The Jays t-JAYS series is quite unlike the headphone maker's other pairs in one respect. They look rather odd, like a thumbnail that's been embossed into a matt black lozenge. However, we're not ones to judge books by covers or earphones by their shape. At around £79.99, they bridge the gap between the budget a-JAYS and the rather special dual-driver q-JAYS.
This is the top-end model in the t-JAYS line-up, benefiting from the three-button handsfree kit and remote control seen in the other "Four" Jays earphones. What you'll notice before this, though, is their odd design. Jays is known for making relatively petite earphones, having packed two armature drivers into the tiny Jays q-JAYS, but the T-JAYS are relatively oversized - in spite of using single dynamic drivers.
This extra bulk hasn't resulted in extra weight, though, with the t-JAYS Four weighing just 10g. They don't stick out conspicuously from your ear either, curving around the entrance to your ear canal and behind the lip of cartilage above your earlobe to help them stay in place.
In-situ, they fit in much more happily with the rest of the attractive Jays family, decked-out in the brand's characteristic soft touch black plastic finish. The only deviation from this is the sliver of silver plastic along the back edge of each bud - it doesn't have a function as such but is a nice reprieve from the moody black.
There are, however, a few disappointments to the design. It's a little trickier than normal to get a good fit with the supplied rubber tips, in part down to the non-bullet shape, and after some fiddling the noise isolation was still average for an IEM. This may be in part down to the little vents bored into the inner side of each earpiece.
Unless you'll spend every day aboard the London Tube or walking past building sites, it's a minor concern. We were less able to forget the weight issue. The buds are extremely light, but the 3.5mm jack junction half-way down the cable isn't. As an alternative to using a proper removable cable, the Jays T-Jays split the cable in two, so that if the jack at the end starts to fail you can simply replace an expensive stretch of wire. But the chunky housing of this junction pulls down on the earpieces annoyingly, becoming an issue when they don't create a vacuum-like grip in your ear canal.
This seems an unfortunate oversight when, as we noted when reviewing the a-JAYS Four, the Jays handsfree housing it as light as a feather. It's a three-button jobbie designed for use with iOS devices. A pinhole mic sits on the back to let you take calls, and the buttons offer full playback control over your music. The side buttons alter volume while the central button takes on multiple music duties - one tap for play/pause, two to skip to the next track and three to head back a track.
Without the niggling irritation of the cable junction, the t-JAYS Four would have been a great success in design terms - comfortable, light and surprisingly good-looking in action. It's not a massive complaint, but in the high-competition world of in-ear headphones, small mis-steps can be costly.