SoundPEATS GoFree2 Open-Ear Earbuds – Exercise Awareness and Great Sound?

If you sell a product, your goal should be to sell to as many people as possible. Earphones, headphones, and earbuds have often been marketed to those who exercise. The problem is that they, by design, block outside sounds. That’s fine and preferable if you are trying to provide the best possible fidelity (or to ignore others around you). But if you are exercising outside, you want to hear what is happening around you. There are some sports, like cycling, where wearing earphones that block outside sounds is illegal. The $75 SoundPEATS GoFree2 Open-Ear Earbuds are designed to sit over your ears rather than shoved inside of them. This allows some outside noise in while providing you with music and phone notifications. How do they sound? Let’s discuss!

SoundPEATS GoFree2 Open-Ear Earbuds Specs

Size (mm)
Earbuds: 49.84*38.56*22.24
Charging Case: 84.4*65.3*28.9
Net Weight (g)Single Earbud: 9g
Earbuds+Charger: 71g
Bluetooth VersionV5.3
Supported Bluetooth ProfilesA2DP1.3/ AVRCP1.6/ HFP 1.7/ SPP 1.2/ GATT
Supported Bluetooth CodecAAC/SBC/LDAC
Battery CapacityEarbuds: 60mAh*2
Charging Case: 450mAh
Charging portType-C
Noise CancellationENC
Control TypeTouch Control
Charge TimeEarbuds: 1.5H
Charging Case: 2H
Total Music Play Time at 60% volume (SBC)Earbuds: 9H
Charging Case Charging Times2.9
Total Standby Time60H
Water ResistanceIPX5
Charging Input5V/1A
Frequency Response20Hz-40KHz
Driver size16.2mm
Battery componentsLi-ion Polymer
Mutiple ConnectionYes
One earbuds use?Yes
Auto-turn off function if it is disconnected?3min
Game ModeYes

GoFree2 First Impressions

The SoundPEATS GoFree2 Open-Ear Earbuds come with a couple of manuals, a very short charging cable (nothing comes with a wall plug anymore), and a case. The case is larger than most earbud cases but it is well designed. It is flatter so it still fits well in your pocket. The matte finish has a velvety feel that I liked. I’m not sure how durable it will be, but the finish was pleasant to the touch and unique.

The earbuds have a unique design that wraps around your ear. They claim a nine-hour runtime with a total battery life of 35 hours at moderate volume. Higher volumes and enabling game mode will reduce that lifespan.

The case is charged by a USB-C connection. One glaring omission of the SoundPEATS GoFree2 Open-Ear Earbuds is that there is no wireless charging available on the case. This is the first set of earbuds I’ve tested in quite some time that hasn’t had this feature. If you use wireless charging like I do, it is jarring not to have it with the SoundPEATS offering

Aesthetically, the SoundPEATS GoFree2 Open-Ear Earbuds are very cool looking. The large logo (looks like a “5” but is actually an “S”) is glossy and doubles as the capacitance touch control pad. The end of the loop is wrapped in metal which gives the earbuds an industrial look that I like.

SoundPEATS GoFree2 Open-Ear Earbuds Design

If you’ve been shopping for exercise headphones, you’ve probably come across bone-conduction models. These sit just in front of your ears and shake the bone to transmit the sound. These types of headphones are great in that they keep your ears free to hear outside noises while still transmitting a modicum of sound. The problem is that they don’t sound great. And that’s being generous.

The SoundPEATS GoFree2 Open-Ear Earbuds take a different approach. They wrap around your ear and sit just outside your canal. This allows them to pipe the music directly into your ear without completely blocking outside noise. This design has a couple of advantages irrespective of exercise.

If you are the type of person who has a problem with in-ear headphones, the design of the SoundPEATS GoFree2 Open-Ear Earbuds is going to be for you. If you’ve found that you can’t get in-ear earphones to stay in your ear reliably, you are going to love the design of the GoFree2 earbuds. Many people find that in-ear headphones are simply too uncomfortable for longer use. The on-ear design of the GoFree2 earbuds solves that as well.

GoFree2 Comfort and Stability

When I first put on the SoundPEATS GoFree2 Open-Ear Earbuds, I was sure they wouldn’t stay put. The loop puts very little pressure on your ear. I wear glasses so I was concerned that the loop and the arms of my glasses would interact to make the fit either uncomfortable or unstable. Neither turned out to be true for me. I put the earbuds on with and without my glasses. The fit felt the same. When I put my glasses on while already wearing the headphones, they would sometimes touch, but usually they just slid past each other. From what I could tell, the SoundPEATS GoFree2 Open-Ear Earbuds were just as stable when I was wearing glasses as when I wasn’t.

In the state in which I live, riding a bicycle while wearing headphones is illegal. While that doesn’t stop many people, I’m much more of a rule follower. I do notice a lot of cyclists wearing bone-conduction headphones as a sort of workaround. From what I can tell, this is still not legal. The GoFree2 earbuds certainly wouldn’t be legal. So I didn’t test them when riding.

I did wear them while doing some moderate exercise. Even though the GoFree2 put very little pressure on my ears, they never came loose or even moved. Then stayed in place very well and seemed very secure. I tried to be as energetic as I could with my head motions and I wasn’t able to shake them loose. If you are planning on using them while running, they should work well.

GoFree2 Control and App

The SoundPEATS GoFree2 Open-Ear Earbuds have access to a more limited version of the SoundPEATS app. The app allows you to control the volume, enable the Adaptive EQ, select a preset or custom EQ, and enable Game Mode, Dual Device connection, and disable touch controls. As you’d expect with an open-air earphone, there is no Noise Cancellation or similar features. The idea is to let in outside noise, not block it.

The one thing I really liked about the app is that it detected your headphones and opened the correct version of the app. Many apps make you click through one or more screens to select the correct device. Even when you only own one (as most people would), you still have to select your single device.

I did have a couple of issues with the app. The front page was just the battery level of the headphones. As the case is the majority of your available battery life, I’d like to have some sort of indication of the case battery remaining. There is a Reset button on the front page. This basically factory resets your headphones. This isn’t a function that people use so often that it needs to be on the front page where it can be butt-pressed accidentally. Sure, it takes more than one press to complete the reset, but we’ve all had our phones do crazy things in our pockets. If they are going to include a reset control, it should at least be slightly hidden.

The capacitance controls on the headphones were a mixed bag for me. The headphones don’t sit tightly so they sort of flop around as you press on them. Even with this, the controls were responsive to single and double presses. That responsiveness was a double-edged sword, however. The SoundPEATS GoFree2 Open-Ear Earbuds controls were shockingly easy to press accidentally when moving in and out of the case. This explains the Disable Controls function within the app. I can see many people disabling the controls.

Lastly, there is no way to modify the controls within the app. This is another feature I’ve gotten used to seeing with all newer wireless headphones. You’ll just have to memorize the SoundPEATS control scheme.

GoFree2 Sound Quality and Outside Noise Pass-Through

When shopping for exercise-focused headphones, people might say they care about sound quality, but they really care about all the other things. They care about comfort, stability, water-proofing (the SoundPEATS GoFree2 Open-Ear Earbuds are IPx5 rated), and noise pass-through. Decent sound quality would be nice but certainly isn’t as important.

With a customizable EQ, you can tune the SoundPEATS GoFree2 Open-Ear Earbuds to your liking to a certain extent. When set to a flat EQ, they don’t have much bass until around 150Hz and aren’t very consistent at the top end. This is to be expected. Part of the reason for in-ear and over-ear headphones is to help with the bass response and overall consistency of frequency response. The open-air design pretty much guarantees that bass will always be an issue. Even after boosting the bass with the EQ, there wasn’t a lot of improvement in the bass response.

Overall sound quality, however, we better than I expected. I’ve tested bone-conducting headphones before and the SoundPEATS GoFree2 Open-Ear Earbuds are lightyears better as far as sound quality. While they won’t stand up to headphones focused on accurate sound reproduction, they sound much better than I ever expected.

Noise pass-through, however, wasn’t nearly as good as I expected. Even at what I consider to be low volumes, I couldn’t hold a conversation with a person standing very close to me. While they’ll easily let loud noises through, the music and physical obstruction will make hearing moderate or softer sounds very difficult to impossible. I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing these while cycling where often your only hint of a car behind you is the sound of the engine or tires on the ground.

Lastly, if you are concerned about volume, the SoundPEATS GoFree2 Open-Ear Earbuds have it in spades. They got loud enough that I couldn’t comfortably max out the volume on my phone. Are there going to be people out there that think these don’t get loud enough? Probably. But they went to too many concerts and can’t hear anyway.

Wrap Up

Do I think the SoundPEATS GoFree2 Open-Ear Earbuds would be good for exercise? Absolutely. They stay in place well and let in some outside noise. I wouldn’t wear them in a situation where hearing outside noise could save your life, but for casual exercise, they’d be fine. If you’ve tried bone-conduction headphones and were unimpressed with the sound quality and price, the SoundPEATS GoFree2 Open-Ear Earbuds at $75 are probably exactly what you’ve been looking for. Recommended!

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