Given their popularity, we expected the Jaybird X2 Wireless Earbuds (MSRP: $179.95) to blow us away. But while they have a lot going for them in terms of performance and functionality, I personally had a hard time wearing them with the included fins without some serious ear ache.
Honestly, you might be better off sticking to a wired pair of sports in-ears, like the $25 JBL Synchros Reflect. Or, at least, do your due diligence and check out some more affordable options like the JLab Epic Wireless. But if the price—and more importantly, the fit—is right, then the Jaybird X2s can really sing.
A few tricks to get used to, but otherwise nothing new to look at.
Decked out in a smooth matte finish in a variety of colors, the Jaybird X2s will be immediately recognizable to anyone that’s familiar with their predecessor, the Bluebuds X. The chunky earbuds are connected via a flattened, tangle-free cord that’s meant to rest behind your neck during your workout and can be shortened with a trio of cord management clips Jaybird included.
Because they're wireless, the X2s had to bulk up a bit to house the Bluetooth radios and battery to work wirelessly. Their size makes finding a comfortable fit a little tricky. Luckily, Jaybird included plenty of different sized silicone tips and even some memory foam tips—a personal favorite that I highly recommend. The downside? It took me a little bit to try them all out and hone in on which were comfortable enough to make it through my run.
A big part of the comfort—and discomfort—for me came down to the ear fins. Designed to nestle inside your ear, they’re meant to make sure they don’t fall out during your run. And for the most part, this works like a charm. But until I nailed the right fit the fin would press uncomfortably on my ear causing all sorts of pain. And if you opt for a fin that's a bit too small, they'll fall out with the slightest tug. I'd recommend trying out all of the different options when you first get them to make sure you can get a nice fit.
Jaybird claims the X2s can hold an eight-hour charge, which should be plenty to get you through a few solid workouts before needing a charge. The micro USB charging port is cleverly concealed behind a cap on the right earbud and is right above the in-line remote. It’s a three-button remote, which can control volume as well as skip tracks, play/pause your music, and make calls. Unfortunately, it's practically impossible to try to use it while running without tugging them out or hitting the wrong button.
I had some trouble getting used to the controls, though, as Jaybird did things a little differently from other earbuds I’ve tried out. Unlike other earbuds that use a double-tap of the play/pause button for skipping tracks, the X2s has it mapped to a long press of one of the volume keys (volume up for skipping, volume down for rewinding). Even my editor had to frantically reach for his phone when he started re-dialing his sister-in-law instead of skipping a song during a late night run. But, once you get used to the little quirks of the X2s, they’re a great way to keep you amped up with tunes during a workout.
Balanced sound that lets the vocals shine
If you're like me and need a great playlist to get you through a late night run then you know your headphones could make or break your workout. The Jaybird X2s are tuned to deliver a bass-heavy experience that's supposed to play well with almost any genre you prefer.
Personally, I gravitate toward rock, a bit of pop, and the occasional Disney song and the X2s handled everything I threw at it with aplomb. I was easily the most impressed with how well the vocals of a track stood out without diminishing the instruments. It was perfect for listening to Captain Li Shang (voiced by Donny Osmond) push me on during what's arguably the best workout song there is.
Listen wirelessly thanks to Jenna
Everyone loves wireless headphones for the convenience of untethering you from you an audio player. While that's a definite perk, it does add the extra steps of pairing the two together with Bluetooth. Some headphones handle this step a bit better than others.
The Jaybird X2s, for what it's worth, hit right in the middle of the road. As long as you make sure Bluetooth is turned on, the only thing you have to do is hold down the center button on the in-line remote to connect the two. A female voice—that'd be Jenna—will notify you when you're searching, successfully paired, and so on. You might have to verify you want to pair on your phone or laptop, but otherwise, it's as easy as that.
Tune out the world and focus on your goals.
If you’re looking to block out your chatty coworkers or just zone out with your music on leg day I have just the thing. This is where the memory foam ear tips I mentioned earlier really shine. Unlike the basic silicone tips, the memory foam variety gradually expands until it fills the space in your ear canal. Even without playing music, I was able to essentially mute my surroundings.
There's a reason the Jaybird X2s (MSRP: $179.95) are a popular choice among runners and gym-goers. Between the memory foam tips and the ear fins, they provide most people with a secure and comfortable fit and tunes that sound great. The price tag is a big asterisk next to their tricky comfort, but after spending some time with them it's easy to see why they're so popular.
But, if you only plan to use them at the gym, that can be an expensive pill to swallow. If so, you should check out a more affordable wireless option. I'd personally recommend the JLab Audio Epic Wireless for around $100. They don't have the memory foam tips, but they sound great and I thought they were much more comofrtable with far less hassle. Or spend around $25 on the wired JBL Synchros Reflect. Pair them with an armband to hold your phone and you'll be hitting the pavement in no time. We can see both sides, so it's really up to you.
When it comes to wireless sports earbuds, though, there really is no shortage of options out there. As long as you're willing to shell out some dough for the convenience, the Jaybird X2s hover right near the top. they look good, stay secure, and are comfortable to boot. In our book, that makes them a clear winner even if it takes a little more upfront investment to get the most out of them.
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