Price (RRP): $249.95
A few weeks ago, I wrote a rather negative review of the Jaybird Run XT earbuds. My problems were mostly with operational issues. I don’t like trashing products, so it was with some trepidation I pulled the Jaybird Tarah Pro wireless sports earphones from their box. Would they work as promised? Absolutely, it turns out. They turn out to be excellent in just about every way.
The Run XT earbuds were “true wireless” models. The Jaybird Tarah Pro is a set of more traditional wireless earbuds. They use a short length of cable between the two buds. So, no, they’re not as physically neat. But, yes, they are more reliable when it comes to the connection between the left and right sides.
The buds have silicon tips and wings. Three sizes are provided. The tips and wings are part of the one moulding so you can’t dispense with the wings unless you’re prepared to wield a knife. I found the middle-sized ones right for my ears – they were pre-fitted – providing a good seal for effective bass performance and a good “lock” into my ears.
The cable is 520mm long and finished in a cloth weave that proved to be fairly resistant to mechanical noise. That means your enjoyment of music isn’t spoiled by rubbing sounds of the cable against your neck or clothes. A plastic nub is fitted to bunch up the excess cable so it can be fitted to the right length. This is removable.
A gently curved pod sits 60mm along the cable from the right earbud. It has three control buttons, a MEMS microphone, the battery (I guess) and the three gold-plated charge contacts. Charging is something that Jaybird does nicely. The Jaybird Tarah Pro earphones come with a shaped cradle which plugs into a USB Type-A socket. You charge the earphones by snapping them magnetically against this cradle. No fiddling with Micro-B USB plugs and sockets.
Jaybird says that their play time is up to 14 hours and the charge time is 2 hours. In a pinch, a five-minute charge can give a two-hour play time.
Jaybird Tarah Pro drivers
All that depends on usage. Higher volume equals shorter battery life. Boosted bass equals shorter battery life. I reckon I got closer to ten hours, which probably says something about me.
Each earbud packs a 6mm driver and is fed a maximum of 12mW. The claimed sensitivity of each driver is 103dB, presumably for 1mW input. A power level of 12mW is nearly 11dB more than 1mW, so the earphones should max out at something like an impressive 114 decibels.
They use Bluetooth 5.0 to communicate, but are limited to the relatively basic SBC codec, rather than the more advanced aptX or AAC ones. Jaybird says that the wireless range is the “Class 2 standard range” or ten metres. I found it much, much better than that. There was not once the slightest hint of a dropout, regardless of where about my person I put my phone. When I used my standard walkaway test, I got a solid fifty metres away from the phone before there were any connection problems.
The controls on the pod are for volume up and down and play/pause. The volume buttons can skip tracks when held. A double tap on the middle button invokes the voice assistant – Google Assistant in my case. And of course it answers and hangs up calls.
The whole set, including the cable, control pod and middle-sized wings and tips, weighed precisely 20 grams. The buds themselves each weigh around 7 grams. In addition to the charge cradle, they come with a carry pouch.
Jaybird provides a free app that includes some useful functions, including keeping the firmware of the Jaybird Tarah Pro earbuds up to date. They also have an EQ system with a peculiar control system that I couldn’t quite understand. There was a line I could drag around, and also five dots that I could move. I think the idea is that you move one or more of the dots to where you want the boosts or reductions to be and then tap the line. That makes it kind of conform to the dots.
Also useful is a “Find My Buds” feature, just in case you misplace them. You have to switch it on to use it effectively. Should they be switched off, the app remembers the last location at which it was connected to them. It can show you on its own internal map or open up Google Maps for you to provide directions.
This worked in a macro kind of way, but it didn’t really provide the resolution to put me exactly on the buds. If, say, they were in long grass, they would remain difficult to find. Neither was there an “alarm” button to make them produce a sound to help me to locate them.
The app also lets you adjust the auto-shutdown timer. The rears of the buds are lightly magnetised. When they snap together, they go into standby mode and disconnect from the phone. They reconnect automatically when separated.
Apparently, you can use the app to change the function of some of the control buttons. But when I went there, it wanted me to log into Jaybird so it could store my profile. I declined.
The Jaybird Tarah Pro are fine-sounding earphones. I mostly use earphones for podcast listening. In that role, audio quality isn’t critical so long as they’re not positively painful to listen to. But as a hifi guy from way back, I’m actually reluctant to listen to music with most Bluetooth earphones.
That did not apply here. Even though I’ve lately been digging deep into high-end headphone amplifiers and expensive head gear, I found music listening with the Jaybird Tarah Pro variously pleasant and exciting, depending on the source. The bass performance was adequate with the default flat EQ setting, but there was enough headroom in the earphones to permit some bass enhancement to give a strong, powerful performance.
The deep bass on Side 2 of Synchronicity by The Police was full and impressive, yet still tightly controlled. The early Genesis album Foxtrot was impressive, with realistic and seemingly unconstrained drums, smooth synth, and again a solid, convincing bass line. Treble was controlled; present, but not emphasised. Cymbals on music were clear and precise. Podcasts were coherent and easily understandable.
There was plenty of volume headroom as well. The volume controls operated independently of the phone’s volume control. Turn both up to maximum and even the quietest of podcasts or recordings is sufficiently loud. The passive sound isolation provided by the earphones was also quite effective.
As a handsfree phone device, the Jaybird Tarah Pro earphones also worked extremely well. I conducted quite a few telephone conversations with them in place. There were no complaints from those with whom I was talking. And Google Assistant understood my commands well.
The Jaybird Tarah Pro wireless earphones are fine sounding units, with good overall performance and an excellent ability to remain in place in one’s ears, even during vigorous exercise. Strongly recommended. The official site for the Jaybird Tarah Pro earphones is here.