Jaybird Wireless Earbuds Review

Are you a music hiker? You know, someone who loves to take music everywhere? Or maybe you love to talk on the phone?

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Until I met the Jaybird Wireless earbuds, I wrestled my ear-gear. I cursed at knotted wires, I poked blindly with plugs and I wrapped wire in duct tape to keep it from cracking, fraying and stretching. I use earbuds a lot. And I am looking for perfection. Here’s what I found with the Jaybird wireless.

Pros:

Setup is minimal. As a matter of fact, it was so easy I had to call a friend to show me. I thought I was missing software. I was looking for difficult. It’s as simple as can be. Seriously, just turn on your Bluetooth access on your phone, and press the center button on the headset for 4 seconds while the system initiates. Done. If you are a gear junkie and have a bunch of phones or music devices, it will pair with up to 8 of them.

The package is luxurious, but the product is minimalist and classy. This is it’s crowning achievement, especially considering all the other features they managed to fit in this tiny package.

Function is intuitive. Push the center button and hold for three seconds to turn the earbuds on. A lovely voice (her name is Jenna) says “power on” and it’s far sweeter (and more natural) than Siri. But speaking of Siri, hold the center button for one second and it activates voice control so you never need to touch your phone. Just give Siri a command and you’re calling a friend or listening to music. Top button is volume up, bottom button is volume down. Microphone is hidden in the button case. Range has proven to be easily 30 feet even through internal walls, but a metal wall or outside wall will cut the distance significantly. I accidentally left my phone in my kitchen then went outside while I was on the phone. That ended the phone call. But I had the phone about 50 feet from me (and the Jaybird wireless) with no problems indoors.

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Clarity is crystal! I’ve picked up words to songs I’ve never been able to understand before. And none of my callers knew I was on a headset, but I could hear them better than just on my phone. Plus it’s hands free.

The headset is a great size. Wires are flat and rigid enough that they don’t knot together, yet thin enough to go where you need them. They even come with two “cord management clips”, which are also minimalist but very functional. I can stuff it in my backpack or purse and not worry about the cord’s integrity. It’s a perfect length so it doesn’t get caught or wrapped around things, but fits all the ways I need it to.

Rechargeable micro USB port is hidden in one of the ear flaps. It holds 8 hours of charge while on and in use and claims 250 hours on standby. I couldn’t go that long without using it, so I was unable to complete that test.

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Recharging takes about 90 minutes and the light turns green when charged. Again, easy, minimal, classy.

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They offer 3 bud-cover sizes – you pick the one that fits you best. They have 3 sizes of eartips, so you get 9 possible combinations of ear sizes to fit you. They fit over or under the ear – your choice. Install what works and leave the rest.

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Water and sweat resistant – guaranteed. I took them out in a good Seattle rain and tried to drown them. I sweat all over them for an hour long workout. They were undaunted. I did not dunk them in the tub or drop them in my coffee. I like them too much to do that.

Cons:

I did encounter a crash here and there. Twice when trying to call someone by voice with Siri. (Might be Siri’s fault, who knows) and once when selecting music. Simply turning off and on the unit fixed the problem each time.

They are perfectly fitting in-ear buds. They are effective at sealing outside sounds out of your listening experience. This is a great pro, but for me it’s also a con because it doesn’t feel as safe for hiking alone, running at night or being in a car with both buds in ears. In those situations I use only one of the two buds so my other ear could hear an ambulance, a kid screaming in the back seat or someone passing me from behind on the trail.

Summary:

I am sold. The Jaybird Wireless earbuds have become my favorite, most reliable, most frequently used piece of gear and I hope I don’t ever have to give them up.

Technical Details

Manufacturer: Jaybird

MSRP: $169.95

Weight: 14 grams

Play time: 8 hours

Warranty: Lifetime on sweat, One year limited on all else.

Variety: Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth Class 2.1+EDR

I tested this product on a iPhone 4

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About the author

A native of Minnesota, Erika moved to Seattle in the late 90s and immediately fell in love with the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. She is a photographer, specializing in landscapes, though she enjoys capturing people as well. Her travels have taken her from Newfoundland to Belize, From Paris to Nepal. She has written a book about her trek through Nepal and is the editor of SBM. Erika currently resides in Kirkland with her husband and two sons.

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