'

Jaybird X4 hands-on: Improved water resistance, 8-hour battery, and great fit for activity

Smartphones have done away with headphone jacks and even high end GPS watches now support music playback so it's a perfect time to pick up a Bluetooth wireless headset. The new Jaybird X4 improves on the X3 and provides a comfortable, long-lasting audio experience.

jaybird-x4-1.jpg

My primary form of exercise and relaxation is running outside and music is a big part of that experience. I've tested a number of headphones over the years and Jaybird was one of the first brands I tested nine years ago.

Jaybird continues to pump out high quality products and for the last couple of weeks I have been testing the Jaybird X4 while running, commuting, and traveling around the country. Compared to the X3, the X4 improves with a higher level of water resistance, improved silicon fins and included Comply Ultra foam tips, and a cool new Speed Cinch cord management system.

One reason I usually chose Jaybird for my headsets was the advertised sweat resistance since I tend to sweat a lot when I exercise. However, I also only run outside so am often running in rain and other inclement weather conditions. The new Jaybird X4 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.

Fit has always been something you could customize with a Jaybird headset through the use of different tips, fins, and orientation of the headphones. The new X4 model includes soft silicon fins and tips, but I personally found the Comply Ultra foam tips best for my ears. I prefer to also wear the headphones under the ear with the cord positioned around the back of my head.

In the past, Jaybird provided a clip where you had to snake the cord around to adjust the loose cord properly. I was extremely pleased with the new Speed Cinch design that allows you to simply slide the small piece along the length for easy, perfect adjustments.

The Jaybird headphones always sound fantastic since sound quality is one of the four pillars of the company's design philosophy. Music plays loud and clear with the X4 and I've been using the headphones without ever hitting the highest volume level. Jaybird improves the music experience through the Jaybird app on iOS and Android. The app lets you customize your equalizer settings, manage the headphones, and even choose and share playlists. Spotify integration is present, which is perfect since I am a Spotify subscriber and have been looking for more playlists for running.

Jaybird advertises eight hours of playback time and so far that is about what I am seeing. It states that you can get up to an hour of playback with just 10 minutes of charging. I was on a conference call for two hours the other day, going from a ferry ride to a walk through the city to another hour in the office without ever losing the call and everyone sounding great the entire time. Callers also confirm that I sound good on my end through the Jaybird X4.

There is a three button controller on the X4 so you can control volume, skip ahead or back, play/pause your music, accept/decline/mute calls, and redial. Single press, double press, and hold actions are used on the three buttons. The buttons are well spaced and raised so that they are easy to activate when the controller is behind your head. The mic also supports voice assistants.

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.

Lately, I have been using bone conduction and completely wireless earbuds for running, but there is something to be said for long battery life headphones too. The Jaybird X4 is also a very affordable option with a high level of water resistance and comfort. I was able to wear the X4 for hours in complete comfort and look forward to more runs with these headphones.

Jaybird X4 Wireless Sport Headphones will be available to order at jaybirdsport.com today with shipping planned for 17 September. The X4 is priced at a suggested retail price of $129.99. The Jaybird X4 will be available in three colors schemes: black metallic/flash, alpha metallic/jade, and storm metallic/glacier only through Best Buy and jaybirdsport.com. I was sent the alpha metallic/jade pair to evaluate.