Jaybird X3 Review
The newly released Jaybird X3 in ear wireless headphones are the latest development from Jaybird since they were taken over by Logitech last year. We liked the previous generation X2 (and also the current Jaybird Freedom) as it seemed to hit that spot where they were reasonably priced but offered a nice mid point in the spectrum where you felt like the ‘bang for buck’ was just about at its peak, but there were a few things we would like to have seen improved – has the Logitech influence improved the X3?
You bet. Compared to the previous model, the Jaybird X3 is much smaller & sleeker – one of the most compact wireless sets of in ear headphones we have seen so far. Everything has been redesigned from the ground up to be smarter & better looking, battery life is up, all the plastics are now at least 1 step up in quality, and the sound quality is improved too. It’s a lot nicer than the X2.
Out of the box you get 3 sets of ‘wings’ to make sure the fit is secure when exercising, 6x sets of ear tips to customise the fit (3x sets of super soft silicone tips, and 3x sets of Comply branded high isolation foam tips), a soft carry pouch, cable management clips, and a charge cradle with a tiny micro USB cable.
The Jaybird X3 is build on a metal chassis with nice high quality plastic over mouldings, everything feels nice and solid, the build quality is a step or two up from the older models. The interconnecting cable which house the inline control dongle for play/pause & volume is a soft flat ribbon – again a nice touch.
Jaybird claim an 8 hour battery life for the X3’s, and in use we saw a touch less, but for the compact size this is very impressive – the neckband options from Bose & Sennheiser only squeeze out 10 hours. It’s a big step up from the pitiful 3 or 4 hour run times we were seeing only 18 months ago. Recharging the Jaybird X3 takes 2.5 hours from empty – but you need to clip the control to a small charging cradle (which in turn connects up to the small micro USB lead provided). You can use any micro USB cable rather than the tiny one in the box, but we would have preferred having the micro USB charge socket directly on the headphones. So long as you get into the habit of keeping the tiny cradle dongle in the soft pouch you will be fine – so I guess it is a minor inconvenience.
The controls dongle is also new & improved, a tiny bit larger, but sleeker & better looking & again benefiting from the step up in improved quality plastics throughout. It’s a pretty standard affair handling play/pause & volume, with a nicely designed array of connecting points that clip into the charger dongle. It’s much classier than before, and feels great in use.
The Jaybird X3 are marketed as a ‘Sport & Exercise’ in ear set of headphones – whilst there is no specific waterproof rating declared by the manufacturer, they have been coated with a hydrophobic nano coating to ‘sweat proof’ & protect the drivers. They don’t have any additional fitness tracker sensors built in though – they focus purely on getting the physical stuff right to qualify for the sports rating.
And on the whole, I think they have cracked it.
The combination of multiple sets of wings & tips, and light weight give the Jaybird X3 a very secure fit which we were never concerned about dropping out whilst running or performing a bit of exercise. The cable management clips that we ignored when opening the pack are actually pretty handy & cut right down on ‘cable flap’ when being a bit more active than usual.
Once tweaked with ear pieces & wings to fit, we found the Jaybird X3 very comfortable & secure in use (especially with fancy isolating foam earplugs) and could almost forget they were there. Very good so far!
Jaybird X3 Review – Sound quality & Performance
So – on to the main event for the Jaybird X3 review – how do they sound?
The Jaybird X3 have stepped up the sonic performance too – there is still no aptX support to get that last little bit of performance out of the wireless tech, but they sounded great on the iPhone 7 & Samsung Galaxy S7 that we used in testing.
We looked at everything whilst the sound profile was set at the default setting out of the box, but there is a half decent app included for IOS & Android which lets you tweak the profile, we will come back to this later.
The Jaybird X3 has one of those classic V shaped sound profiles (think of an oldschool graphic equaliser with boosted lows / boosted highs) which gives a super strong ‘in your face’ presentation. It’s super energetic which should suit the sporty user perfectly to drive a bit of passion, with the bass notes smacking you clean in the side of the head with every drumbeat. The midrange manages to stay clear & focused, and the high frequency response is very aggressive with lots of sparkle & clarity.
We think it’s pretty spot on for exercise use, playing motivational power hits of the 80’s – but for more normal use the Jaybird X3 serves better with a new profile being set up in the app & switching the sweat resistant silicone tips for a pair of the highly isolating Comply foam tips.
A quick tweak in the app to reduce the bass a notch & high end a notch, then push up the mids by a notch reveals a more balanced delivery that is cleaner & more tightly controlled – still strong, energetic, musical & exciting – but less grating for normal listening.
We found it impressive that the Jaybird X3 can run in this kind of ‘split personality’ mode & liked that once you save the profile it is saved to the headphones directly, so even if you change source the profile remains intact. Very good indeed! If you are an iPhone 7 user & have been hunting around for something better than airpods, these would be a decent choice.
- Feature Set 82%
- Build Quality 83%
- Sound Quality 83%
- Value for Money 90%
- Overall Rating 84%
Jaybird X3 In Ear Wireless – Final Thoughts
Much improved over the previous generation, the Jaybird X3 make a great choice for the exercise & fitness enthusiast, and with a few tweaks in the provided app will please a lot of people with their overall ability.
The X3’s are a very compact, nicely designed in ear headphone with good battery life & sound quality – it would be easy to say that whilst aiming for the ‘middle ground’ in the pricing schema, Jaybird have done rather well indeed.
Price at time of review: UK £109/ US $129