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When you’re hunting for a pair of wireless headphones to wear while exercising, it’s vital to get a pair that offer a secure, comfortable fit. It’s also a good idea to find out if the sound produced will do your favourite music justice. Since our ear shapes and musical tastes are so individual, it can be hard to recommend one set of headphones for everyone – but the Jaybird X3 is the rare beast that can satisfy pretty much all comers thanks to the degree of customisation it offers in both fit and sound.
The fit is determined by your choice of buds, wing tips, and how much you shorten the cable with the provided clips. There are three sizes of silicone and foam tips, and three different wing tips. There’s also a shirt clip, if you find them helpful to stop the wires flapping around and tugging the buds out of place. There are a lot of options to choose from but while it may be a little tedious to work out the exact combination that’s best for you, the resulting rock-solid fit is worth it.
The Jaybird X3 stayed in place throughout my exercise, with the only mild early annoyance – that the cable would tug on the headphones when I turned my head – eventually solved by fiddling with the cable-shortening clip.
Both the foam and silicone ear tips block out ambient noise, which is great for getting in the zone, but it does mean you’re less aware of what’s around you. If you exclusively exercise outdoors on busy streets, you might want a design that lets you hear more, but even then many people happily block out the world while working out.
The sound profile of the headphones can be adjusted via Jaybird’s partner MySound app. You can pick from a variety of preset and user-created sound profiles, or fiddle with the settings yourself to get the best setting for your preferred type of music. Once you’ve set it up, the setting saves to your headphones and can be used on any other Jaybird device too.
Battery life on the X3 is eight hours, and you can get an hour’s worth of playback from a 15-minute charge if you only realise they’re dead when you’re getting ready to head out the door. One annoyance is that the X3 charges via a proprietary clip, so if you forget it, you can’t just borrow a mini-USB charger off someone else.
When you turn on the X3, a cheery – almost too cheery, to be honest – voice tells you how much battery life you have left and when they are connected. I found the connection to be quick and reliable with my smartphone, with no drop-outs at any point while I was using the X3.
Unless you always exercise outside and want to stay aware of everything around you, the Jaybird X3 headphones are ideal for soundtracking your sporting endeavours. The fit is excellent, the sound is superb and can be adjusted to your tastes, and the design is rugged enough to withstand sweat and rain alike.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.