When I saw the impressive marketing campaign and the practical applications and appeal of the Jaybird X3 Bluetooth earbuds, I was instantly smitten. However, as soon as I logged onto Amazon to check the price, I grew slightly hesitant at the $100 price tag for my favorite color of olive green earbuds. At the time I was looking for Bluetooth earbuds I could use while working out with ample sound quality as a bonus if possible. The Jaybirds appealed to my senses and I eventually bought them in August of 2017, over 9 months ago at the time of this review. Here is my honest review of the Jaybird X3 earbuds, aimed at those wanting a worthwhile product in exchange for their hard-earned cash.
Let me just start by saying that during the first two weeks of using the Jaybird X3s, my hopes were ridiculously high. I had never before bought such expensive audio equipment in the past. The price, in particular, raised my expectations, which was considered a premium for us teenagers. In the first two weeks, I listened to music whenever I could from Spotify on my iPhone.
This brings me to the main pro about these headphones – the sound quality. I am certainly not an audiophile but I know good sound when I hear it. Bass is rich but not overdone, with the mids and highs carefully balanced to deliver a pleasurable experience. In addition, sound levels (bass too) can be tweaked via the mobile Jaybird app, which provides numerous configurations for different music types and bass preferences. The following picture is from my iPhone:
I also took them to my local gym and listened to them as I worked out every 5 days of the week without the battery dying. This brings me to another positive regarding these headphones; the Jaybird X3s last quite a while. The box says around 8 hours of battery life, but in my testing I have received around 7 hours and 30 minutes on average. That might not seem like much, but for me it meant that I had to charge them around once per week.
This battery life is actually at the top of the spectrum for Bluetooth headphones, and it had better be for the price I paid. They endured 5 hours of gym activities per week, all while accompanying me whilst I listened to music to help me do schoolwork (around 2-3 hours). During my workouts, I noticed the supreme fit of the earbud in my actual ear. The earbud can be made of either rubber or a material mimicking the behavior of memory foam, the latter of which does not last long in the durability department. The earbud is paired with a hook situated on the side of the actual speaker behind the bud, which reinforces the headphones in place.
This is probably one of the best features of these headphones, whether you are an active person or not. The hook is soft and made of rubber, so the headphones feel comfortable over long periods of time (in my ear). In addition, the headphones have stayed in my ear no matter what I have done. Whether it be shaking my head, running at high speeds up and down hills, or working out with weights, they have not fallen out a single time. That’s right, they have never fallen out of my ears accidentally due to my movements or a simple lack of fit.
The earbuds come with different hooks and buds to make sure they stay in yours, too. I have grown to love these earbuds because I never have to worry about them falling out, a feeling you will not miss as soon as it has gone. I have also grown to appreciate the sweat resistance built into the headphones as I often find myself using them whilst engaging in physical activity. No matter how much I sweat, whether it be puddles or oceans, the earbuds still work and don’t stain from the moisture.
And yes, while those features are important, they do not matter if the headphones break due to lack of durability or poor structural integrity. I am happy to report that these buds have none of those issues and are perhaps the sturdiest pieces of tech I have ever used. I say this because of one particular incident I had with these at the gym. One day, I took them along with me, but I forgot that they were critically low on battery the day before. I didn’t charge them and I left them in my pant pocket.
During my workout, I prepared for an exercise by positioning some dumbbells on my lap in order to lift the heavy weight to the required position. I clumsily slammed the 40-pound hunks of metal on my lap, forgetting that I had my headphones in my pocket. As I became aware (and frightened) that I had possibly crushed my headphones, I hurriedly grabbed them out of my pocket to investigate only to find that they were perfectly fine. After I got home and charged them, they worked just like new and there were no differences in sound quality. It is safe to say from this experience (and numerous drops onto hard concrete) that I have not babied these headphones and they have stood the test of time, something they had better do for the $100 price tag.
While the Jaybird X3s hold numerous positives in many different important areas, I have also noticed negative, albeit smaller inconveniences. Firstly (and most annoyingly), the rubber tips included with the headphones seem to stretch around the rim that holds them to the actual headphones. They have not fallen off the headphones, but I have encountered numerous instances where I reach to pull out my headphones and in the process of doing so the tip is left behind in my ear. This might not seem like a big deal, but I pull out my headphones often at public places just to talk to people and the image of being seen digging around in your ear as if it were an African diamond mine is not particularly flattering to the human eye.
Secondly, I have experienced some hiccups in Bluetooth connectivity. These involve the occasional stutter and skip in music playback, but one time I experienced a complete refusal from the earbuds to work with my iPhone. Perhaps it’s the phone’s fault, but I have used these earbuds on other devices only to experience the less severe skipping issue. I can confirm that this is not due to me going out of Bluetooth range, which is something that I find quite limiting. The range on the Jaybird X3s is around 10 feet, something that is common on most, if not all earbuds, but just because a feature is common it is not automatically made a good feature. I have not had any issues with the range, but it is a minor annoyance when I have to walk into another room and my earbuds are connected my laptop, something I can’t exactly put in my pocket.
Worth It or Bleh?
What? I didn’t put the price in the category of negatives? That’s right, I think that these headphones are worth the slightly hard-to-swallow price of a Benjamin even with the annoyances and hiccups I saw from my personal use. These headphones are incredibly reliable when it comes to staying in the ear and lasting through the days while also delivering pleasant, premium sound that would please anyone but the most compulsive of audiophiles.
Are the flaws annoying? Of course they are, but I don’t mind overlooking them because they are overshadowed by the positives seen in the more major areas of performance that define a good piece of audio equipment. And that is just what the Jaybird X3 earbuds are: a good piece of audio equipment.
If you find yourself yearning for earbuds with a great fit, great sound and stellar battery life I urge you to consider these. This goes two-fold for people that are looking for headphones for physical activities like running, working out or even just walking; these bad boys will perform beautifully in all of those areas. As for me, as someone who is a regular consumer I am quite happy with my purchase albeit occasionally annoyed by some minor inconveniences.
Leave your thoughts in the comments! I am eager to hear what you think and if you use any other headphones, please tell me about them! I love hearing about new tech and I might just find something worth checking out.