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Jays a-JAYS Four review

Andrew Williams



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a-JAYS Four 4
  • a-JAYS Four 4
  • a-JAYS Four 2
  • a-JAYS Four 3
  • a-JAYS Four
  • a-JAYS Four 1
  • a-Jays Four in-ear earphones - black


Our Score:



  • Attractive design
  • Warm, engaging sound


  • Slightly bloated bottom end
  • Lacks accessories of other Jays

Key Features

  • 5 pairs of rubber tips
  • In-line remote/handsfree
  • Right-angle jack
  • Flat cable
  • 8.6mm driver
  • Manufacturer: Jays
  • Review Price: £45.86

When browsing for a set of decent earphones that won't bankrupt your entire family, a few key brands stick out. Sennheiser tend to be our first recommendation, followed by the tiny in-ear champs from Ultimate Ears and Sony. Skullcandy lags behind somewhat, but picks off a few straggler buyers looking for something a bit gaudy. Jays tends to get overlooked in the UK, but offer some of the best-value entry-level earphones around. In the shape of the a-JAYS range.

The Four is the top model in the a-JAYS series, and they are more Sennheiser than Skullcandy in design. Apart from a spot of white lettering and a silver back cover to each bud, these earphones are black, all-black. A white model is also available, similarly simple. Like all of Jays earphones - apart from perhaps the slightly odd-looking t-JAYS - they're simple but offer clean, smooth curves that are understated, self-assured and stylish in a low-key way. a-JAYS Four 3

There's no flashiness on show here, but there is something a little… cool about their chunky appearance. They look and feel a little more expensive than the cheaper models in the range, finished in matt soft touch black rather than shiny black plastic. Like Sennheiser's CX range though, the a-JAYS series is plagued by a lack of clarity in the differentiation between models.

Ranging from £20 to £50, the clearest difference is price, as they share the same design - and that's not really a good thing. The One earphones are the base model, the Two ups the game with a better accessory package and claimed improved frequency response. The Three keeps the same accessories, but uses an improved driver, while this Four model adds a handsfree and remote housing that sits around 15cm down from the right earbud. A bit clearer on the a-JAYS dynasty now? Well that's just a fraction of the full JAYS range, which tops off with the £200 q-JAYS.a-JAYS Four

Although this is the top model in the a-JAYS series, it doesn't offer the class-leading accessories package the Two and Three models come with. A generous five sets of rubber tips comes bundled, but you miss out on an airplane converter and earphone splitter. We tend to find these extras end up put to one side and lost pretty quickly, but if you're a frequent flier or like sharing your love for N'SYNC's greatest hits with a friend on the bus, you may feel differently.

In exchange, you get the dinky remote that adopts an attractively chunky design similar to that of the buds themselves. Looking like a black and silver traffic light, it features three multi-function buttons, while the microphone sits on the back, resting fairly close to your mouth in normal usage.

a-JAYS Four 1

It's only certified for use with Apple's iOS devices, and it refused to work properly with the Android phones we tested it with. Paired with the right gadget (preferably an iPod Touch or iPhone) and it'll switch between songs, change volume, fast forward, rewind and, with an iPhone, accept and reject calls. The microphone is non-directional. This means it'll have no trouble picking up your voice, but also will pick up more ambient noise - not necessarily all that bad for you, but potentially not so great for the person you're calling.

john g

October 14, 2011, 2:05 am

I've owned a pair of these for several months and this article seems an accurate and well-balanced review, but I think ownership and extended use inevitably lead to a deeper experience - although whether mine is typical, I don't know.

Anyway, first of all let me say that, if you get everything right, the a-JAYS Four can deliver a good sound and, regarding that, your review explains the positives and negatives of this very well. But I've also experienced quite a few problems that have left me feeling that I'd not buy another set of JAYS phones, nor recommend them to my friends.

First of all, the phones rely absolutely on a perfect aural seal. They're not alone in this, but it means that the slightest leak between the inner and outer ear will totally destroy the bass response. It is, in effect, a ported design, which extends bass by means of a small outer opening. If this can acoustically feed back into your ear, the bass disappears. Despite having five sizes to choose from - from too big to too small, none of the supplied tips worked for me. In the end I solved the problem by putting a small foam doughnut behind the silicon flanges and, suddenly, the sound was reliably good.

The second problem is the cable. Yes, it doesn't tangle, and the extra weight, whilst noticeable, isn't really an issue, but the cable slap as you walk along is a disaster if you like listening to music that has any quiet passages.

Finally, today the phones have developed an intermittent connection in one channel at the jack plug, so they have to be returned for replacement under guarantee.

It's a shame as I'd hoped I'd discover a relatively small company that could challenge the established players. Unfortunately, based on my experience at least, AJAYS aren't there yet.

I'd be really interested to learn whether other people have had broadly similar experiences, or whether I've just been unlucky? It'd be great if others posted their views.


October 14, 2011, 2:49 am

Hi John g,

Thanks for the comments. I've heard some complaints about the longevity of some Jays sets, and have had some problems myself with the (otherwise wonderful) q-JAYS. Would be interesting to hear some other people's experiences too.

Paul Haynes

November 7, 2011, 4:57 pm

I've also heard a few complaints about their build quality. I owned a pair of A-Jays Threes myself, not anymore as they broke (though the reason for such was entirely my fault), but I know exactly what John means in terms of their fitting. It was always a bit awkward for me, and the difference in sound is noticeably better when you did push them in just right. All well and good if you're sitting down but if you're walking, they often wouldn't stay there.

The sound of the cable making contact with anything was also quite pronounced.

Other than that the sound was very good (especially when optimally positioned), and with the Threes, the selection of accesories was excellent.


October 8, 2012, 5:25 pm

These are awful headphones - 1/10. I left my Ultimate Ears at home and picked these up at the airport as a cheap replacement that I could use with my iphone for my week away.
The headphones themselves have sharp edges where the cable goes in and if you use the smaller of the ear tips like me, you have to push them in so far to make a seal that the sharp edge literally cuts into your ears.
The flat cable came out of the box with kinks in it and is deformed such that it is not finding it's natural 'dangle' like normal thin cable. The mic and buttons are big and clunky and because of the twisted cable - is often facing the wrong way - which wouldnt be so bad except that the 'multi-directional' mic is facing away from my face!
...and lastly the box, so 'well thought out' that you need an instructional video on youtube to understand how to get in it. Why could they not have spent the money giving me a carry case instead?
Oh, and the sound quality isnt up to much, it's ok but I wouldnt choose these over a low end pair of sennheisers


September 8, 2013, 8:53 am

I bought these 8 months ago. I largely agree with the review and I find when sitting still, I love these headphones. Unfortunately they have two major design flaws and I could not recommend them to anyone:

1. The non-tangle cable sounds like a good idea, however the result is that the lead is far too heavy for the size of the earpieces. The result is that when you walk, run or indeed move in any way the movement echoes in your ears drowning out the music. A clip or fastener of some sort would have probably solved this problem.

2. Within 8 months the controls and inbuilt mic no longer work. This is probably related to the above, whereby the weight of the lead has caused the wires near to jack to sever, but I am only speculating. Regardless, I can no longer use them to control volume or make calls which defeats the point.

Finally, Jays couldn't make it more difficult to claim warranty. My suggestion is stay away from these.

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