When it comes to premium and kickass-sounding wireless headphones that are tough as nails, Jaybird is the reigning champion. I mean, it’s not like other name brands like Bose, PowerBeats or dark horses like AfterShokz are any less capable.
So what makes Jaybird stand out? It’s ability to gently hit the sweet spot between affordability and performance. Their flagship sports-ready, sweat-resistant headphones i.e X2, X3, and X4 are built to stay put in your ears for hours without causing any fatigue or discomfort.
Plus, boy do they sound amazing, especially model X2. While most sports headphones are all about overemphasized uncalibrated bass that completely compresses the mids and highs, Jaybird X-series manages to pump out a nicely balanced neutral sound.
Well, that’s where I come to help. Having used all the three models at some point in my life, I think I’m qualified to provide some useful insights.
Before I start chalking out a detailed comparison, here’s a quick overview of the core specifications of the earbuds in question:
6 Core Jaybird X2 vs. X3 vs. X4 Specs: A Quick Overview
Here’s a quick overview of the core specs of these three models to give you a general idea about the similarities and differences among these three Jaybird X-series flagship models:
1. Jaybird X2 vs. X3 vs. X4 Dimensions:
2. Jaybird X2 vs X3 vs X4 Fit:
X2: Comes with rather large sizes of foam and silicone tips. Not ideal for people with small ear canals.
X3: Comes with small to medium sizes of comply foam tips and hat-proof wingtips to ensure a snug and comfortable fit, irrespective of the ear canal size.
X4: Comes with conical-shaped Comply Ultra-Thermo reactive memory foam tips which can drown out a good amount of background noise if you can ensure a snug fit.
3. Jaybird X2 vs. X3 vs. X4 Wireless Connectivity:
4. Jaybird X2 vs. X3 vs. X4 Battery Life:
X2: Lasts up to 8 hours give or take on moderately high sound levels.
X3: Lasts around 4-5 hours in reality on moderate settings, even though it’s advertised to last 8 hours.
X4: Can last from 9.5-10 hours on low to medium settings and 7.5-8 hours at max volume.
5. Jaybird X2 vs. X3 vs. X4 Charging Time:
X2: Takes 2.5 Hours to fully charge. The LED light indicator starts pulsing when charging and turns static when the charging is complete.
X3: Same as above. Takes 2.5 Hours to complete charging.
X4: Takes 2 hours for the batteries to reach 100% of its capacity. Has a 10-minute quick charge feature that delivers 1 hour of playback time.
6. Jaybird X2 vs. X3 vs. X4 Battery Charging System:
X2: Standard USB charging system.
X3: Comes with a proprietary charging cradle which needs to be attached to the included short USB cable pin on one side. Then you fit the in-line remote into the clip, click it into place, pop the USB into any compatible outlet and start charging. This might sound complex but it really isn’t.
Enough with gists and overviews. Now, it’s time to dig deeper:
A. Jaybird X2 versus X3: Let’s Figure out the Better Option
Jaybird X2 is a decent pair of Bluetooth headphones that offer smooth bass, clear vocals along with a steady wireless connectivity. The newest pairs have gone through some minor structural modifications which warranty an improved sweat-resistance and battery performance.
They come with one size of silicone tips and one size of foam tips along with two different sizes of fins for customized fitting. What really makes X2 a good pair of cheap wireless headphones is its versatility.
It’s not just geared towards sports-enthusiasts. Thanks to its hearty audio quality that’s great for all music genres as well as podcasts and e-books, these headphones will be a good value for general users as well.
Now, as you can already see, on the surface-level, there isn’t any stark difference between X2 and X3. So how do you figure out which one is the right pair of headphones for you? The price gap between the two is negligible.
So that can’t be a point of consideration. Bummer, isn’t it? I did some serious digging, read countless user reviews on various forums to chalk out an objective, clear-cut comparison between these two models.
Wearing Comfort and Secure Fit
Comfort is one of the most critical factors to think over when purchasing headphones for workout or running purposes. Nothing is more annoying than earbuds constantly popping off while you are grinding in the gym or training yourself for the marathon.
As far as getting a snug fit is concerned, X2 is a hit or miss. Both the foam and silicone ear tips included in the box are larger than usual. It fits well into large ear canals but people with average-size or small ear canals will have a hard time keeping the buds in place while running or exercising.
The surface of the ear-tips are ridged in X3 which is not that ideal for a snug fit either. Nevertheless, a lot of its existing users have reported completing a whole marathon without struggling with constantly slipping earbuds.
So we could say X3” “Hat-proof” design scores a little above X2 when it comes to ensuring a proper fit. The comfort and fitting of X3 is alright for the price for general use. If you like to jam on your favorite tracks while driving or taking a walk in the park, X3 will be a better option as it doesn’t stick out of the ears like X2. Therefore, wearing helmets, hats or earmuffs while mowing your lawn won’t make the buds squeeze your ears too hard.
The fins also come handy in securing the buds while you are running on the tracks or grinding at the gym to get rid of those love handles. Also, both are sweat-proof earbuds that come with moisture-resistant nano-coating. So sweating profusely won’t damage either of these earbuds, that’s guaranteed.
I should also remind you that you can always buy a few extra pairs of memory foam or soft rubber ear tips of various sizes for custom fitting. You will easily find lots of options that will easily fit the earbud nozzle diameter of these two headphones.
The winner of this round? X3 without a shadow of doubt.
If you manage to find the right pair of earbuds for your ear size, X3 is capable of blocking a decent amount of noise. Having tried both the silicone and foam tips, I’d say foam tips provide a better seal, hence a better noise isolation. You will also notice a great improvement in bass response as long as you ensure a nice and tight seal. However, mind you that the noise cancellation of these headphones are nothing compared to medium to high-end noise cancellation headphones. So don’t keep your expectations too high.
X2 virtually has no noise cancellation ability. You can block some amount of ambient noise by turning up the volume, just like you do with any standard pair of headphones.
To sum up, Jaybird x3 wins this round as well.
X3 has ruled the roost so far but in this particular area, Jaybird X2 has a mean edge over its competitor. The audio has a high treble presence peppered with the right amount of bass punch. The bass is boosted but not overemphasized.
Hence, it allows the mids, high and vocals to shine through. The overall sound is amazingly well-balanced with the bonus of minimal distortion even when you turn the volume all the way up. Cranking up the volume naturally cancels out a good amount of background noise, allowing an immersive listening experience while sweating out in the gym, jogging, cycling or sitting on your couch watching El Professor outsmarting his enemies in Money Heist.
But wait up, X3 is compatible with Jaybird’s genius EQ app called MySound, which, sadly, doesn’t support X2. While X3 speakers itself lack the depth, tonal clarity, and vibrance, the EQ app more than makes up for it. It has numerous presets, each of them giving your music a whole new feel to it. You can also customize your EQ profiles and save it in the headphone’s memory. That’s right, the X3 buds remember your choice of sound profile even when you switch the audio source. To put simply, you don’t have to fiddle with the EQ settings when you unpair your device from your Android and pair it up with your iPad. How convenient is that?
The MySound app has really leveled the playing field for both headphones. Now, if you just want a great sounding headphone to enjoy a pure shot of adrenaline while working out, X2 will serve you well.
But if you are an audiophile techy like me who likes to be able to boost and depress audio frequencies to optimize the tone and feel of songs, X3 with MySound app won’t disappoint you.
X2 doesn’t require an EQ app to pump out stellar sound. Therefore, I will crown X2 the winner of this round.
X3 uses advanced Bluetooth 4.1 which has some major advantages over Bluetooth version 2.1 used in Jaybird X2. With 4.1, you can connect two pairs of your X3 to one device at the same time which is fantastic if you want to enjoy a movie or listen to music with your partner.
You can also connect your X3 buds to two devices simultaneously. Although, I don’t see any practical application of this feature.
Moving on, the second advantage BT 4.1 has over 2.1 is battery efficiency. Bluetooth 2.1 is notorious for quickly drying out the battery juice. 4.1, on the contrary, consumes way less battery power, hence is more power-efficient.
It’s a no-brainer that Jaybird X3 wins this round by a huge margin.
The batteries in both models are rated for 8 hours of backup but X3 has an edge here as it uses Bluetooth 4.1 for connectivity which consumes less battery juice than Bluetooth 2.1 which, I honestly don’t understand, why Jaybird would use in a sports-oriented headphone.
However, before you discard X2 for draining out the battery too fast, here’s a caveat: while both X2 and X3 can be charged via MicroUSB cable, X3 can be only charged by attaching the USB to its proprietary charging dock.
You have to attach the Micro-USB cable to that charging dock which looks like a small clip. If you accidentally lose that small piece of paraphernalia, Your X3 headphones will turn into nothing but a piece of junk. Although you can buy a new charger for your X3 and X4 headphones easily from online stores, I still can’t wrap my head around the idea of carrying an extra piece of equipment to charge my earbuds.
Hence, despite comparatively faster battery draining, I would put X2 above X3 solely for its charging convenience.
B. Jaybird X3 versus X4: Side-by-side Comparison
I’m sure you have already got a good idea of what Jaybird X3 is capable of what it isn’t. Now, let’s talk about Jaybird X4 a little bit before we get to a detailed comparison between the two.
Jaybird X4 is the newest, most-tech and costliest of the three models. If I have to sum my thoughts on X4 in one sentence, I’d say this model has everything the other two lacks. From better aesthetics, better fit, to better sweat-resistance, X4 is packed with all the essentials for hardcore gym-rats and athletes who can’t imagine sweating out without good music. This is the only IPX7 rated headphone among the three, meaning the buds are water-resistant up to 1 meter of water depth of 30 minutes. If you would like to take a shower without headphones on after a taxing session of workout, it’s absolutely possible with X4.
Now, let’s see how well does X4 actually fare against Jaybird X3 through this feature-by-feature comparison before you hastily reach a decision:
Comfort and Water-resistance
The comply ultra-Thermo foam tips included with X4 is marginally more comfortable to wear for hours. The fin-design ensures the buds don’t slide off while running, even if you’re wearing glasses and headgear. X3 has an almost identical fin-design but the quality of X3’s kinda pointy wingtips are no match to the soft round-edged wingtips of X4.
Moreover, many consumers have complained that the “medium” silicone and foam tips included with X3 are just too big for their ears. I have to agree with them on that. Look, the differences aren’t as dramatic as they sound in theory. Jaybird has made some nice but small refinements in the design to make it appear more appealing to athletes and gym-goers.
Hence, if you are willing to shell out extra bucks for snug fit and optimal comfort, upgrading to X4 will be putting your money to good use.
Jaybird X4, as I already mentioned, carries an IPX7 waterproof rating, meaning it can survive sweat and bad weather way better than the standard waterproof X3 earbuds. However, having IPX7 certification doesn’t mean you can swim wearing them. But can you play soccer in the rain with these buds on? Hell, yeah!
In conclusion, the design upgrades X4 has over X3 are minor but they surely do improve the wearing comfort, which is why I would score X4 slightly above X3 in this round as well.
Ease-of-use and Softer Voice Prompts
Another difference worth mentioning is the inclusion of a speed cinch on X4’s cable. It lets you quickly extend or shorten the length of the cable to reduce the excess slack around the back of your head, ensuring a perfect fit. The box also includes a clip to secure the cable to your shirt which, again, is a nice touch.
They don’t do anything different than the cord management clips that come with X3. I liked the soothing female voice that announces all the alerts such as battery percentage, Bluetooth connectivity status etc. This is way better than the eardrum-bursting loud beeps and voice prompts every time you switch on/off, pair, disconnect the buds and/or the battery is low.
Although the volume of voice prompts is not a major point of consideration while choosing headphones, the soft, soothing voice giving your alerts, cool water-drop effect when you switch on/off X4 buds rightly deserves to be scored above the annoyingly loud voice alerts of X3.
Both X3 and X4 use Bluetooth 4.1 version and can be connected to two devices/ can connect two same pairs of headphones to a single device simultaneously. Jaybird claims that both models have a Bluetooth range of up to 10 m/33 ft. But my X4 buds haven’t shown any disturbance before crossing the 50 ft. threshold.
So brownie points to X4 for its longer Bluetooth range.
Coming to ambient noise blocking, although X4 advertised to employ passive noise cancellation (PNC), I think calling normal noise muting PNC is a bit of a stretch. If you can manage to get a good seal and turn the volume up, you will be able to drown out a decent amount of noise in moderately loud places.
You will still be completely aware of your surroundings. In my honest opinion, it’s much safer than having complete noise isolation while running or cycling on the road.
So it’s kind of a mixed bag here. None of the headphones have any noise cancellation tech at play. You will just have volume up your way through passive noise isolation, just like it is with any other standard pair of headphones.
Battery Life and Charging
The slight difference in the charging system of these two headphones is another aspect I want to highlight here. In X3, the charging cradle and USB cable are two separate pieces whereas in X4, the cradle and USB cable are one piece. You have to fit the cable to the in-line remote for both models to charge the battery that resides inside the remote.
Both methods are unusual, restrictive and inconvenient. If you forget to pack the cradle before traveling, that’s it. You won’t be able to charge your buds.
Hence, I don’t think it will be fair to put one model above the other solely on the basis of charging system.
So we move on to battery backup. While both X3 and X4 are advertised to provide a playback time of 8 hours, you can push X4 to last you about 9.5-10 hours on low to medium settings.
On the highest settings, it lasts anywhere between 7-8 hours. For earbuds, this small and lightweight, housing a battery that lasts for around 8 hours is a big deal. It takes two hours to complete charging. In case you are in a bit of a hurry, it also has a 10-minute Quick Charge feature which packs enough juice for 1-hour of playback.
X3, on the other hand, will last for roughly 4-5 hours on medium settings. It also takes 0.5 hours longer to fully charge and lacks the incredibly convenient 10-minute Quick Charge feature.
So yet again, the title of the winner goes to Jaybird X4.
The bass of X4 speakers is a little overemphasized which puts the vocals and instruments to the back of the soundtrack. While it doesn’t pose a major problem for bass-heavy mixes (mostly EDMs), if you are familiar with the sound neutrality and clarity of X2 and X3, you will be left kind of disappointed.
I’m not saying X4 sounds like trash. If you like to listen to pop or EDM to pump up your adrenaline during intense workouts, Jaybird X4 has got you covered.
X3 has a wider soundstage, better tonal balance, and better clarity. You will notice the difference more clearly if you pay attention to the vocals and cymbals in the mix. While treble-heaviness is the common audio signature in both models, X3 just sounds more natural, warm and well-balanced.
Having said all that, you can make up for the lack of depth and presence of unwanted extra bass in the mix on X4 speakers with Jaybird’s MySound app.
I have already spoken in detail about how awesome this app is. What I forgot to mention previously is that this app can track the location of your earbuds using GPS technology. So if you accidentally lose one or both of your earbuds, you won’t have to lose your shit over where and how you lost it.
Both with and without the help of Jaybird MySound EQ settings, X3 sounds substantially better than X4.
C. Jaybird X2 versus X4: What Is the Difference?
I don’t think I have to go through the extra step of explaining the nitty-gritty of each model since I have already done that in the previous two sections.
Price and Sound Performance
So here’s the deal, if you are in the market for a basic, barebones wireless headphones with only two conditions in mind: great sound quality and affordability, it will be safe to buy yourself a pair of Jaybird X2.
As far as sound quality is concerned, X2 is a much better option than X4 without a second thought. My only gripe is that unlike X3 and X4, X2 is not compatible with the MySound App. That’s a real shame!
Comfort, Water-resistance, and Battery Life
Now, if you absolutely need your earbuds to be highly resistant to sweat, rain, and dust, X4 will offer you that. The improved softer wingtips, cable cinch, and ultra-Thermo foam tips ensure ideal fit for workout enthusiasts and athletes. It’s also better for traveling due to its longer battery life. Barring the burden of carrying the proprietary charging cradle everywhere you go, I don’t see any major downside
Jaybird X2 is a huge value of money in terms of sound quality and battery performance. I can confidently say that it’s the best sounding headphone among the three.
The IPX7 waterproof certified Jaybird X4 is better equipped to handle the pressure of rigorous workout regimes and sports training. The bonus would be the impeccable battery life with a 10-minute quick charge feature.
X3 is a bit of both. It’s better sounding than X4 and more comfortable than X2. It also has richer specs X2 but a rather short battery life compared to the other two.
The bottom line being, all three of them are decent athlete-oriented headphones and each of them has something unique to offer. So the best headphone for you will depend on what aspects you’re prioritizing. I have given you the key pointers. Now, it’s your turn to do your due diligence.