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Dottir On Grid Freedom TWS Earbuds: Review

Can the Icelandic Dottir On Grid Freedom Wireless Earbuds deliver good sound quality and extreme protection when running? We take them out to find out.

Dottir On Grid Freedom TWS Earbuds Black

One of the most popular categories in the wireless headphone market is the segment dedicated to listening while running or working out. With the wireless headphone space predicted to grow to almost $27 billion by 2027, there is enormous room for growth for both legacy brands and startups. We covered the launch of Dottir in 2021 and waited patiently for a review sample of the Dottir On Grid Freedom TWS Earbuds which showed up eventually. The history behind these is a big part of their charm.

A lot of brands use professional athletes in their marketing campaigns but very few of those brands are a collaboration between two of the best athletes in the world throwing their experience and muscle behind it.

Doing some pre-review research, I discovered that Dottir is taken from the Icelandic word for “Daughter” and it’s safe to say that my own was very keen on taking these for herself when I was done abusing them.

Dottir On Grid Freedom TWS Earbuds Ash Grey Pair with Case

The founders, Katrin Davidsdottir and Annie Thorisdottir, are not just athletes though; they are two of the fittest women in the world having both won the International Crossfit Games multiple times (and are two of only 3 women to ever do so) and having medaled more than 8 times.  

They decided to create their own earphones after destroying countless others and deciding that what exists on the market for athletes is rather inadequate.

My first thought when reading about the pair was that they had somehow managed to possibly find the least qualified person on the planet to review their earphones.   

My spirit animal is a sloth and it has been rumored to be dead at that.

EIC Ian White runs in the rain and snow at 5 a.m. and enjoys fishing in his waders in the Atlantic Ocean a few times each week so I’m slightly puzzled why they chose me instead.

Dottir On Grid Freedom TWS Earbuds Ash Grey Pair Inner View

The Shallows

I will say that the Dottir On Grid Freedom go further than many in the durability department with the earpieces having a pronounced ear hook and an IPX7 rating; the company claims that they can be used while swimming, although it cautions that Bluetooth doesn’t penetrate water to any depth and that while swimming won’t damage the earpieces, connectivity may be a problem and your music may get frequently interrupted while doing so.    

I know of no other vendor that makes the statement that their earbuds can be used while swimming and I suspect that Dottir have actually tried this because there is always someone on YouTube or Reddit that will attempt it and report back.

I suppose one could wear these in a hot tub or sauna without issue and that’s probably good enough for most people. Any surfers in the audience who want to try these out can email me and I’ll send them on.

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The shell of the earbuds are built to survive harsh treatment in other ways as well and can withstand being stepped on, dropped, and even a run through the washing machine in a jeans pocket. 

That’s an actual test I like to run when reviewing budget models as my children often do this by accident. I didn’t leave the buds in the case as it is not IPX7 rated and would likely not have survived. 

The earbuds on the other hand came through with flying colors And clean pants.

Very few earbuds can survive this and I was quite impressed.

The case itself is made from metal and just feels more robust than what other manufacturers are offering; even the hinge has been designed to absorb more intense shocks and you can really tell that these earbuds are built to last.

Dottir Case Inside

I recorded a 13 hour battery life at normal listening levels with ANC turned off and a little better than 7 hours with ANC enabled. The case provides an additional 4 full charges and most of a fifth before needing to be recharged itself via the USB Type-C port on the rear of the case.  

This is impressive as well as most ANC earbuds are turning in 7 hours or less of battery life with ANC off. The case takes about 5 hours to recharge from being completely drained via USB or overnight with a Qi wireless charger.

Durability and the battery performance of the Dottir On Grid Freedom Earbuds are rather consequential victories for a new brand; in this crowded marketplace you really need some solid points of differentiation to stand out.

Dottir On Grid Freedom TWS Earbuds Ash Grey Pair with Case in background

The Skinny

Having earbuds that survive a harsh workout only matters if they stay connected to a source that isn’t necessarily in our pocket; nobody is taking their iPhone in the water with them and a lot of people leave their phones on the ground when working out.

The pairing is straight forward and the Dottir immediately goes into pairing mode when the case is first opened and remembers previous pairings on subsequent openings.   

The earbuds use the Qualcomm 3040 chipset and support SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX HD codecs. I did have an issue early on with one earbud not pairing so I only got mono performance. 

The manual does have a reset procedure listed that worked to fix the problem, but you may have to hold the sensor on both earbuds for longer than 8 seconds to get the reset to take place. A proper reset is indicated by the LEDs on the outside of the earpiece so remember to hold the buttons until you get visual confirmation of a reset.

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I found the connectivity was stable once paired as long as sources were kept within 20 to 30 feet in open spaces and even a single layer of drywall did little to defeat the signal.  

Multiple layers of interior walls did defeat the signal with regularity so it is best to keep line of sight with the source. I found that outdoors connectivity could be maintained to a distance of about 45 feet in open spaces. 

While you can’t run a marathon while leaving your phone at home, connectivity is quite good and on par with the best models of sports or running earbuds that I’ve tested.

Dottir On Grid Freedom TWS Earbuds Ash Grey Pair on back

The Space Between Your Ears

The fit and seal are quite good as well; the earbuds ship with 12 different sizes of tips which go a long way to finding a good match for most ears. The fit is fairly shallow, but the body of the Dottier sits immediately behind the ear canal which helps cut down on outside noise.  

I had some concerns about the bar shape and ear hook as they are large and fairly stiff; I thought comfort might suffer in promoting better stability. The weight is minimal at a little under 10 grams per earpiece which helps with comfort and my final observation after some extended listening sessions and work-outs is that a proper balance has been struck with these earbuds. I could wear these for hours without any issues.

The controls are touch sensors on the face of each earpiece and rocker switches on the rear edge (when worn) and currently there is no app which I find refreshing.

On an earbud designed for rough use, having to control it through an app would require exposing your phone to those same elements and level of abuse and it does make sense that the controls have been designed in such a way.

The controls are well thought out but there is a learning curve with any pair of true wireless earbuds and these are no exception. Once you figure it out, the Dottir are relatively easy to use and that’s an important part of the equation.

Dottir On Grid Freedom TWS Earbuds Ash Grey Profile View

The Sound

Dottir isn’t very forthcoming about the amplifier or driver specifications but there is a 13mm dynamic driver used in each earbud.

I found the sound to be bass forward in a big way; the sub-bass is elevated the most and gradually drops back as it moves up but remains emphasized to some degree all the way through the lower midrange.

The bass impact is very robust but also fairly quick so bloom is kept to reasonable levels; the issue is that it bleeds over into the lower midrange which is an unwanted coloration.

Detail in the low end is average or slightly below as these are designed to keep the beat moving forward and be the metronome for your workout rather than the audiophile earbuds you enjoy while sitting on the porch drinking some sweet tea.

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In the midrange, male vocals have good weight and cut through the mix well. Guitar notes don’t have that much of an edge but the timbre was actually pretty accurate and pleasing.

Piano and strings lack a bit of energy so I wouldn’t call these tonally accurate earbuds, but female vocals cut through nicely as we rise through the upper midrange. Considering how much bass there is with these earbuds, vocals are actually a positive aspect of their performance.

The lower treble is emphasized and helps with the vocal presence but drops back again fairly quickly above 5 kHz and does limit top end air and sparkle as a result.

I think it’s fair to remind people that these are work-out or running earbuds and not audiophile quality IEMs; they are meant to keep you engaged and moving while you exercise and do that job well.  

The isolation and ANC are good but not fantastic; the earpieces do well at cutting out droning noise but struggle to cut out voices and higher pitched noises that are more variable in frequency and amplitude.  

I did find that the ANC did a good job of getting rid of enough outside noise that I could focus on my music without having to turn the volume up to unsafe levels which is really the big goal here.

Do not turn up the volume on ANC earbuds to drown out outside noise even with it engaged. You will damage your hearing in the process.

I wish more people would understand that.

Dottir On Grid Freedom TWS Earbuds Ash Grey Box Open


Are these true wireless earbuds for you?

I think that is a fair question and it really depends on what you need.

If you’re looking for a wireless IEM that will outlast your workout in terms of battery life, withstand the harshest conditions you can possibly throw at it, and provide a rather good soundtrack while you push yourself to the limit — these are a really good option.

Dottir has done a rather solid job with these ANC true wireless earbuds and are something that I would personally consider using at the gym. They might not deliver the sound quality of the Sony WF-1000XM4 ANC earbuds, but they would crush them in harsh weather and in the water where they would likely die a watery death.

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Not everything is about sound quality when it comes to sports earbuds and the Dottir On Grid Freedom prove that you can have your Kjötsúpa and eat it too.

Where to buy: $149 at dottiraudio.ccom



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