Jaybird started its audio gear business in 2006 but only achieved notable status in 2013 with the BlueBuds X. The past few Jaybird earphones I reviewed was well-received and I would openly recommend them. The Jaybird Freedom (read my review here) was amazingly small but delivers expansive audio. The Jaybird X3 (my review) further improves on the X-series and provides extended battery life for the marathoners. Both earphones work with Jaybird MySound app that customises the EQ as well as accessing a community of Jaybird users who shares their personal EQ presets, resulting in unlimited aural experience with Jaybird headphones.
2017 is the year of true wireless earbuds, so Jaybird, who is acquired by Logitech in 2016, also launches its own zero-wire earbuds in September. The earbuds last 4 hours while the charge case can charge another 2 times (8 hours). The buds are sweatproof and water resistant (no IP rating is published). Retailing at S$299, the Jaybird RUN is one of the more affordable true-wireless earphones from an established brand.
The Jaybird RUN feels excessively chunky given the functions (or lack of) it contains. The other bulky wireless earbuds I know of have a handful of tech (like heart-rate monitor, built-in storage, underwater resistant) that understandably requires a larger body to fit all the hardware. The Jaybird RUN has none of these tech.
Given the previous Jaybird earphones have exceedingly impressive audio quality, the Jaybird RUN was underwhelming. Similar to the Samsung Gear IconX, and despite testing with several smartphones and devices, the poor audio resolution at high frequency remains. On the whole, the audio details are good enough for runs but not hair-raising for people with keen ears. The bass does not deliver the fat punch like the Jaybird X3, and while the treble offers more acceptable sound, gets caught with audio compression artefacts. The earbuds also suffer from occasional signal interference that I encounter often from the budget true-wireless brands. Part of the reason is that Jaybird interacts with both earbuds via Bluetooth.
The earbuds are operated with one button each. From the smartphone app, the earbuds can be assigned to either work as play-pause (right earbud) and Google assistant (left), or volume (up on right, down on left). I am somewhat torn with which function I should choose, and wished that the next version could be improved to address my indecision.
The other design weakness is the protruding charge case unlock button that potentially can cause accidental release when the case is stored together with other belongings inside the carrying bag.
Fortunately, Jaybird got the most important factor right: the fit. Jaybird RUN is easy to insert into the ears, and the fins have the right shape to keep the buds in place without any chances of dropping out of the ears during runs. I also like that the buttons are mechanical instead of touch-sensitive so that I will not have any mishandling. I’m actually quite happy to wear it for runs, as I find myself less picky with audio quality during workout sessions. With the MySound app installed, the battery level for each bud is clearly displayed. The 5-minute quick charge is also very useful, as it gives 1 hour of play time, more than enough for a brief morning run. But don’t use them for watching videos: the audio lags quite significantly.
Jaybird did not quite get “true wireless” right the first time, though the affordable retail price of S$299 might draw some users to give it a go. At this price range, I felt that the Samsung Gear IconX (2018) would be a better buy because of its additional functions like internal storage and built-in coaching. The plus factors that Jaybird RUN has over IconX are the audio presets sharing and better water resistant properties (even though Jaybird RUN did not specify the IP rating).
- Relatively good battery life with 5-min quick charge
- Comfortable to wear
- Fast auto-reconnect to device when charging case is opened
- Audio quality is not as good as Jaybird Freedom or X3