Jaybird are a headphone manufacturer that you always associate with innovative exercise earbuds. The Jaybird X3’s are a couple of years old now. At their time of release, they quickly became a firm favorite and were a marked improvement over their predecessor in virtually every way.
Things have obviously progressed even further in the wireless earbuds arena, and Jaybird have since released the X4. So have the X3’s stood the test of time and are they still worthy of attention in a rapidly changing marketplace.
Let’s find out in this in-depth Jaybird X3 review…
In The Box
- Jaybird X3 earbuds.
- Carry pouch.
- Three sets of ear-fins.
- Six pairs of earbuds (three silicon, three memory foam).
- Charging dock.
- Instruction booklet.
Design & Build
Out of the box, the Jaybird X3 are nothing special to look at. It’s a fundamentally practical design with nothing particularly distinguishing about the individual buds. The main construction material is a cheap but durable looking plastic that looks and feel fine. Four color schemes are available, including khaki green, a striking red, and plain old black.
The ear-tip stems are slightly angled, which naturally helps with a more secure fit and also pipes the sound more directly into your ear. A more compact design than the Jaybird X2 means they sit closer to your head than before. Again this helps to maintain a good seal.
A nice and thick, tangle-free cable connects the buds and is also home to the in-line remote/battery control panel. Even though the panel is also home to the battery, it’s neither too bulky or obtrusive. It’s also very light, never pulling on the buds in any way.
The Jaybird X3 come also come with cable shortening clips if you need to gather up any slack for a more comfortable fit. This wasn’t necessary for me but may come in handy for those with smaller heads.
Charging is enabled via a tiny charging dock, which clips onto four charge points on the back of the remote panel. This has its pros and cons. You get the advantage of eliminating a micro USB port, a potential point of weakness that can let moisture in. Unfortunately, if you lose the dock, you’ll render the earbuds completely useless. You can purchase a replacement, but who wants to have to do that?
The Jaybird X3 are listed as sweat-proof due to the nano-coating used on the exterior, but they have no IPX waterproof rating. You’d, therefore, want to be careful running in a downpour wearing these.
The hard shell carry case of the previous model has been replaced with a material pouch that snaps shut securely. Some might see this as a downgrade, but it really does make them much easier to stuff in a pocket on the move and is ok in our book.
Everyone should be able to find a good fit from the selection of three ear-fins and six ear-tips (three silicon and three memory foam) that come supplied. It might take a little trial and error before you hit on the right combination for you, but once a good fit has been achieved, you won’t have to do it again.
The largest memory foam tips and ear-fins were the perfect fit for me. The buds felt very secure and stayed perfectly in place throughout my daily runs. The memory foam tips provided a better seal and also handled sweat better. The low profile and lightweight construction also aid in a good secure fit.
Comfort levels are also pretty decent. Even after four hours of continuous use, no ear fatigue was experienced. You can feel them there, but they never feel overly intrusive.
Connectivity, Controls, & Features
The next feature is always an important one nowadays, and that is connectivity. The X3 model comes equipped to handle Bluetooth 4:1 technology. This means you can connect to two devices simultaneously if you need to. The connection remained solid up to a good 30ft away with a clear line of sight.
Both Android and iOS users get very equitable treatment from the Jaybird X3 wireless earbuds. Pairing times were about 10 seconds for the whole process, which was very simple if you’re familiar with Bluetooth devices. We got the occasional stutter whilst out running but not enough to be annoying.
Controls function in the same way on iOS and Android devices. Volume, track selection, pause/play, and voice assistant activation can all be done via various presses on the remote. You won’t find yourself needing to reach for your device during a long run too often.
A slightly over-energetic voice lets you know how much power is remaining in incremental percentage terms. Every time you drop another 20%, it interrupts your listening to inform you. She also keeps abreast of power-status and whether your buds are paired or not. This is very handy and somewhat necessary as there is nothing in terms of visual aid to help you with these things.
The Jaybird App allows for generous modification of the sound across the range. There are loads of presets to choose from, or you can create your own unique sound profiles. These can be saved directly to the buds so they can be used on different devices. But more on that later.
Jaybird advertises a battery length of eight hours. We managed just over seven, playing continuously at 75% volume. This isn’t bad; in fact, it was very good when they first came out, but as always, things have progressed, and that includes battery technology too. So, this isn’t particularly special anymore. A quick 15 minutes of charge will get you an hour’s play. Again not overly impressive by modern standards.
You’ll have to make sure you have the charging dock with you if you want to charge on the go. You can still use the Jaybirds whilst charging if you have a longer cable you can plug into the dock. A standard Android charger cable does the job fine.
The out of the box sound profile that Jaybird have elected to use is unusually more treble focused than anything else. They’ve really gone for clarity and cleanliness of the sound over a slapping bass. It’s a nicely detailed and clean sound, but if like we did, you feel it needs filling out a little, then help is at hand.
As mentioned earlier, Jaybirds MySound App allows for a wide degree of customization. If you’re not a fan of the out of the box set-up, hey presto! You can alter it across the frequency range. Once I’d made my favored adjustments, bass had far more presence and punch whilst retaining a good degree of clarity in the upper ranges. Just how we like it.
Exceedingly good levels of noise isolation are achieved once you’ve found the correct fit. Across the frequency range, the X3 block out a surprising amount of background noise. We’ve honestly tested earbuds with active noise canceling technology that don’t do as good a job of isolating as these.
This is thanks to a very effective seal creation. We found the memory foam tips to be the most effective for a good seal. As a result, there’s also minimal leakage coming the other way. The Jaybird X3 are barely audible to others around you, even at high volume.
For the lowered price they are now going for, the listening experience on offer from the Jaybird X3 is above most of the competition at this price point.
Jaybird X3 vs. Jaybird X4
All the latest wireless exercise buds come equipped with effective waterproofing. One of the major downsides of the Jaybird X3 is the lack of an IPX rating. It gives you an extra layer of confidence in wetter situations where you’re not sure if they can handle what’s being thrown at them.
Jaybird have corrected this oversight with the X4 having an IPX7 rating, and if you want to yo submerge them in shallow water with no issues, you now can!
The X4 also have an improved and frankly sleeker look, but other than that, the battery length is the same, and they have virtually the same sound and features. You’ll also pay roughly 75% more if you were to choose the X4 over the X3. I’m not convinced that the addition of an IPX rating is enough to justify that difference as otherwise, they’re virtually identical.
Jaybird X3 Pros & Cons
- Multiple fit options.
- Excellent fit.
- A customizable sound profile.
- Effective noise isolation.
- Great price.
- No IPX rating.
- Lack of bass sound.
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If you’re looking for even more “Budding” options, we can help! Check out our reviews of the Best Noise Isolating Earbuds, the Best iPhone Earbuds, the Best Wireless Earbuds For Small Ears, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Airpods Alternative, the Best Earbuds Under 100 Dollars, the Most Comfortable Earbuds, and the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones currently on the market.
Due to the next generation having already arrived, with another around the corner, the Jaybird X3 can currently be picked up at a heavily discounted price and represent very good value for money.
You’re getting a solidly built and exceptionally secure set of earbuds, perfect for use whilst working out. They really are a versatile set of earbuds that should fit the vast majority comfortably. Then there’s the bonus of a very customizable sound profile that most will be able to adjust until satisfied.
If you’re looking for bass-blast-off, then perhaps you’d be the exception. But, if you’re looking for a reliable and versatile set of wireless exercise buds, at a remarkably good price, buying the Jaybird X3 makes a lot of sense.