I’ve had a pair of the BlueBuds X for a few months now, and they are easily my favorite portable headphones thus far. So, I wanted to provide a review for you. Then we’ll get into the contest. By way of explanation on how I wound up with the BlueBuds X: I typically go through a pair of wired headphones in about 3-4 months. I often listen to 3-5 hours of audio in a day, and that leads to a lot of wear and tear. The fairly obvious solution of course is to go wireless, but I have always had some problem with the Bluetooth solutions I tried before. Too often the connection would be a bit flaky or the form factor didn’t really suit me like Motorola’s wrap style or the not truly wireless designs that force you to connect to a base control unit for the headphones.
The BlueBuds X don’t suffer from any of the issues mentioned above. I have never experienced connectivity problems with them, and there is just a single wire that connects the two earbuds. That wire wraps either behind your head if you are just using them for audio or it can hang in front of you should you need to take a call with them. (The mic is located in the small 3-button controls). The cord can either be left at its full length or you can shorten it up with an included clip, which is nice if you are jogging with them. Speaking of which, the BlueBuds X have a lifetime warranty against sweat, so they are a great companion for a workout. I’m mostly a biker and don’t really need to worry about the cord bouncing around, but it’s a nice feature to have regardless.
They’ve done an excellent job with the simple three-button controls. The center button is used to turn the BlueBuds X on/off, play, pause, answer, hang up, switch calls, redial and activate voice dialing. The top button turns the volume up, or if you long press, will go to the next track. And you guessed it, the bottom button does the opposite. If you hold both the top and bottom it toggles mute on and off. Perhaps I’m accustomed to these things not working at all with Android or at least having greatly reduced support, but I appreciated the seemingly complete feature set offered here.
Jaybird claims 8 hours of battery life on a charge. In my experience it is more like 6-7 hours, but that is still plenty to get me through a couple days between charges. Unfortunately on Android there is no way to check the battery level. Basically you are left just guessing at it until you hit the warning, which means you have less than half an hour to go. On the plus side they charge by micro USB located behind the cap on one of the earbuds. So chances are you’ll have the necessary cable around when they need a charge. I’m just in the habit of tossing them on the charger every couple days.
The build quality on the BlueBuds X is also notable. From the packaging to every detail of the earbuds themselves this feels like a premium product. The earbuds are solid and have withstood a few clumsy drops without a scratch. And while they come with a nice looking and robust case, I wouldn’t be worried about throwing the BlueBuds X loose into a gym bag.
The BlueBuds X are not noise canceling, nor do they provide a great deal of noise isolation. The volume can certainly be cranked, but if you are looking to lock out the rest of the world these may not be the best choice for you. Now in my case I’m frequently wearing them when biking or just walking around and I need to still be aware of what’s going on around me. The fact that some outside sound can get in is actually a positive.
The size of the earbuds may present a fit issue for some users. Everything is packed into the earbuds, hence not needing a separate control box like some of the other bluetooth headphones out there. The downside of this is that the earbuds are relatively large and can be difficult to get to stick properly in your ear, particularly if you have smaller ears. The solution is that they come with secure fit attachments. These are curved rubber pieces that “hug into the top, back & lower surface areas of the ear”. Getting the fit right with those was not easy the first time. Once I got it right they worked exactly as advertised, and I’ve had no problems with them following out or coming loose even when working out since then.
Lastly, the price of the BlueBuds X is going to seem steep to some. They retail for $169.95, although they can be found on Amazon for $138.38. You can certainly find cheaper Bluetooth headphones out there, but I have yet to come across anything that compared favorably in terms of size, quality and ease of use.
I obviously tipped my hand right away on this one, but I’m a big fan of the BlueBuds X by Jaybird. They are just a very well thought out product. There’s so many options for fit with the cord shortening, the different earbuds tips and secure fit attachments that I think most users will find a comfortable option for them. The Bluetooth connectivity is faster and more reliable than anything else I’ve used to date, which is one of the largest stumbling blocks I’ve had with switching to a wireless headphone solution in the past. And again Android support is nearly on par with iOS, save for the battery status indicator, which is naturally greatly appreciated for me and presumably for you as well. While it would always be nice for things to be a bit cheaper, I think the quality of the BlueBuds X justifies the price. I don’t imagine I’ll have to replace them anytime soon — a welcome change from my previous quarterly earbuds replacement hunts.