When it comes to headphones, you’re looking for three factors to come into play. Build quality, sound quality and features. Will the JayBird BlueBuds headphones measure up to the competition and provide value for money?
Build Quality & Design
The first thing you will notice when you purchase these headphones from JayBird is that the BlueBuds come in a snazzy package design that opens like a book. They are equipped with a convenient Micro USB charger; there is a light that turns on red when it’s charging, and switches to green when full.
JayBird advertises that the battery lasts 8 hours, but I am getting 5-6 hours out of a charge.
A major setback for a headphone at this price is the lack of durability. Parts of them, such as the micro USB connector on the earbuds, are consistently wearing out after a year or so of use, leaving them open to sweat and shorting out. JayBird advertises a lifetime sweat warranty, but the warranty registration lasts for only 2 years.
The nubs fit in the ear, but there is a cover that sits under the ear. There is also a cable clip that comes with the piece, cutting out slack. Still, when I wore these with the cable behind my back, they kept getting caught on my backpack.
The JayBird BlueBuds Sport Bluetooth headphones arrive in a fancy plastic box with a book-cover-like side. The packaging itself must represent a significant percentage of the overall cost, and the headphones come taped in on the inside.
The sound is overall good for an in-ear Bluetooth headset. Crisp and clear and certainly sufficient to enjoy all kinds of music while working out. The bass end is limited and there is a sacrifice in the sound from a wired set of headphones, but it is sufficient for its purpose.
For sound insulation, you won’t find a better set of headphones on the market, without upgrading to noise cancellation headsets. In fact the sound insulation could be too good for some uses; if you’re running in a city, for example, don’t expect to hear cars approaching from behind with these on.
The volume control is too imprecise – it jumps 3 decibels for each level. The BlueBuds come microphone-equipped and works sufficiently well for phone calls. The track control is operated from the same buttons; hold the volume (+) button until it chirps to go to the next track, and hold the volume (-) button to go to the previous track.
Note that the sound quality requires a good fit in the ears, and this is very dependent on ear size and shape.
The BlueBuds come with three sizes of ear nubs; the instructions say to try all three to see which fits the best and gives the best sound quality. I did this and one of them, the medium, had a distinctly better fit and much better sound. Still, it kept falling out during a run. Perhaps this could be fixed in future models by installing the Bluetooth receiver along the cable instead of on the earpiece. This was disappointing for a headset at this price level.
Many users are finding it worthwhile to invest in a set of Comply ear nubs, such as the Comply T-500 Isolation Earphone Tips, reporting these give a better fit and better sound quality.
The Bluetooth feature is the major selling point here. The range is very good, and I get good signal when I leave my smartphone in my jacket at the side of the gym and wear these. That’s around 20-30 feet away. There are no noticeable connection issues, and it plays audio just like a wired headphone.
There is no lag when audio is playing, but I am getting a bit of lag when I play a video on the tablet and use the BlueBuds to listen. It’s minimal but present.
For an exercise regime that requires movement, such as treadmill runs or a stationary bicycle, these are a good choice. The connection is strong and there is no wire to get in the way. For a less movement-intense workout, such as weight-lifting, you may be better off with a wired headphone set.
The sound quality is good for wireless technology, certainly sufficient for listening while working out. The wireless technology is also convenient, and the Bluetooth connection is strong.
The major setback comes in the build quality and the earpieces themselves. The included earnubs were not ideal, and I did not want to shell out extra money for the recommended upgrade to Comply earnubs. A wide range of reviewers are reporting that the micro USB port on the earphones is wearing out after a year or two of use, and this leads to sweat damage and a ruined product.
You won’t be able to find a superior set of Bluetooth headphones for a lower price, but I’d say JayBird has some work to do on the earnubs and the durability issue before the BlueBuds get my full recommendation.
|Output||12mW RMS (with level limit)|
|Speaker sensitivity||103 +-2dB At 1KHz|
|Play Time||8 Hrs|
|Standby Time||250 Hrs|
|Charging Time||Less than 2.5 hrs|