(The article was written by Rezaul H Laskar & originally published in Hindustan Times here)
The Jaybird X2 is a gorgeous piece of kit – it looks nothing like the other Bluetooth headphones on the market. One look at its robust build and bold colours, and it’s clear the X2 wireless headphones mean business.
Bluetooth earpieces, primarily for making hands-free calls with smartphones, have been around for years but manufacturers have struggled to come up with Bluetooth headphones that sound good and weren’t hit by frequent dropouts.
Jaybird developed its own codec for decoding audio with an enhanced bit rate, which it claims results in audio that rivals leading wired headphones. (More on sound quality later.) It also came up with a miniature 100 mAh lithium polymer that is good enough for up to eight hours of play time.
The X2 headphones - provided for this review by Headphone Zone - are light, weighing in at just 13.8 grams, and have a charging time of little more than two hours. They can be worn over-ear or under-ear, with the strap either behind or in front of the neck. The X2 comes with a special clip that can shorten the strap and ear fins for a better fit. There’s also a silicone carry case that looks very sturdy.
More than other phones, it’s important to get the right fit with the X2 and Jaybird provides six pairs of ear tips, three each in comply and silicone. I didn’t use the fins as a pair of silicone tips worked just fine for me.
The ear pieces of the X2 are slightly larger than those of most other in-ear headphones and could be a tad uncomfortable for people with smaller ears. Isolation was very good, so much so that the outside world was often completely drowned out even at low volume levels.
Jaybird has listened to complaints from users about some of its earlier Bluetooth headphones being vulnerable to sweat and the X2 comes with a “lifetime warranty against sweat”. So you can wear them to your heart’s content while you sweat it out in the gym or on the running track.
The X2 is charged by flipping the cap off the end of one ear piece to reveal a standard micro USB charge port. The hinge and clip looks rather flimsy but Jaybird says they are made of fortified materials designed to withstand years of use.
The X2 is pure plug and play, or maybe I should say power up and play. Voice prompts tell you when it’s powering on or off and when it’s paired with your smartphone, Apple Watch, iPad, compatible digital audio players and gaming devices. Those with iPhones can even get a battery status icon on the top right corner of the screen for real time updates on remaining playtime. Pairing it with my Xperia Z1 was always painless and took just a few seconds.
MP3s ripped at 320 kbps and played with the Poweramp music player on my smartphone came through loud and clear though I experienced a few extremely brief drop-outs with every few hours of use. (I was unable to ascertain whether this was due to my smartphone or the X2.) There were also dropouts when I passed by other people using Bluetooth headsets, but again, this wasn’t a deal-breaker.
Jaybird’s special Shift Premium Bluetooth Audio technology provides great sound – the X2’s soundstage is nice and spacious and it has great highs and mids, though the bottom end lacks some of the oomph and punch one finds in other headphones in the same price range. There were times, especially while listening to rock and jazz tracks, when I wished the X2 had just a little more power in the low end.
But then the X2 isn’t just about sound quality – its USP is good sound with wireless connectivity and that’s where it excels. It was a delight to not have to worry about your headphone cable getting snagged while exiting a crowded Metro train. Calls made with the X2 also came through loud and clear without any problems.
If you’re looking for a wireless headset that really rocks and have Rs 15,999 to spare, the Jaybird X2 should be at the top of your shortlist.
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Speaker sensitivity: 103 +-2dB at 1KHz
Output: 12mW RMS (with level limit)
Total Harmonic Distortion: <5% (1KHz, 1mW)
Audio Format: 16-bit Stereo
Response bandwidth: 20-20000Hz
Driver size: 6 mm