Remember when Apple first released Airpods? For about a week everyone scoffed at just how silly wearers looked - and then, inevitably, we tried them for themselves and they became wildly successful.
Earbuds without any pesky wires are increasingly the norm, and with the Jaybird Run, we’re another step closer to technology looking like the Cybermen earpieces from that 2005 Doctor Who episode.
The Jaybird Run is based on the same principles as Apple’s device and is priced the same - at around £159: The earbuds themselves can run for around 4 hours in one go, and can be charged up in a separate charging case - which can give them an extra eight hours juice. There’s also fast charging built in - so just five minutes charging will give you a whole extra hour.
So what’s different? Essentially, Jaybird is aiming for something more configurable, and better suited to helping you exercise. The earbuds are both resistant to water and sweat, and they come with a little pouch full of silicon adapters that can be used to better mould to your ears, to prevent them from falling out when you’re running about, doing flips or doing whatever it is that you do.
So the big question is: How do they actually perform? On the strength of trying them for the past couple of weeks… pretty damn well, actually.
First and foremost, once wedged in they actually sit pretty firmly in your ears. I used some of the extra silicon bits to make sure there was a tight fit in my ear, and it jams them in quite effectively. I’ve been wearing them while cycling and while I’m hardly Laura Trott, cycling obviously involves a lot of head movements - and mercifully, the earbuds remained locked in place.
Once you’ve connected them to your phone the first time, firing them up is a completely frictionless experience: once you lift one of the buds out of the case, they will pair. As you put the buds in your ears, they will audibly confirm that they are paired and tell you how much charge is left in them (this appears to happen after about a second, rather than with any sort of ear sensor, as per the airpods).
Then all you need to do is press the button on the right bud to press play and fill your head with bangin’ tunes. (Or in my case, podcasts about American politics, because I hate myself.) Sound-wise, considering the size they are not bad at all. Noticeably tinnier than my over-ear Bose QC35s, but then that would obviously be the case. Music does sound pretty good too - though you might want to crank the bass up a little bit in the Jaybird app, where you can modify the EQ settings to make everything sound just right.
The button on the left is there to trigger Siri or the Google Assistant, depending on the flavour of phone and it works almost exactly as advertised. The only slightly annoying thing is that the buttons on the earbuds are actually quite hard to press when you’ve got the earbuds wedged into your ears - they require pressing with slightly more force than is optimal for when you’ve got some hard plastic pushing up against your cochlea.
The big surprise was perhaps the range - which is much greater than you’d expect from such a tiny device. I haven’t conducted a scientific test, but I’ve been able to essentially walk freely everywhere in my flat and still remain tuned in.
So essentially then, the Jaybird Run are a thumbs up from me. It’s a painless experience to set them up and they function exactly as advertised. You’ll never need to run alone again.