- Extremely versatile and secure fit
- Good sound quality
- Useful companion app for adjusting EQ
- Great build quality
- Solid battery life
- Initially fiddly to get the right fit
- Proprietary charging clip
- Review Price: £110.00
- Bluetooth 4.1
- In-line remote and microphone
- Multiple fit and wearing options
- 8-hour battery life
- Pair simultaneously to two devices
- Pair two Jaybird X3 simultaneously to one device
What are the Jaybird X3?
Audio company Jaybird is as focused as they come, so you immediately know what you’re getting when it announces a new pair of headphones. Like all of its other headphones, such as the Jaybird X2 these are replacing, the X3 are headphones geared towards sports and adrenaline-fuelled activities.
If phrases such as “rad” and “extreme” are part of your daily vernacular, these might be the headphones for you. But even for those simply looking for a pair of running or gym-friendly wireless headphones, the Jaybird X3 check all the right boxes, packing in a super-secure fit and the sweat resistance you’d expect. And all this for considerably less money than Jaybird’s previous efforts. This makes the X3 a winner.
Jaybird X3 – Design and Comfort
If you’ve seen the Jaybird X2, or the newer Jaybird Freedom, the X3 will look pretty familiar. These are neckband-style headphones and are available in a range of colours, including black and silver, white and gold, green and dark chrome and red and dark chrome.
Many of the features from previous Jaybird headphones return, such as the cable management clips that let you take up some of the slack when wearing the headphones behind your head. Otherwise, you can wear them with the cable draped down in front of your neck. Or with the earbuds inserted straight into your ear canal, or looped over the back of your ears and inserted upside down.
So there are multiple ways to wear the X3 with varying levels of security. Worn round the back of your neck, over the top of your ears and with the cable management clips shortening the length of the cable, offers by far the most secure fit. It ensures that even the most vigorous or explosive of movements won’t cause the headphones to budge an inch.
As usual, Jaybird also includes a number of wingtip accessories to lock the headphones to your outer ear, as well as multiple tips in silicone or Comply foam. The latter foam tips were my preference; the silicone tips would gradually slide out of my ears, regardless of size, due to their glossy surface. The Comply tips offer far better noise isolation, however, which might not be the best idea if you need situational awareness – when road running, for example.
Jaybird has reduced the size of the earbud casing compared to the X2. Not only does this stop them from protruding out of your ears as much, but it also means they’re now “helmet compatible”; they won’t get in the way of your helmet straps. Having thrown on a cycling helmet, I can attest to this claim.
The earbud casings are nowhere near as tiny as those found on the Jaybird Freedom, however, nor are they made from metal. These are plastic, but they at least feel well-constructed and robust. The X3 are sweat-proof, as you’d expect.
One positive side effect of the larger earbuds is that there’s room once again for a decent-sized battery, rather than the separate charging clip found on the Freedom that I disliked. It means you can get a 8 hours of use from a single charge, which is what I’ve come to expect from wireless neckband-style headphones.
Frustratingly, while this is a positive move, I’m still a little disappointed to find that a proprietary clip is required to charge the X3 – rather than a direct micro-USB port like most headphones, including the previous Jaybird X2. In fact, adding further insult to injury, the charging clip actually has a micro-USB port on it.
It means you’ll have to carry around the dedicated charging clip rather than just a more ubiquitous micro-USB cable.
The charging clip attaches to the back of the in-line remote control, which is home to the usual playback controls that allows you to skip tracks and adjust volume, as well as a microphone for hands-free calls.
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Jaybird X3 – Bluetooth and MySound app
The Jaybird X3 support Bluetooth 4.1, which brings with it some handy extras. For starters, you can pair the X3 with up to two devices simultaneously, dynamically switching, say, between a phone and a tablet.
Perhaps more usefully in a sports scenario, is that two pairs of Jaybird X3s can be paired with a single device. So if a friend has a pair, you can both pair to the same audio source to listen to music simultaneously. This is great if you’re working out with a buddy, or going for a run but don’t want to carry a music source each.
Like the Jaybird Freedom, the new X3 can be used with the Jaybird MySound app on iOS or Android. This lets you customise the sound profile using EQ settings. So if you prefer a little extra bass or tighter treble, that’s up to you. Changes you make are saved directly to the headphones, so they’ll follow you to whatever device you pair them with and you’re free to uninstall the MySound app.
It remains a shame that the headphones can store only one profile, though. As with the Freedom, I’d love to be able to toggle between different profiles directly from the headphones. I tend to prefer a more bass-heavy sound when lifting weights, but a more serene one when zoning out on a 10K run.
Jaybird X3 – Sound Quality
Using a 6mm driver, like the Freedom, there isn’t much to separate the sound signature between the two models. That’s to say, the out-of-the-box performance is excellent and up there with some of the best sports headphones I’ve tested.
The mids and treble are given respectable prominence, while the bass is punchy, with plenty of energy to help power you through your next workout. Not surprisingly, especially when wearing the more isolating Comply tips, the sound can be a little narrow – but these aren’t headphones you’ll be listening to critically.
The MySound app mentioned earlier also allows for plenty of customisability to mix things up to your taste.
Should I buy the Jaybird X3?
One of the biggest draws of the X3, relative to its predecessors, is their affordability. With that in mind, they’re an excellent choice. The fit is super-secure while remaining comfortable, the sound quality is great, and the battery life hasn’t been sacrificed. The Jaybird X3 rectify many of the complaints we had with the X2 and Freedom models.
Like the Freedom, you’ll probably find yourself fiddling around with the fit out of the box, but once you’ve found a winning combination, you’ll be rewarded by wireless sports headphones that won’t budge.
Related: Best Headphones for Running
The Jaybird X3 are great-sounding sports headphones that offer a secure fit that won’t budge, no matter what you’re doing.