I am no audiophile, but I do love listening to music, podcasts, and sports radio. That listening experience is usually augmented by using a great set of Bluetooth wireless headphones. I have tried many from well known brands such as Bose, Beats, and even Jaybird. I think my search for the perfect set of wireless ear buds is over for now, the Jaybird X2's are a cut above the rest and I am going to outline why. However, before I do, I should mention that I owned a pair of Jaybird's previous generation high-end earbuds, the Bluebuds X. The Bluebuds sounded great but my unit always seemed to suffer from terrible signal breakup whenever I subjected them to the outdoors environments of New York City. All I needed to do was step outside with my iPhone in my back pocket and the Bluebuds would studder and drop out like a bad Skype call. The new X2's are re-built from the ground up with all modern, up-to-date components which I believe give them an advantage over the older generation model.
As I mentioned, I am no audiophile, but hands down the X2's sound quality is best of any bluetooth earbuds I have used. If you closed your eyes and did a comparison between some wired buds and the X2's, you might be hard pressed to tell the difference. The engineers at Jaybird have utilized a custom Bluetooth codec called SWIFT which has been optimized for sound delivery. Surprising enough, the X's still utilize BT 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) which to my understanding is still the underlying technology in later BT implementations (i.e. 4.X) that delivers sound from the source to the headphones. What all that tech speak means is at the end of the day is an awesome sound experience for the listener.
Being earbuds, there's a couple of things that go into how comfortable wearing a pair of these type of headphone are. The fit should be snug enough to ensure good sound isolation and keep them in when you move around. In order for the X2's to fit properly, the right size earbuds must be selected along with the wingtips which stabilize the bud in the ear. The X2's come with a set of small, medium, and large plastic eartips as well as three sizes of Comply foam tips which really make a difference in terms of comfort and sound isolation. Included are plastic "wingtips" that provide a sort of wedge in the ear crevice to keep the buds in the ear. The wingtips have been redesigned from the older Bluebuds and now have a more rigid feel with rounded edges which definitely help with comfort. I am able to wear the X2's for long periods of time without getting that typical "earbud" fatigue that most buds have when you put them as far into the ear canal as they need to go. Speaking of the ear canal, if a good seal within the ear is obtained, the X2's really shine in terms of comfort and sound quality. I realize that this is purely subjective as everyone's ear sizes are different, but I have found the perfect combination in using the small wing tips and the medium sized Comply foam tips. The buds are fixed securely in my ear and I am not sure I could shake my head forceful enough to get them to fall out.
It should be noted that Jaybird offers two ways to wear these earbuds, either traditionally with the cable sloping down from the ear (under ear) or over the ear where the cable is draped over the top and then behind the ear. Whatever way is most comfortable, you should be able to get a secure and comfortable fit.
One of the things that really annoyed me about the older Bluebuds X was how the wing tips would slide off of the bud and would require re-adjustment each time you put them on. Jaybird has solved that problem on the X2's by placing a bit of a ridge where the wing tips fit so they will not slide off. Nice touch.
The control stick provided houses a main button (center), and two volume buttons. The function of each button is dictated by how you press each. A single press and release of the main and volume buttons does exactly what you would think, playing and stopping the audio and controlling the volume up or down. A one second press-and-hold of a button changes the function. For example, a one second hold of one of the volume buttons changes the functionality from volume +/- to next/previous selection. The control stick also supports longer presses up to 4 seconds for the main button to initiate Bluetooth pairing mode. When paired to the iPhone, all phone functions such as answering a call, activating Siri, call transfer work well and are easily activated. One of the nice customizations Jaybird has implemented with the X2's when setting the volume up or down from the control stick, the iphone also adjusts the device volume in sync with the X2's. I have had other headphones where this is not the case and you have instances where the volume of the headphones is out of sync with the volume of the device. Jaybird has also removed the "beep" whenever a volume button is pressed. Some people may prefer that, but I found it annoying and am glad Jaybird removed that from the X2's. In terms of the quality of the microphone during phone calls and using voice commands with Siri, I would have to say that it has been greatly improved when compared to the Bluebuds. Conversations held outdoors, even in NYC with the X2's resulted in the other person being able to hear me without issue.
Put quite simply, battery life is simply amazing for a piece of technology as small as the X2's. I have been able to get a strong 8+ hours during normal use during a given day. Most days I use them for shorter periods of time so I really never have to worry about running out of juice at inopportune times. It's actually quite amazing how these small buds even outpace the Beats PowerBeats 2, which get about 5 hours and are physically larger than the X2's.
Jaybird offers a 1 year limited warrantee for defects but has a more generous lifetime replacement warrantee for any damage caused by sweat or moisture.
The X2's come in a variety of colors such as Storm (White), Fire (Red), Midnight (Blue), Alpha (Green), Ice (Light Blue), and Charge (Yellow). The wire that connects the two earbuds is a flat matte black cable which reduces tangles.
In terms of accessories, Jaybird doesn’t skimp with the X2's. Provided are a nice, soft touch plastic carrying case, three sets of wingtips, and six pair of earbuds, three rubber versions and three Comply foam tips in small, medium, and large sizes.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this review, the older set of Bluebuds had a terrible time with skipping in the rigors of NYC. Many people I have spoken to that have the Bluebuds don't seem to have the signal breakup issue but then again, none of them live in NYC. That being said, the redesigned X2's do a better job at maintaining a steady connection to my iPhone. Deciding to put the X2's patented Signal Plus technology to the test, I went to the one of the most busiest and densely packed places in NYC, Times Square. Walking thru a busy midtown Manhattan during the day I can get the X2's to skip while having the iPhone in my back pocket. Placing the iPhone in my front pocket does help reduce the occurrences of skipping most likely due to the X2's having the iPhone closer to them. I called Jaybird tech support to discuss this issue with them and they suggested performing a hard reset of the X2's by putting them into pairing mode then holding both volume buttons down until a beep is heard. The hard reset re-loads the X2 firmware (the program that tells the device how to work). The combination of hard reset and re-pairing of the X2's to the iPhone seems to have improved the situation. I can now walk thru various areas in the city and not get "significant" signal breakup. Overall the situation has improved but if you live in a major metropolitan city and plan to use these outdoors, plan for some signal skip.
If you are looking for a pair of in-ear wireless earbuds, look no further than the Jaybird X2's. Quite simply, they are the best Bluetooth wireless earbuds on the market right now, bar none. They sound amazing, provide a reasonable level of comfort while wearing them, have great battery life, and the controls work well with a modern smartphone such as the iPhone. The fit and finish of the X2's are a improvement over the older Bluebuds X and I suspect they will hold up over time.
You can order your pair of X2's directly from the Jaybird website or visit a local Best Buy which also carries them.
Jaybird X2 - $179.95
As an avid tech fan I look forward to sharing my tech experiences both personally and professionally with those that have similar interests and passion for technology.