Anybody who has spent any time actually trying to get a few things done has run into the same problem with standard earbuds: eventually you snag the cord and either rip the buds out of your ears or out of the phone they’re plugged into. If you’re lucky, that’s the extent of the trouble. If you’re not, you might be looking at your new earbuds at the bottom of a sink full of dishes. Either way, it’s not very convenient.
Bluetooth headsets and earbuds have done a lot to make this less of an issue, but they’re not without problems of their own. For a long time, Bluetooth just didn’t have very good audio quality, and even though that is less of an issue these days, Bluetooth earbuds are often just bulky enough to be annoying.
The Jaybird BlueBuds X aim to solve every single problem mentioned in the previous two paragraphs, offering great sound quality and low snag-ability without the feeling that you’ve attached weights to your ears. Specifically aimed at athletes, fitness buffs and other active people, they’re also handy for just about anyone. The question is: are they worth the comparatively high asking price? Let’s find out.
On opening the Jaybird BlueBuds X, the first thing you will see is the earbuds themselves. At their center, bearing the Jaybird logo, is the handy carrying case. Everything else sits inside this case: the charging cable, three different sizes (small, medium and large) of rubber tips for the earbuds, and the same three different sizes of the “ear cushions” that secure the buds in your ear. By mixing and matching the different sizes, most people should be able to get a secure, comfortable, and good sounding fit.
Even the best-sounding pair of earbuds is worthless if they aren’t easy to use, and with Bluetooth as part of the equation, usability is an even bigger part of the equation. Luckily, the Jaybird BlueBuds X performed very well in use.
One of the most unique features of the BlueBuds is the focus on providing the listener with a decent fit. Not only does a decent fit keep your earbuds out of the sink, but it is vital for the best sound quality. This is where the ear cushions come in, and though it was a little hard to get used to them at first, they certainly do what they’re intended to.
There are two different ways you can wear the BlueBuds X, with the cable going under your ear or over your ear, and even once you’ve made your choice, it can be a little confusing at first. To help you, Jaybird has not only included directions in the quick start guide but also produced videos to show you how to get the best fit for you.
Jaybird has clearly focused on keeping these earbuds out of your way, and they’ve succeeded in that. Once they’re on, you can just forget that they’re there in a way that simply can’t be done with a lot of earbuds. The BlueBuds are small, light and comfortable enough that I never noticed them becoming uncomfortable or irritating.
The Jaybird BlueBuds X claim a battery life of 8 hours, and in my testing, they seemed to hit the nail on the head. It might have been a little shorter, around 7 and change, but that’s still pretty good. Even if you do need to charge them up a bit, a 30 minute charge gets you around 90 minutes of playtime and they fully charge in around 2 hours.
There are a few other nice features that don’t need to be there, but certainly go a long way toward making this already-nice pair of earbuds even nicer. First, the included case. If you’re spending over $100 on earbuds, you’re going to want to make sure they’re protected when you’re not using them, and this does a good job of that while also giving you a spot to stash the charging cable.
Finally, the “Jenna” voice prompts are actually pretty useful. I initially wrote this off as a gimmick, but voice notifications are especially useful when you’re already wearing the BlueBuds but want to pair with a different device, for example.
There aren’t a lot of cons when it comes to how usable the Jaybird BlueBuds X are, especially once you’re used to them, and that’s the main issue here. Between having two methods of wearing the earbuds to the wing-like ear cushions, there’s a lot to get used to at first. You can just pop these in like normal earbuds, but you also get the feeling that you’re missing the point if you do. Personally, even after using them for a while, I had a hard time getting used to the “wings.”
The only other issue here is that while the over-the-ear method is supposed to be the preferred way of wearing the BlueBuds for those who are very active, they actually become a little less usable when worn this way. The buttons are just harder to reach because of the shorter cable length. This is another thing you can easily get used to, but it’s worth mentioning.
Just as I mentioned that the best sound quality in the world is useless if the earbuds aren’t easy to use, the opposite is true as well. A pair of earbuds could massage your earlobes and give you money, and they still wouldn’t be great earbuds if they didn’t sound good.
It’s simple science that the smaller the speaker, the harder it is to get any decent low-end frequencies out of it. This is why fit is so important with earbuds, because they work by basically making your ear part of the speaker. That said, when you get a really good fit in place with the Jaybird BlueBuds X, they sound fantastic.
Low rumbling bass isn’t actually all that hard to pull off in earbuds anymore. You can find pairs of earbuds that can do that for five bucks these days. There is a difference between bass that you can hear and bass that actually has definition though, and the BlueBuds have excellent definition in low frequencies. Low mids, another frequency range that tend to suffer in earbuds, were clear as well.
Even as I pushed up the volume levels, I couldn’t hear any noticeable distortion. It might be present, but not at levels I would feel comfortable subjecting my ears to. Stereo imaging is also very good, something I was curious about given how much the stereo image suffered in older Bluetooth headphones.
The only problem I noticed is that despite the Signal Plus feature, I would experience occasional very brief audio dropouts when I would move my phone (a Moto X) around. By brief, I mean so brief that it sounded more like a tick in the audio until I realized it was an ultra-short skip.
Obviously, if you’re looking for the highest in high-end audiophile audio, the BlueBuds aren’t going to fit the bill. Neither would any other earbud, Bluetooth or otherwise. Still, I’ve heard more than my share of speakers, headphones and earbuds, and for what they are, these do very well.
I’ll be honest; I hadn’t realized how little negative points I had against the BlueBuds until I sat down to write this article. Even after going over my notes again, I don’t have much bad to say about them. There is, however, one possible negative that we haven’t touched on yet.
The price. The Jaybird BlueBuds X retail for $169, but are usually on sale for around $150. After spending some time with them, I think they are worth the asking price, but that isn’t going to be the same for everyone. If you’re like me and find yourself going through a few pairs of earbuds a month because you don’t treat them well, you might want to hold off on considering the BlueBuds. Then again, if you consider them a worthwhile investment (and use the included case), they are definitely a great choice.
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Wow these look like an amazing pair of earbuds. Doesn’t MKBHD use these? But for the price, I would almost prefer a pair of full size headphones. The ones I am looking at are the Logitech UE 6000 for half of the price. I would get the Audio-technica ATH M-50 for about 10 bucks more.
For full size headphones, those Audio-Technicas you mentioned are pretty good. Especially for the price.
Yeah I really want a pair of those Audio-Technicas.
Honestly, I just took the plunge, and was nervous about spending that kind of money on headphones, but these actually sound fantastic, and being hands free all the time is absolutely epic. Full size headphones don’t offer the mobility some of us require. I can’t recommend these enough.
Okay. The good thing about earbuds is that they are very portable. I appreciate your feedback.
These have been my everyday headphones for at least 5 months. Plan and simple, I love them. I charge them every Sunday and they last me all week ( about 6 hrs of playtime)
Do the controls actually work properly on Android, specifically on the Nexus 5. For example, the skip track, play/pause, vol+/-.
I can’t speak for the Nexus 5, but yeah everything worked on my Moto X.
I use these with the nexus 5, and haven’t had any problems with the button controls; all the ones you mention work just fine.
Plantronics has Bluetooth headphones on Amazon for $40 (back be at 903+). No need to overpay. I’ve had mine for over a year. They’ve been through hell and still work fine.
I got mine the day these came out and love them. They have gone through the wash multiple times and still work great. The only issue I have is the cover for the microusb has cracked and won’t always stay close. They still work perfectly.
my Aunty Julia got silver Volkswagen Beetle Convertible by
working parttime off of a home computer… Look At This Jump999.ℂom
Finally, some decent ear buds to wear during my parkour sessions!
*Fatly rolls around in the road median*
*Ear buds vibrate against my earlobes*
Jenna: “I have desposited twenty seven dollars directly into your checking account.”
How would you say they sound in comparison to something from Klipsch? I own a pair of S4i’s and I’ve been interested in purchasing these, but I’m skeptical about the sound quality. Any thoughts?
I’ve owned the S4i’s and I currently own the BlueBuds X. While the S4i’s are cheaper, the bluebuds x blow them away with the sound quality. It truly is great.
I got these for Christmas and I can’t say enough good things about these headphones. There’s no better headphone for running/working out, and the sound quality is amazing as well.
On my third pair. Both stopped working after under two months of normal usage. These are overpriced and not very comfortable to wear. The sound quality is ok, but nothing special.
I’m looking forward to more in ear earphone reviews, good job.