We remember when Logitech released the first Bluetooth headphones for the iPod back in 2005. In fact, we still have those antiques here at our office. Although the originals were innovative for the time, they were expensive at $150 and suffered from a fragile headband and heavy earphones. Fortunately, the Logitech FreePulse Wireless Headphones have solved these problems and do so at a list price of $109 (current street price is less than $90).
The design of the Logitech FreePulse Bluetooth Headphones is one of the better we've seen. In general, behind-the-neck headphone designs commonly suffer from placing an uncomfortable amount of weight or pressure on the ears. The FreePulse model manages to skirt this problem by using a lightweight, flexible carbon spring-steel wire inside a silicone headband. This resilient wire core also eliminates the problem Logitech has faced in the past with breakable plastic headbands.
The FreePulse headphones uses adjustable silicon over-ear straps to secure the headphones in place, and although some people just can't stand to have straps on their ears, most users will be fine since there is very little weight involved. We found the cushions on the headphone speakers comfortable, and the thickness of the cushioning is an improvement over the original iPod Bluetooth headphones. By draping them over your ears instead of squeezing your head like a vice, the FreePulse headphones were easy to wear for an hour or more without discomfort.
If the FreePulse headphones suffer from a design flaw, it's that users cannot adjust the length of the headband. Logitech's designers seemed to err on the side of caution and provided enough room for those with large heads or lots of hair. The rest of us will need to use the adjustable ear straps to position the extra headband away from the head to avoid bumping against the neck.
The Bluetooth transmitter for the FreePulse headphones is nothing fancy. The square, black transmitter measures 1.5-inches across and 0.5-inches deep, with a power button and a connection indicator on one end and an adjustable stereo minijack on the other. Unlike other iPod Bluetooth transmitters, the FreePulse doesn't use the iPod's proprietary connection port (leaving it free for devices like the Nike + iPod Sport Kit). The upside of the FreePulse's simplified transmitter is it can be used on any audio source with a stereo headphone jack--including computers and home theater systems. Logitech also includes a handful of adapters that give the transmitter a snug fit for 4GB, 5GB, Mini, and Nano iPods.