For years, whenever I post a review of sports headsets, there will bound to be queries on how it compares with Jaybird Bluebuds X, with many claiming it is better than the review product I posted. In may ways, the Jaybird BBX has become a benchmark to many well-researched consumers. Sadly, the Jaybird X is not sold in Singapore and consumers would have to ship in from overseas online stores.
This year, Jaybird launches the new X2 and is distributed in Singapore with local warranty. I was provided with a review unit, and so I will finally answer the most sought-after question: how good is this Jaybird X2 headset?
Who is Jaybird?
Established in 2006, Jaybird is an active lifestyle consumer electronics brand based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Jaybird makes premium market leading sports tech products to inspire people to be active and empower them to improve their lives. Jaybird is known primarily for its innovations in the Bluetooth headphone market. Jaybird is one of the fastest growing private companies in the world, ranked in the Inc. 5000 three times running (currently 392nd nationally, 13th in Utah), and the third top premium sport headphone brand in the US behind only Beats (Apple) and Bose.
The new Jaybird X2 produces very bright and sparkling treble, deep unexaggerated bass, wide spatial sound. They are very easy to enjoy, but not if your music source is already heavy in highs or poor treble quality, as the X2 is very revealing in the upper range. Naturally, Classical music sounds brilliant on them. With V-shaped tuning, the mids are always the casualty, sounding relatively thin.
Comfort and Fit
The Jaybird X2 fits easily and securely on my ears. The package comes with a lot of ear fins and ear tips with various sizes. The included Comply memory foam tips are known to deliver exceedingly snug seal on your ears, but I find the normal silicone ones are sufficient for me.
Unlike the Jabra ROX where the ear fins easily fall off, the Jaybird X2 ear fins stay on the earbuds through normal handling. They are necessary for heavy activities, but if you intend to wear the X2 for normal commute, you may want to remove them. For me, I leave them on all the time.
Like most in-ear headphones, when wearing the X2, you can hear your footsteps thumping in the ears. It usually don’t bother me once I start my workout, as I would focus on the music and the workout.
There is no L/R marking on the earbuds, because you can wear with the wires in front of the ears or behind the ears, requiring the earbuds to switch around. Note that when worn normally, the in-line controls is at the right side.
Wear Behind Ear (But L-R Channels Remain)
Because the earbuds are curved slightly to improve “ear-gonomics”, you need to switch around the earbuds if you intend to wear them behind the ears (with the in-line controls located at the left). I was surprised at how Jaybird promote this method of wearing when there is no way to switch the left-right audio channels. This is a huge no-no for audiophiles.
But consumers who need the headset wires to be distraction-free would probably have to compromise on that. The ability to secure the X2 cable against the back of the head without touching the neck can be extremely liberating.
Sweatproof, not Weatherproof
The Jaybird X2 is sweat resistant, and they even offer lifetime warranty on this due to a bad spate of consumer complains on the first generation buds where the in-line controls failed after heavy usage. But Jaybird does not mention anything about other conditions, like heavy rain, or rinsing in running water. In comparison, the Jabra Sport series are IPx rated with military-grade toughness – weatherproof, shockproof, dustproof.
The Jaybird X2 would be better if there are better ways to provide battery life indicator. To check battery, the headset must not be connected, then press the volume button to watch the LED light colour. If it lights up in green, then battery level is good. If red, then it’s low. In addition, the low battery voice prompt will only come up 15 minutes before battery runs flat.
Speaking of volume controls, Jaybird X2 does not make beep sounds when adjusting volume, which I think matters a lot to many consumers.
Jaybird has marketed the X2 to be a sports-centric headset that plays spectacular audio. The ear fins are huge and offers great support to prevent slippages. The audio quality is pretty astounding, with bright treble sounds (too bright for me though) and good bass. As a sports gear, the earbuds stay on my ears without any problems, but does not promise it will survive abuses except sweat. There are also no companion apps to manage the X2, for instance, to swap the channels or check battery life, not that they really matter.
For anyone who is looking for crystal clear audio for their workouts, I highly recommend the Jaybird X2, by far the best treble-sounding sports headset.
Wireless Technology: Shift™ Premium Bluetooth Audio (SBC compatible), SignalPlus™ enhanced Bluetooth signal
Play Time: 8 Hrs (Battery HD™).
Standby Time: 250 Hrs
Charging Time: Less than 2.5 hrs
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Speaker sensitivity: 103 +-2dB At 1KHz
Output: 12mW RMS (with level limit)
Total Harmonic Distortion: <5% (1KHz, 1mW)
Audio Format: 16-bit Stereo
Response Bandwidth: 20-20,000Hz
Mic Type: MEMS omni-directional
Mic Sensitivity: -38 dB + /-3dB (1KHz, 0dB = 1V/Pa)
Button Controls: Music Controls (Play/pause, next, back); Call Controls (answer, end, reject call, etc); General (Volume, pair, power)
Compatibility: Any Bluetooth enabled Apple, Android, Blackberry, & Nokia smartphones and tablets
What’s In The Box?
– X2 Wireless Buds
– USB 2.0 charging cable
– Comply™ Foam Ear Tips
– Cord Management Clips
– Secure-Fit Ear Fins
– Silicone Ear Tips
– Silicone Sport Carry Case
The Jaybird X2 is available in 6 colors – Midnight Black, Storm White, Fire Red, Ice Blue, Charge Yellow and Alpha Green. Available at all good electronic retail outlets and online, the recommended retail price in Singapore is S$259. Distributed in Singapore by LRT.
Product website: www.JaybirdSport.com