Was An Upgrade Necessary?
Jaybird is known for their great sport-focused headphones. They revolutionized the wireless headphones with 2015’s Jaybird X2. These provided great sound quality and isolation, even when moving around a lot, these are sport focused headphones after all.
Time has passed, and we now have the Jaybird X4, with some minor improvements from both the X2 and X3. But, is the Jaybird X4 headphones even worth considering if there have only been ‘minor improvements’?
Well, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it?
The first and biggest change isn’t the design itself, but a new IPX-7 rating. This means the earphones are now completely waterproof and can even be submerged underwater for up to 30 minutes. It’s a great addition, even if it’s now commonly found on sport-centric earphones.
The earphones are light and made of plastic. They feel well put together, and the control module is ever so slightly smaller than the previous iteration.
The cheap-looking and feeling Jaybird stickers are gone and replaced with an actual painted logo on the sides of each earpiece. It’s little changes like this that help give the Jaybird X4 a more premium feel, even if the price is still budget-friendly.
Jaybird also swapped out the old tips for ear tips that resemble more standard earbuds. They’re a little rounder and bigger. They’ve also swapped out the large and hard ear wings for smaller and softer ear wings to help with friction and discomfort. The design is as good is it will ever be for this kind of earphone. The wingtips are comfy, the ear tips fit nicely, and the fit itself is secure.
It really comes down to taking what was working and just kind of perfecting it, and in that sense, Jaybird comes close. The design overall is great, but there are still issues present.
These problems aren’t with the design, though, and we will address them shortly.
The Jaybird X4 proves that not all budget-friendly sport-centric earphones sound bad. In fact, these sound better than average.
There’s some decent punch provided in the bass, which unfortunately can overpower the rest of the mix. This doesn’t make it great for listening to music that relies more heavily on vocal melodies, but is well suited to EDM, or some more dance-focused Pop music. Throw in excellent noise isolation, and you have some seriously good sounding low frequencies.
However, a lot of the high frequencies lack detail and clarity, partly due to the overpowering bass, and some of the sharper sounds even sound raspy. There is also no proper sound stage, not that you should expect it at this price range.
There is a dedicated Jaybird app that lets you make your own sound profiles using an EQ, or you can just use the provided EQ presets if that’s your thing.
There’s no active noise cancelling here, but the sound isolation is good overall. There is also very little sound leakage, which means you can raise the volume as loud as you want without bothering anyone around you. Although, as always, we wouldn’t advise listening to music at high volumes, you only have one set of ears, so take care of them.
The microphone is of average quality. It struggles to isolate your voice from background noises, which means it is pretty much unusable in any sort of noisy environments like restaurants or on the bus.
The speech recording sounds thin and tinny, and there isn’t much in the way of clarity or detail. The earphones should only be used for calling if you have no other option. You’d be better off using your cellphone’s microphone if possible.
If you’re in a quiet room and talking to friends or family, it will make do, but nothing else really.
Battery & Connectivity
Jaybird states that you should get eight hours of battery life. However, we’ve found that estimate to be a bit of an overstatement. You can expect anywhere between six to seven hours at 50-75% volume.
It’s unfortunate that the Jaybird X4 comes with a proprietary charger instead of a USB-C. This means if you forget or lose your charger, you will need to buy a new one from Jaybird.
There is no auto-off function on the headphones, so if you leave them on, you’re in for a big, very quiet surprise the next time you put them on. If you’re in a pinch, the headphones are fast charging, and you can get one hour of playback with 10 minutes of charging. From there, it takes just under two hours for a full charge, which is decent.
There is no audio jack; the earphones are wireless only. They connect using Bluetooth version 4.1 and provide up to 10-meters of low latency connection. The earphones do not have aptX but do support AAC coding for IOS users.
Who Is The Jaybird X4 For?
The Jaybird X4 does come close to being a jack of all trades. The microphone isn’t all that great, but you get a decent experience overall with excellent sound quality considering the price point.
The Jaybird X4 will be best suited to fitness freaks who want a stylish, comfortable, and stable fit. Running is no fun when you’re worried that your earphones might fall out at any second.
If you already own a previous version, you might feel no need to upgrade since there isn’t much of a difference, but the IPX-7 rating is the real factor here. You get full waterproofing with this pair, which some would consider a must have for a pair of sporty earphones.
Jaybird X4 Pros & Cons
- IPX-7 waterproof.
- Comfy fit.
- Decent sound.
- Microphone isn’t great.
- Proprietary charger.
Just So Many Options Available
The X4’s are an excellent choice for budget workout earbuds, but maybe you want something more?
If so, take a look at our reviews of the Most Durable Earbuds, the Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Earbuds under 50 Dollars, the Best Headphones and Earbuds for Sleeping, the Most Comfortable Earbuds, or the Best Earbuds under 100 Dollars currently available.
The Jaybird X4 is the perfect gym companion. And it doesn’t need to provide the perfect studio quality experience for its intended market.
Though it doesn’t do enough to separate itself from the previous generation, it proves to be a worthy addition with the added waterproof rating and small premium design changes.
They Jaybird might not stand out in the crowd but is a well-earned addition to a great line-up of sport-centric earphones and is superb value for money all things considered.