In a segment that is rife with constant innovation, headphone makers simply cannot sit still if they want to stay relevant to the scene. Jaybird, one of the early leaders in wireless sports earbuds, has released the new X4 to keep abreast with the times. It’s an evolution of the previous-gen X3, and it looks familiar enough for users switching over from past Jaybird products.
The new X4 still gives eight hours of use per battery charge, and the initial fast charge that promises one-hour of playtime from a 10-minute charge through the proprietary Jaybird connector and USB plug.
As a sports-centric earbud, the waterproofing has been bumped up to IPX7 levels, which means it’ll still work after submersion to a 100cm depth. It gives added peace of mind because if it can be fully submerged, then rain and sweat is never going to be a problem.
The speaker drivers remain the same from the X3, so the audio signature is largely identical. What Jaybird has improved upon though are the attachment points for the eartips, and the eartips themselves. The old X3’s tip had tendency to loosen with age because they were simply held on by friction onto a smooth shank. The X4 improves on this by using a textured shank that is shaped slightly differently and an improved silicon material formula for the eartips that has more grip.
The short connecting wire can be managed and shortened by a simple slider to avoid bounce as you run. It’s a modification from the X3’s slightly tidier but fiddlier system that used two clips along the wire to take up slack. The three-button remote control remains along the right side and is as simple to use as ever.
Silicon wings that act as stabilisers on your ears are included in various sizes, but from experience and talking to other Jaybird users, it seems that they are sized for larger Caucasian sized ears and most Asian users get by fine without using them, as the fit is secure enough.
Another update that you will notice is that the box and packaging is now a lot tidier, with less marketing hyperbole on the box and more compact packing materials within. It feels like Jaybird is so confident of its product range now that they no longer require flashy graphics and over-hyped packaging to sell the product, which is a good thing.
How does it sound though? Pairing it to a mobile phone or even a computer is quick and easy. An audio cue plays through the earbuds once pairing is achieved. The tone is not adjustable, but a lot softer and more pleasant than the X3’s deafening setting, of which users have complained about. It’s good to see Jaybird take aboard feedback here.
Like previous Jaybird products, you can use it without ever installing the Jaybird phone app, but the app does allow a much finer degree of customisation over your audio preferences including the use of a multi-band graphic equaliser. The settings save into the firmware of the earbuds, so if you modified the audio signature to your preference it stays that way even if you transfer between devices.
There is cool character to the default sound, with less emphasis on the treble side of things. This does make low bitrate audio files less tiring on the ears over long periods. They do sound pretty good and similar to the X3, but in the same vein, they are not really the last word in high fidelity. For sports and even daily use though, there is plenty of low end bass thump to get you into the groove without being over powering. The extra customisation ability of the Jaybird app is awesome though, allowing you actually modify the sound signature of the X4 to you exact tastes.
Should you get one? If you value a no-nonsense, tough, reliable and customisable pair of earbuds to accompany your training and daily commute, the Jaybird X4 fills the role perfectly.
Buy online at www.jaybirdsport.com/en-sg