- Jaybird makes some of the best tech for runners, and its new Jaybird Vista earbuds ($179.99) are their best wireless earbuds yet.
- The Vista earbuds are sweat and waterproof (IPX7) and have six hours of playtime. You'll get an additional 10 hours supplied by the charging case, and a five-minute charge translates into one full hour of playtime.
- In comparison to previous iterations, the Vista earbuds are more comfortable, the case is more compact, the Bluetooth connectivity is faster and more reliable, and the audio quality is richer and more nuanced.
- The Vista earbuds aren't perfect, and you'll likely be able to find similar options for less, but these are my favorite wireless earbuds for convenience and performance overall.
You don't need a lot when you head out on a run, but the tools you do need take on greater importance.
The wrong socks, headphones, sports bra, or even underwear can turn an otherwise enjoyable challenge into something categorically closer to a punishment. Instead of smooth, meditative motion, the mind is glued to developing blisters, chafing, and the threat of one earbud leaping out of your ear and into a storm drain.
I've spent years creating a tool kit of trustworthy products for runs. And, in terms of tech, I've come to rely upon Jaybird for comfortable, no-frills, long-lasting earbuds. I've tried most of the company's wireless earbuds over the past three years, and their latest iteration — the Jaybird Vista earbuds ($179.99) — is my favorite version yet.
These are my go-to earbuds for running — I never have to worry about them popping out, and the battery life lasts through a marathon
They're not fussy about sweat or weather. The Vista Earbuds have an IPX7 sweat and waterproof rating. Or, in layman's terms, you can drop them into a meter of water for up to 30 minutes without damage. So you don't need to worry about sweat or drizzle corroding a $180 investment.
They have pretty good battery life. Fully charged, you'll get six hours of playtime with the Vista earbuds — enough to last you an average marathon time and then some. In comparison, the previous XT version only offered four. With the case, you'll get an additional 10 hours of playtime. And five minutes in the case translates into one hour of playtime, which is a godsend for all the times I've realized both earbuds were dead while already halfway out the door. You won't have to risk losing momentum or motivation waiting for them to charge. If you're only using one earbud, you can expect about 32 hours of playtime.
They're secure and really comfortable. I've run with Jaybird earbuds for three years, and I've never had a pair fall out of my ears. I've also never felt like they would. I've always praised Jaybird true wireless earbuds for their comfort, but these are its most comfortable style yet. They're lighter, and they have a slightly more rectangular build that feels natural in the ear. The box includes three sizes of interchangeable silicone ear wings for a secure, customized fit. Take the time to figure out which one feels best for you.
The Vista's audio, Bluetooth, and charging case are commendable upgrades
They sound good, and they have good noise isolation. The audio is richer and more complex in the Vista earbuds than in the company's Run earbuds. There's more nuance and less emphasis on bass, though the bass isn't lacking. And while they aren't noise-cancelling, there is noteworthy noise isolation. I can't hear my footsteps on the path or other people speaking to me in the elevator, but I can hear particularly loud noises in the distance and the muted clamor of the subway car while listening to podcasts in the morning. Being able to shut out the world is a pro for me, but it may be a con for those more concerned with being able to hear traffic.
You can use the earbuds independently. If you are concerned with being aware of your surroundings, you can opt to use only one earbud at a time.
You can customize the sound. Like most Jaybird earbuds, you can go into the Jaybird app to tinker with the equalization. You can also select presets like "flat" and "bring the bass" if you'd rather forgo the legwork. That leads me to my next point...
The Jaybird app is sparse but actually useful. You can use the "find my buds" feature to get the gist of where both your left and right earbuds are located. There are limitations; the map is rudimentary, and it doesn't seem to work if the earbud isn't charged, but it's enough to answer where, in general, each of them is (i.e., your apartment or the trail). You can also connect your Spotify account to the Jaybird app and share your favorite tracks with the Jaybird community.
The Bluetooth connectivity is simple and reliable. Bluetooth connection was neither a major drawback nor a major upside with the other Jaybird earbuds. In the Vista, it's noticeably simple and fast. It's also more definitive. Instead of a hard-to-hear signal, you'll hear a human voice saying "connected" when you've successfully linked to your device.
The Vista charging case is compact and storage-friendly. Jaybird's charging cases used to be rounded, which made them feel bulky in smaller bags. The Vista case is minimal and rectangular. It's small enough to slip into the hidden pocket of my running shorts and lightweight enough to forget that it's there while I run.
In terms of cons, they're pricey at $179.99. But they're worth it if you prioritize convenience and performance most in your shopping — and if you're going to use them frequently. They're also reliable in my experience; I've had four true wireless earbuds from Jaybird, and I've never had to replace a pair due to wear and tear or defects.
Their tiny size also means the on-ear controls are lacking. Control the power by pressing down on the left earbud. A single press on either controls calls and playback, and a double press on either skips forward to the next track or rejects an incoming call. Notably, there's no volume control or a simple rewind. You can swap the controls in the app — trading the presses to connect to volume controls rather than power — but you won't be able to have both. This is annoying if you have to pull out your phone often to adjust volume or rewind media, but it's ultimately far from a deal breaker in my experience.
The bottom line
I don't just use them for running. The Vista earbuds are tiny, sound high-end, and have a long battery life. This makes them ideal for everything from plane rides to commutes to sticking them in my jacket pocket on a Saturday night so I can walk home with music.
You've got 30 days to return the earbuds for your money back (including shipping), and they come with a one-year warranty. The warranty covers you for defects in materials and workmanship as well as the promise the device "will not fail because of perspiration for one year from the date of purchase."
All in all, the Jaybird Vista earbuds are a solid upgrade to Jaybird's already durable, high-performing runners' wireless earbuds. Jaybird true wireless earbuds have been my go-to for the last three years, and the Vista surpasses previous versions in sound quality, comfort, usability, and battery life. If you're looking for a trustworthy pair of running earbuds that deliver on high-end performance and no-frills durability, I highly recommend them.