The floodwaters started rising earlier this year. Rumors about the imminent demise of theiPhone’s headphone jack had barely made it past the lips of the digerati before the world was waist-deep in wireless audio options.Jaybirdis no stranger to these waters,having introduced its first pair of Bluetooth headphones in 2007. We’ve always liked its stuff—I gave theFreedom Wireless sports earbuds a positive review, and we’ve always been quick to recommend the company’s more moderately priced option, the X2.
And now comes the $130 successor to those fine buds, the appropriately named X3. Like its older brother, the X3 is a wireless headset with a tether linkingthe right earpiece to the left. That tether sports athree-button remote. The batteries are in the earpieces, and everything is sealed to keep out sweat, rain, and the grime of the city.
The fit is much improved. The X3’s featuresa skinnier shape than their bulky predecessor, and they slide into more ears more easily. If the cable is too long, a simple plastic clip mechanism takes the slack out of the line and keeps it from flapping against your neck. Snapping the removable fins onto the earpieces helps keep the tips in position. As long as you find a good seal with the tips, the sound from the 6mm drivers is not quite excellent and a little harsh at higher volumes. But that’s an acceptable trade-off considering the X3’s ability to withstand rivers of sweat.
Charging the X2requiredplugginga USB cable into one earpiece. Thankfully, that’s gone. The X3 charges through a small clip that snaps onto the in-line remote. It works a bit like Jaybird’s other new sports headset, the Freedom Wireless, but without the second battery. Jaybird says the X3 provides 8 hours of rockin’ per charge, but I saw 10. With normal use,you’ll charge them once every five or six days.
While the smaller design is more comfortable, the X3’s earpieces still have some bulk, and it can be tough to find the right fit. In addition to just walking around with the X3, I took them on seven or eight runs of a few miles each. They did a decent job of staying put, though it gets harder to maintaina solidseal in your ear canal when things get sweaty. I’d recommend the foam tips, which stay more snug than the silicone tips. The fins help too, though installing them drops the comfort factor a notch.
Pairing is easy with an iOS device, but Android gave me headaches. Likewise with the connection, which was just fine on my iPad and tester iPhone, but a touch flaky on my Nexus phone—forgivable until I had to re-pair in the middle of Van Halen’s “Panama.” Granted, this could have been a problem with my handset, but I experiencedfewer problems with the Freedom Wireless on the same mobile devices. Still, let it bea reminder that you should test the Bluetooth performance of your phone before going cord-free.
7/10 – If you exercise often, it’s a solid headset for the money.
Read more: http://www.wired.com/