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JBL Free earbuds promise 24 hours of truly wireless music playback

Truly wireless earphones – the kind where the buds themselves hold all the power, rather than a neckband – are popping up all over IFA 2017. The JBL Free are looking like ones to watch, especially in terms of battery life.

Slipping into your ears without a wire in sight, they offer 24 hours of playback. However, it's worth explaining how that 24 hours breaks down – while the earbuds are good for 4 hours of continuous playback, it's the accompanying charging case that provides that extra 20 hours for the combined total.

It remains a slick package however, as the earbuds only need to sit in the charging case for 15 minutes before they're recharged enough to get another hour's worth of playback.

Hands-free calling

Connecting to your audio device over Bluetooth 4.1, the earbuds can be used for hands-free calling (even as a mono single bud) as well as stereo music playback thanks to a built in microphone and touch controls.

Three comfort-fit ear tip sizes are also provided, as well as two more secure silicone sleeves. Available in black and white color variants, they're looking like a tidy alternative to Apple's goofy AirPods.

Available from October, they'll be priced at £119.99 (around $155 / AU $195), making them, in the UK at least, considerably cheaper than Apple's offering, too.

  • IFA 2017 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced.
Gerald Lynch

Gerald is the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves his gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Based out of TechRadar Towers, London, Gerald was previously Editor of Gizmodo UK. He dreams of the day when he can pop on a VR headset and meet Lawnmower Man-era Pierce Brosnan. Sadly, Pierce doesn't share the dream.