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Gift idea: JayBird BlueBuds X wireless earbuds for iPhone (review)

Looking for a last minute gift for an iPhone owner? These wireless earbuds do double duty as a headset for calls and listening to music.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor

Many iPhone owners use wired earbuds for hands free calls and to listen to music. The phones come with a decent pair of earbuds, but the cable plugged into the phone tends to get in the way. Wireless earbuds deal with that problem, and this pair from JayBird is as good as they get.

JayBird BlueBuds X Sport
(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)
The JayBird BlueBuds X Sport are in-ear buds that connect to the iPhone via Bluetooth. They have two comfortable earbuds, an inline set of controls, and an integrated microphone for phone calls.

See related: Smartphones in the street: Use ear buds for business calls

What sets the BlueBuds X apart from other wireless headsets are long battery life, good quality audio, and a comfortable fit. The earbuds can be worn under or over the ear for versatility, and even after wearing them for hours they produce no discomfort. I wear them under the ear, with the small wire connecting the earbuds behind the neck.

JayBird BlueBuds X charging cable
(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)
The BlueBuds X are charged via an included wide, flat USB - microUSB cable shown above.

Having owned the JayBird earbuds for a few months, the battery life of eight hours easily gets me through an entire work day. I use them as a call headset for my iPhone 6 Plus, and regularly listen to music.

JayBird BlueBuds X ear bud
(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)
The audio quality of the JayBird BlueBuds X Sport is quite good. The bass response of such tiny earbuds is amazing, and music sounds nice. Call quality is also good, both playback and voice pickup of the microphone. In addition to regular phone calls, I have used them for numerous conference calls and nobody on the other end of the call has noticed that I'm on a wireless headset.

While the earbuds aren't noise canceling, the in-ear design blocks distracting noise in all but the noisiest environments. This is important when making calls in public. Pausing audio makes it possible to hear conversations, which makes them ideal for cubicle farms at work.

The earbuds have three different size cups in the package to fit any ear. Both comfort and audio quality is a factor of getting the right size to properly fit in the ear canal. It is easy to put them on the unit for trying out the different sizes.

JayBird BlueBuds X inline controls
(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)
The inline controller of the BlueBuds X has three buttons near the right earbud that can be operated by feel. The buttons serve double duty, with the two volume buttons also performing next/previous functions when held down and playing music. The middle button is a pause/play control that also powers the earbuds on and off when held for a second or two. The latter gives audio confirmation in the left earbud when the unit is powered on and off and when it is connected via Bluetooth to the iPhone.

The JayBird BlueBuds X Sport are not technically just for iOS and the iPhone, but testing has shown inconsistent support of the inline controls on Android devices. The pause and play functions tend to work OK, but the volume controls are spotty on non-iOS devices.

Having bought and tested a number of earbuds and headphones, both wired and wireless, the JayBird BlueBuds X Sport stands tall among them. Great audio, wireless convenience, and long battery life make this my daily headset for the iPhone.

These earbuds are good to wear for workouts, as they are coated with a water repellent solution to handle sweat. This also works well in light rain when running around the city.


  • Long battery life
  • Comfortable to wear for hours
  • Good audio quality


  • Expensive

Reviewer's rating: 9.5 out of 10

The JayBird BlueBuds X Sport are available at the time of publication on Amazon for $152.11. They would make a good last minute gift for the iPhone user.

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