words of wisdom from a systems engineer

Review: JayBird BlueBuds X Sport Bluetooth Headphones

As I try to motivate myself to exercise more often, I’ve struggled to find suitable headphones for running and other outdoor work. My criteria includes the following:

  • Needs to stay put on my ears, even when I get sweaty
  • Wireless is preferable so I don’t get tangled
  • For wireless, it should last three to four hours at a minimum
  • It needs to sound decent

The Bad

I went through a slew of headphones. Various earbuds and headphones from multiple brands would just fall off or they sounded tinny and horrible.

I moved on to the plain white headphones that come with iPhones as I had a few of those laying around the house. They wouldn’t stay in if I started moving around, so a coworker suggested Budfits. It was an awesome fix for the price and the earbuds stayed in place fairly well. I’d need to adjust them maybe once during a 30-minute run and that was manageable for me.

The cabling for those headphones bothered me if I was working in the yard or checking for cars when running across streets.

jaybird_bluebuds_xReady to give up, I turned to Twitter and asked the masses for their recommendation. Quite a few people came back and recommended the JayBird BlueBuds X. They ticked quite a few boxes for me on paper. They’re wireless, they last around eight hours on a charge, and they boast being sweat-proof. Although it was a little more money than I was ready to spend, I ordered them anyway.

Long story short: they’ve been amazing. The battery life is more than enough for most of my tasks and they charge using a simple micro-USB cable (same that you use for Android phones). They rarely need adjustment after you get them in your ears even if you sweat a lot. I will usually spend two to three hours working out in the yard and I only need to adjust them once or twice during that time.

The sound quality is also very good. There is plenty of bass available and the mid/high range sound is very clear. They’re in-ear earbuds but I can still hear some sounds around me. However, I do feel the need to take some extra looks while running across streets because they do block out more sound than your average on-ear earbuds. This should be part of your running routine already, though.

The BlueBuds can be worn under-ear or over ear depending on your preference. The manual has very detailed instructions on how to size the earbuds for your ears and how to route the cabling. Pay attention to the instructions. If you don’t follow them closely, the buds will fall out of your ears or you’ll have poor sound quality. I was getting grumpy about the lack of bass and then I re-read the instructions. I’m not grumpy any longer.

You can also use the BlueBuds to make phone calls or hop on video conferences with your laptop. I’ve paired them with a 2014 Moto X, my Lenovo X1 laptop, and a Nexus 7 tablet. Pairing is a very quick process and it’s detailed well in the manual.

They’re also very comfortable even when you aren’t working out and getting sweaty. I’ve used them on several plane flights so far and they do a great job of blocking out engine noise. Keep in mind that they’re not noise-canceling - they just muffle the ambient sounds a bit.

Disclaimer: I haven’t received any compensation for this review. I’m just a slightly overweight guy who is trying to get some exercise while listening to my favorite music.