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Jaybird Tarah review: Cheapest Jaybird headphones may have everything you need

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The Good The Jaybird Tarah wireless sports headphones fit comfortably and securely, are fully waterproof and sound good. The inline remote is slim and lightweight and the companion app is well designed and allows you to tweak the sound.

The Bad It has a proprietary charging cable, so if you lose it, you can't charge the headphones. There's no carrying pouch included. Battery life is only average.

The Bottom Line If you can pick up the nicely designed and good sounding Jaybird Tarah at a little bit of a discount, it'll make up for some of its small shortcomings.

7.9 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Sound 8
  • Value 7

Jaybird's $100 (£90, $AU150) Tarah is the entry-level model in its 2018-2019 line of wireless sports headphones, which also includes the X4 ($130, £90, AU$190) and Tarah Pro ($160, AU$230, no UK pricing yet). 

What's a little confusing is the headphones look pretty similar -- and all of them feature Jaybird's new buds and fins that provide a more secure and comfortable fit. However, they do have their differences.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Let's start from the top and work our way down. The higher-end Tarah Pro is supposed to be the best of the bunch, boasting an impressive 14 hours of battery life, magnets in the buds (so they can form a closed "necklace" instead of loosely dangling when not in use) and a "no stick" fabric cord that's reflective in case you happen to be running at night, as well as a couple of other small upgrades. The X4 doesn't have the magnets or the fabric cord, but its battery life is rated at 8 hours -- 2 hours better than the Tarah. The X4, like the Tarah Pro, also comes with a carrying pouch while the Tarah, reviewed here, doesn't.   

Otherwise the Tarah's core specs are similar to its siblings. Not only is the Tarah sweatproof but Jaybird says it's fully water resistant, with an IPX7 rating, meaning it can be fully submersed to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. There's also a fast-charge feature that gives you 1 hour of play time from a 10-minute charge.

What you get in the box.

Sarah Tew/CNET

With this type of headphone it's important to get a tight seal to maximize sound quality and not lose any bass, and to that end, Jaybird has included new tips and fins that promise a more comfortable, secure fit. While the step-up X4 includes new "exclusive-to-Jaybird" Comply Ultra foam tips, however, they're not included with the Tarah. That's not a huge deal -- I was more disappointed that the Tarah doesn't come with a carrying pouch.

Thankfully Jaybird has a new cord management system called Speed Cinch that makes it easy to adjust the cord length. There's also a new app that allows you to tweak the headphone's sound and set the headphones to automatically turn off after 15 or 60 minutes when not in use (I set it at 60).

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