When the wireless earphone scene really kicked off, you could say that Jaybird popped in and showed ‘um how its done. The company quickly pegged themselves in a good spot in the now crowded market, by nailing thought-out design and exceptional sound. The originals, Jaybird BlueBuds X, were recently one-upped with a sequel, and we were interested to see what the new hotness brings.
Jaybird was kind enough to oblige us with a review unit of its newest X2. Let’s find out if they continue the manufacturer’s winning streak and if they’re the wireless earbuds for you!
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Some folks may be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the X2 and its predecessor. Jaybird’s approach is that of refinement, and that’s okay. If it ain’t broken, you don’t have to fix it.
The design is still as simple as ever. Two earpieces are bridged by a flat cable (21″ in length). The weight of the whole thing is merely 13 grams.
The earpieces also keep their cylindrical shape, but the aesthetics are a little different. The plastic’s shiny gloss is completely replaced by a matte finish. It’s still not the most premium look, but I think that most would agree that it’s a refinement.
The base color is now uniformly covers the chassis, and speaking of which, there’s now colorful choices:
It’s really easy to slip off the eartip. Underneath, you’ll see a pretty basic-looking plastic stem with a foam wax guard.
The cable is really nice. The material is rubbery and thin, and coupled with its flat shape, you won’t get those annoying tangles. A 3-button remote/mic is in-line just under the right earpiece.
The packaging includes rubbery, pod-shaped case. You pop off the top to get inside. It’s unique and cool-looking, but I’m not convinced on the robustness. The case’s flexibility allows the top to slip off pretty easily.
Inside is a short USB to microUSB cord and three of Jaybird’s signature earpiece fins. The fins are meant to hug within your ear and provide a more secure fit. The X2 are supposed to work with rigorous active use, so Jaybird additionally designed them to be sweatproof.
Standardly, the stock eartips are silicone and come in three different sizes. However, Jaybird additionally threw in a set of Comply foam tip (Sport series). Foam tips isolate a lot better, so it’s generous that users are provided a choice.
I must mention that the earpieces are larger than conventional, wired earphones. That should be expected because of the wireless-enabling technology built in. So the earpieces will stick out of the ear more than usual. That said, I didn’t find any issue with ergonomics. The fit was great in my experience, and the eartips and seal stay in place nicely.
It’s easy to install the ear fins. They snugly slide over the earpiece. Getting the orientation right and donning take a little playing around with, but once you’re up and running, the benefit makes sense.
When I went to put the earphones on for the first time, I frustratingly couldn’t find the “L” (left) and “R” (right) labels on the earpieces. A quick look at the manual tells that you figure it out by the angle of the eartip. I don’t think it would have been hard for Jaybird to just etch on the labels anyways. You shouldn’t have to look this kind of thing up.
The microUSB charging port is covertly located under the right earpiece’s end cap. When you plug it in, you’ll also notice that there’s an LED indicator nearby (red for charging, green for charged).
From an empty battery, it takes just over 2 hours to a full charge. Jaybird rates the battery at 8 hours of playback, but of course that can vary with different volumes. The Bluetooth range will go up to 30 feet, assuming that nothing comes between it.
The 3-button remote and mic is nifty as always. To turn the X2 on and off, hold down the middle button for 4 seconds. There’s a bunch of other functions built into different presses.
These are the first pair of Jaybird’s that I’ve sampled, but through word of mouth, I kind of already knew that they’d pump out great sound. I’ve tried a variety of Bluetooth headphones, and many are uninspiring. Fortunately, JayBird makes a strong effort to maintain audio quality in today’s wireless movement.
The two biggest areas that the X2 excel at are treble and soundstage. The treble range is pushed more forward than usual. This makes higher-pitched detail (i.e. cymbals) more in-your-face, in a good way. Too many times, headphones don’t have a strong treble presence, and it’s a shame. The mid-range is right behind it too. Vocals feel like they’re right on your ear and sound natural.
The encompassing sound blew me away from the bat. An immersive soundstage is typically something that doesn’t make it into earphones in lower price ranges. The X2’s sounds don’t just go wide but all around, simulating a 3D environment. Jaybird did a great job here.
Alas, we get to the low-end. While bass is delivered finely, I wasn’t as impressed as with other aspects. It’s just not full enough. The music loses some impact as a result. It could be the excellent treble and mids that are slightly drowning it; I don’t know. I feel like the bass wants to extend further (the definition is there), but it can’t for some reason. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend the X2 to bassheads (unless you don’t mind EQ’ing it up).
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The good reception that Jaybird’s get had me expecting a lot for the X2, and I would say that they delivered. At least, I would agree that the quality justifies the asking price. The build is solid and the simple design effortlessly works. The fit and functionality are all as should be, and there’s some nice extras, like ear fins and Comply foam tips.
The sound quality is impressive for the price range and when considering the wireless technology that needed to be crammed in. The reproduction has details that aim for audiophile-grade acoustics. However, if you’re big on bass, this may not be the wireless earphone for you.
The X2 retails for $179, but check out other outlets, like Amazon, which can knock off like $50.