Jaybird Run XT review

The Jaybird Run XT’s are easily the best truly wireless headphones for anyone that is active (Image: Express Newspapers)

JAYBIRD RUN XT • (£159.99 as reviewed)

  • FOR – Stylish and rugged design • Waterproof • Great sound quality • Infinite levels of audio customisation • Commendable battery life
  • AGAINST – Not possible to check the case’s battery life • Not USB-C • No wireless charging • Headphone buttons can only be remapped to two pre-sets • Case feels noticeably less premium than the buds

The Jaybird Run’s originally debuted back in 2017 and appeared to be the firm’s solution to Apple’s AirPods.

But, in classic Jaybird fashion they were heavily geared towards those that are active in addition to being buds that can worn from day to day.

However, since the original Run’s release the wireless headphone market has exploded with numerous manufacturers delivering capable and affordable products.

One of the newest of these is the Samsung Galaxy Buds that not only pair seamlessly with Galaxy phones, but also offer nifty features such as wireless charging.

The Run XT’s represent Jaybird’s newest attempt to become the wireless headphone champion and here is Express.co.uk’s full review of them.

Design

The Jaybird Run XT’s boast a stylish and subtle design but it is clear the product values function over form.

As is standard with all Jaybird products, the Run XT’s feel rugged and ready to withstand drops and intense workouts.

The buds themselves come in two colours; black flash and storm grey.

Both have green and blue coloured accents respectively that also give the hardware a sport aesthetic.

The Run XT’s come with four different buds in the box; two are round and the other couple are oval in shape.

Moreover, four different ear tips are included to help users get the right fit.

During our testing we experimented with a variety of different combinations before we found a pair of tips and wings that felt comfortable and secure.

For the most part, the Run XT’s consistently felt secure in our ears and never left us worried they were going to fall out at any point during our workouts.

Only during extreme cases did the wireless headphones feel as though they were attempting to escape from our ears.

Such occasions included when we were performing sprint intervals and deadlifts.

Overall, the XT’s feel premium and laudably durable, two adjectives that cannot be used to describe its charging case.

The housing for the buds does not feel decidedly cheap by any means, but it has a noticeably flimsy lid that certainly makes it feel less substantial overall.

On the plus side, the case is compact and easily fits in a pocket or bag.

When it comes to design, neither the Run XT buds or the charging case are as compact or stylish as the Apple AirPods or Galaxy Buds.

However, it is clear Jaybird is targeting fitness enthusiasts with the hardware that are not as concerned about looks as they are with the product delivering the right fit and being able to withstand a high-degree of punishment.

Jaybird Run XT review

The Jaybird Run XT’s are positioned as the firm’s most premium headphones (Image: Express Newspapers)

Jaybird Run XT review

The Run XT’s come in at £159 and we think they are worth every penny (Image: Express Newspapers)

Jaybird Run XT review

The Jaybird Run XT’s provide a great fit once you choose the correct bud and fin combination (Image: Express Newspapers)

Performance

One of the best parts about Jaybird is its smartphone application that allows the user to adjust the low, mid and high ranges delivered.

That means if you are someone that enjoys intense bass while training for instance, you can easily calibrate the headphones to suit such a preference.

In addition to being able to adjust the sound delivery in meticulous detail, the Jaybird app also has a deluge of pre-set options that have been put together by both the firm and its community.

Put simply, the Run XT’s sound great; lows, mids and highs are crisp no matter what type of music you are listening to.

The 6 millimetre drivers housed inside the headphones can also get exceptionally loud, too.

The commendable sound is heightened by the surprising levels of noise cancellation the buds deliver, especially when you have achieved a secure fit.

Each bud can be pressed to perform different functions; out of the box the left bud is assigned to harness the Google Assistant and the right acts as a way to pause, play and change tracks.

However, we personally found it more useful to configure the functions of each button to adjust music volume.

Jaybird Run XT review

Put simply, the Run XT’s sound great (Image: Express Newspapers)

Unfortunately, there are only two pre-set button combinations to choose from that cannot be altered further.

This is especially disappointing because we would have loved to have kept the ability to pause and play with one bud and to adjust the volume with the other.

It is worth noting the Run XT’s are missing some handy features when compared to its rivals.

For instance, they do not stop playing when you take one out of your ear, as is the case with Apple’s AirPods.

And, as expected, they do not boast any kind of functionality that makes the pairing process more simple.

While both the AirPods and Galaxy Buds allow for incredibly quick pairing with either an iPhone or Samsung phone respectively, the XT’s have to be connected in a more traditional manner using a device’s Bluetooth menu.

This method not only takes longer than the more intuitive methods offered by either the Apple or Samsung offering, but during our testing devices did not always detect the buds straight away, causing a further delay.

Although the Run XT’s are missing a few handy features, they do have a trump card that comes in the form of its IPX7 rating.

This allows the Run XT’s to withstand a dunk in water up to one metre for 30 minutes, meaning the product has been specifically designed for use in the rain and sweaty workouts.

Jaybird Run XT review

There are buttons present on both buds that can perform different functions (Image: Express Newspapers)

The water resistance of the Run XT’s are easily its best feature and give it an edge over similar wireless products.

Not having to worry about the safety of your headphones if you wear them in the rain or drop them in water is an incredibly understated feature.

The IPX7 rating for the products gives it unparalleled durability, especially for a pair of wireless headphones, and Jaybird should be proud of its lofty accomplishment in this regard.

It is worth noting the Run XT’s case is not water resistant.

Just like many other wireless buds, the Jaybird offering is able to make and receive phone calls.

During our testing, the person on the other end said they were able to hear us loud and clear, even in instances we spoke in noisy conditions.

Jaybird Run XT review

The Jaybird Run XT’s boast a stylish and subtle design (Image: Express Newspapers)

Battery life

Jaybird claim the Run XT’s are capable of delivering four hours of life on a full charge and that its case is able to provide another eight.

Express.co.uk found this to be accurate during our testing; the buds breezed through gym workouts that were around one and a half hours with plenty of juice to spare.

In total, we were able to use the Jaybird Run XT’s for around a week before they needed a charge.

Our typical use case included six gym sessions that were around one and a half hours in length and wearing them while we travelled to work on a couple of occasions.

While such life is not as great as some of Jaybird’s other offerings, such as the Tarah Pro line, it is still laudable for a pair of headphones that are truly wireless.

However, it is worth noting both the Galaxy Buds and Apple’s AirPods have better longevity.

In particular, Samsung claims its audio offering delivers 13 hours of battery on a single charge.

Meanwhile, Apple states its AirPods boast over 24 hours of listening time when charged multiple times using the included case.

Jaybird Run XT review

The water resistance of the Run XT’s are easily its best feature (Image: Express Newspapers)

The only downside about charging the Run XT’s is the fact it does not support wireless charging or USB-C.

This meant we were unable to power the product on the rear of our Huawei Mate 20 Pro for instance that supports reverse wireless charging.

Such a feature is available with the Samsung Galaxy Buds and can be incredibly useful.

Moreover, the Run XT’s decision to employ a micro USB port on the rear of its case meant when travelling we had to carry a cable specifically for them.

While both of these complaints are certainly minor niggles, they are still worth noting.

We did find it somewhat confusing that while Jaybird’s smartphone application does allow the user to see how much charge each bud has left, it does display how much power the case has.

This, combined with the fact the lights on the case itself only appear green or red, meant we never truly knew how much battery it had.

This resulted in one or two instances where we went to place our buds in the case expecting them to charge immediately, only to find out both were in need of power.

Jaybird Run XT review

Unfortunately it is not possible to check the charge level of the battery case (Image: Express Newspapers)

Jaybird Run XT review

Unfortunately, the Jaybird Run XT’s do not charge via USB-C (Image: Express Newspapers)

Price

The Jaybird Run XT’s are positioned as the firm’s most premium headphones and they are priced to reflect the fact.

The Run XT’s come in at £159 and we think they are worth every penny for their unmatched levels of durability, great battery life and sound quality.

It is worth noting the Apple AirPods cost the same price while the Galaxy Buds come in at a slightly cheaper £139.

Because the price of the audio trio are incredibly similar, you will need to decide how you are going to use the buds before you make a purchase.

If you are a fitness enthusiast and want a pair of headphones that are going to withstand anything you can throw at them, then the Run XT’s are for you.

However, if you only want a pair of buds for casual listening, it is likely you will value the easier connectivity and other handy features offered by both the Galaxy Buds and Apple AirPods.

Jaybird Run XT

Jaybird Run XT (Image: EX)

Verdict

The Jaybird Run XT’s are easily the best truly wireless headphones for anyone that is active.

From delivering a great design to estimable water resistance, the buds have quickly become a product we cannot imagine training without.

The hardware manages to differentiate itself from its rivals by targeting a specific market segment and the Utah-based firm should be commended for the fact.

The Run XT’s not only maintain Jaybird’s signature ethos of delivering a rugged pair of headphones that perform exceptionally, but they elevate its already sky-high product standards.



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