Good running headphones are hard to find. Battery life, weight, sound quality, and app features all have to come together with a good price.
Jaybird has been in the running headphone game for over a decade with its first set of headphones coming out in 2007 working up to the truly wireless Runs in late 2017. They’ve taken everything they’ve learned, combined it with the latest technology and created their newest truly wireless headphone, the Jaybird Vista.
First the specs and then what they actually are like in use.
- IPX7 waterproof and sweatproof
- 16 hours battery life, 6 in earbuds, 10 in case
- Use either headphone, left or right (32 hours battery life total if you are using them separately)
- 1-hour playtime with 5-minute quick charge
- JBS1 wireless technology
- 3 sizes of silicon eargel.
- redesigned 6mm milled drivers
- no lag in video apps
- App available to change preset EQ and find new ones and find lost headphones
Packaging and Case
When first opening the Vista’s (and any other Jaybird product) there’s an attention to detail. The packaging is sleek and looks good. Everything is seated tightly in a matte black box with a magnetic lid.
The headphone case itself is about 3 inches long by 1.4 inches wide by 1 inch deep covered with a rubberized finish. It easily fits in pockets and feels good to hold. A short braided cord is tied to one end for easy handling. It’s easy to remove but the eyelet on the case still sticks out.
The lid stays tightly shut in pockets and bags but is easy to open. It sits firmly in the open position until closed. The magnetic lid shuts with a very satisfying feel. Inside the earbuds are kept snugly in their charging slots with magnets. When putting them back in the case, they quickly snap right back to the charging pins.
Just below the opening notch, a small LED light indicates charging and battery level. When the case is plugged in, the light indicates the case charge: red for low, flashing for charging and solid white for charged. If the case is not plugged in, the light refers to the charge in the headphones: flashing for charging and solid white for charged.
Charging has been brought up to date with USB-C charging port. Two hours will charge the case and headphones to 100 percent. A five-minute quick-charge gives you 1 hour of playtime.
Fit and Feel
The fit of the Jaybird Vista headphones are comfortably snug. They come with three sizes of eargel that combines the earbud and wingtip. The smallest of the three has a very small wing compared to the other two which curve up into the ear. I can wear all three eargels though the smallest is the most comfortable on my ears.
No matter the size, they have never fallen out through trail runs, mountain biking, yard work and hard workouts. The outside of the eargels have a rubberized feel to them which helps them stay in.
Sound and Controls
The sound on the Vistas is quite good. The new 6mm milled driver improves the sound quality over the older Run’s. Some more expensive headphones have slightly higher quality sound but don’t have the robust build of the Vista. Tweaking the EQ to your preferred music can improve the sound as well. To my non-audiophile ears, they sound great and I can listen to them for hours.
One button on each headphone control playback: one press for play/pause, double press for next song and long press for turning off. These can be configured to do other things within the app. The buttons do require pushing with a good amount of pressure. This prevents accidental presses but pushes them deeper into your ear.
Pairing with the case connects both the left and the right headphones. You can use either or both. All sound routes through one headphone if you are just using one. If you are just using one at a time, battery life can be extended to 32 hours. Running with just one headphone is helpful around traffic or in the backcountry where you need to be aware of surroundings. They do not have a mode to let sound through like JBL’s Ambient Aware or Jabra’s HearThrough.
Jaybird’s app is the best headphone app I’ve seen. The EQ can be set to completely custom or by clicking on many available presets like signature, bass-heavy, or easy listening. Playlists from Jaybird pro athletes are easy to find inspiration when you just need a quick hit. Also within the app are controls to find lost headphones, update firmware, adjust settings and instruction videos.
Jaybird has been in the running headphone game for a long time and is clearly learning from past products and customer feedback. The Vistas are easily their best headphones yet. While they don’t have noise-canceling or an ambient audio mode yet, the waterproof and sweatproof body, snug fit, and connections to the left and right mean you can run or work out all day with tunes and still have juice. $180. Buy now