorcycle, attend music concerts, have noisy neighbors or practice shooting range, you can benefit from wearing the Free 2.0 earbuds. The typical rock concert noise decibel level is around 105dB. The Free 2.0 earbuds can effectively reduce a 105dB rock concert noise down to 96dB, which is about as loud as a lawn mower or hand drill. 

Free 2.0 uses physical buttons with the following functions: volume up/down, skip track previous/next, calls (answer/end/mute) and voice assistant. Pairing the Free 2.0 earbuds requires having to remove the earbuds from the case to initiate bluetooth pairing. The audio performance is very good - greatly aided by the passive isolation of the tips which enhances the bass and volume dynamics.

Potential deal breakers
  • Low dust/water resistance rating - IP45 - means the Free 2.0 earbuds do not offer complete protection (like IP67 does) against dust and water for extended periods. 
  • Battery life not as long lasting
  • Single battery status led. Four status leds on a case makes it more user friendly and easier to read 
  • Charging case does not have overvoltage/current protection. If you use a fast charger by mistake, you can potentially damage it. 
  • Fit not as secure as ISOtunes Lite IT-20 
  • No ambient mode support like the PRO Aware model for situational awareness
  • No Q-wireless charging support 
  • Charging case battery led is located inside the case, not outside
  • Physical buttons - also a selling point (see below)
  • A bit expensive for the feature set on offer
  • No multipoint connection
  • No mobile app support; hence no EQ and no button remapping

Selling points for Free 2.0
  • Bluetooth audio volume safely limited to 85dB
  • Dust and water resistance
  • Bluetooth 5.2 chip supports aptX and AAC audio playback and absolute bluetooth volume
  • Available in matte black (IT-73) and safety yellow (IT-72). The IT-72 model volume is limited to 79dB
  • More compact and lightweight than ISOtunes Free Aware hearing protection earbuds
  • Discreet noise isolating hearing protection
  • Listen to music while working and protecting your hearing at the same time
  • Certified noise reduction, unlike ANC (active noise cancelling) earbuds which do not come with noise reduction rating
  • Similar form factor as true wireless earbuds 
  • 25NRR/31 SNR  - suitable for shooting range
  • OSHA/ANSI compliant
  • 1 year warranty 
  • Small profile lets you wear them under ear muffs
  • Audible beep to indicate max volume
  • USB-C charging
  • Threaded nozzles prevents the eartips from falling off
  • Noise canceling microphone for calls
  • Bluetooth status led blinks during audio playback - not ideal with true wireless earbuds but is power Free 2.0 hearing protection added safety feature to help others see you
  • Physical buttons means you can operate the Free 2.0 functions with gloves, unlike touch controls
ISOtunes continue to sell the original Free earbuds, which are cheaper to buy. The upgrades you get with the Free 2.0 are: newer bluetooth 5.2 chip with AAC support, louder volume, more seamless pairing connection, and higher NRR. Other than that, both have same battery life, same aptX audio, same dimensions, same IP45 rating, same noise isolating microphone for calls and no multipoint support. Accessories included are an unbranded charging cable (60cm long), double flange silicone tips and foam tips. You can buy the ISOtunes Free 2.0 hearing protection earbuds from amazon.

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