Jaybird X3 Wireless - Review

November 01, 2016

Jaybird is no stranger to sports wireless earbuds. In this niche, it single handedly catapulted this category to the spotlight after being ranked one of the top 5 brands in the premium headphone segment. After their CES 2016 announcement, the hotly anticipated Jaybird X3 Wireless (USD 129.99) finally sees the light of day with a launch last week. For the record, these Bluetooth buds are the direct follow up to the successful X2. Let's check out how the Jaybird X3 fares.

Pros (+): Decent battery life; High ambient sound blockage; Intuitive voice prompts; App support.
Cons (-): Charging clip needed on your travels.

There will be 4 colors available at launch - Blackout, Sparta, Alpha and Road Rash, of which the first 2 can now be pre-ordered on Jaybird's website. If you are more familiar with basic color schemes like myself, you can read them as black, white, dark green and red.  

The case opens like a book to reveal a transparent blister on the right side, practically similar to the Jaybird Freedom Wireless F5's presentation. 

Spilling out the packaging contents, you get:
  • Jaybird X3 Wireless buds
  • Charging Cable + Charge Clip
  • Comply Foam Isolation Tips (S / M / L)
  • Silicon Tips (S / M / L)
  • Silicon Ear Fins (S / M / L)
  • Cord Clips x 2
  • Shirt Clip
  • Carry Pouch
  • Quick Start Guide
Jaybird X3 - Packaging Contents
Jaybird X3 Blackout - Packaging Contents
The Jaybird X3 Wireless is incredibly light at 13g like its predecessor. The earbud exterior looks more streamlined (read flatter) than the X2 while the in-line remote, styled after the Freedom Wireless F5, is now fatter but easier to grasp. There is actually a direct relation between the earbud and remote which you will find out as you read on. 
Jaybird X3 Sparta - Over-the-ears mode
Jaybird X3 Sparta - Over-the-ears mode

Like the X2, you can wear these buds in over-the-ears or under-the-ears mode. The cord is flat-styled, making it convenient to fit on the cord clips to tighten the cord around your head for the purpose of microphonics reduction.  

The carry pouch is marked improvement over the X2. Like the Freedom F5's pouch, it is lightweight, more portable and comes with a squeezable clasp to keep its contents in.

Let's take a break and check out a video of how the X3 is used:

The Jaybird X3 Wireless is sweat-proof. The marketing blitz talks about a 'double hydro-phobic nano coating super-tight seam'. We prefer to just try them out with a jog and after one run, so far so good. The unit still works as it should.

Pairing over Bluetooth (4.1) is a breeze. Just hold the center button until the LED flashes red/green, select 'Jaybird X3' from your mobile device (up to 2 are supported simultaneously) and you're connected. One useful feature - should you be jogging with a friend, 2 Jaybirds can be linked to a single music player so both of you can hear the same tracks together, of course provided both of you are within 10 meters of each other.

The voice and audio prompts are indeed handy. The voice assistant somehow no longer has a name (it was 'Jenna' previously) but you get necessary prompts when pairing is in progress or checking the battery life percentage.

The in-line remote lies on the right side for under-the-ears mode and is flipped to the right on over-the-ears mode. It contains controls to play / take calls, adjust the volume and skip tracks. The LED indicator, previously located on the X2 earbud, is now aligned with the buttons on the remote while the charging point are now 4 contact points on the back of the remote. A niggling point is the charging cable needs to be brought with you at all times as you need to clip the X3's remote onto the charge clip to initiate USB charging. 
Jaybird X3 - Blackout
Jaybird X3 - Blackout

The Jaybird MySound app works on iOS 9+ / Android 4.4+ and currently supports both the Freedom Wireless and the X3 Wireless earbuds. Key features include customization of equalizer and sound setting selections used by Jaybird endorsed athletes. What was useful to me was the ability to see the battery life on Android that only iOS users had access previously. The ability to switch left and right audio channels is excellent when using over-the-ears mode.
Jaybird X3 - MySound app
Jaybird X3 - MySound app

While not available in Singapore just yet, I had a chance to try out the X3 Wireless from someone who just came back from the US (how lucky is that). 

Sound quality from the 6mm drivers was surprisingly bassy. The past 2 Jaybirds I'd tried sparkled with treble but I felt some improvement in the lower frequencies when trying Armin Van Buuren and VanVelzen's Take Me Where I Wanna Go. Should you want to tweak the sound, the Jaybird MySound app allows you to tailor a custom sound profile that will stick with you even when using other music devices. 

Regarding the fit, over-the-ears mode like the past 2 Jaybirds I tried was really snug. You can jump up and down and the buds stay inside while nicely wrapped around your head. In other words, great fit and close to zero cable rustle.

Interestingly, Jaybird provided Comply Foam Isolation tips instead of Sport tips like it did for the X2 and Freedom F5. Isolation tips (vs Sports) tend to deliver a higher level of noise isolation which more effectively blocks off ambient sound giving an immersive sound experience. I personally like Isolation tips more as you are kept in your own world while jogging, though a little bit more attention needs to be paid to your surroundings to ensure unintended accidents. 

(To understand more on Comply Foam Isolation, Sport and Comfort tips, do read our guide on how to use Comply Foam.)
Comply Foam - Sport, Isolation and Comfort
Comply Foam - Sport, Isolation and Comfort

The Jaybirds deliver an 8 hour battery life on a full charge of 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can get 1 hour of playback on a 20 minute charge. This is quite in line with sports wireless buds like the UA Headphones Wireless (8 hours) and the Jaybird X2 Wireless (8 hours). 
Jaybird X3 Road Rash
Jaybird X3 Road Rash

The Jaybird X3 Wireless is a decent choice when choosing a pair of sports wireless buds. No doubt you'll need to bring the oh-so-tiny charging clip along on your travels but the X3 offers much from the customizable sound profile, good battery life and good ambient sound blockage. Do use these on over-the-ears mode and remember to swap the audio channels in the MySound app for optimal results.

Pricing and Availability
The Jaybird X3 Wireless is now available for pre-order from jaybirdsport.com at a price of USD 129.99. Their shipping date will be sometime in November.
Alternatively, they are also now available on Amazon at USD 129.99.

Update (3 May 2017)
The Jaybird X3 is now available as of today in Singapore for SGD 215.

Jaybird X3 Blackout
Jaybird X3 Blackout

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