Your Full Review Guide to the SMG Freedom ANC Bluetooth Wireless EarBuds
At Motorcycle Gear Hub, we love reviewing motorcycle gear, even if it’s gear that’s only remotely related to motorcycling. And what we have today on our reviewing menu is certainly going to be of your interest. Motorcycle rider or not.
Enter the SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds
SMG Gold Electronics (SmgGold.com) is led by Richard Slatin who has brought the company’s wireless Bluetooth earbuds to consumers at affordable prices. The premise is that the company’s products are sourced from factories where similar, branded electronic (and motorcycling) equipment is made.
Thus, the SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds.
The Freedom ANC EarBuds are true wireless, Bluetooth earbuds with active noise-cancellation that promise to free you up from ambient noise so as to be able to listen to music and phone calls with crystal-clear sound quality.
We got a hold of these interesting wireless earbuds, put them through our testing paces and it is now that we give you our full review of the SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds!
Table of contents
As customary, here’s first the table of contents of this review:
- SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds specs
- Performance and comfort
- Installation and adjusting
- Quality of materials
- Advantages of the SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds
- Disadvantages of the SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds
- Concluding our review of the SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds
Estimated reading time is of 15 minutes. If you’d like to read a more-condensed summary of this review, then click on to the Advantages and Disadvantages sections in the table of contents above.
SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds specs
This is what SMG Gold Electronics has to say about its Freedom ANC EarBuds:
- Great sound, touch controls, re-naming, auto-on/off, auto-pairing and wireless charging.
- Call features like answer, release, put calls on hold.
- Operated by finger tapping either earbud.
- True Active Noise-Cancellation (ANC): ambient noise reduction is -25dB.
- Bluetooth Standard: Bluetooth v5.0 compatible.
- Water resistant: IPX6 rated.
- Easy to carry in its portable charging case.
- Supports A2DP/AVRCP/HFP/HSP.
- Warranty: 1 year limited to defects in materials and construction.
- 14-day refund (upon receipt of product).
- Price (at time of review publication): $79.99
- Website: SmgGold.com
The above claims are on par with much-pricier wireless earbuds; these ain’t small claims at all given the product’s price.
So, how did the SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds fare after extensive testing?
Performance and comfort
Right off the bat, I have to say that I am very surprised with how well the SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds have performed and continue to perform. For $79.99, these wireless earbuds are surprisingly good.
As soon as you pair the Freedom ANC EarBuds to your phone, the finger tapping to operate the earbuds (e.g. to take calls or play a next song) is consistently precise and accurate. Literally.
It only takes a very light, quick tap to take calls whilst listening to music on your phone and the rest of finger-tapping options (i.e. touch controls) are equally seamless in their operating. If you’re new to Bluetooth wireless earbuds, you will be amazed with the sublime functioning and operating ease of the Freedom ANC EarBuds.
Active noise cancellation (ANC)
Yes, it works!
Not only is it a piece of cake to activate the active noise-canceling feature by tapping the earbuds but it also truly isolates you from ambient noise.
Walking around town with music playing at mid volume with the active noise-cancellation of the Freedom ANC EarBuds activated is a joy to behold. No longer is there a need to blast the volume on your phone to listen to music and not hear people shouting or vehicles rolling by.
The ergonomics of the Freedom ANC EarBuds also enhance the sealing of the sound emanating from the earbuds. Unlike other wireless Bluetooth earbuds, the Freedom ANC EarBuds are shaped in such a way that aids in creating a vacuum and thus lowering ambient noise by itself.
Whether it is a song playing on your phone that you’re listening to or a video that you’re watching on your computer or a phone call that you’re taking, the active noise cancellation of the Freedom ANC EarBuds is on point (and is so at all times).
Please be aware that riding a motorcycle while listening to music with any wireless earbuds or conventional earphones is not recommended as a safety precaution. In the case of these SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds, the active noise-cancellation is so powerful to completely isolate you from surrounding sounds that would otherwise warn you of impending danger (e.g. noise of a car skidding behind you while you’re stopped at a traffic light).
The above motorcycling warning is applicable to all Bluetooth wireless earbuds and not just to the Freedom ANC EarBuds.
The SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds have not hiccuped in the slightest when finger tapping them so as to operate them. Other Bluetooth wireless earbuds are sloppy with the finger tapping (have to press really hard) or unreliable; the Freedom ANC EarBuds have never ceased to require the slightest tap to function as intended.
The Freedom ANC EarBuds are indeed water resistant as I’ve jogged in medium to heavy rain with no loss of tactile responsiveness or sound quality. I’d go out on a limb and trust the IPX6 claim since an IPX6-rated product is designed to withstand powerful water jets, and heavy rain didn’t cause any performance degradation in the Freedom ANC EarBuds.
Even with low battery power, the Freedom ANC EarBuds’ touch controls remain fully responsive.
With the active noise-cancellation deactivated, the sound quality of the SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds is superlative and on par with high-end regular earphones. I was taken aback by this, for I was not expecting this top level of sound quality.
Bass-emitting performance is top notch as so is overall clarity of any style of music being listened to through the Freedom ANC EarBuds. I listen to a wide range of music, from techno to classical music, and the crisp delivery of musical notes was, again, akin to high-end earphones.
Only when the battery is running low, do I notice a dissipation in the bass notes when listening to heavy-bass music.
Watching videos or hearing the person you’re talking to during a phone conversation is just as epically crisp. It’s obvious how SMG Gold Electronics knows very well where to source their earbuds from as these ain’t your typical AliExpress jokes of earbuds.
Unless battery life is at its limit, sound performance during phone calls remains at a constant high-quality delivery.
Loud and clear. During phone calls, no one noticed that I was talking through my SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds. And that’s with my phone either in my pocket or several feet away from me.
The Freedom ANC EarBuds’ microphone picks up your voice superbly while doing an above-average job of not picking up surrounding noise. I had another tester use the Freedom ANC EarBuds so as to speak on the phone with me and I could not tell a difference between him calling me with the ANC EarBuds or without the ANC EarBuds.
I even went as far (pun intended) as recording several videos on my phone with me standing 20 feet away from the phone talking. The recorded voice quality was just as good as if I had recorded my voice talking directly into my phone.
I can see a lot of potential in the Freedom ANC EarBuds with moto vloggers who could rely on the magnificent microphone of these earbuds to record their voice for vlogging videos. I instantly paired the Freedom ANC EarBuds with my Sena Prism camera and the recorded voice quality was as good as that with my Sena 10S Bluetooth headset.
In one word: phenomenal. The Bluetooth reach of the Freedom ANC EarBuds is a solid 10 meters (33 feet) from whatever gadget it is paired to. There’s no loss of performance within a 10-meter radius, and this too factors in the presence of non-isolating obstacles such as tables, chairs, corners and even entering another room (with door open).
Only when you enter a room and close the door, is the Bluetooth reach affected. From experience, the Freedom ANC EarBuds will perform with their usual high-quality delivery at a distance of 3 meters (10 feet) if you’re in another room from your paired gadget and you close both rooms’ doors. That’s actually pretty good for a set of wireless Bluetooth earbuds at this low price point.
Movement doesn’t affect Bluetooth reach or performance of the Freedom ANC EarBuds. I’ve gone for long runs (i.e. jogging), long rides (on my motorcycles) and also kept walking around (within a 10-meter radius) while listening to music or having a phone conversation, and the Freedom ANC EarBuds haven’t flinched one bit.
A common complaint of Bluetooth wireless earbuds is that they can get choppy with sound quality when jogging due to the persistent movement of the paired device (e.g. cellphone). This is not the case with the Freedom ANC EarBuds.
As a rule of thumb, manufacturers like to list too-optimistic battery lives in their specs; SMG’s listed 10 hours of battery life for the Freedom ANC EarBuds is true, however.
SMG also lists a battery life of 4 to 4.5 hours if continuously listening to music with the active-noise cancellation feature activated. With the ANC deactivated, I’d say that the experienced battery life has ranged between 8 to 12 hours throughout all heavy-duty instances that I’ve put the earbuds through.
Mind you, there’s no need to activate the active noise cancellation if you’re at home watching a movie with your Freedom ANC EarBuds or if you’re talking to a friend on the phone. Ergo, it’s unlikely that you’ll be making full use of the active noise-cancellation every single time that you wear the earbuds.
Realistically speaking, these SMG wireless earbuds last long enough to not have to worry about the next charge up, which is the exact opposite experience with some of the more-expensive, branded earbuds which have you start panicking after the 2-hour mark of continuous use.
You’ll use your Freedom ANC EarBuds, then use them again, then give them another good use, and, only then, will you say “oh, the earbuds are running on less than 30% battery power”. In other words, the Freedom ANC EarBuds are as dependable as a Honda Goldwing (or a set of Held Titan motorcycle gloves).
The Freedom ANC EarBuds’ portable charging case gives you a genuine 4 full charges of the earbuds if you’ve fully charged the portable case. Charging is via a USB cable and you can charge the portable case by simply connecting the USB cable to your laptop or computer.
Again, more amazement on my part since the portable charging case has given me that extra peace of mind when on the go. I wasn’t expecting this level of reliability from what’s, at heart, a white-labeled set of Bluetooth wireless earbuds.
OK, this is where the Freedom ANC EarBuds finally won my skeptical self over. The marketplace is flooded with expensive, mega-brand earbuds that are an absolute nightmare to wear for anything over 30 minutes. Many of these don’t stay secured or won’t insert properly in smaller-than-average ear canals.
Even worse, some of these highly-priced earbuds rely on the actual plastic earpiece shape to secure itself into your ear canal, which can be painful, especially if jogging or moving your head.
The SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds are extremely comfortable to wear for as long as you want. The Freedom ANC come with a selection of different-sized silicone plugs; choose the one that fits your ear canal best and off you go.
Now, I have big ear canals and I’ve never had any issues with earphones in the past. One of our other testers happens to have small ear canals and she hates earphones because she never finds any with the right size for her ear canals.
The Freedom ANC EarBuds not only come with a set of small silicone plugs (among other sizes) but the shape of the earbuds lends itself to a very-comfortable fit as only the silicone plug is inserted into the ear canal. No plastic-anything creating pressure points or irritation. Thus, our tester with the small ear canals was marveled with the comfort and customized fit rendered by the Freedom ANC EarBuds. And so was I with my big ear canals.
The SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds stay in place when jogging or doing any kind of physical activity. You can wear these wireless earbuds while lifting weights as you can also wear them to go rock climbing (which I did). The earpieces do not budge or vibrate; it’s a solid hold, and a very-comfortable one at that.
The Freedom ANC EarBuds aren’t exactly the shortest earbuds available, yet they feel very light in weight and lack any excessive bulk. The bulkiest section of each earbud is at the top where it meets the silicone plug holding a rock-solid fit inside your ear. Consequently, the Freedom ANC EarBuds feel almost weightless when wearing them.
All in all, the comfort of the Freedom ANC EarBuds for any kind of activity (or lack thereof) is top of the line.
Installation and adjusting
The SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds pair to just about anything!
Pairing via Bluetooth is almost automatic in the case of a cellphone or a computer since, as soon as your gadget’s Bluetooth connection recognizes the Freedom ANC EarBuds, the pairing process is as simple as clicking on the connecting option on your gadget.
For other gadgets with no screens (e.g. action cameras), the Bluetooth pairing involves pressing on each earbud. The process is very similar to pairing Bluetooth communication headsets for motorcyclists (e.g. from Sena or Cardo).
As far as adjusting goes, it’s all reliant on finger tapping as mentioned earlier and it works flawlessly. The included product leaflet with instructions on how to operate the Freedom ANC EarBuds is pretty detailed.
For the record, the Freedom ANC EarBuds will even allow you to skip on to the next video on Youtube by finger tapping twice. That was as tested on an Android device and I was gobsmacked by how the Freedom ANC EarBuds were capable of this feat since this isn’t a feature offered by any run-of-the-mill wireless earbuds.
Quality of materials
Overall, the SMG Gold Electronics Freedom ANC EarBuds are a high-quality product through and through. These are quite possibly the best true wireless Bluetooth earbuds at the cheapest price.
Forget about AliExpress if you’re seeking cheap, high-value Bluetooth wireless earbuds, for it’s a huge gamble that you’re taking by buying this type of electronic gadget in that specific online market. The best value at a low cost is, without doubt, found in these Freedom ANC EarBuds from SMG.
I do have two complaints regarding the Freedom ANC EarBuds: the SMG-branded sticker and the chaotic instructions.
The SMG’s brand sticker looks out of place for such a nicely-designed product packaging. After all, it’s a white-labeled product and bringing down costs (to pass on to the consumer) means using branded stickers, but SMG Gold Electronics could do much better by slapping a more-appropriate and aesthetic sticker on the product’s box and portable charger case.
My second complaint revolves around the non sequiturs in the instructions provided inside the product’s leaflet.
Yes, the instructions are very detailed, but they’re chaotic and don’t follow an orderly sequence. This is more of an annoyance than anything else, for you will end up understanding the instructions. It’s only that it will take you a little longer than usual as you try to make sense of the constant going back and forth in the instructions.
Another annoyance stemming from the product’s instructions is the amount of grammatical errors and disorganized writing. Really, I can do with the chaotic instructions but, as a native English speaker, the writing of the instructions was not up to par.
If SMG Gold Electronics wants to sell many of these high-quality wireless earbuds in the United States, the brand will need to work on the product’s instructions. If anything because such inconsistency in something as critical as a product’s operating instructions can degrade the perceived value of a product.
Advantages of the SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds
On to the advantages of the Freedom ANC EarBuds from SMG Gold Electronics:
- High-quality wireless Bluetooth earbuds. And that’s without considering their retail tag.
- Consider their retail tag, and these are fantastic, best-value wireless Bluetooth earbuds.
- Great sound quality without the active noise-cancellation activated.
- Even-greater sound quality with the active noise-cancellation activated.
- Pretty-good microphone. Clear voice when on a phone call.
- Bluetooth range and performance is top-end stuff.
- Pairs with incredible ease to anything that has a Bluetooth connection.
- Unparalleled comfort.
- Stays in place, even during strenuous physical activities.
- So light that you barely even realize you’re wearing them.
- Comes with a selection of different-sized silicone plugs.
- Can be worn inside a helmet with no discomfort or pressure points. If you do this, only do it to take calls (and that’s still not recommended for safety’s sake). Never ride a motorcycle with any earphones or earbuds listening to music!
- You can skip to the next video or go back to the previous video on Youtube and not just on your device’s default software. Mind blown away here, folks.
- Proven to withstand medium to heavy rain showers.
- Nicely-designed box as well as interior housing the product’s pieces. Neat and tidy.
- Instructions are very detailed.
- Decent refund policy and good warranty coverage.
- The price. These Freedom ANC EarBuds wipe the floor with Bluetooth wireless earbuds costing twice as much.
Disadvantages of the SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds
On to the disadvantages of the Freedom ANC EarBuds from SMG Gold Electronics:
- The branded sticker looks like it doesn’t belong there and cheapens the first impression that one gets of the product upon unboxing it.
- Reading the product’s instructions for the very-first time can cause a headache as you try to make sense of what’s going on and what you’re supposed to do.
- The poorly-written instructions need some serious polishing in order to improve the product’s presentation to an American audience.
Concluding our review of the SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds
The SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds have been more than impressive; they’ve been stellar in everything, from superb sound quality to functional active noise-cancellation to Bluetooth pairing ease to flawless touch controls. All minus that little annoyance with the instructions.
Generally speaking, white-labeled products are hit or miss, but the Freedom ANC EarBuds are an absolute hit and have all the qualities that one would seek in a set of true wireless earbuds worth buying.
Given their phenomenal performance and quality for what they cost, the SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds are the one pair of Bluetooth wireless earbuds that you should be seriously considering if your budget is limited. And even if your budget isn’t limited too!
Motorcycle Gear Hub recommended!
The editorial rating awarded to the SMG Freedom ANC EarBuds is based upon the product’s expected use (and abuse) as well as the product’s total features when compared to its direct competitors:
- Performance: 5/5
- Installation: 5/5
- Ease of use: 5/5
- Quality of materials: 4.5/5
- Value for money: 5/5
Motorcycle Gear Hub rating: 5/5
Last Updated: 13th March 2020