Jaybird didn’t wow many athletes with the Run true wireless earbuds, but looks to redeem itself with the Jaybird Vista. These sporty but sleek ‘buds are IPX7-rated and come with a compact charging case. Connection strength is consistent thanks to an updated chipset. With so many great workout earbuds available, we’re here to see if the Vista merit a spot in your gym bag.
Editor’s note: this review was updated on November 7, 2019, to address where the Jaybird Vista stands relative to the true wireless market and make note of the Apple AirPods Pro release.
Who is the Jaybird Vista for?
- Athletes should consider the Jaybird Vista as their next gym companion. These waterproof earbuds maintain a secure fit no matter the conditions. Plus, they support quick charging, which is great if you get to the gym and realize they’re out of juice.
- Anyone thinking about buying the Jaybird Run should get these instead. Connection stability issues are no more with the Vista earbuds. Yes, these are significantly more expensive, but there’s no point in wireless earbuds if they can’t maintain a connection.
What’s it like to use the Jaybird Vista?
The Jaybird Vista earbuds have a rounded, blocky build. Wingtip sleeves are installed by default and keep the earbuds in place during exercise. I like the angled nozzles because they ameliorated any potential ear canal discomfort. Unfortunately, though, the housings are deceptively large and become painful after 45 minutes.
Each earbud has a flat-button panel adorned with the Jaybird logo. On-board controls are limited compared to the cheaper JLab Epic Air Sport. System settings offer basic playback and call controls. To change this, download the Jaybird MySound app and reassign the single and double-tap functions. Be aware that pressing buttons on the housings can cause the ‘buds to jam in the ear. This happens to be the case for the Jaybird Vista, which is both painful and annoying.
The earbuds aren't very comfortable but prove nearly impossible to shake out.
There are upsides to the earbuds, though. For one, the design is appealing: these are some cool looking workout earbuds. I also enjoyed how they autoconnected instantaneously, a must-have feature for wireless earbuds. Even the Jaybird MySound app was useful. It lets users update firmware, locate the earbuds, save custom EQ presets, and try out other users’ sound profiles. It’s one of the slickest headphone applications available.
Are the Jaybird Vista good for working out?
Yes. Yet again, Jaybird secures its title as a go-to workout headphone brand. The wing and ear tip sleeves maintain a secure hold to the outer ear. Whether I was climbing or biking, the earbuds never wiggled out of place. While these aren’t swimmer-friendly earbuds, they can withstand an accidental dip into the pool because of the IPX7 rating. Outer ear pain became unbearable for me beyond an hour of wear. Your mileage may vary, but it definitely makes something like the Beats Powerbeats Pro more appealing.
How long does the battery last?
We subjected the Jaybird Vista earbuds to the same conditions as all wireless products that come our way, a constant 75dB output, and measured 5.62 hours of playback on a single charge. This falls slightly short of Jaybird’s listed six-hour battery life but is more than enough for a few workouts. Plus, these support quick charging: five minutes in the compact USB-C charging case allows for one hour of playback. A full charge of the case requires two hours and provides you with an additional 10 hours of battery life.
How do you connect the Jaybird Vista your phone?
To initiate pairing, open the Vista charging case. The LED should flash on and off. If the light isn’t flashing, hold the internal button down for two seconds. You may now open the Bluetooth menu on your phone and select the Jaybird Vista. The next time you open the case and remove the earbuds, they autoconnect to your device.
The earbuds use Bluetooth 5.0 firmware and lack high-quality Bluetooth codec support. While this is disappointing, the JBS1 chipset ensures a quick and strong connection between the earbuds and your phone. It creates two separate connections to the phone. This means you can use one earbud independent of the other, which is a safe option for outdoor athletes. You’re afforded 10 meters of wireless connectivity before any stutters present themselves.
What do the Jaybird Vista sound like?
The Jaybird Vista slightly emphasize the low-end but not as much as with the midrange frequencies. This is a departure from how archetypical workout earbuds sound, but it makes the Vista more versatile. I had no problem listening to these when walking around or cooking; it doesn’t seem appropriate to pigeonhole them as just workout earbuds when the sound signature bodes well for most mainstream genres.
These workout earbuds don't bombard your ears with bass.
Isolation is surprisingly good, seeing as these aren’t noise cancelling earbuds. This is great if you exercise in a gym or other indoor, controlled environment. However, if you run or cycle outside, leave one earbud in the case so you can hear your surroundings. Jaybird provides three pairs of ear tips for you to find the right fit. The downside to using proprietary sleeves like this, though, is that it’s nearly impossible to find functional third-party ear tips.
Lows, mids, and highs
Sundara Karma’s song Deep Relief sounds fine, but frequency separation is poor. Skip ahead to the first chorus (1:06). The fundamental frequency of Oscar Pollack’s vocals falls below 700Hz, where the midrange emphasis begins. This makes his voice prone to auditory masking from the slightly more exaggerated low-end frequencies and certainly from the higher-pitched midrange ones (e.g. electric guitar).
Core instruments like guitar and piano, sound great with the Vista earbuds. A bridge in the song begins at 2:20. Here, you can appreciate the high-frequency emphasis, especially every time a cymbal is hit. The synth keys sound good, but any resonant detail is lost to other sounds like the drums.
Is the mic good for phone calls?
No, I wouldn’t recommend using the earbuds for phone calls and especially not for business calls. As heard from the demo below, my voice sounds a bit gargled and unnatural. This is a consequence of the attenuated low-end microphone response. Even if the mic had a perfectly neutral frequency response, it picks up virtually all background noise. No matter where you are, the person on the other end of the call is bound to be distracted by your environment.
Jaybird Vista microphone demo:
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How do Jaybird’s true wireless earbuds stack up against the competition?
The Jaybird Vista are some of the best true wireless workout earbuds, especially if you’re someone who values both style and function. The matte black finish looks great in or out of the gym, but this understated design doesn’t forgo durability.
If you’re not thrilled about the Vista’s price, another great option that’s undergone some reductions is the Jabra Elite 65t. This is a great all-purpose package, too: you get IP55 dust- and water-resistant earbuds with solid battery life and connection quality. Just like the Vista earbuds, the Elite 65t don’t support high-quality Bluetooth codecs, so you’re bound to experience some audio-visual lag if streaming videos from the elliptical.
If you're an iPhone user looking for versatile workout earbuds, it may be worth it to save for the noise canceling Apple AirPods Pro.
Then there are workout earbuds with a completely different design philosophy like the Beats Powerbeats Pro or Apple AirPods Pro, both of which retail for around $250. The former sports ear hooks that wrap around the back of the ear, which works well with the angled nozzles to create a comfortable, secure fit. Apple’s AirPods Pro, on the other hand, retains the standard AirPods’ stemmed design with added water-resistance and noise canceling capabilities. Both sets of earbuds feature more advanced sensor and microphone technology than the Jaybird Vista but are significantly more expensive, and may not be justifiable for those on tighter budgets.
Should you buy the Jaybird Vista?
If you had the Jaybird Run and weren’t satisfied with their Bluetooth performance, the Vista earbuds are a good upgrade. They feature a similar, yet more modern design and retain an IPX7 rating.
That said, $180 is an odd price point. For just $150, you can get the more comfortable, JLab Epic Air Sport which includes a dual-purpose charging case and touch controls. Again, the popular Jabra Elite 65t can be found on promotion for ~$140. If you do happen to get the Jaybird Vista, you’ll likely enjoy them. It would be a disservice to omit mentioning more comfortable and affordable alternatives, though.
Next: Best Beats alternatives
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