Disclosure: I received these headphones for free from JayBird in exchange for writing a review. This post includes Amazon Affiliate links. These are my very own honest opinions about their product, BlueBuds X.
While JayBird markets their headphones to athletes, the pair I’ve been reviewing, BlueBuds X, has value beyond sport related activities.
Even so, the $165.95 price may be a deal-breaker for some. (FYI: High-end bluetooth devices for mobile users can be $129). I’ll cover the basics of what BlueBuds X claims to be and how it performs, and then you can decide if it’ll be a stocking stuffer for your favorite athlete this Christmas. Especially if that athlete is you.
Claiming the “perfection of wireless sound”, JayBird is promoting BlueBuds X as the be-all, end-all of wireless headphone technology and heavily promoting to all kinds of athletes. The promise of untethered tunes (no dangling cord) sourced from any bluetooth enabled device really got my attention.
Imagine the possibilities! Not needing my iPhone on my person in order listen to music – great for the gym! Or pairing with my computer so I can walk around the apartment listening to music while J watches football! Exciting right? So let’s review.
This is probably the most important thing if you’re an audiophile. If your beats don’t come through with clarity, it defeats the purpose. I’m not the pickiest about sound quality but I was impressed. So much so I may have giggled a little.
I paired BlueBuds X with my iPhone, twisted them in and played “Sail” by AWOLNATION. No reason. It just came on. Anyway, when the first bass beat dropped at 17s in, I got excited. I literally grinned from ear to ear while the song rumbled on. I had this odd sensation the beat was vibrating through me even though the volume was at a very moderate level. (I do not enjoy loud music or hearing loss). BlueBuds X preserves the experience of music, preventing the flat sound you usually get from a mobile device.
JayBird has what they call SHIFT Premium Bluetooth Audio, responsible for achieving quality sound via bluetooth connection. Audiophiles can read more about JayBird’s love affair with sound quality by clicking here.
Range. Just to see, I set my phone down and walked all around my gym and outside to test the range of the Bluetooth signal. I could go anywhere inside the building with no interruptions. Once an external wall was between me and my iPhone, the sound got scratchy but the bluetooth connection stayed. There is a LOT of freedom to move about and maintain uninterrupted sound!
Two things: first, the on/in ear fit (two different attachments) and second, the X-Fit feature, which deals with the straps. BlueBuds X has two pieces you must attach to the headphones in order to get a secure fit. Both pieces, the ear cushions and the in-ear tips, come with three sizing options (small, medium and large).
The in-ear tips are pretty basic to figure out, put on, and find what size works for you. Unfortunately, I seem to have small ear canals and the smallest tips create enough in-ear pressure to be uncomfortable for long periods of time. An after-market in-ear tip from Comply can be purchased for those with smaller ears. UPDATE: I tried an older set no longer available (similar to the “sport” set if you click on the above link). The small size still felt a bit too snug in my ears but it was an improvement.
The ear cushions are less easy to figure out, but once you do they provide a snug hug to the outside of your ear and are the key to keeping your headphones locked in place. These are surprisingly unnoticeable if they’re on correctly. Taking the extra 5 minutes to make sure you are using these right is important.
X-Fit Option: They call this the stand out feature of BlueBuds X and it is MY FAVORITE. You can wear BlueBuds X as either an over-ear or under-ear headphone. I prefer over-ear, which gives me the ability to tighten the cord so that it sits snugly against the back of my head. Nothing flops or dangles as I move. The control buttons are also easy to find and use this way. This superb fit option is probably more exciting to me than the excellent sound quality!
For athletes, this will be the most important question: How does BlueBuds X handle my movement? While their website features video of a soccer goalie diving and CrossFit athletes doing burpees wearing BlueBuds X, nothing compares to trying it yourself.
So, I took them to my CrossFit gym and did burpees. And handstand push ups. Kipping pull ups. Sit ups. Rowed on the C2. Jumped around and whipped my hair back and forth. They didn’t even feel like they were slowly slipping. I did not expect that. Honestly.
I rarely sweat buckets so I can’t speak to the sweat-proof qualities of BlueBuds X. However, JayBird does include a Lifeftime Warranty Against Sweat for all their products. BlueBuds X has what they call Liquipel Sweat Repellent Nano Technology that protects the product from exposure to sweat. Sounds cool.
Battery Life. I’m sorry to say I didn’t test out the 250 hours of standby time, but I did charge it up and let it play music until it died. Is 8 hours of play time for real? I only got 6 hours out of it, but I did turn it on and off during that time to pair with my laptop.
Ease of Use
Pairing BlueBuds X to my computer/laptop/iPhone/iPad was fast and easy. That’s only 4 devices. It can remember up to 8. Voice prompts (named “Jenna”) alert you for “Power On”, “Power Off” and “Headphones Connected”. This audio confirmation is very helpful, because otherwise I wouldn’t know what was going on when I pushed buttons. No special software or apps are required to pair your devices! Charging BlueBuds X is as simple as plugging them into a computer via standard USB.
The controls on the strap are mostly intuitive. There are only three buttons, so the basic volume control, play/pause, next/back and power on/off is quickly figured out. Action-specific tones briefly interrupt your audio when you press a control. One short ting for volume adjustment, and a longer ring if you skipped forward/back or activated call controls.
Controls can also be used for answering a phone call or ending/rejecting a call. I rarely have use for this feature as I do not use voice control/Siri on my iPhone. However, it does show forethought by JayBird that these headphones work great as a bluetooth headset.
Alternative Use: BlueBuds X has an integrated microphone, so they make a great wireless headset. I have used my BlueBuds X a LOT for phone calls and Skype/Google hangouts. It helps to be able to move around, wire-free, and multitask. As such, BlueBuds X really has been everything I had hoped it would be.
Microwaves. I did noticed that, when on a call, the person on the other end could not hear me clearly when my microwave was on. Ha!
Pros & Cons
A snapshot of BlueBuds X features and drawbacks.
- Great sound
- Quick and easy to start using
- Moves with you as promised
- At least 6 hours of play time, maybe more
- Integrated microphone makes it a great headset
- Pairs with up to 8 devices – that’s a lot
- Lifetime Warranty Against Sweat
- Charges in less than 2.5 hours – pretty fast
- X-Fit cord management = no dangle nonsense
- Smallest ear tips not small enough for me
- Easy to unintentionally activate call controls
- Not microwave friendly
- Price: $169.95
FYI: JayBird also makes FREEDOM SPRINT wireless headphones for $129. They include many of the same features, and are supposedly a better fit for those with smaller ears.