After some diligent patience on my part, I was happy to receive the new Bluebuds X to try out. I have 3 other pairs of Jaybird gear, and their reviews can be read here
The package came in the standard top level box
Packaging: hard to open but secure. Had to cut the tape that held the phones in place within its foam housing and I came close to cutting the wire. Some attention should be brought to this, not a huge deal but I would have been very unhappy with myself if I cut them.
Immediately I took them out of the box and looked around for where the charging receptacle was. This took some time, but I noticed that neither bud was marked Left or Right and the cover on the top of one of the buds “pops” off allowing you access to the port. The charging cord is short, but very thick and plugged in easily.
As soon as I plugged them in to the back of the computer, I noticed that the charging light is much easier to see “on”. It lit to a solid red while charging which only took about an hour to get the green light.
When they were done charging, it was time to check out the different wear options. Standard is with the control device on the right ear bud with the cord housing on the bud facing down. I was able to fit them pretty easily since I already knew my bud tip size for each ear. They plugged the ear canal pretty snugly which created a bit of a vacuum that helped hold them in place.
I took off the bud tips and read the instructions on how they are to be worn alternatively in the over ear position. Since this is how I use the other phones, I prepped them for wear by trying on different sizes of ear cushions by themselves. Notice that when you are wearing over the ear, the bud with the control cable attached is on the left side now with the cord housing facing up. I took the ear cushions that fit me and placed them on each earpiece housing. Because of my anatomical difference between ears, I have to use different size bud tips and ear cushions for each ear.
I looked at the directions that came in the box and saw an image at the bottom of each page that described which section of the booklet was referencing the specific wear method. I made sure I was looking at “over the ear” vs. “normal”. I placed each ear cushion on starting with my left ear (control side) and then reattached the bud cover. After inserting the phones into my ear with the cord up and around the back of the ear and head, I was not able to get the left ear seated properly. I tried all different variations of angle and depth of seat, but it seemed that the ear cushion, no matter how deep or shallow on the ear piece itself, would not allow the ear bud cover to create that same “vacuum” feeling that allowed them to stay in. I must have taken off the ear bud cover at least 10 times to readjust the ear cushion but no matter what I did, they would not stay in the ear.
Frustrated, I decided to train without using the ear cushions in either ear. I followed instructions on how to use the cable cord manager and was able to get them to tighten up and hold pretty steadily on the back of my head. I paired the device according to instructions and had no issues. The voice notifications helped tremendously since the tones are a little different than the other Jaybird products. After pairing was complete, I noticed that the IPhone 5 I am using had a battery notification next to the IPhone’s battery indicator. This I think is a huge deal for me since I tend to run down the battery on all my devices before recharging. While this is good in theory, it also meant I lost sound during the middle of more than 1 workout. I think each week I would have to turn off my tunes because the battery died in the middle of a workout. Great job on this upgrade!
The sound was completely clear and loud and I was not able to max out the volume since the loudness factor on these earphones allows more volume than the JF4s. The ear buds stayed in place during the entire workout, I think I had an issue only when doing dynamic movements like the overhead snatch. I even did some handstand pushups and even though they became a little loose being inverted, they never did fully fall out.
At the present time, I have not been able to test the phone capabilities of this headset.
One thing i noticed about this pair is that you have to have almost completely normal ears to use as directed. Without the ear cushions, sweat will get down into the ear canal and will reduce the friction leading to slipping and eventual dismount from the ear. With boxing gloves on, this is more pain in the arse than anything as I have to remove the gloves to put them back in the ear.
I walked around the gym and had just a few broken areas of coverage. All in all when used inside for general fitness training, these things can’t be beat. If you plan on moving dynamically I would go with the JF3 or JF4 (my review here)
Training with music definitely helps with motivation. However you want to make sure that you are focused on the workout and not handling your music player or earphones. The Jaybird Bluetooth Phones help create a “cord free” training area that gives you more freedom to move about.