For many people, a pair of headphones are an essential part of their workout. Between music, audiobooks, podcasts, and even videos, exercisers have no shortage of things to keep them engaged with their routine and get into the groove. However, not all pairs of headphones out there are suitable for hitting the gym.
Wired headphones often get in the way of intense workout routines, meaning that wireless options can be incredibly appealing. However, that’s not enough to make an excellent pair of workout headphones. A comfortable fit and sound quality are just some of the qualifications that you should consider when looking for the latest addition to your workout gear.
Jaybird’s X4 headphones are the latest iteration in the company’s X line of products, and this model has seen some upgrades from the X3 version that came before it. But are these worth the new investment? Our Jaybird X4 review has all the details you need for an informed purchase.
What Are Jaybird X4 Headphones?
The Jaybird X4 headphones are the latest iteration of Jaybird’s X series: a line of wireless, in-ear headphones meant for athletic and workout use. They operate through Bluetooth and can connect to up to two devices at once, as well as multiple platforms. While some of the changes in comparison to the X3 model from the same series, these little tweaks can actually make a substantial difference.
Content Toggle Headline
So many aspects can play a role in what makes an excellent pair of workout earbuds, and we’re choosing to start with the comfort level. Athletic headphones should be able to stand up to an intense exercise routine, and they should be comfortable to wear, too, so you can focus on your movement and not adjusting what’s in your ears every five seconds.
The Jaybird X4s go a long way to provide that necessary comfort, and it starts by the many adjustable parts that come with the headphones. In addition to multiple sizes of ear tips (including the foam Comply Ultra ear tips, which provide additional sound isolation), you also have different sized hook fins, allowing you to make a custom fit that’s perfect for your ear.
Even with the adjustable hooks, some users still can’t quite get the right fit, but those are sporadic cases, and you should no trouble getting a stable, comfortable set of the ear tip as you work out.
Aside from the earpieces themselves, another challenge with keeping sports headphones comfortable is how to deal with the connecting strap. Instead of leaving you to let the strap hang underneath your chin, Jaybird X4s have an easily operable adjustor on the strap, making it a breeze to securely fit the headphones to the size of your head without it getting in the way of your workout.
Another key feature that all sports headphones should have is at least sweat-proofing, especially for anyone that has an intense routine regularly. Jaybird’s X4s go beyond just that minimum threshold, as they have an IPX7 waterproofing certification on their side—one of the notable upgrades from the previous X3 model.
The IPX7 rating means that these headphones can handle far more than just sweat; the official ranking is being able to survive submersion in water for up to thirty minutes. Should you take them for a dip in the pool? No, but you can use them in the rain without much worry, which is a great boon for anyone who walks, runs, bikes, or otherwise exercises outside with uncooperative weather.
Aside from how suited these headphones are for working out, you can’t deny the need for reliable audio quality, no matter what you listen to as you exercise. When it comes to what the Jaybird X4s are capable of, you’ll find a decent level of sound levels—though you may have to work for it, if you’re picky.
Without any adjustments, these headphones are a bit on the more substantial bass range of sounds, and using the Comply Ultra foam ear tips will emphasize this aspect. If you’re picky about your audio, you may also notice some hissing sounds on the delivery of S’s and similar sounds. Playing at maximum volume also can make individual instruments bleed together, though you shouldn’t listen to audio that loud.
For some, the default settings may sound perfectly fine, while others might find themselves disappointed by what Jaybird has to offer. However, there is an official app that goes with the headphones which allow you to take advantage of community built EQ presets, as well as fully customize the settings to your preferences.
Even with this level of adjustable available, these headphones aren’t going to blow any audiophile out of the water with their performance. However, that’s the norm for sports earphones, and you will be able to hear as you use them, which is what most people looking for the sound solution to their workout routine will need.
Battery Life and Charging
Wireless headphones tend to be the product of choice for sports since having extra cords around can quickly get in the way of a workout. However, dropping the wires means that the headphones need wireless communication to work, and that also entails having a power source of their own. For the Jaybird X4 headphones, the advertised battery life is a maximum of eight hours.
Many manufacturers will overestimate their battery life, but, for the most part, Jaybird holds with its promises. In testing, the average battery lifespan is around seven to seven and a half hours, which comes close to the advertised numbers. Some users have even reported going past the eight-hour point on battery life.
Naturally, the lifespan you’ll get from the batteries in these headphones will depend on how regularly you use them; for most people, seven hours is enough to last through a week, so long as you use them exclusively for your workout time. If you use them in other situations, you may need to charge them throughout your week, but that the norm with any wireless product.
Charging is where these headphones do fall a bit behind others on the market. Jaybird has a proprietary charging dock, which means it’s one of a kind. It’s simple to use and charges quickly; however, the risk is that, if you lose the dock, you likely won’t be able to go to the store and pick up a new one. Instead, you’ll have to order online and effectively lose the use of your headphones until the new dock arrives.
Whether this is an issue or not will depend on you. For people who know they’re prone to losing accessories (even when the X4s come with a convenient carrying bag), the risk of going without a charger may be too much. That call will ultimately be up to you, but, otherwise, the X4s pass in this category.
The remote control for operating the Jaybird X4 headphones is simplistic enough, with three main buttons. The center control handles tasks like play, pause, and even answering and ending calls if necessary. The other two buttons work for both adjusting the volume and skipping tracks, with short presses for the former, and extended presses triggering the latter.
Overall, there isn’t too much to complain about on this front, though it would be nice to have separate buttons for adjusting the volume and navigating tracks. With the current system, the slip of a finger can have you skipping over the song you wanted when you were trying to turn it up and vice versa. Then again, if you have an intense workout, you might not have time to mess with the controls at all.
The wireless range on these headphones is also decent, reaching up to ten feet (with potentially up to thirty feet, based on some customer reports). This capability gives you plenty of space to work with if you need to put your device to the side as you move around through your workout routine.
However, even if you keep your device on hand, the wireless capacity sometimes has issues when in crowded areas. If you’re the type that likes to take a run outside and you know you’re headed through a busy place, be prepared for some potentially spotty sound until you’re out of the area.
The controls may allow you to quickly answer and end calls when attached to a compatible device, but we wouldn’t recommend the Jaybird X4s for your go-to headphones for talking to others. The included microphone doesn’t have a sensitive sensor so the person on the other end won’t be able to hear you clearly unless you speak directly into the mic, which isn’t the definition of convenient.
For everything else that these headphones do well, making it easy to make calls while hands-free isn’t one of their strengths.
- Bluetooth Capable
- Adjustable ear tips and fins
- Battery life: up to eight hours
- IPX7 waterproofing
- Wireless range: ten to thirty feet
- iOS and Android compatible
- Cost: $129.99 MSRP
How It Compares
Putting Jaybird’s X4 headphones against the previous X3 model doesn’t show too many changes overall. However, the available upgrades are undoubtedly worthwhile, such as the waterproofing, the easily adjustable strap, and just the overall build make the X4s a worthy upgrade for anyone that loves their X3s.
As mentioned, though, the X4s are not the cheapest pair of sports headphones on the market. Yes, you are paying for the quality, but there are plenty of other options out there, such as OnePlus Bullets Wireless headphones, which rival these earbuds at a lower cost for anyone wanting a cheaper investment.
And even though most people don’t go looking for sports earphones expecting the highest possible level of sound quality, the V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless headphones have much more precise sounds without the need to tweak the EQ if you’re an audiophile that wants nothing less than the best.
Pros And Cons
- Allows for adjustable EQ
- Customizable fit
- Minimal sound leakage
- Adjustable strap
- Eight-hour battery life
- In-ear fit not suitable for all users
- Charging cradle is inconvenient
- Sound quality not ideal for audiophiles
- Connectivity has some issues in crowded areas
So now that we’ve reached the end of our Jaybird X4 review, what’s our final verdict?
Overall, these headphones are an excellent option for anyone looking for the right pair of earphones for working out. The sound quality is a step up from some cheaper options, especially once you adjust the EQ settings, and the extended battery life, adjustable strap, and customizable earpieces and fins ensure you have a comfortable fit, no longer how long your exercise routine may be.
The wireless range is wide enough so that you can place your audio source out of the way if necessary, and the IPX7 waterproofing makes these suitable for those who take their workout outside. Anyone looking for audiophile quality headphones or a pair ideal for making calls with others might not feel satisfied, but that’s not why Jaybird has made the X4s.
At the end of the day, Jaybird’s X4 headphones make for a worthy upgrade to their predecessors that are reliable to use, convenient to carry around with you, and suitable for a multitude of workout conditions—and there’s not much more you can ask for from a pair of sports earphones.
Our Jaybird X4 review awards these sports headphones 4.5/5 stars.