When I run, I sweat heavily so I must have earbuds that can withstand my own sweat as well as the Pacific Northwest rain that I run in during the winter and spring months. Jaybird was one of the first brands I tested nine years ago and for the last couple of weeks I've been using their newest Pro Series headset.
The new Jaybird Tarah Pro fills out the Jaybird range of headsets that consists of the Tarah, X4, and Jaybird Run. The Tarah Pro is the highest end option with a cable that connects the two earbuds. It is designed for athletes with long battery life, durability, secure fit, and a customized sound profile option.
Three sets of ear gels are included to help you find the right fit for your ears. The ear gels are large as they are composed of fins, the earbud gel, and a piece that fits over the end of each earbud. The middle size is installed in the box, but I had to bump up to the large size to fit my ears properly.
Jaybird has always supported wearing its earbuds over-the-ear or under-the-ear and in the past the way you did this was by switching from the right to the left and left to the right in order to route the cables over your ear. With the new Tarah Pro and its Switch Fit design you leave the buds in place, rotate the end of the earbud that is outside of your ear, and route the cable over your ear. The end of the earbuds rotate about 60 degrees to let you find the optimal position for over-the-ear fit.
I used to always wear Jaybird earbuds under the ear for a bit quicker fit. However, running the Tarah Pro over the ear results in the cable behind my neck being moved up further so that there is no rubbing or pulling on the cable when I turn my head to look around. Thus, I'm currently running with an over-the-ear setup and love it.
Another new feature of the Jaybird Tarah Pro is the non-stick reflective fabric cord. It provides just a bit of visibility to you while running while also providing a strong cable to ensure years of use of the headset. The Speed Cinch cord management system we have seen on recent Jaybird products is used here as well.
The earbuds have flat backs with magnets inside so you can connect the earbuds back-to-back to secure them around your neck while not in use. When the Magnetic Snap Lock feature is used, your music automatically pauses and when you put them back in your ear the music starts playing again where you left off.
The new Jaybird Tarah Pro has an IPX7 water-resistant rating, which means it can handle submersion down to one meter for up to 30 minutes. There is also double hydrophobic nano coating to protect the headset. In other words, you can wear these anywhere other than swimming.
With most GPS sports watches and sport headphones we see some kind of proprietary charger and after speaking with Jaybird representatives I finally get it. In order to ensure maximum water and sweat resistance, proprietary chargers are often required. The Jaybird Tarah Pro has a very nice magnetic charging base at the end of a USB-A cable. You can snap the headset controller onto the charger in either orientation.
The curved headset controller contains the high capacity battery that provides you with 14 hours of performance. A quick five minute charge gives you two full hours of play time. Since my typical training runs are 30 minutes to an hour and a half, charging up for five minutes while I get my running gear on will always result in enough battery life to workout.
Also: Best Sports Headphones for 2018 CNET
The controller has three large buttons, an indicator light, and a mic for calls. The three buttons all have different designs; a plus sign, a circle, and a negative sign that make it very easy to find and press while you are actively exercising.
The buttons are used to control volume, skip ahead or back, play/pause your music, accept/reject calls, and initiate your selected voice assistant. Single press, double press, and hold actions are used on the three buttons.
A slim profile case with magnetic closure is included. It is great for carrying the headphones and the small dock/USB cable that you need to charge up the headphones.
I don't usually use the apps that come with headphones, except to update the headset. However, the Jaybird app for Android and iOS lets you select from a number of different equalizer profiles while also providing compelling playlists, with Spotify integration, for working out so it is indeed an app I use for the best headphone experience.
With the Jaybird Tarah Pro, a new capability to create a personalized sound profile is provided. This hearing test wizard is similar to what we've seen on the HTC USonic earbuds and going through the wizard results in custom profile based on Jaybird's proprietary algorithms.
You can also still create custom presets and Spotify playlists to chare with others from within the app. If you buy the Tarah Pro headphones, I highly recommend you try out the Jaybird app.
Price and availability
Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless Sport Headphones will be available to order at jaybirdsport.com today and in select stores in November. The Tarah Pro is priced at a suggested retail price of $159.99, putting it higher than the X4 and $20 less than the Jaybird Run. The Jaybird X4 will be available in three colors schemes: Black/Flash (lime green), Mineral Blue/Jade, and Titanium/Glacier. The Titanium/Glacier color is available only through Best Buy and jaybirdsport.com. I was sent the Black/Flash pair to evaluate.
Compared to the $99.99 Jaybird Tarah, the Tarah Pro offers 8 hours more playtime, Switch Fit rotating earbud, merged tip and fin, personalized equalizer capability, magnetic snap lock earbuds, and the fabric reflective cord. Thus, you get quite a bit for the extra $60.
Daily usage and performance
The Jaybird headphones I used in the past have always sounded great and sound quality is one of the four pillars of the company's design philosophy. Music plays loud and clear with the Tarah Pro and I've been using the headphones at less than maximum volume, except when mowing the lawn, for the past couple of weeks.
Jaybird advertises 14 hours of playback time with the Jaybird Tarah Pro and in my experience that is an accurate estimate for playtime. This long battery life means the Jaybird Tarah Pro is clearly targeted to those who work out for long periods of time or want headphones to use all day long for calls and music while still having enough left over to workout. I don't know of any other wireless headphone that can provide 14 hours of playback time.
There is also a MEMS, omni directional microphone on the controller and I've enjoyed conference calls with the headset. Callers confirmed that I sounded good on my end through the Jaybird Tarah Pro.
The Jaybird Tarah Pro is the best Jaybird headset we have seen to date with a battery life that is sure to satisfy just about everyone. The headphones are comfortable for hours of playback, are built to last for a long time, and sound great. They are not inexpensive headphones, but $159.99 is acceptable for wireless headphones with these performance specs.