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Soul wants you to run free with its Run Free Pro wireless earbuds. They have all the important features of good wireless workout buds: super-secure ear inserts, cords that don't tangle, a water- and sweat-proof design, and good battery life. But while these $129 headphones get many things right, we would have liked more bass coming from the otherwise booming buds.
The Soul Run Free Pro wireless earbuds are inoffensively sporty. The buds are torpedo shaped, with interchangeable ear inserts and wings, and are connected by a flat cord. My review unit was black and gray, but you can also get a black and bright-blue pair for matching more colorful workout gear.
The flat cord ensures you'll have a tangle-free experience with these buds, and the whole device is sweat-proof. The cords are also long enough that you can comfortably drape the buds on your neck when you're not using them.
The standard-issue inline remote works with both iOS and Android, with a volume rocker and a multifunction button that pauses and plays music, as well as turns the device on and off.
Comfort and Fit
Soul made the Run Free Pro pretty customizable, offering three pairs of different-sized ear inserts and three pairs of ear wings. I stuck with the largest pair of inserts, as I usually do, and these really suctioned into my ears. Once I inserted them, they were not moving for anything.
The ear wings also help prevent the buds from moving. Out of the box, they come with the flat ear-wings installed, which sit flat against the buds and don't hook into your ears at all. Then there are two other wing sizes, one that's bigger and more fanned out than the other. I chose the larger size, because it provided that extra grip in my ear that I needed to make the buds completely snag-proof.
Even during my toughest workouts on the elliptical, treadmill and various strength-training machines, the Run Free Pro earbuds stayed in place. They're slightly more snug and secure than the $129 SMS Audio SYNC by 50 Wireless Sport earbuds, which themselves have a great, sturdy fit.
The Soul Run Free Pro play songs like Sam Hunt's "Ex to See" well, coming off emotive yet poppy with sultry vocals and twangy guitars. Even better was Gavin DeGraw's "Dancing Shoes," a ballad that sounded exactly as it should, with resonating pianos and vocals that were both rich and hushed.
However, the Soul Run Free Pro could benefit from more consistent bass. In Kanye West's "Love Lockdown," the bass was shaky and muffled by West's vocals at first, but at least the bass was noticeable. In the middle of the track, when pianos and drums were incorporated, the underlying bass line got totally lost in the shuffle.
Similarly, the bass in Pitbull and Lil' Jon's "Krazy" was nearly nonexistent, sounding more like a drum far off in the distance. Also in that track, the raspy instruments became distorted and almost unpleasant to listen to.
Overall, the Run Free Pro earbuds have similar audio quality to that of the SMS Audio SYNC by 50 Wireless Sports, but the SMS buds have better bass along with decent highs and mids. Since the bass is so lacking on the Run Free Pro, it has the opposite problem to that of the $199 Beats Powerbeats 2 buds, which is an overload of bass that drowns out much of the rest of tracks.
Soul promises 8 hours of battery life in the Run Free Pro earbuds. That's about the same as the SMS Audio SYNC by 50 Wireless Sports, and longer than the 6-hour life of the Beats Powerbeats 2. After 5 hours of playback on the Soul earbuds, the battery was down to about 60 percent, so the buds should get slightly more than 8 hours on a single charge.
The $129 Soul Run Free Pro is a good pair of wireless earbuds, with a water- and sweat-proof design that will carry you through workouts and everything in between. The buds also benefit from long battery life that will get you through a week's worth of 1-hour workouts. Overall, theses buds have good audio quality, but those looking for more bass should opt for the $129 SMS Audio SYNC by 50 Wireless Sport earbuds.
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Valentina is Commerce Editor at Engadget and has covered consumer electronics for a number of publications including Tom's Guide, Wired, Laptop Mag and Ars Technica, with a particular focus on wearables, PCs and other mobile tech.