back to top
Tech

Jaybird Just Made The Best-Sounding Wireless Earbuds

Runner-favorite Jaybird is releasing a new product called Run — and they're the best wireless earbuds for working out.

Posted on

Jaybird, the company that makes my favorite headphones for running, is shipping its first pair of wireless earbuds, called Run, later this month.

Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News

The Run are cable-less, wire-free earbuds that can connect to your device (laptop, phone, tablet, etc.) over Bluetooth, and they will be available sometime later this month for $180 (which, I know, is very expensive). Their most compelling feature? They actually sounds great when you're outside, on the move.

Wireless earbuds are a growing category and there are many to choose from: Apple's $159 AirPods, Samsung's $140 Gear IconX, the $150 Bragi Headphone, and the $300 Here Ones, just to name a few.

What makes this pair exciting is that they're made by Jaybird. The Utah-based company is focused on sound, sweatproof-ness, and fit — so much so, that its headphones are often a hassle to set up. They come with a variety of bud and wingtip sizes, and can be configured in your ear in multiple ways. It takes a while to get it right. Once the buds do fit, though, they sound and feel great, plus they stay in your ear, which is very important for people who run, bike, and bounce around outside.

The Run, however, required less setup time than other Jaybird earbuds I've tried. The default bud/wingtip-size ended up being perfect for my ears, and I loved how good they made my workout beats sound. Overall, I think the Run are the best-sounding pair of wireless earbuds for athletes I've tried so far. They're great for runs and rides under four hours, but because of their short battery life, shape, and connectivity quirks, I'd recommend other brands (AirPods and Bragi) for all-day wear.

I'll start with the bad: The charging case can hold up 12 hours of battery life, but the battery on the buds themselves isn't great.

Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News

The case, which is charged via a micro USB cable, is very small and portable, though it's a little awkward to open with one hand. A light indicator on the outside shows whether or not your earbuds are charged.

The embedded magnets that are supposed to guide the earbuds into their charging ports could be stronger, but doing that would add more weight to the case.

Each bud only holds four hours of battery life. Jaybird did implement a fast-charging system into the case — five minutes of charging in the case powers the earbuds with up to one hour of listening — which is fine for long bike rides or runs (I kept the buds in the case while resting). But with just four hours of power per session, the earbuds aren't really designed for all-day wear at the office or at home. It takes a few hours to charge completely, from 0 to 100%. The Bragi Headphone offers six hours, while AirPods last for five (plus their quick charging time is 15 minutes for three hours of listening).

And now, the good: The fit felt great, right out of the box.

Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News

The wingtip and bud are made of a tacky silicone material that made me feel really confident about the buds staying in my ears, without a cord as a safety net. The silicone does, however, attract dust and dandruff easily, which is horrible if you're a dirt-aphobe but fine for everyone else. You can wipe it off with a wet cloth.

I tried all three wingtip sizes and all three earbud sizes — but the default sizing (medium for both) turned out to be the best fit for my ear shape.

Advertisement

They stay in really, really well.

video-player.buzzfeed.com

My main issue with the AirPods was that the little stick that juts out past the ear kept catching onto my hair whenever I tried to tuck my locks behind my ear. They'd also go flying every time I took off my sweater.

Once the Run are in, they stay put (see: headshake test above).

I biked and ran with the buds (read: sweat all over them) — and neither felt like they were going to fall out, not even once.

The buds are really comfortable (the hard, plastic AirPods did make my ears hurt after all-day wear), but, unlike the Bragi Headphone, they stick out of my ears. Jaybird designed the Run this way intentionally, with the antenna (the silver border) on the outside of the bud to help with connectivity while sweating outside. Sweat, which has a high level of acidity, as well as the water in our bodies, can interfere with Bluetooth connectivity. Exposing the antenna is supposed to help with this.

As soon as you take the Run out of the case, it goes into pairing mode and connects to any nearby device it's been connected to before, making pairing easy. I experienced no connection issues with the Run when I took either one bud or both buds out of the charging case at the same time.

However, when I'd bike to work with one bud and then power on the other bud once I'm at my desk, I'd start to experience some interference issues between the two buds.

Most importantly, the earbuds also *sounded* really great, even with a lot of outside noise.

The Run handled it all: from pop (Rihanna's "Work") to bass-bumping trip-hop (Massive Attack's "Teardrop") to chill alt rock (Yo La Tengo's "Everyday"). Audio on the Bragi Headphone was often muddled by the whirring of its noise cancellation feature. And the AirPods, because of their one-size-fits-all design, don't sound great for those they don't fit well.

The Jaybird app has some extra features, like showing the last location you paired your headphones.

Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News

The "Find My Buds" feature doesn't *exactly* show you where your lost bud is, but it does provide actionable information: where you last paired your headphones via Bluetooth, which is a reasonable place they might be.

You can also choose one of two options for the button on each of the earbuds. One option has Siri or Google Assistant in your left (there's a mic, so you can simply speak commands into thin air), and play/pause and accept/reject calls in your right. The other turns your left earbud into a volume-down control and your right into a volume-up button. It's really a matter of preference. I prefer the first option when I'm working out and the second when I'm working.

If you're a runner looking for wireless earbuds, I'd get these ones. But the Run wouldn't be my pick for all-day wear.

If you want wireless earbuds at the office or at home, I'd pick the AirPods because they're so lightweight (plus, easy Bluetooth syncing for Mac/iOS users), or the Bragi Headphone for its noise-cancellation capabilities.

The Run will be available for preorder at JaybirdSport.com, BestBuy, and Amazon and, according to Jaybird, ship early October, but do not have a specific availability date.

Nicole Nguyen covers products and personal technology for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.

Contact Nicole Nguyen at nicole.nguyen@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.