If you are like me and enjoy running with music, you will appreciate a quality pair of earphones. Of course, the jury is out of music whilst running, particularly when racing. Many races have a no earphone policy so that you are as a runner are not distracted, can hear directions from marshals and hear other runners who may need to notify you of passing or potential hazards.
But for many, music is an absolute dream when running as it provides a distraction, it helps the miles click by and I know personally that many runners listen to some excellent running podcasts such as Talk Ultra as a way of catching up on interviews and news.
With the above considered, a quality pair of earphones are essential and with growing use of wireless technology and the need and or requirement to carry a phone when training or racing, respected earphone manufacturer JAYBIRD have released the X3 – an update to the X2 model.
The X3 is a wireless pair of earphones that seamlessly sinks with a compatible device. In my test scenario I synced with an iPhone 7.
Out of the box you can immediately notice that the build quality and attention to detail is excellent. They feel solid and sturdy.
Before going any further I immediately downloaded the Jaybird App from the iTunes Store on my phone. It’s called JAYBIRD MYSOUND and is available for free.
The app takes you through the process of pairing earphones with your phone, Simply put the earphones in your ear and press the middle button for approximately 4-5 seconds. You will hear instructions in the headset. Make sure that BLUETOOTH on your phone is turned on. You will see Jaybird X3 appear in the ‘My Devices‘ – select it and then you are good to go. In the iPhone App you will see a ‘Scanning’ page – this will confirm when you are connected.
Once connected, you can use the APP to customise your earphones using a five-band EQ to fine-tune the acoustics – if you prefer more bass, more treble, or whatever, you can do this here and you can also switch between a variety of presets and user-created profiles. Importantly, the profiles and custom settings save to the X3 and not the device, therefore no matter what device you are using, your preferred preset will be used.
Click on am image for clearer view:
Before use it makes sense to charge the earphones. This is done by connecting the earphones to the supplied cable. Jaybird use their own custom design for this which works excellently. But be warned, lose this charging cable and you won’t be able to just pop out and get a replacement. Accessories are HERE.
The cable is USB compatible so you can use your laptop or a stand alone plug to charge the earphones. Once charged they last for 8-hours (12 hours with the accessory) and in testing I have found this to be true. However, using for say 60-75 minutes a day, I found it was safer to recharge after 4 or 5-days to make sure. Ultra runners who go out for a long run can expect 7-8 hours.
The earphones are supplied with a small portable pouch that will hold the earphones and the charging cable. As with nearly all earphones, Jaybird also supply accessories so that you can get the perfect fit for your ears.
Three different sizes of ‘fins’ allow the earphones to stay in the ear without moving, Three varying sizes of Comply foam tips allow you to obtain a comfortable fit ‘in’ the ear. A shirt clip and two cable-shortening clips are provided – the latter useful if you want to reduce the length of the cable. I personally found no use for them as the earphones fit so well, the cable sits comfortably around the back of the neck and it caused no issues.
Attention to detail is superb and once you have the correct sized ‘fin’ and correct sized ‘Comply tip’ you should have no need to adjust them. Of course, wear and tear will eventually require replacement and this can be obtained from Jaybird.
You will see in the above picture that the ‘in-line’ control not only doubles up as the battery and re-charge point but also the place to turn on the earphones and make ‘on-the-go’ adjustments.
How to use:
- Put the earbuds in your ears.
- Make sure your you have previously ‘paired’ the earphones with the device you are using. In my scenario an iPhone 7.
- Go to the Bluetooth menu on your device, and make sure Bluetooth is turned on.
- Press the middle button on the in-line control for approx 2-seconds
- You will hear – ‘Power on’ then ‘Headphones connected’ it will then tell you how much battery is left.
- Press ‘Play’ on the device and you are good to go.
- You can adjust volume using the + and – on the inline control.
- Press the middle button to start/ stop play
- Tip – while music is playing, if you press and hold the middle button for 1-2 seconds it activates SIRI (on an iPhone) and then you can say (for example) ‘Play AC/DC’ and then the chosen music plays. Of course this can be a little hit and miss but it does work.
- To turn off, press the middle button once. This stops music play. Then press and hold the middle button for 2-3 seconds and the you will hear, ‘Power off’.
The pairing process was easy and seamless. The X3 are without doubt the most comfy and secure running earphones I have used. Everything about them is just perfect. The cable is just the correct length to allow ones head to move left and right without pulling on the earphones. Importantly you can use the X3 as over the ear or on the ear fit.
The in-line control sits just under the right ear (if used on the ear and on the left if used over the ear) and it is easy to control and adjust while moving. The earphones themselves sit securely in the ear with the ‘fin’ holding them securely in place. The X3 is sweat proof and withstood several runs in heavy rain with no issues.
Sound is excellent and I found the ‘out-of-box’ sound to have too much treble. I used the APP to add more base and tweak the sound. A real bonus!
Connection with my phone had little or no drop out. Often a problem with wireless devices. Just keep in mind that the closer the phone is to the earphones, the more stable the connection. I personally don’t like use an arm band holder and found that my phone worked best either in my running vest or by using a small waist pack.
At £109 the Jaybird X3 may not be the cheapest earphones on the market, however, they represent excellent value for money. The sound is excellent, the APP works great for tweaking and the in-line control with voice prompts keeps you in control of the music and the battery. Fit is superb – the best running earphones I have used.
Pros and Cons
- Recharging cable is neat and tidy
- Sweat proof
- 8 hour battery will not be enough for those out for a long time
- Lose the recharge cable and you will need a replacement from Jaybird. Not a cable you can get anywhere.
Pretty awesome product that fits, provides great sound and for a good price.
I agree these are good earphones, if a little fiddly. I had the previous version of these and these don’t look too dissimilar. The addition of the app looks cool and useful. However, the many interchangeable parts are easily lost and and can be annoying if you don’t get the fit right. I remember having to adjust them a lot and they fell out of my ears when wet. I run almost everyday with earphones and I’ve gone through some inexpensive and expensive sets!! In my opinion these are just ok. The cable between the buds is a little flimsy and too easy detachable with little force. Sound quality might be good but that is outweighed by annoying control panel that is in the middle of the cable. If you don’t tie this around the ear, it dangles around as you run. For me, that’s poor design for a sports earphone. My jaybirds finally gave up when they got wet which is pretty unavoidable in the UK. As an alternative the plantronic backbeats are hard to beat. One peice earphones, with controls on the ear buds and they are over ear fitting. These things will last a nuclear war and at roughly the same price as the jaybirds they are excellent value for money. Earphones, in the past, have lasted me a matter of months and while my plantronics are looking a little tired now they are still going as strong as they day I bought them.