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Jaybird X2 vs Bluebuds X
From the moment we first reviewed the Jaybird X2 in-ears earlier this year, we knew this moment was coming. As the follow-up to the company’s popular Bluebuds X – often recommended as some of the best wireless in-ears in their price range – the X2s had big shoes to fill, and fill them they did. As such, it left many wondering if it was time for an upgrade.
While Jaybird might have left the Bluebuds name behind, the X2s are every bit the sequel that the number in the name implies, and any moviegoer can tell you that while the sequel might be bigger and even better, there will always be plenty of people out there who prefer the original. Is it possible that this can happen with headphones as well?
Build & design
Take a look and the first thing you’ll notice is probably how similar the two models look, right down to the Jaybird logo emblazoned on the side. The one key difference lies in the finish – the X2s feature a matte finish that looks much more modern than the glossy black and chrome we saw when we reviewed the Bluebuds X. The Jaybird X2s are also available in a much wider range of colors than their predecessor.
Build quality is very similar between the two – both are sweat-proof and come complete with a lifetime guarantee against sweat-related damage from Jaybird. When it comes to how they are worn the two are near identical with one key difference: instead of the three pairs of ear tips included with the Bluebuds X, the X2s include six pairs, with three Comply brand memory foam tips in addition to silicon tips. These additional fit options can make the X2s more comfortable, depending on who is wearing them.
Both models include a carrying case in the box, which is a welcome addition, but the X2s improve upon the clamshell-style case included with the Bluebuds X. Instead, the X2s feature a silicone case that seals much tighter than the clamshell case, doing a much better job of protecting the headphones inside from dirt, liquid, and drops.
Looking at the Bluetooth version listed on the box, you might think it’s a mistake, but no, both the Bluebuds X and the X2 use Bluetooth version 2.1 with EDR. Jaybird says that there are no audio benefits included in later versions, but that doesn’t stop people from looking at the box and wondering why it doesn’t say 4.0 or 4.1 like most headphones released this year.
Pairing is a very similar process between the two – right down to the Jenna voice prompts. The Jaybird X2s are less aggressive when it comes to audio cues, though. While the Bluebuds X produce an audible chirp whenever you hit the volume button, this is gone on the X2s. We view this as a positive since simply hearing the volume change is all the feedback you need.
Dropouts were a fairly common problem with the Bluebuds X – while reviewing them this would occur even at distances of three to four feet. In our testing this seemed to be largely resolved with the Jaybird X2s. We didn’t encounter any dropouts when testing for the review, but it’s worth mentioning that we did see reports from commenters that they had some issues.
On paper, the Bluebuds X and the X2 look identical when it comes to battery life, with each claiming 8 hours of playback time and around 2.5 hours to charge the battery back to full. In practice, this isn’t exactly the case. When we reviewed the Bluebuds X, we found that we consistently saw battery life of 6 to 6.5 hours. The X2s, on the other hand, consistently reached the 8 hours Jaybird claimed and charged quickly as well.
We’ve said before that when it comes to in-ears, proper fit is one of the key components to getting the best sound possible. To this bend, the Jaybird X2s have somewhat of an advantage due to the greater amount of options for ear tips. It is entirely possible to buy your own Comply brand memory foam tips to use with the Bluebuds X, but it’s nicer to see them included out of the box.
This is definitely the closest category here. If you didn’t like the sound of the Bluebuds X, chances are fairly good that you won’t find much to like about the X2s either.
Whether or not to upgrade has been a common question from owners of the Jaybird Bluebuds X since the X2s were released. Seeing that the X2s won every single category, you’d think our answer would be yes, but it’s not that easy. If you’re happy with the Bluebuds X, we don’t see enough of a difference between the two to make an instant upgrade necessary, but if your old ‘buds are starting to wear out or the battery is wearing down, the X2s are certainly a worthy successor.
When it comes to which pair a first-time buyer should go for, then the answer is obvious: The X2s. Even if the Bluebuds are heavily discounted, the newly weather-resistant case and longer battery life make the Jaybird X2s the better long-term investment. For a more in-depth explanation of the features and sound quality of the X2s, be sure to check out our review.
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