By Bluetooth headphone standards, JayBird’s new X3 aren’t very sexy. Compared to the company’s recently released Freedom earbuds, they’re big and bulky. But that’s somewhat beside the point. The headphones are notably smaller than their predecessors, and more importantly, they’re significantly cheaper, with a $130 asking price.
Compare that to the $180 launch price of the X2 and the Freedom’s $200 MSRP, and you start to see where the headphones slot in to the company’s portfolio.
I’ve been wearing the headphones around for the last few days, and they certainly work as advertised. They still feel relatively bulky compared to the company’s more premium metal-cased offerings, but they’re a lot easier on the ears than their predecessor, in part, due to a change in architecture that moves charging to the control panel via a small four-pin dock, a la the Freedom.
Syncing is simple – just hold the power button down and it’ll pair effortlessly with your mobile device. The connection is fairly strong, but I did run into some issues when I moved the device to my back pocket. The human body is basically one big reservoir of water, which can wreck havoc on a connection. JayBird hasn’t quite mastered a work around here. But keeping the phone in a side pocket pretty much addressed the issue.
The battery is the same as with the last gen. The company has it rated at eight hours, and indeed, I was able to get several hours worth of music and podcast listening without having to plug it back in. That’s well beyond the four hours promised on the Freedom – though, oddly the company opted not to offer up the battery clip that comes with that device.
But if you couple the X3 with Mophie’s new charging case, and you should be good to go for a while, making these all-day headphone, rather than the workout specific focus of much of the competition, which were designed for a couple of hours’ use, tops.
The sound is solid. Not the best I’ve heard on a pair of earbuds, but fairly full nonetheless, offering up a broad range of sound without leaning too heavily on bass. The fit was okay – though once again I found myself missing the compact Freedom buds and trying a variety of different ways to get them to stay. JayBird, as ever, has a slew of different options for keeping them put, including a different size tips and ear fins.
At $130, they’re not the cheapest Bluetooth earbuds around, but JayBird makes a solid, sweat proof device, with the added bonus of working with the company’s MySound app, which saves listening profiles to the hardware. The headphones are available today through JayBird’s site and will be arriving at Best Buy next month.