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First Look: Jaybird X4 Wireless Headphones

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Jaybird X4 wireless headphones
Weight: 0.5 ounces
Charging: 10 minutes of charge = 1 hour playtime. 1.5 hours of charge = 6 hours playtime.

Price: $130

Best Features: Great sound quality, lightweight, stay in place
Room for Improvement: Hard to hear anything in your surroundings

Designed for running, the Jaybird X4 is a wireless, in-ear style headphone which plays from your Bluetooth-compatible device. The sound quality is fantastic and the myriad features work well.

The set up is a very sophisticated process. For starters, the automated voice that indicates battery level and pairing sounds like a real person, not an annoying robot. The runner can customize his/her music sound profile via the Jaybird app. Sample sound profiles are “Flat,” “Extended Listening,” “Bring the Bass,” “Timothy Olson” and “Rory Bosio.” Also included in the app are preset stations like “Cardio Love,” “Pedal Down” and “Run Wild.”

It’s easy to adjust volume, skip songs, answer a call, decline a call, or mute a call. Having your phone or Bluetooth device is required, but once you’re set up, you don’t need to access your phone or device again. Multi-device pairing is offered as well, so you can stay connected to up to two devices at once, removing the need to switch back and forth between your phone and laptop. 

Another great element of the X4 (and other Jaybird headphones) is the Find My Buds feature. The runner can turn on locating services for the headphones and, should they become misplaced, track them using a GPS tracker. This does use slightly more battery, however. 

Many headphones I’ve tried over the years have lost some sound quality when they get too wet from sweat pooling in the ear. The X4’s soft rubber ear tips prevent any moisture from getting in the way of your music; the X4 is extremely waterproof and sweatproof. They are good for long runs, even on very humid or rainy days. In cold weather, they fit comfortably under a hat. 

The one disadvantage of the Jaybird X4 is that the ear tips form such a good seal that it’s heard to hear anything going on in your immediate surroundings. However, if you’re running in an environment with safety or traffic issues, like trails in bear country or a busy urban bike path, then you may want to leave them at home. 

The headphones come with a charger, extra ear gels, shirt clip and a rechargeable lithium ion battery that lasts 8 hours with full charge. 

—Will Fisher, 47 of Basalt, Colorado, has finished six 100 mile trail races. A former rower and triathlete, he cross trains avidly.