Fourthly, every so often the buds would just jam up completely. Music would stop and they’d become unresponsive. I could hold down their buttons for many seconds and nothing would happen. They’d have to go back into the charge case – only a few seconds were needed – to reset them. Then they’d work again.

Jaybird Run XT

That wasn’t too much of a problem, except for that time when I knew I’d be out for only a couple of hours, so I didn’t bother to take the case with me.

This was not a one-off. Over a couple of weeks it happened at least half a dozen times.

Working differently

Finally, the buds worked, um, differently to other Bluetooth buds and headphones. For example, I use the Podcast Addict app to feed my, well, you know. One of the things I like about this is its easily editable playlist. When I start a new podcast playing, it will append itself to the bottom of the current playlist. I can then just slide it up to the top. When it ends, the next item will play.

Jaybird Run XT

Unless you’re using the Jaybird Run XT earphones. Podcasts would just stop playing several seconds before their end, the next podcast would queue up ready, but playback would pause. This mostly seemed to happen when I’d edited the playlist. It was also the time when the buds would freeze and become unresponsive.

I should note that prior to writing the above few paragraphs, I fired up the Jaybird app and connected it to the buds in the hope that there may have been a firmware upgrade that might resolve these matters. There wasn’t.

Listening

All that stuff above is a pity, because in other ways the Jaybird RUN XT earphones are fine. There is the excellent seal and the way that they stay in place in my ears. And even though I would have liked to have been able to use the EQ feature in the app to tweak the sound, it was pretty decent with the default setting.

With my main earbud listening fare – podcasts – voices were balanced, clear, easy to understand and, most importantly, avoided any irritating attributes, such as sibilance.

Also important: they had sufficient gain to produce satisfying levels, even with shows recorded at a low level. Likewise for music.

Jaybird Run XT

Tone

The tonal balance with music was a little biased towards the midrange rather than presenting a traditional “high fidelity” feel to the music. There were reasonably good bass levels, although not real extension to the extremes. For example, as I type this paragraph, I have the original, famous, Telarc recording of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture playing. There’s the temptation to focus on the massive cannon at the climax, but more instructive are the bass drum thumps earlier in the piece. These are presented with these earphones fairly satisfyingly, but I felt that most of the energy I was getting was from second and higher harmonics, not the fundamental.

Meanwhile, the massed strings were smooth, but a little pinched in scope, not quite as open as I expect with (to be fair) my far more expensive reference headphones.

Changing genres significantly, the track “Southbound Pachyderm” from Tales from the Punchbowl by Primus was lacking a little of the compelling bass drive from the kick drum. It was there, but a little recessed, lacking the weight provided by a system with better bass performance. The cymbals, too, seemed to clatter a little, rather than ring out, as though they were missing some of their upper harmonics.

Conclusion

Now, the funny thing is that all the buggy stuff mentioned is likely firmware related. So I shall ask the distributor to let me know if any new firmware is issued addressing these issues. I will report back if there is any improvement.

To be clear, I was not using a fly-by-night phone for this review. I used a new Google Pixel 3 XL. Anyway, Jaybird’s website for the Jaybird Run XT earphones is here.

Jaybird Run XT wireless sport earphones
Name: Run XT Price (RRP): $279.95 Manufacturer: Jaybird
Excellent fit and placement securityConvenient package
Operationally quite buggy
Features
Value for money
Sound
Ease of use
Design
3.2Overall Score