Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Jay Bird - Blue Buds X (Sings the Blues) Review

This isn’t the greatest way to start an article, I know that, but this was not one of my favorite articles to write. The Jay Bird seems to meet all of my bullet points: music is awesome, wireless stuff is awesome, built in rechargeable batteries are awesome, taut wires that don’t get in your way are awesome, and beautiful packaging is awesome. So… what’s my problem you ask? Well, user experience and price… Oh wait… I mean, read more to find out why!

Jaybird seems to be going after the high-end market. They are ear-buds that cost $170 after all. They put a considerable amount of time into both the packaging and the accessories. The unboxing experience was exciting as it should be and the headphones even
came with a very nice magnetic clam-shell case. There are several different attachments to customize the fit for your ears and ensure the utmost comfort. The wow factor seemed perfect.

Design/Build Quality

The Jay Bird packaging exudes quality! It is comprised of high quality cardboard with fabric pull tabs and magnetic fasteners. When you open this box you feel like what you are about to pull out is going to be gold plated and diamond studded!  The carrying case is extremely well built and contains a magnetic clasp, the USB charging cable looks a bit extreme and rugged, but the headphones themselves are using much cheaper hardware. The ear-buds are rather large to allow for the battery, to be expected. The silver near the rubber ear piece is plastic and the removable cap for accessing the USB charging port is cheap and flimsy feeling. The wire between the ear-buds has a nice feel, pliable and smooth. Included in the packaging are three sizes for both the rubber cones you put in your ears and the boomerang shaped rubber pieces that are intended to hold the ear-buds in your head. This is a nice idea as it allows you to customize each ear independently. There are also 3 clips to allow cinching up the slack in the cable. Sound quality is pretty good… as long as the ear-bud is placed firmly in your ear. When the ear-buds are loose it sounds tinny and lacks bass.

While in theory these ear-buds seem incredibly awesome, in practice they are much less so. They connect easily enough using Bluetooth but, after that, your work begins. The whole point of these headphones is to ensure that they stay in your noggin regardless of your activity, heck look at the dude playing as a soccer goalie on the box! After hours of maneuvering the different types of rubber boomerangs and rubber cones I could not get the headphones to stay in my ears for more than a couple of seconds… without me moving at all. This lowered the sound quality tremendously and pretty much ruined my experience. My plan was to use them for jogging, how would they stay in my head while jogging if they attempted to jump to freedom while I'm sitting in a chair! The charging port cover is very flimsy and feels like the clip could break off after a few repetitions. The ear-buds themselves have a cheap feel all around, aside from the wire. There are also many different angles that you have to contend with to ensure that the ear-buds properly enter your ear canal.

As I said in the beginning, this was a difficult article to write. My initial experience with the unboxing and the quality of the accessories made me think this would be a completely different review. The sound quality and the ear-buds inability to stay in my melon were very disappointing. The Blue Buds X cost $170 and $180 after taxes and at that price the experience has to be amazing!!! Although I appreciate the time and energy spent on packaging and accessories, for the price I expect more energy to be spent on the device itself.

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