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Jaybird Vista 2 sport earbuds add noise canceling and transparency mode for $200

At long last Jaybird's popular true-wireless sport earbuds have been upgraded with new features and design tweaks.

The Jaybird Vista 2 is available in three colors -- blue, black and gray -- for $200. 

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Known for their secure fit, decent sound and durability, Jaybird's Vista sport earbuds ($150, £140, AU$350) have been on our list of best workout headphones and best running headphones since 2019. Now the Vista 2, an upgraded version that features a similar design and higher price tag ($200, £190), has arrived with a couple of key upgrades missing from the original: Active noise canceling and a transparency mode called SurroundSense, which allows you to hear the outside world. 

I've been playing around with the Vista 2 buds for a few days and have been generally impressed. As I said, the earbuds essentially have the same design as the originals. However, Jaybird's added some fabric to the outside of the buds, which helps cut down on wind noise (think of the fabric as a dampener). There's also an ear-detection sensor, so your music automatically pauses when you take the buds out of your ears.

The Vista 2 buds have an IPX68 water-resistance rating, which means they're both dustproof and fully waterproof. Jaybird also says they're sweatproof, crushproof and dropproof. And the compact case is now splashproof and dust-resistant, with an IP54 rating.

jaybird-vista-2-waterproof

The Vista 2 buds are fully waterproof.

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The other feature Jaybird is touting is that, in addition to tracking buds, the Jaybird app for iOS and Android can track the earbuds' case. Even if your earbuds are in the closed case, they're still trackable in real time, Jaybird says. The app also allows you to create customizable EQ settings and share them with the Jaybird community. Personally, I tend to take more than I share, and some of the user-created EQ settings I've used have made a significant impact on sound quality for the better. 

Battery life is rated at up to 8 hours with the noise-canceling feature off and about 6 hours with it on. The case, which has both USB-C and wireless charging, holds an additional two charges. And a 5-minute charge gets you 1 hour of battery life.  

Like the Vista, it's easy to get a tight seal with the Vista 2 and that snug fit passively seals out a lot of sound. Adding active noise canceling provides even more muffling. I found the noise cancellation effective, though I need to compare it more rigorously to other noise-canceling earbuds in this price range before I deliver a final verdict. The same goes for sound quality, which appears to have improved. The drivers are the same 6mm drivers, but Jaybird made some design tweaks and the digital processing has been upgraded.

The earbuds in their compact charging case.

David Carnoy/CNET

The big feature added for runners and bikers is SurroundSense transparency mode, which amplifies ambient sounds for safety. As I said, the original Vista earbuds did a good job of passively sealing out ambient noise but if you like to be able to hear approaching traffic, it's key to have "open" earbuds that allow sound in.

Last but not least, the earbuds feature a pair of microphones in each bud with beamforming technology. I have to do some additional testing with call quality, but my initial impressions are that they worked well for voice calls. I'll have a more expansive review of the new Vista 2 earbuds in the coming days.