Pros: Comfortable and secure fit, pleasing sound with elevated bass performance, nice build quality for the attractive price, enhanced microphone design for improved telephony
Cons: SBC only codec
JAYS is a Swedish company which began business in 2006 and has released several note-worthy models ever since. Its emphasis the last couple years has been on producing wireless models of various styles, and the subject of this review, the f-Five ($79), is its newest creation. JAYS does the design work in-house while the manufacturing is done in China in order to remain competitive in today’s market.
The physical design of the f-Five is reminiscent of the Apple Airpods with its protruding stems. This design ensures a secure fit even when highly active (I had zero issues with maintaining a solid fit during my extended speed walking sessions). Additionally, the stem design enhances clear telephony usage since the microphone adopted for this model sits closer to one’s mouth for greater voice clarity and is a brand new design that JAYS makes a big point about in its marketing materials.
I’d like to begin by thanking Martin Nilsson, the Head of Marketing for JAYS, for providing a free sample for my unvarnished assessment of the f-Five. I received the f-Five a month ago and began by burning it in for a week since it uses a 6mm dynamic driver. The source component used for my review is an iPhone SE, and I played lossless music throughout my evaluation without EQ.
The f-Five comes in a sturdy cardboard box and includes the battery case (18 hours of battery life, good for four complete charges of the f-Five), the earphones (4.5 hours of play per charge), three pairs of varying tip sizes, a short USB-C charge cable, and the manual. The quality of build is very nice for this price range, quite typical of JAYS’ products, I might add.
On first listen after the burn-in period, the tonal quality of the f-Five is very smooth sounding without any notable aberrations in the frequency range. It does have a slight V-shaped profile with some bass bleed into the lower-mids, but not to the point of distraction, rather, producing a fun and easy to listen to sound. The midrange/upper-midrange is both clear and a bit forward sounding which counters the bass bump while the trebles are reproduced in a relaxed manner. The overall sound is quite enjoyable for non-critical listening. Given its modest price, I can definitely recommend the f-Five for its overall tonal balance.
When it comes to technicalities, the f-Five falters a bit, but I attribute this to the SBC codec it uses. There are no AAC or aptX codecs in this model (likely due to the retail price of the f-Five). Dynamics are somewhat restricted, so the excitement one hears with more costly designs—the Sennheiser MTW2, for example—is absent. Additionally, the soundstage is pretty much focused in the middle of one’s head without much lateral or vertical spread. The f-Five is designed to appeal most to non-critical listeners that want an affordable earphone with an overall pleasing sound and the reliable connection a Bluetooth 5.0 device provides. In this, the f-Five is quite competent.
I’ve enjoyed my time with the f-Five, typical of my experience with other JAYS’ products. Its design and build quality exceeds what one might expect from a $79 product, producing a pleasing sound that is highly compatible with outdoor activities where a sure fit is necessary. For those looking for a set of wireless earphones at an affordable cost, the f-Five should be at the top of your audition list, it’s an enjoyable experience.