Earbuds to most of us are a relatively recent innovation. Since the Sony Walkman, they have grown in popularity. They are now used in many variations and for many activities. They aren’t quite the new invention they might seem, though.
It was a Frenchman, Ernest Mercadier, who created the first in-ear headphones. These were used in working environments, especially by telephonists. It wasn’t though until Sony came along that they became a commercially viable consumer product.
Now we have them for the daily commute, just listening to music quietly and even for working out. It is this last option we are going to look at. A pair of earbuds designed specifically for running, the gym, and some training regimes is what we’ll be featuring in this Jaybird Vista Review. But before we do, let’s have a look at Jaybird, the company.
The company was founded in 2006 by an Australian athlete/entrepreneur, Judd Armstrong. He didn’t like the options that were available at the time for headphones for people in training. So, he decided to make his own.
His first Bluetooth capable headset was launched in 2007. But it wasn’t until 2014 that the first fitness-based model was produced. Their influence has since grown, and they have since been listed with some illustrious company as one of the top five selling headphones.
In 2016 they were bought out by Logitech, and in 2019 the Vista was released. So, let’s have a closer look…
Jaybird Vista – An Overview
The Vista is Jaybirds’ second attempt at manufacturing real wireless earbuds – that is, earbuds with no wires at all. They have previously manufactured three products with one wire. But these are totally wireless and specially designed for the athlete. The Vista is a follow-up product to its predecessor, the Run XT, which was moderately successful.
We will go into the finer points of these earbuds as we go through, but they are lightweight and secure and designed to be just about ‘everything’ proof. As we shall see, they have a lot of positive features and one or two things that people might not be so impressed with.
The design is uncluttered and very functional. The only design issue that stands out with regard to the buds themselves is the Jaybird logo on the outer of each bud.
They are made from a rubberized plastic material which is just soft enough to be pleasant to the touch. But also just tough enough that they let you know they are here to do business. They are firm to the touch and give off an air of confidence in the quality of the build.
The design incorporates a silicone gel ear tip. The fins are also silicone gel in an attempt to make them as comfortable as possible. They give a very secure fit even when you are running hard. And if one should happen to fall out, then they are crushproof and virtually indestructible even if you were to tread on them. That, though, is not an open invitation to try.
This is an important feature to consider. Some earbud manufacturers claim they are waterproof when they are actually water-resistant. There is a difference – a big difference.
IPX7 is a superior rating and actually means you could submerge with them for up to 30 minutes at 30 meters. That’s unlikely to happen running in the rain, of course. It is just a measure of how tough and weather-proof these are made to be.
Whilst we are discussing how ‘everything’ proof, they are designed to be. We have outlined the excessive waterproofing and also the crushproof build should you happen to tread on one. But at lower levels, these also mean they are sweatproof and won’t be damaged if you drop one accidentally from the box.
They will withstand just about any weather conditions, and they meet the MIL-SPEC STD810G standard. We think that’s tough enough for anyone.
We don’t think there can be any complaints about build quality. Nor on their suitability to take on most weather situations. They are lightweight at just 6 grams each, and if you wish, they can play independently of each other. They have custom settings through a dedicated Vista app. More on this later…
Each earbud has a 6mm driver, which produces a comfortable, not ear-shattering sound.
So if you are designing earbuds for athletes, then they need a good and efficient battery life.
The basic battery life is about six hours. This, to us, does not seem a great deal. But it is going to last a reasonable runner long enough to complete a marathon. There is a further ten hours of use from the case. Because you can use the earbuds independently, you could double up that time by using one at a time. This though, seems a little extreme.
There is also a quick charge facility that will give you an extra hour if required. The charger seems to be well-designed and gives good results. This might have something to do with the latest USB-C port that is used to replace the micro-USB.
The case itself is very lightweight and compact and can, therefore, be carried around with you if need be. However, we have to say that the case is not the strongest we have seen. And given the rugged design of the earbuds themselves feels rather vulnerable. We are also not sure whether it is weather-proof.
Internally it is yellow, which does make the buds easy to locate. Unfortunately, there is no indication of the status of the battery life currently in the earbuds at any one time. There is a light on the case that tells you it is charging. However, when you use them, a voice will tell you how much battery you have left.
They do not have sound isolation. Obviously, there is some by virtue of the fact you are wearing them. They do not, however, remove ambient external noise.
The design makes the Vista one of the smallest and lightest earphones you will find. But are they comfortable to wear? Being lightweight is important for comfort, but there are other issues as well to consider.
Included with the package are three pairs of silicone tips to enable you to get a good tight fit. Getting a good fit is important for the sound. It is also vital so that they do not fall out when you’re pounding the streets.
The tips that come with fitted to the earbuds are what might be called average size and do form a decent ft. They certainly aren’t going to fall out very easily. The fit is secure, but some might find they fit a little deep in the ear canal.
We have to say though that Jaybird has got the comfort level about right. To ensure they stay in position, they need to have a snug fit. That in itself can cause discomfort. The Vista though is lightweight, and the fit is snug but also quite comfortable. And with a choice of ear tips, it is unlikely you won’t find the comfort you need.
Bluetooth 5.0 is built-in, which gives you a decent quality of connection for sound. It is reliable and pairs very easily with your phone for calls. It does not have the aptX codec, though, which would have been a distinct advantage.
Jaybird has provided an app that helps to take you through the Bluetooth pairing. This is done with a voice giving the instructions. You can have the EQ setting of your choice for the music, and there are six different ringtones to choose from. All of these and any other presets are automatically saved to your earbuds by closing the app.
Another clever design of the app is the ability to alter the function of the main button on the earbuds. You can set it up to whichever function you wish. This could include playing a certain playlist or adjusting the volume or just pausing a track. This allows you to decide how you want the operational button to work.
Connections and operations are good and easy to use. The app provides basic assistance but gives you some very clever options.
Given that the drivers being just 6mm are quite small, it is surprising to hear what is quite a full warm sound. We wouldn’t say they will win too many awards for sound alone, though. It is almost certain you will have to go to the app to adjust the EQ.
The low-end is not so good, and you will probably need to take some of it away. Once you have done that, the sound will be what might best be termed as adequate. Mids and highs are well-represented, but the sound is set up a certain way. They will not please those requiring a heavy bass presence, which is often the case with athletic earbuds.
It has a reasonable frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. With the app offering you EQ options, then you can manipulate the sound to suit your taste to a certain extent. The app for sound options is easy to use. And with pre-designed sound profiles gives you a lot more options that other apps you will find.
If there is one fault with the sound that some will not like, it is the volume – they really do not get very loud at all. If you are hoping to remove the external world from your sound experience, you will be unlucky. They do, however, hold their detail almost to the limit of loudness, which many others do not.
So if you’re hoping to completely drown out the outside world, these aren’t the earbuds for it. Nonetheless, the firm fit provides great sound isolation, and the Vista earbuds manage to hold the audio detail together right up the loudest it can go.
The sound then is a little disappointing and may not suit those runners who like a pounding bass. But as we have said, the app, which is quite good, saves the day. You will get quite a few sound options.
The Jaybird Vista will connect to iOS and Android.
The sound for the phone is another issue, and this is where it lets you down a little. The connection is ok, but the sound is not so good. The problem revolves around the external sounds making it hard for people to hear you at the other end. The same is reciprocated when trying to hear what the caller is saying. Not a good feature at all.
The controls on the earbuds are sparse, to say the least. They do not include the usual, volume up and down, track skip, etc. There is a button control that you need to use the app to decide what it is for. Volume and track control need to be managed from your phone.
Anyone who has ever been using earbuds in any capacity will know that remembering the functions can be a nightmare at first. You find yourself playing around with something you can’t see, only feel. If you can’t remember what everything does, it’s no fun.
Vista does not have that problem. The app will set up how you want it to work, which takes away the remembering bit. It allows your phone to do the rest. That does though, mean carrying it with you and having it charged or you’ll be listening to nothing.
Not much can be provided in the way of extras. We don’t consider the charging box an extra, that is a necessity. You do, though, get a small carry strap attached to the box. There are also three different sizes of ear tips, as we have already mentioned.
Jaybird Vista Pros & Cons
- Secure fit.
- Sound is quite good.
- 100% waterproof.
- Earbuds can be used independently.
- Compact case.
- Standard USB-C port for the charging case.
- Easy to clean.
- Six hours of battery life plus ten additional hours from the case.
- Plasticky exterior.
- Low overall volume.
- Lag while watching videos.
- Call quality is average at best.
- No auto-pause or “hear-through” feature.
- Spotify Premium subscription needed to use a lot of the app’s special features.
More Great Earbud Options
Not convinced that the Jaybird Vistas are exactly what you’re looking for? No problem at all, check out our reviews of the Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds, the Most Durable Earbuds, the Best Earbuds under 50 Dollars, the Best Earbuds under 100 Dollars and the Best Headphones and Earbuds for Sleeping currently available.
What We Think
As we remarked in our overview, the Jaybird Vista earbuds have a lot of good features but also some issues that some will be disappointed with. So. let’s deal with those issues that might be less than what you might expect. Taking a call is not a good experience. Either for you or the person you are speaking with.
There is not a noise-canceling facility built-in. There is a little if you get a good fit, but it certainly does not operate as some noise-cancelling earbuds do.
The basic sound of the bass is rather loud and wooly and needs to be adjusted via the ap. This is a situation that can be rectified, but it is disappointing that this is the standard sound. While we are on the subject of sound, the volume level isn’t particularly loud. Some will want a bit more noise than these can offer.
Finally, in our opinion, the case, while looking attractive inside and out, is rather weak. If these earbuds are for athletes, then the box is going to be trundling the streets with you.
Normally these would all be side issues, and to most, irrelevant. The problem is that these earbuds are not cheap. In fact, they are quite expensive, and some people will undoubtedly expect more.
They are waterproof and everything else proof. They have a tough build that is not going to break easily, and they are comfortable. The battery life is acceptable, and with extra hours the charging case gives you, is more than adequate.
And finally, the app is a big plus giving you access to sound, EQ, and even setting up the controls as you want them.
The Jaybird Vista are fitness-first headphones and are built like that. But they still manage to give you a decent audio experience that you can adjust to your taste. Yes, they are expensive compared with some. But they have a lot of qualities that make them a very good buy.