IMG_4368.jpgJaybird has had a rep for having some of the best buds out there; their Bluebuds X model were the first Bluetooth earbuds I heard my friends actively rave about. The X2 is the evolution of that model, and they’re packed with some cool stuff in the box.

Unpacking them you’ll find a few things: three pairs of silicone ear tips, three pairs of Comply™ foam ear tips, three pairs of fins, and a few cable clips, along with a silicone carrying case. It’s a pretty complete package. You’ll also find a USB mini cable, which you plug into the back of one of the earbuds after popping a small door open. I charged mine right away; they were fully charged in about two hours,

There are three elements to a good pair of Bluetooth earbuds: comfort, sound quality, and battery life–and for me, those things are listed in order of importance. Comfort is huge; I’ve used previous wireless sets that are too heavy, too bulky, or just plain shaped wrong. If you can’t wear your earbuds comfortably throughout your activity, you’re not going to wear them at all.

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Comfort

So let’s talk about comfort. We all have ears that come in different shapes and sizes; there are some of you out there who simply will not be able to find a wireless earbud that is comfortable for you. God knows I tried the original Jawbone Bluetooth headset back in the day and couldn’t wear it for more than 20 minutes; it was agonizingly painful to use.

That said, Jaybird has included a whole bunch of options for you to try. I tried both medium and small as I typically find large far too big for my ears; on all counts (silicone tips, Comply™ tips, and fins) I found I was a medium for the best fit and comfort. I wore them around the house while I vacuumed for a good thirty minutes and didn’t feel any pain or irritation.

The big win here, for me, is the foam comply tips. They just feel far more comfortable, they have more natural noise isolation (whereas the silicone tips make me feel like my head is stuffed up with a cold), and they don’t slip out. Pair that with the fins, and you have a wireless headphone that’s going to stay put when you put it in.

Sound Quality

Sound quality on headphones is a contentious issue; There are some who swear by 10’ cables with gold plated connectors, listening in rooms that are inert enough to ensure they savour every last frequency. It’s a luxury we don’t have when we’re out pounding the pavement or spinning our wheels; what I want out of a Bluetooth Headset is enough bass to round out the sound, and decent quality through the mid and high end.

I’m pleased to say that the X2’s from Jaybird actually blow that expectation out of the water. Some of that has to do with the tips; as I mentioned above it doesn’t feel like an ultra-tight seal, giving you that echo-y head effect, instead the Comply™ tips dampen outside noise while still sounding very natural. The boom and echo of a full seal that you get when your feet hit the ground while you’re running is absent here.

It should be noted that audio quality isn’t just limited to the speakers in these headphones; there’s a microphone in them as well. This isn’t a dedicated Bluetooth headset, so it’s probably not going to be in your best interest to purchase a pair of X2’s to use on your next conference call, but they’ll be able to connect you to your callers mid-run, mid-cycle, or when you’re just commuting and you need to take a call.

So sound quality overall? Excellent. I actually enjoyed nuances in the music as I worked out, which is impressive for Bluetooth earbuds.

Battery Life

I’ve read a few complaints about battery life on the X2’s…and I understand why, but I don’t agree with them. Here’s the skinny:

Yes, the Jaybird X2 headphones get about 8 hours of batter life. I used them all day at work with a few breaks and was able to use them on the way home.

It takes two hours to charge from flat to get that 8 hours.

You can charge quickly to 90 minutes of battery life. It takes about 30 minutes to do.

You must turn off your headset when you’re done if you want to have battery life when you want to use it again.

Yes, the only problem with the X2 is that if you forget to turn it off, it won’t turn off on its own. You need to hold the middle button for at least 4 seconds to turn it off…unless you have an iPhone, where you have to hold the middle button for at least 6 seconds. Reason? It triggers Siri after 2, resetting the clock, meaning you’ll need to hold it for the total of 6.

IMG_4372.jpgUsing the X2

Those are the three big things for me, but there are lots of other little nice touches to the X2. They’ve got a lifetime warranty against sweat. It didn’t drop my Bluetooth connection once. It has voice prompts to tell you when it’s pairing or shutting off. All of these things go together to deliver one simple message: this is the best bluetooth headset I’ve ever used for music, and it’s a competent set for calls. Jaybird had a hit with Bluebuds X, and they’ve given an impressive repeat performance, exceeding the original with their new X2. Go buy ‘em.