The packaging itself consists of a sturdy box with magnetic folding doors and a plastic window that let you preview the earbuds. As you can see, these ones are an electric blue with the SOUL logo emblazoned in silver. The front and the back of the box detail the Run Free Pro HD's many features – notably the use of a balanced armature driver. Provided by Knowles, the leader in the field, these tiny, ultra-light drivers provide a level of fidelity and realistic sound that is a cut above what standard traditional drivers can offer.
Typically just 1/3 the size of regular audio drivers, they free up space for extra components, including sensors and batteries. For in-ear fitness wearables such as the Run Free Pro HD, this is invaluable. Not only does it allow for more flexibility in creating a more comfortable, ergonomic design that factors in aesthetic considerations, it means a lot more bang for the buck when it comes to play time. This is because balanced armature drivers consume less energy, giving the same output using less power.
That leads us nicely to the another stand-out feature of the Run Free Pro HD that you can see marked out on the box. In addition to making the earbuds lightweight and super comfy, the Knowles balanced armature technology helps boost the battery life of the Run Free Pro HD. While there are circumaural headphones on the market that offer up to 24 hours of uninterrupted play time, including SOUL's own X-TRA Wireless, few earbud models offer anything close to the Run Free Pro's whopping 12-hour battery life. There's also a quick charge option that gives you a whole 90 minutes of power for just 15 minutes on the charger. That's a genuine advantage if, as so many of us are these days, you're rushed off your feet and have forgotten to power up.
On the sound front, the Run Free Pro HD has even more tricks up its sleeve. If you take a look at the top right-hand corner, under the Bluetooth logo, you'll notice a little symbol highlighting the use of aptX technology. This bit of wizardry uses what's known as flat frequency response to help faithfully recreate the full audio bandwidth, making the sound indistinguishable from even the best wired technology. In conjunction with the balanced armature driver, this furnishes users with a sound experience that separates the highs, mids and lows with perfect crispness and clarity. Your favorite tracks will sound exactly how the artists intended when they were laying them down in the studio.
Finally, check out the little rain drop symbol here. Outside of sound quality, this is just about the most important consideration for consumers who are in the market for a top-notch set of training earbuds. Yep, you guessed it: The Run Free Pro HD is weatherproof. The earpieces use advanced nano-coating technology to guard against excess moisture – and that, of course, includes the copious amounts of sweat that you'll be producing during a workout.
Casing the Joint
Flipping open those magnetic doors and taking a look inside, we get a closer view of the earbuds themselves. You'll probably notice the eye-catching coloring of the flat, tangle-free cables. As cool as the design might look, that shiny silver band down both of the lateral sides of the cables isn't just there for decoration.
Let's say you're doing some road work at night or just walking home from the subway after dark. You're doing your thing, so intensely focused on your activity that you might not even be fully cognizant of the world around you. More importantly, the world might not be aware of you. Well, it wouldn't if you were wearing an average pair of earbuds. But with its reflective cables, the Run Free Pro HD ensures that you are as visible as possible to vehicles, cyclists and your fellow night-time athletes. The chances of after-hours mishaps are thus reduced to a minimum.
Fixing those reflective cables in place, we've got the SOUL carry case, which fits snugly into the belly of box. Even the rubber zipper pull? has its own small niche, cleverly allowing the black and white SOUL logo to be showcased. The case itself comprises a hard outer shell to keep the earphone tips, locks and USB charger safe, and the smooth synthetic leather finish makes it easy to wipe down and keep clean. Complete with a net storage pocket, which lines the inside of one half of the shell, it's a compact little carry case – the perfect protection for your accessories when you're out and about.
Speaking of the accessories, in addition to the ear locks – we'll get to those in a second! – there are two sets of foam ear tips for a different, spongier feel and an incredible four-size range of exchangeable silicon options.
Locking Things Down
And now we come to the piece de resistance: the first-to-market proprietary ear locks. Made from a flexible but firm rubber material, these customizable locks come in a regular and expanded option that have all ear sizes covered. These babies are genuinely a step ahead of the game when it comes to providing the stability you want when engaging in strenuous physical activity.
Fans of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) will really be in their element with the Run Free Pro HD . Here at SOUL, we stand by our claim that these earbuds are “guaranteed to stay on,” whether you choose the conventional wearing method or the over-ear option. Another great accessory that adds to the tangle-free, unobtrusive aspect of the Run Free Pro HD is the handy clip for tying up any loose cable slack.
Last, but certainly not least, there's the remote mic control, which comprises multifunctionality with an intuitive user-friendly interface. Skip back and forth through your playlist, pick up and reject calls or pair with multiple devices using the unique multipoint function. It's all there at your fingertips with this slender, feather-light remote control.
Now you've unpacked and checked out every inch of the Run Free Pro HD. It's time to get busy with these killer earbuds. On the track, in the gym or enjoying your latest adventure in the rugged.