Jaybird Run Wireless Earbuds are Great for Fitness, but not for Everything
No strings to hold me down
Since testing the Jaybird Freedom Bluetooth Earbuds back in May, I’ve become a big fan of the company’s Bluetooth solutions. The Jaybird Freedom line has become my go-to option for my morning run, so I was very excited to test out the new Jaybird Run Wireless Earbuds that the company is releasing in October. I’ve been putting off the jump to Apple’s true-wireless option, the $160 Airpods, because I mostly use headphones while working out, and didn’t like the fit when I tested out a pair from a friend. While the Jaybird Run Wireless Earbuds offer a far superior fit, they do have a few quirks at the moment.
These are ‘truly’ wireless earbuds, which means the wire connecting the two earbuds on your current Bluetooth headset could be all but a memory if you choose to upgrade. The technology isn’t exactly new, but only recently has it become more reliable. After a few weeks worth of NYC commuting, morning runs, and grocery store shopping, I’ve been mostly pleased with the new device, but only after a little research. In my excitement to test out the new Earbuds, I only skimmed the manual, which turned out to be a mistake. In the rush to get started, I only read the instructions on how to pair the earbuds to my iPhone, and the name of the App I needed to adjust my sound profile. After a few days of audio drop-outs and small hiccups, I went back to the manual to see if there was something I was missing. That’s where I found the suggestion to wear your phone on your right-side while working-out, and I was not following the directions. This stopped the drop-outs almost completely (almost) and from then on I only noticed them if my phone was buried in my bag. At $179 on Amazon this is certainly an unusual limitation, but like I said before, this technology has been fickle in the past. The reason they work better on the right-side of your body is because the phone connects to one earbud, which passes information to the other, so keeping it on your right arm improves the signal dramatically. How charged your Earbuds are seems to be a major factor as well, with low-batteries increasing the drop-outs and reducing the range.
If the name Jaybird Run Wireless Earbuds didn’t tip you off, these Earbuds were specifically designed for runners, and that’s were they excel. Getting back to the right-side information I mentioned earlier, when you workout the phone is strapped to you upper arm, and that makes for a very strong connection to the main Earbud. This is why I was having no issues with the Earbuds while running or cycling, and more issues while commuting (when my phone was a prisoner in my bag). I wouldn’t suggest these as an ‘everyday situation’ headset, these are for working out and the commute, and the connection didn’t seem stable enough to wear these every time I left the house. You can see the Jaybird Run Wireless in action thanks to the promotional video below from the company.
In my particular scenario, the Jaybird Run Wireless Earbuds were a great fit. I run almost everyday, cycle when I don’t, and rarely use a headset outside of commuting and exercise. That’s a very specific demographic, and I think Jaybird was hoping to reach a wider-audience, but that’s the group that I feel will get the most out of the headset. Men that will use the Earbuds during their own exercise routine should see similar results. I would expect that men who carry their phones in their jeans would have the same audio issues that I did when my phone was in my bag, so again, these seem better suited for fitness than casual use. If you carry a shoulder bag, the connection should improve, but there are some noticeable dropouts whenever the phone is tucked away somewhere.
As I mentioned before, a comfortable and secure fit was keeping me from going ‘truly wireless’ in the past, and once again Jaybird offers one of the best fits in the business. The Jaybird Run Wireless were always secure, during all of my testing, and the included earpieces can match a wide-array of ears. I would have liked to see this headset rival Apple’s pricing, instead of matching it. Promotions and sales might cause that MSRP to drop over the next few weeks, but I was hoping for a lower price with the audio issues.
I would say these are a fantastic option for one group, the fitness crowd, who I think they were designed for from the start. While the headset is a terrific match for me personally, there are audio issues that may cause you to drop them from your day-to-day commuting routine. These aren’t the best option for anyone that buries their phone in heavy coats or in pockets, and while a firmware update may enhance the connection later on, that’s the results that I have now. If you are shopping for a pair of wireless Earbuds that are comfortable and sweat-proof during your workout routines, then these can be a great option, but that’s the group I would recommend them for. If you do try and use the headphones without your phone attached to your arm, you’re better off keeping your phone in a bag, or in a jacket pocket.