Review: Wireless Earbuds with Cadence Tracking & Voice Coaching from Soul

Soul sent me its Run Free Pro Bio ($149.99) wireless earbuds to try. I was skeptical because they are priced around the same as Apple's AirPods, so I figured they had to have some advantages over Apple. I was right, the Run Free Pro Bio earbuds have a bunch of distinctive and interesting features that runners should find appealing.

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First, the left and right earbuds are connected to each other. This makes them less likely to get lost, unlike Apple's AirPods where one or both could easily fall out and get lost. Speaking of falling out, the Soul earbuds come with five distinct earpiece adaptors so you can get a custom fit. The AirPods have a decent battery life of 11 hours and take only about two hours to charge. The earbuds are sold in red or gray and are made of a weatherproof, reflective material and there's even a minimal LED safety light.

They have another interesting feature, where the free companion app talks to the wearer, to speak coaching tips. The earbuds have what Soul calls "BioMech Engine" which is a fancy way of saying they can detect things like head angle, oscillation, step width and shock, and offer advice. This is an interesting option, but you may want to turn it off when just want to listen to music.

Pros

  • Real-time voice coaching and robust companion app
  • Weatherproof, reflective material
  • Wireless but left and right earbuds connected
  • 11 hours of battery with 2 hours to recharge
  • Multiple ear adaptors for comfort

Cons

  • Expensive

Final Verdict

If you are looking for an alternative to Apple's AirPods, the Run Free Pro Bio from Soul have some distinctive differences especially for runners.

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.