As most of you probably know if you read my posts, I listen to music and podcasts. A lot. Be it on a run, at work, or doing yardwork, I am continually plugged in. I have gone through a variety of headphones in my day – both wired and wireless, each with their benefits and drawbacks. Obviously, I was pretty excited to try out my hands on the third generation of the famed Jaybird series – the X3.
The wired versions I have tried (Apple earbuds and their cheaper knockoffs) have provided the most consistency and least amount of maintenance (i.e. charging), but I have found recently that unless investing in the actual Apple versions, the quality is getting horrible, with mild static charges, or even just routine wear and tear, killing them within days or weeks. The wireless versions I have used have generally been better – in both sound and construction, but the need to recharge them after a few hours sometimes proves more work then it’s really worth.
First things first – the sound. And this one is by far the best sound out of any pair of workout headphones I have had. Ever. Now, I am not a audiophile by any means, but I can tell the difference between headphones that have that “tinny” sound, and those that are able to appropriately accompany the varying layers of a song. They stood behind their audio performance – I was skeptical, and they delivered.
One really plugged in and cool feature is the ability to download and use the MySound app to customize your headphones to the sound equalizer levels you prefer. If you like more bass to pound to keep you moving forward on the long runs, or are more of a spoken-word and podcast runner you can boost up the treble. That way, regardless of if your X3’s are connected to your phone, a friend’s phone, car, or any other Bluetooth-device, your sound settings are ready to go. I gave this a little sample and, though I don’t really have much need or desire for significant equalization, it’s a neat add-on that should make audiophiles (or those with sensitive ears) very happy.
The wireless connectivity is awesome as well. When at work, I am able to go 4 cubes over to the printer and leave my phone at my desk. I can also leave my phone in my kitchen and get into the garage before connectivity starts being an issue. I know you haven’t been to my house or work, but just trust me it’s a good distance. This may be due to their enhanced signal strength and, obviously, connectivity on a run is no problem. The X3’s also have a built-in microphone and button controls (similar to those on iPhone headphones), so it also doubles as a bluetooth for my phone. I can easily take calls, and do voice-to-text when on the run without having to disconnect it.
As I mentioned earlier, one big complaint I have about wireless headphones is the need to constantly recharge them. That’s a symptom that likely isn’t going away any time soon, but the longer I can go between charging, the better. The X3 boast an 8 hour play-time, I can confirm that this is pretty spot on. I found they went a little shorter if I was continually wearing them (while doing yardwork all day for example), but not by much. While playback time was impressive, the absolute best part about the X3’s power capabilities is how quickly they recharge. I was able to get them recharged in short order (just a couple of hours), and even a 15-20 minute boost was able to get enough power for an hour of playback – perfect for when you realize you are low on juice, but want to get an after-work run in.
Speaking of power, I really like how simple it is to charge. The X3’s come with a short USB cord and an attached charge clip (or as I refer to it – a “mini docking station”). To charge, just simply connect the miniscule “prongs” into the ports on the back of the in-line remote.
I had a previous pair of Jaybird headphones that I struggled to find the most secure fit. While they weren’t uncomfortable, I was always having to re-adjust periodically to keep them in place. They stayed in place when I wore a buff or a headband, but otherwise I found myself maneuvering them every 15 minutes or so to keep them at optimal comfort. This was in the back of my mind when I was trying the X3, but they seemed to have cleaned that up as well. The X3 can be worn both under the ear and over, and comes with multiple removable Comply Isolation Memory Foam ear tips in varying sizes, as well as silicone inner ear fins. The fins seemed sturdier than other similar products, allowing them to feel more secure in my ears. Thus, my problem of previous Jaybird earphones not fitting quite right was mostly alleviated. Across the board, I don’t feel that any company’s inner ear fins are the most comfortable things in the world – at least to me – but I trying believe that this is about as good as I have experienced. They are pretty small (sized down from previous incarnations), and the connecting cord is strong without being cumbersome.
The X3 redesign came with tighter seams to increase its ability to stay pumping hard in the worst elements. And as runners in the Pacific NW, it’s a MUST to have headphones that will not only withstand some sweat, but also be able to hold up to constant rain and mud.
Overall, this is the most versatile, functional, and best sounding headphones I have ever owned. Overall, I think these are a really solid investment for the quality. They run about $130 and come with a one-year warranty, which I think is extremely reasonable. I don’t know about you, but I have plunked down probably half that amount of money on a half-dozen Apple bud knockoffs in the past 4-6 months anyways, and I’m not getting anywhere close to a solid product (as evidenced by the continual purchases I am making).
The X3 comes in six different color sets. I was sent one of their newest colors -“Camo”- which is probably the version I would have typically been least likely to try. However, it’s still a classic look and not something that I even felt out-of-place wearing. There is a color scheme available that anyone could find something that they like.
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More about Jaybird:
No matter where your passion takes you – mud, sweat, or tears – we’ve got your back with bullet-proof, sweat-proof wireless music.
The third generation of the iconic X-Series is now even smaller with much bigger sound, better battery and our most secure-fit ever. We’re bringing full helmet compatibility and the MySound App experience to the X-Series for the first time. Weapons hot!
*”More About” information taken from the company’s website. We like to let their own stories speak for themselves, because we review companies that have real personality and passion about what they do.
Thank you to Jaybird for providing us with samples. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.