The rise in popularity of wireless earbuds has benefited athletes and casual listeners alike. The sleek wire-free design lets consumers multitask without the worry of getting caught up in wires while allowing for easy portability. Although it's safe to say that early wireless earbuds were lacking in sound quality, that is no longer the case.
Today, we will be taking a look at the Jaybird X3 wireless earbuds. Jaybird has a long history in the wireless earbud market and has consistently improved their products to meet customer demands. Anyone familiar with the Jaybird brand will notice a number of key features still present in the X3. However, the Jaybird X3 boasts increased sound quality, a longer battery life, and a more secure fit over its predecessor - Jaybird X2. With the X3, Jaybird also made their way into the sweat-proof market which makes sense if they are designed and built for runners by runners as their website states.
With the improved quality and function over the X2, an increased price tag would be expected. However, Jaybird is selling the X3 for $129.99. With that comes a one-year limited warranty.
Packaging offers a proud image of the earbuds on the front cover. This is surrounded by prominent features including wireless functionality and sweatproof nature and of course the Jaybird logo at the top.
Additional selling points include the ability to control music and take calls wirelessly with the inline remote and microphone, new My sound App which allows the user to customize sound settings, 8 hours of play time, micro-sized universal fit that can be worn over or under the ear, as well as a variety of interchangeable tips and fins that allow the user to find their perfect fit.
One of the key features of the X3 that Jaybird doesn't seem to hype is the version of Bluetooth that these earbuds are equipped with - Bluetooth 4.1 including multi-point, which allows the Jaybird X3 to be paired with up to 8 devices at any given time.
Jaybird throws in lots of accessories to ensure you find the perfect fit for your earbuds. Included in the box are the X3 wireless buds, 3 sizes of Comply Isolation foam ear tips, 3 sizes of silicone ear tips, 3 size options of secure-fit ear fins, 2 cord management clips, a cord shirt clip, a carrying pouch, the proprietary USB 2.0 charging cable and clip, as well as the quick start guide.
Finding the perfect fit is made easy with the vast array of options Jaybird includes with the X3. Not only does the quick start guide offer tips to ensure a proper, comfortable fit, the MySound app also offers some guidance. The cord management clips allow you to wear the earbuds over the ear and secure the excess cord, so it sits tight on the back of your head. If you choose to wear the X3 in the under-ear fit, the shirt clip offers a way to keep the cord secure. With all of the wearing options, finding the perfect fit can be time-consuming; however, it proves to be worth it in the end.
Since I planned to wear the X3 during vigorous physical activity, I decided to go with the over ear fit and used the cord management clips to shorten the cord while keeping the inline remote snug to my head. This allowed me easy access to the controls without worrying about the cord bouncing around during my workouts.
The fins ensured that the earbuds didn't slip out of my ears, even during sweaty workouts. However, I did find that the fins didn't always stay secure on the earbuds themselves. It's also important to note that on one exceptionally hot, sweat-inducing day, one of the earbuds came loose from the tip. The tip remained in my ear while the earbud slipped out, leaving the tip lodged in my ear. Thank goodness for the medical tent that was set up along the race course! The tip was easily removed with a pair of tweezers, and I was on my way again, with no further issues!
Jaybird clearly spent time on developing a sound quality that consumers are looking for. Following right along with their completely customizable fit options, Jaybird X3 also allows the listener to fully modify their sound preferences with the MySound application available in the App Store and Google Play. If you're not sure what you like, Jaybird MySound offers listeners plenty of preset options to choose from.
However, for those listeners looking for a specific sound quality, MySound is for you. The app allows you to customize the EQ settings of your earbuds, creating your own unique sound profiles. Those profiles can then be saved to your earbuds, making it easy to switch between sounds based on what you're in the mood for.
Setting up the X3 earbuds and pairing them with my phone proved to be an easy process. The quick start guide included in the box gave a simple rundown of the how the inline remote works, allowing me to use the earbuds almost immediately. Since the Jaybirds are capable of being paired with up to 8 devices at any given time, I also paired them with my Apple Watch, which did take a bit of troubleshooting. However, once connected, I was able to leave my phone behind for some of my shorter runs.
When connected, and playing music through my phone, I would run into the occasional drop in connection. It seemed once I began wearing my phone on the same arm as the receiver, this issue corrected itself. When paired, and playing music through the Apple Watch, there were no connection issues.
Wearing the earbuds in the over the ear fit, the inline remote was easily accessible and simple to use. The center button turns on the earbuds, at which time a voice indicates that the earbuds are powered on, connected, and gives a battery percentage. A single press on the center button will play/pause music and answer/end a call. Single presses on the volume up and down buttons, adjust the volume accordingly. While a one-second press on the volume up/down buttons will skip tracks forward/backward. The backside of the inline remote gives access to the proprietary charging connection.
While these were my go-to earbuds for almost every workout, it wasn't without the occasional issues. My only "annoyance" was that sound quality diminished slightly when more sweat was present. I tried a few different tip and fin combinations to see if that corrected the issues; however, it seemed the more I sweat, the more the earbuds loosened in my ears. It is important to note that only one time did the earbud actually slip out of my ear, leaving the tip behind, and I was not wearing the fins when this occurred.
- Completely customizable fit
- Accompanying MySound app
- Battery life of up to 8 hours
- Ability to pair with multiple devices
- Proprietary charging clip
- Excess sweat effects fit
- Occasional loss of connection
Full disclosure, the Jaybird X3 is no longer my everyday earbuds. I began using the X3's in February 2017, by August I had noticed they were no longer holding a charge. I was pretty good about using them until the battery indicated there was only a 20% charge remaining, then charging them back to full. The next time I would go to use them, they wouldn't turn on. I contacted customer service and was prompted to reset the earbuds, which I did with no success. After several emails, I was instructed to cut the cord - literally - and send proof, at which time a replacement pair would be sent. I have since received my replacement pair; however, they too are no longer working. It seems Jaybird should spend a bit more time ensuring the life of their products can hold up to customer expectations and not rushing to market just to have something on the shelf.
The Bottom Line: The Jaybird X3 are a highly customizable set of wireless earbuds in both sound and fit. However, there are some issues that need addressed.
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