Known for their sports-orientated wired headphones, Jaybird has debuted its first ‘true wireless’ earbuds, named “RUN”, specifically designed to meet the needs of serious athletes and fitness lovers.
Truth be told… ‘serious athlete’ and ‘fitness lover’ are two phrases I highly doubt anyone has ever used to describe me. However, as Jaybird’s products are sold through mainstream Australian retailers – not solely specialist sports stores – I believe it’s essential the earbuds can cater to my lifestyle, being it’s fairly representative of other female, Gen Y, CBD dwelling, yoga-loving and stiletto-clad individuals.
Following Jaybird’s wired ‘X3’ sports headphones, the company’s new RUN true wireless earphones are as the name suggests – truly wireless.
I trialled the wireless earbuds for a month, across many of my daily activities, to determine whether this sport-specific product would be suitable for my cosmopolitan, fast paced, time-poor, and relatively healthy lifestyle.
Sure, it’s suitable for athletes, but would it cater to my needs, too?
Would I be able to make and take calls when meandering busy CBD traffic on foot, without being fearful that an earbud could fall out? Would Spotify be able to play my guilty-pleasure Adele tracks with the sound quality I desire, even when on a busy and bumpy bus?
Manufactured under Logitech, Jaybird’s ‘RUN’ earbuds are positioned to rival Apple’s AirPods, and claim to offer a pleasurable hands-free listening experience, no matter the intensity of physical activity.
Renowned adventurer and canyoner, Jeff Taylor, is Jaybird’s Global Athlete and Partnership Manager, and has a direct input in the style and design of its products. Taylor also receives feedback from Jaybird’s flurry of pro athlete ambassadors.
Despite its lack of wires, Jaybird’s RUN earbuds are designed to remain in your ears, whether you’re in spin class, or hiking a mountain.
For someone as myself, whose most intense workout usually concerns hot yoga or a weekly spin class, I was re-assured that the wireless earbuds would likely stay in my ears.
Packaging & Design
The concept of ‘true wireless earbuds’ was somewhat concerning, as truth be told, I have very petite ears.
But to my delight, Jaybird had that covered. The company clearly put a lot of thought into the packaging, which features a premium cardboard outer box, and includes a variety of fins and tips, allowing even me, to customise my perfect fit.
I loved that the earbuds come in a well-designed ‘coin-purse’ pouch, which is very easy to throw into my handbag – e.g. If I was exercising, and likely to be somewhat sweaty after, I could easily exchange my buds with fresh similar sized tips, without feeling like I was carrying around too much extra weight in my bag.
When customised with the right tip and fin, the earbuds offer a tight fit.
The RUN earbuds are also water and sweat resistant, which is almost a necessity for sport-orientated headphones. Translated to my lifestyle, it means they’re safe for a day at the beach.
The earbuds are more ‘weighty’ than others I’ve tried – such as TRND Labs’ Nova earbuds – however they are not too bothersome. The larger size actually improved my listening experience, as it encompassed more of my inner ear.
The charging case, however, is my favourite part. The oval shaped case enables the wireless earbuds to charge inside. The buds boast four hours of usage on a single charge, and the accompanying charging case provides an extra eight hours – resulting in a total of twelve hours of mobile battery life. Jaybird states five minutes of charging will offer one hour of play time.
Lights affixed to the charging case are a welcome feature. They display a solid green when charged, and flicker when charging.
Users can recharge the case with a microSD cable, which is very convenient.
My only qualm is that the case is slightly too big, and in my opinion not ergonomically designed. It is easy to slip out of my hands, and a touch too bulky to fit in my handbag compactly. But I’m willing to forgo that inconvenience, for the powerful charging capacity the case provides.
Pairing the earbuds with each other, and to my phone, could only be described as effortless. It was a click of a button on the earbud – Voila, my Huawei phone easily discovered and connected to it. Compared to other wireless earbuds I’ve trialled, it was delightfully easy.
The earphones include a companion app which features a nifty “Find My Buds” function, which is especially useful for a product without wires, and therefore more prone to lose.
The RUN wireless headphones include a pressable control button which allows users to accept phone calls, play/stop music, skip tracks and utilise Siri or Google Assistant.
Users can customise the button’s features via the accompanying app – e.g. for volume control.
The earbuds’ pressable button is a little ‘tough’, but I really appreciate this, because as a somewhat vain female, it means I can’t accidentally press it when adjusting my hair, or moving my arms amidst yoga. It’s a design feature Jeff Taylor states was specifically requested by female athletes.
Jaybird’s RUN earbuds come in either a black or a white motif, complimented with silver accents.
The RUN earbuds’ accompanying app allows users to customise sound to suit their personal preference.
Users can adjust sound in five different points across the frequency – from low to high (20, 110, 630, 3500 and 20,000Hz) which pushes added treble clarity or bass.
The earbuds claim to include noise cancelling capabilities, which is quite differentiating, and often lacking in similarly styled headphones.
Concerning sound quality, I was initially sceptical.
However, I was prompty pleased.
Jaybird has continued its history of delivering premium audio. I could clearly notice the difference in sound quality between the RUN earbuds, and a cheaper set of Bluetooth headphones.
The sound quality, in my opinion, is in no way sub-standard. Tones are rich, and sound customisation via the app, makes for crisp sound across both mids and highs. I experienced little distortion, and I definitely recognised the noise-cancelling feature when travelling in a busy bus, or around a large number of people. The bass is adequate, but again, not huge.
Naturally, you can’t expect the same level of specialised sound as you would in specialised high-end wired headphones – Frankly they fulfil two different purposes.
Jaybird’s RUN wireless headphones are designed to be mobile, compact and suitable for comfortable use, even in high intensity activity.
Overall, the earbuds do serve their purpose well, and the sound quality when customised can be excellent.
I do have to note, however, that users have to be somewhat conscious about the position of their phone in relation to the earbuds, as connection drop outs can occur. Jaybird states users should keep their phone to the right of their body to maintain a strong connection.
Unfortunately, there were a few instances when I lost connection to my left earbud – an annoying ‘beep’ sound would play, as the earbuds attempted to re-establish connection. Jaybird does need to work on refining this, though this can sometimes be a by-product of Bluetooth connections.
My advice to mitigate this is to keep your phone stable, and in close proximity.
The only times I experienced drop outs was when I was travelling on a bumpy bus. Interestingly, I didn’t experience any connection dropouts when exercising – be it on the treadmill, cross-trainer, or even doing sit-ups. The earbuds certainly upheld their claim to provide a pleasurable listening experience amidst intense activity.
When using the earbuds to take and make long calls, I can confidently state I did not experience any sound problems. Sometimes with other earbuds, the receiver of the phone call states I sound ‘distant’, or as though they can barely hear me. With the RUN earbuds, I had no such qualms, much to the delight of my partner, as we sappily conversed for hours several times a week. [Insert vomit here].
As a side note, my partner trialled the earbuds as well – sharing is caring – and used them to take conference calls for work, in public places. Unfortunately, the noise cancelling capabilities of the earbuds were not strong enough to cater to multiple voices, across many locations (typical of most conference calls). He struggled to hear his colleagues, and was forced to switch to more robust wired headphones. The left-hand earbud struggled to pack as much of a punch as the right-hand earbud, however, this is often the case for many similar wireless Bluetooth earbuds.
I found battery life to last just under four hours, supporting Jaybird’s claims. The company’s promise that five minutes of charging in the case would offer very close to one hour of use, was also substantiated. For someone who always forgets to regularly charge their devices, there were very few instances when I found I had no power whatsoever, be it from the case or the earbuds.
Jaybird’s RUN wireless earbuds are available to purchase from JB HiFi or directly via Jaybird’s website for A$249.
Compared to similar offerings, such as Jabra’s A$349 Elite Sport VR Earbuds, and Apple’s A$229 AirPods, Jaybird’s RUN wirless earbuds offer great value for money.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using them, and appreciate that their compact design and ease of use, won’t mess up my hairstyle – on fancy days out – or fall out of my ears during a particularly hectic fitness session.
Sports aside, the earbuds proved to be versatile across various aspects of my lifestyle, and I appreciated the fact they could transition with me, as I moved from environment, to environment, and day to day.
Jaybird RUN headphones are available to purchase from JB HiFi for A$249 or directly through Jaybird’s website.