Price (RRP): $279.95
When I reviewed the original Jaybird Run earphones last year, I was very impressed. My only problem with them was that the control buttons were too strongly sprung, making it uncomfortable to use them. Now they’ve been updated to the Jaybird Run XT earphones. These, like the originals, are true wireless models.
“True wireless” means two buds which communicate with each other wirelessly. One of them (the right one) connects to your phone and passes the music and control signals through to the other.
The Jaybird Run XT earphones come with a battery case. When not in use you put them in that, and it charges them up. The buds themselves are rated to last four hours, while there are two more full charges in the case. So, you can be away from a power point for up to twelve hours.
The buds are IPX7 rated, which means that they’re quite capable of coping with a bit of sweat. They are aimed at sports users.
Also of help in that regard is the generous collection of tips and wings that are supplied with them. I found the largest of the three tips provided a good seal in my ears. Both the middle-sized and largest wings worked, but the latter felt more secure. They are rubber-ish protrusions that help lock the buds into your ears by almost clipping under whorls in your ears.
I have never used any earbuds that felt more securely locked in place, while remaining absolutely comfortable. The ergonomics are excellent. The button clicks have been lightened, too, so my complaint about the earlier model no longer applies. The buttons worked effectively and reliably. There’s only one button per side, so there are a limited number of controls. With presses, double presses and holds on the right earbud you can play/pause, skip forwards, turn the buds on or off, and invoke pairing. The left one is for telling Google Assistant or Siri to listen for your words, and also to switch the bud(s) on or off. You control volume with your phone.
Jaybird is one of those companies that provides an app for your phone – Android or Siri – which can enhance the function of the buds. The main function of the app is to allow you to tailor the EQ of the buds to better suit your tastes. As we’ll see below, I couldn’t use the app for this function because the earphones stopped producing any sound when I switched to the app.
One other important function is for tracking and locating your earbuds if you’re misplaced them.
The Jaybird Run XT earphones do not appear to support any of the higher quality stereo audio codecs, just the standard Bluetooth SBC codec. So reported a Google Pixel phone.
Jaybird Run XT problems
There were some quirks with these earbuds that I found quite disconcerting.
First, Jaybird Run XT earphones were oddly slow to respond to a change in volume level. That is, I’d tap the up volume on my phone and nothing would happen. And then maybe a second later the volume would go up. I found myself tapping several times, and then a moment later being blasted as I’d overshot the desired volume.
Second, I couldn’t use the app to tailor the sound. Oh, the app worked. It found the buds and it reported on their status. Indeed, by default it put up a notification on the “always on” display of the Google Pixel 3 XL I was using during this review. That notification showed battery status for both buds.
But if I was playing music from an app – USB Audio Pro, Bubble uPnP or Spotify – and switched over to the Jaybird app, the earbuds would go silent. But the indicator across the bottom of the Jaybird app would still show its little sound bars bouncing up and down as though the music was playing. When I jumped back to the player app, they were still silent until I tapped pause then play. Then the music would resume.
Endeavouring to fix that, I rebooted the phone. Same problem, except when I returned to the music app and tapped play/pause, only the right bud would resume. The left remained silent. I could then tap the left bud to invoke Google Assistant, then the right bud and that would return things to normal.
Thirdly, the Jaybird Run XT earphones responded to notifications weirdly. Normally when I’m listening to a podcast or some music using Bluetooth headphones and an email comes in, the music/voice will pause for an instant, the notification ding will sound, and then the program will continue. With these ones, the music/voice would ramp down in level to zero – while still apparently playing – then after a couple of seconds it would ramp back up to normal level. I’d have missed a phrase or two of the podcast. There would be no notification ding.