Many of us want to listen to music during outdoor activities, but it’d be nice to not have wires dragging around or be worried about electrical parts getting wet.
Which is why Jaybird has made a name for itself in the adventure community with a range of wireless headphones that can cope with wet weather and dirt, dust and mud.
Let’s start this review by saying I have funny shaped ears and over the years I’ve had so much trouble with in-ear headphones falling out. I’d never considered getting pair of earbuds like the Vista before, just because I thought they’d be constantly falling out.
So I was surprised by their perfect and secure fit! The earbuds themselves are labelled up L and R so you get them in the right ear, and there’s a rubber shaped ‘hook’ or ‘fin’ that clips under the fold in your ear and holds the earbud in place. What’s more, there are two other sizes of fins included in the box, so that you can swap over to get the exact fit. The ear tip and and the ‘fin’ are a single, soft piece of rubber. You might find you need a different sized fin for each year, something quite normal Jaybird says. Each earbud weighs just 6 grams.
The Vista has been on sale for number of months, but in February 2020, Jaybird brought out a special edition colour called Planetary Green with a camouflage/military/adventure look to celebrate the Vista meeting military standards for durability and this is the colour scheme you see in this review.
The small case you see isn’t just for storage; it’s actually for charging the earbuds up (the case has a loop of paracord on it so you can attach it to clip inside a rucksack or the inside of a pocket). Each earbud has a magnet inside so it pulls snugly into its housing and keeps it secure. You plug a USB-C lead into the front of the case to charge up the earbuds, just like you’d do with a mobile phone. A 5-minute charge gives you an hour of playback time. The earbuds hold enough juice for 6 hours of playback at a moderate volume level and then if you take the case with you, you can pop the earbuds back in to draw another 10 hours worth of charge. In effect, you can have two lots of six hours and then a final four hours, which is a great option for multi-day trips.
To pair the earbuds with your phone you press and hold down a circular button on the case and a white light comes on. You just search for ‘Jaybird Vista’ under the list of Bluetooth devices on your phone. There’s also a Jaybird app that you download for free and this helps you connect the earbuds up. I had a lot of trouble trying to get them to connect to my Sony Xperia XZ1 phone (and still can’t get them to connect), but they connected straight away to an iPhone 7.
The app is pretty cool to use. It gives you presets that some of its athletes use for when they’re doing adventure activities. There are a lot of customisation options so you can tweak the sound levels. The app lets you do things like track the last known location of a lost bud or check the amount of battery remaining in each earbud (this is shown as a percentage for the L and R earbud).
To play and pause music, just press the side of the earbud in once. A quick double press skips to the next song. However, if you prefer to have the presses to change the volume, you can set this up using the Jaybird app. To raise the volume, you press and hold on the right bud. To lower the volume, you press and hold on the left bud. Interestingly, you can wear these to make phonecalls.
So how good do these sound? Well I have been using a noise-cancelling Sony headset for my running and I have to say the Vista earbuds have let me hear new notes or background melodies in songs that I’ve listened to numerous times but never heard before. The solid fit in the ear helps with this and I’m genuinely surprised that they don’t fall out even when I’m moving around fast and suddenly. I have done a number of runs in the rain and strong wind up here in Scotland and I’ve had no issues. The fully waterproof IPX7 certification means they can be fully submerged in shallow water for up to 30 minutes. Of course, I haven’t tried this, but they’ve got wet enough to be worried that they might stop working.
Jaybird’s Vista are well worth considering if you want to play music during intense physical activity in the outdoors and/or in adverse weather conditions. Just take care of those earbuds. They might be rugged, but you won’t want to lose one.
£159.99 from www.jaybirdsport.com