Jaybird is well known for its wireless sports earphones and its X3 ($100+) “neck buds” — earbuds that are tethered together by a cord but communicate wirelessly with your device — are still some of the best running earphones you can buy. The Jaybird Run ($160+) were released in 2017 and are the company’s first and only truly wireless earbuds. As the name suggests, the Run earphones are fitness-focused and sweat resistant. They also work with a companion app that comes with some neat features, like adjust the audio’s EQ.
The Good: The Jaybird Run have pretty much everything you want in wireless sport earphones. They have a double hydrophobic nano coating to make them really sweat resistant. They come with a number of silicon ear tips and earwings, just like Samsung’s IconX (gen-2), so you can really get them to fit securely, no matter your ear size. Battery life is above average at roughly four hours per earbud. The Jaybird MySound app is straightforward to use and lets you customize the audio’s sound signature or try out one of Jaybird’s sponsored athletes’ preferred sound signatures. Both the left and right buttons have an on/off button — a nice and rare feature among wireless earbuds that gives the wearer more control. A single press of the left earbuds accesses your phone’s voice assistant while pressing the right earbud is your play/pause button. There aren’t any swipe features to get you frustrated. They quick charge too — just five minutes of charge time in the case gives each earbud about an hour of playtime.
Who They’re For: These are wireless sport earbuds that sit at the intersection of great fit, audio quality and features — they provide a generous amount of each. If you want simple-to-use wireless earbuds that also fit securely and allow you to customize the sound, Jaybird’s Run earbuds are a great choice. The only caveat is that at $180, you’re paying a little extra for their more premium looks.
Watch Out For: Several journalists, including Adam Molina of Sound Guys, noted connectivity issues caused the audio to occasionally skip, which I only noticed when I had the Run earbuds connected to my MacBook Pro; when running and connected to a Gear Fit 2 Pro fitness tracker, I had no connectivity issues. No “hear through” technology to let you hear ambient sounds, which is a nice safety feature while running or bike riding. The companion app doesn’t have a coaching assistant, integrated step counter or heart rate sensor, like more serious running headphones such as Jabra’s Elite Sport ($220). The charging case is relatively big and charges via micro-USB.
Alternatives: Although the Jaybird Run earbuds fit securely, in terms of fit, Samsung’s IconX just edge them out. If you want more fitness features and built-in sensors to track your runs, I’d go with the more expensive Jabra Elite Sport or the Jabra Elite Active 65t earbuds (the Elite Active 65t aren’t available yet, but they are a sweat-resistant version of the Elite 65t earbuds).
Review: Over the course of a week, the Jaybird Run were my go-to earbuds for running, commuting and working. And I found a lot to like about them. They fit great; like Samsung’s Gear IconX earbuds, the Run earbuds come with a variety of silicon tips and earwings so anybody will likely find a fit that works for them. Mine fit me great. The earbuds are small, too, making them seem and feel more discreet than say the Bose SoundSport Free, which is huge. The app, too, is easy to use and customize your own sound signature is great. Pairing the earbuds with any device and turning the earbuds off is also really simple, which isn’t the case with other wireless earbuds.
On the flip side, and like many other truly wireless earbuds, the volume of the Jaybird Run doesn’t get as loud as I would’ve liked. And even with an adjustable EQ, the audio quality of the Run earbuds won’t blow you away either, which is where the Apple AirPods and Beoplay E8s (and to a lesser extent, the Bose Soundsport Free) really shine. On the fit front, the Run earbuds are great, as mentioned before, but they also fit tight which could prove uncomfortable for some.
The last thing I should mention is that Jaybird’s Run earbuds have a couple other nice touches that really hit home for me. I hate swipe gestures on earbuds because they make me feel like I can’t control the earbuds without disrupting their fit. These have buttons on each earbud that initiate simple commands. And, within the MySound app there’s a “Find My Buds” feature that, if you allow it access to your location always (which can’t be great for battery life, btw) can help you locate your misplaced earbuds.
Verdict: In many ways, the Jaybird Run are the safe option for anybody looking for a truly wireless pair of earbuds. Even though they are designed for running, you can use them for anything. They’ll work seamlessly with both iOS and Android devices. And they’re very good (almost great) in terms of fit, audio quality, features, battery life and durability. I’d argue that these are the most polished looking, especially in white, of any wireless earbuds you can buy. If you’re willing to spend around $180 or a little less, which is still fairly expensive, then these a stellar sweat-resistant alternative to AirPods.
What Others Are Saying:
• “When it comes down to it I was simultaneously impressed and unimpressed with the Jaybird Run. The build quality and discreet charging case definitely caught my attention, but it lines up with what I’d expect from a product that costs $179. Plus the quick charging feature is super useful and because the entire package is so small, keeping them in my pocket while walking to the gym was enough to charge them up enough for a full workout. The sound quality was also better than most truly wireless ‘buds I’ve tested purely because of how much the app lets you customize the sound.” — Adam Molina, Sound Guys
• “The Jaybird Run are exactly what you’d expect from a company that’s been working on wireless headphones for years. They’re comfortable, easy to use and they sound great. You’ll pay a bit more than similar headphones — even Apple’s Airpods — but it’s worth it for fitness fanatics.” — Devindra Hardawar, Engadget
• “The Jaybird Run sound great, are weather resistant and packed full of functionality. That they provide all of this at a reasonable price makes them an excellent choice.” — Séamus Bellamy, MacWorld
Drivers: two 6mm
Battery: 4 hours per earbud, 8+ hours with charging case
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1
App: Jaybird MySound
Noteworthy features: Find My Buds locator, customizable sound signature, fast charging capability
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