Truefree F2 Open-Ear Headphones Review: Ow!

Truefree F2 (Photo: Alex Kidman)

The Truefree F2 Open-Ear Headphones are extremely affordable open-ear runner’s headphones… but they’re just too damned uncomfortable.

Pros Cons
Inexpensive Seriously uncomfortable fit
Variety of equalisation modes Poor general audio quality
Microphones work acceptably well Charging port is hard work to open up

Score: 2.5/5


Buy The Truefree F2 Headphones! Buy On Amazon

In this review

Truefree F2 Specifications
Truefree F2 Design
Truefree F2 Performance
Truefree F2 Conclusion

The Truefree F2 headphones are designed and sold on a very simple premise.

For runner’s open-ear headphones, they’re really rather affordable, with Australian pricing (at the time of writing) sitting at just $59.99. That is, by any reasonable definition, inexpensive, leaning towards cheap.

The issue with inexpensive is that quality really does cost money, and the Truefree F2 headphones do demonstrate that in a rather painful way.

They function adequately enough – which is to say that they’re headphones – but they’re just so uncomfortable to run with that I can’t recommend them at all.


Truefree F2 (Photo: Alex Kidman)

Most open-ear running headphones follow the same basic design principles, with curved hooks that sit over the top of your ear leading to the speaker/microphone parts, with either a hard or soft loop connecting the right and left hand sides. For the Truefree F2 headphones you get a harder loop type with a bright orange band leading to black earpieces.

It’s certainly eye catching, especially on my own head where there’s not any hair getting in the way, and as an added bonus, the brighter colour means that there’s little likelihood of you losing the Truefree F2 headphones any time soon.

Unfortunately that’s where the good news stops. The Truefree F2 are as inexpensive as they are because they’re built really cheaply, and this is evident both when you first start using them and realise the buttons are small and indistinct, but much more so if you go running in them.

Everyone’s ears are different, and maybe – just maybe – if you’ve got very small ears they might be passable, but what I found after only a relatively short time running was that the shaping of the ear loops meant that they thumped down on the top of my ears really savagely with every single step.

This is not conducive to faster running because it’s super distracting, but it also meant that every single time I went out running with the Truefree F2 headphones, I came back with very sore ears.

Truefree F2 (Photo: Alex Kidman)

I can put up with having sore legs while I run – at the time of writing I’m doing a 100km run through May as part of the May 50K, so I’m running every single day, but sore ears? That’s a non-starter for me, and a factor that genuinely made it hard to properly review the Truefree F2 headphones. They really are that uncomfortable.

The other design factor I struggled with on the Truefree F2 was the placement and orientation of the charging port. The Truefree F2 headphones recharge via USB-C – at this price you might still see microUSB, so that was a pleasant surprise – but the charge port sits under a rubber flap that opens with its side closest to the ear lug.

That makes them harder to open than they should be, and it’s one of those stupid design steps where simply flipping the rubber flap 180 degrees, so it was closer to the flat side of the headphones would have made a huge difference to usability.


Truefree F2 (Photo: Alex Kidman)

The other area where cheaper headphones tend to skimp out is in audio quality… and here, yeah, it’s not great.
The shape of the Truefree F2 headphones might suggest that they’re using bone conduction in the same style as, say, the Shokz OpenMove headphones, but that’s not the case at all.

Truefree boasts that the Truefree F2 headphones use “Air Conduction” instead, which is a fancy way of saying that they transmit audio through the air. Or in even simpler terms, they have speakers that sit outside your ears.

The upside here is that there’s no messing around with active noise cancellation, because you really can hear absolutely everything going on all around you at all times. If you’re concerned about hearing the world while out running – and you should be – then that box gets checked immediately.

However, because the speakers do sit a couple of millimetres clear of your ears, sound quality is always compromised, and always rather leaky if you’re near other people. That’s a natural consequence of the design, ultimately.

Truefree does have an app for iOS and Android that requires an email sign-in and offers a range of equalisation modes, as well as the ability to toggle multi-pairing or lower game latency modes.

The one truly useful feature here is equalisation, although in my experience only with one specific setting. By default the Truefree F2 headphones sound incredibly tinny, losing a lot of quality before getting into your ears.

Activating the bass boost mode brings them a little closer to better quality listening – again, in line with what you’re paying, don’t expect miracles here – and as a result a bit better for exercising with or using generally.

Part of the reason why the TrueFree F2 headphones weigh on my ears so much are the batteries, with up to 15 hours of running time between recharges. With full honesty, I haven't gone running with them on for 15 hours, because my poor battered ears just couldn't take that much discomfort, but more ad-hoc testing does suggest that that's an achievable figure at moderate volume.

Truefree F2 Headphones: Alex’s Verdict

Truefree F2 (Photo: Alex Kidman)

Honestly, I can deal with the Truefree F2 Headphones only having so-so audio, because they’re quite inexpensive. That’s absolutely par for the course, and if all you want is quite basic, tinny audio, then they will get that job done.

It’s just that the experience of wearing them for even a short period of time, but especially when running is damned uncomfortable. Comfort is basic table stakes when it comes to headphones, and I can’t recommend any set where the greatest pleasure I get from them is the time I get to take them off.

Truefree F2 Headphones: Pricing and availability

The TrueFree F2 Headphones retail in Australia for around $59.95.

Buy The Truefree F2 Headphones! Buy On Amazon

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