Price (RRP): $249.95
As I’ve taken no particular trouble to hide, one of my favourite sets of wireless earphones is the Jaybird X3, reviewed here. Indeed, when I’m not reviewing some other earphones, these are the ones to which I return for daily use. So clearly I’m well disposed to the brand. But what about a different model from that brand?
So let’s get into the Jaybird Run earbuds, a set of earbuds which are way earbuddier than most.
By that I mean they get rid of the cable that connects the left and right earbuds of most models. Instead the two earbuds are tiny devices with their own batteries built in. They connect wirelessly. You have buds in your ears, and nothing much else.
They come with a case which doubles as a battery pack. Pop them in, close the case and the five spring-loaded, gold-plated terminals in each will touch the matching contacts on the earbuds to charge them up. The buds have a battery life of up for four hours, with two full recharges available from the case. It in turn charges via a Micro-B USB socket.
The earbuds have proper silicon tips pre-fitted, and three other sizes provided in the box. They also have small “wings” or “fins” pre-fitted. These can be used for slipping under some of the bumps and bends in one’s ears’ topography, better holding the earbuds in place. Two other sizes of those are also provided.
There’s also a charge cable for the case, and a pouch with a spring-loaded opening for holding the earbuds and assorted bits. As it turns out, even the charge case will fit in. The charge case isn’t really that much bigger than an egg and will generally fit even in the pocket of your workout gear (assuming your gear has pockets).
I found that the charge case filled up in about an hour, and seemed to be able to charge the buds in much less time than that. Most importantly, pop the buds into the case for five minutes and you get an hour’s worth of playback.
They connect to your device via Bluetooth of course. They are compatible with Google Assistant and Siri. There are only two control buttons, one on each. You do things like switch them on and off, answer calls and hang up, play and pause music, by using one or the other briefly, or holding them for varying lengths of time. You can also use the Jaybird app, more about which later, to change the functionality of the buttons.
If there is a weakness with these earphones, it’s those buttons. They were quite stiffly sprung, and I found they put too much pressure on my ears when using them. That made me reluctant. I’d tend to reach for the phone and unlock it to pause music, rather than press the right hand button to achieve the same end.
That was bit of a pity, because the major first impression – and indeed a continuing one – with these earbuds was comfort and security. I didn’t fiddle with the extra tips or wings. The ones already fitted were a perfect match for my ears. I put the silicon tips into my ears, pressed gently, then pressed the wings into the whorls of my ears, and it was done. They sat there without placing undue pressure on anything, without poking out in an ungainly manner, without any feeling of insecurity. Later I made bit of a fool of myself out on the street, shaking my head as violently as I could manage, and still failed to dislodge them, or even reduce the surety of their fit. Jogging, even my stiff legged, rough version of it, had no effect on them.
The battery charger/case was also a fine bit of design. The earbuds seated easily and reliably in their designated spots, and when the case was clicked closed, two little lights would show briefly, indicating that the charging connection was made to both earbuds. On removing them from the case, they switched on and re-connected within a couple of seconds with the phone.
Initially I paired them with an iPod Nano and found one weakness: the sound wasn’t very loud with podcasts. The ear seal was good enough to allow the relatively low volume to compete and remain audible, but I would have liked some way to turn up the sound. There is an option to use the app (again, more on that later) to make the right hand button a volume up control, but then you lose the play/pause function, and as I’ve indicated, I found using the control buttons uncomfortable.