Jaybird X2 review: A popular in-ear Bluetooth sports headphone gets refined

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The Good The Jaybird X2 has been in improved in a number of small ways from its predecessor, offering better sweat-proofing, a new matte finish, a more comfortable ear fin design, a better carrying case and improved battery life. It also sounds good and offers a reliable wireless connection.

The Bad It may not offer a comfortable fit (and tight seal) for everyone. This new model looks the same as the old model -- the design hasn't changed -- and it's somewhat expensive.

The Bottom Line The Jaybird X2 is an improvement over the Bluebuds X and one of the better wireless sports headphones out there -- so long as you get a snug, comfortable fit.

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

Jaybird makes some of the more popular sports-oriented in-ear wireless Bluetooth headphones, and its BlueBuds X headphone, which hit the market a few years ago, has a loyal fan base that likes to extol its secure fit and strong sound quality.

So what's Jaybird do for a much-anticipated encore? The Jaybird X2, which comes in multiple color options for $180, £170 or AU$250 and looks almost identical to its predecessor. It does offer some improvements, however, including a new matte finish, better sweat proofing, a slightly more comfortable ear fin design, a better carrying case and improved battery life -- up to 8 hours, which is good for this type of headphone. (The BlueBuds X featured a 83 mAh battery, while the X2's battery has a higher 100 mAh capacity.)

What you get in the box. Sarah Tew/CNET

The X2 is one of the best sounding in-ear headphones out there and Jaybird hasn't made any changes to the sound as far as I can tell. It's a pretty well-balanced headphone with good clarity and a decent bass performance that isn't overemphasized. There's a slight bit of treble push and bass lovers may be a little disappointed the bass doesn't have more oomph to it, but I liked the sound.

That said, the big caveat with all these types of sound-isolating in-ear headphones is that you have to get a tight seal to get the best sound. If you don't get a tight seal, you lose a lot of bass, and the headphone can sound mediocre.

The headphones easily fit into the new, larger case. Sarah Tew/CNET

If you're a runner or biker who likes to let some sound in so you can hear approaching traffic, this headphone isn't designed for that. Competing models such as the Plantronics BackBeat Fit and the Beats Powerbeats2 Wireless , allow some sound to leak in. Of course, the downside to having a more "open" design is that ambient noise does clash with your listening, especially if you're in a particularly noisy environment (and don't want to hear that noise). For instance, the New York subway isn't the best place to use a non-noise-isolating in-ear headphone.

Over ear or under ear

For me anyway, the best way to get a tight seal was to turn the tip a little forward and up in my ear and have the headphone cord wrap back around my ear. I was able to get a tight seal and Jaybird now includes some foam Comply eartips to help you get a good fit.

I had a couple of small problems with the headphones. First, the earphone itself is kind of big and due to the shape of my ear, the inner rim just didn't feel super comfortable pressed up against the entrance of my ear canal.

The headphones include a cord-shortening accessory. Sarah Tew/CNET

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