Review: JayBird BlueBuds X Bluetooth Wireless In-Ear Headphones
December 11, 2012 by Bill Palmer
by Bill Palmer
Beatweek Best In-Ear Bluetooth Headphones for 2013
Wireless in-ear headphones are a fantastic concept, but have been littered with a history of earbuds which due to the laws of physics were often way too large, sounded subpar, or had impractically short battery life. JayBird, a vendor focused primarily on wireless headphones, has been attempting to gradually change all that over the past few years, first with the Freedom, then with the BlueBuds, and now with the new BlueBuds X. The result: a set of wireless earbuds which are only marginally larger and heavier than standard wired earbuds.
The $169 BlueBuds X eschew the industry tradition of flat vertical cylinder designs and instead simply pack the battery and wireless components into standard earbud housings, which are a bit more elongated than wired earbuds, but close enough to “normal” in size that neither you nor passersby are likely to notice – save for the fact that there are no wires running from your buds to your mobile device. A thin flat rubber cable runs between the two buds, with an optional sizer clip.Hidden inside the left earbud housing is a micro-USB recharging port.
Of course none of this matters if the product doesn’t get the audio right. In that regard, despite their comparatively diminutive size, the BlueBuds X offer the best sounding wireless in-ear headphone experience I’ve ever heard, and that includes some more expensive competitors. JayBird says it accomplishes this by using a new bluetooth technology called Shift, but the upshot is simply that it works. The bass and treble both feel slightly emphasized, yet still within what I would consider mainstream levels. In my tests I found that this slight extra kick actually helped with noise isolation; the sweatproof design prompted me to test them out at the gym, and sure enough, I was able to drown out the gym’s background music quite nicely.
Various sized rubber tips and spacers are intended to allow you to wear the BlueBuds X tilted either upward or downward, so that the cable can run below your ears or around the top of them on its way to wrapping around the back of your head. I found a comfortable fit for my medium sized ears using both methods, but I suspect that those users with smaller ear canals may be better off with the over-ear option. In any case, I expect that all users will be able to find a comfortable fit in one manner or another.
The eight hour battery life claim turned out to be accurate, which means that you can get through all but the most heavy-usage of days on a single charge. The only bit of constructive criticism I can offer is that I was half expecting the BlueBuds X to come with not merely the included USB charging cable, but also a wall plug for those times when charging from your computer port isn’t an option. But that omission isn’t enough to cost the product its five star rating. As was the case a few years ago when the original JayBird wireless earbuds first surfaced, it’s on the rest of the industry to catch up.
Comes in a choice of black or white.
Rating: Five stars out of five • Price: $169 • jaybirdgear.com