Rapid Review: Jaybird Run XT Wireless Headphones

Image: Jaybird

Wireless headphones have moved from luxury item to a must-have accessory since the headphone jack became rarer than truth in politics. One of the great advantages of the Great Untethering is that headphone makers have been able to create headphones that suit all sorts of different uses. From over the ear headsets designed for true audiophiles all the way to lightweight and compact units designed to worn while you're active, there is a set of headphones for everyone. The Jaybird Run XT headphones are designed specifically for active people. They are light, waterproof and deliver great sound.

What Is It?

The Jaybird Run XT headphones are a pair of small, completely wireless ear buds. They come with a solid case that keep the headphones charged between use and a variety of silicone tips and ear-pieces so you can fit them perfectly to your ears.

Image: Jaybird

Specifications

Size and weight 14.3mm x 19.5mm x 19mm, single bud (without fin or tip): 6.83g
Battery life Play time: 4+ Hrs, Charging time: 2 Hrs, Quick charge: 5 min = 1 hour playtime
Connectivity Bluetooth 4.1
Audio output Driver size: 6 mm, Output max: 12mW RMS, 16-bit stereo, Bluetooth SBC implementation
Other features Integrated microphone, play/pause/skip controls, answer/end/reject calls, waterproof IPX7 rating

What's Good?

I've had some challenges getting a good fit with in-ear headphones over the years - both wired and wireless. I changed the standard silicone fitting for the smallest set in the box and was able to achieve a good seal that blocked the ambient noise well - so well that when my wife was talking to me I couldn't hear her even those she was sitting at her desk next to mine.

Image: Jaybird

But getting that fit did take some experimentation. Once I had them right I took them to the gym and set time on a treadmill, did some box jumps and skipped some rope to see if they'd stay in. They were still firm after half an hour of exercise.

They are also water resistant with an IPX7 rating which means they are good for immersion in water up to 1m in depth for 30 minutes.

How Do IP Ratings Actually Work?

Many gadgets come with claims of how they are waterproof and resistant to damage from dust and other contaminants. But those claims are sometimes quite nebulous. After all, what does waterproof really mean? Does it mean a device can survive a splash? Or that it can be dunked in a bath?

That's why the IP rating system was created. It provides a quantifiable measurement of how resistant a device is to environmental conditions. Let's look at how the ratings work.

Read more

Sound quality was great as well. I listened to podcasts, various genres of music, YouTube clips and a movie. The sound was clear although the bass was a little stronger than I like. But that seems to be the trend these days so I'll just get back to smoking my pipe on the verandah and yelling at the clouds.

I've seen reports that one side, or the other drops out intermittently but I didn't experience that problem.

What's Bad?

There's not a lot wrong with the Jaybird Run XT headphones. But the cost is high.

Also, I think we're reaching the point where premium equipment - and the Run XT price tag puts them in the premium range - should ship with USB-C charging and not micro-USB. That's a small quibble but it's hard to live up to the "one cable to rule them all" mantra when even expensive gear ships with old tech.

Should You Buy It

Jaybird RUN XT True Wireless Sport Headphones are available in Black/Flash and Storm Gray/Glacier with a suggested retail price of $279.95.

That's a very high price in my view - $50 more than Apple's AirPods which are lighter and offer better battery life. And while they are very good, at the price, they are hard to recommend.


Comments

    Yep. I wouldn't buy a device today that sported a micro-USB port. It's 2019.

    It's one thing to still have devices around that use it (it's annoying, but I'm not quite ready to replace some of them), but to buy SOMETHING new that used micro-USB? That presumably you plan to use for several years? Yeah, no thanks.

      It looks to me that Jaybird had a buttload of cases in stock as the Run XT case is the same as the previous model. It may make sense to them not to toss the inventory but it's a little retrograde.

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