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Wireless sports headphones can generally be rated a success or failure based on three things: how they sound, how well they fit and how long the battery life is. Increasingly, however, with truly wireless buds you have to take into account another factor – the carry case.
This doubles as a portable charger for truly wireless buds as well as being the place they have to go if you don’t want to keep losing the tiny buds. In my view, a good carry case should be small enough to fit in a pocket and if it isn’t, it had better have an absolutely gargantuan battery life to justify its size. All too often, however, carry cases are neither one nor t’other, and you’re saddled with something that you have to put in a bag to bring with you and that doesn’t charge your headphones more than a couple of times.
Jaybird is one of the few brands that is of the same mind as me and one of the biggest upgrades it has made on the Jaybird Run XT headphones with the release of the Vista is found in the case. First and foremost, it’s now small and light enough to slip in a pocket. It also has magnets inside to hold the buds in place, which is important because the Run XT headphones would always disconnect from the cradle while in the case and connect to your phone, which was very annoying.
The carry case only holds ten hours of charge as a result of its diminutive size, but I think that’s a small price to pay for something you can slip into your pocket. That said, the Apple AirPods’ case is also tiny and packs in 19 extra hours of juice. The Vista buds themselves hold six hours of battery, which is good for truly wireless headphones, but not exceptional. The Beats Powerbeats Pro headphones offer nine hours of charge, although they are significantly larger. One other good bit of news is that the Vista case is charged via USB-C, which is more convenient than the proprietary chargers Jaybird usually uses on its wireless headphones to ensure they’re waterproof.
Like the Jaybird Run XT headphones, the Vista buds have a waterproof rating of IPX7, which means they’ll survive even if you take them running in a monsoon. They connect to phones, laptops and running watches in a flash, and each bud can be used individually, which is useful when you want to wear just one for extra awareness of the world around you.
The Vista buds have a secure fit, especially when you use the tips with wings on them, although I found these slightly uncomfortable and opted for the wingless tips. After a couple of runs, one very sweaty and one in a storm, I’m satisfied that the fit was still secure enough even without the wings. You might have to prod at the buds from time to time to ensure they’re in place to offer the best sound quality, but they never came close to falling out of my ears.
Once you have nudged them into place, the Vista headphones offer excellent sound quality, and you can adjust the EQ to suit your exact preferences in the Jaybird app. You can punch up the bass, focus on vocals, or just ramp everything up to 11. You can even take a quick hearing test that results in a personalised EQ profile for you. The Vista buds deliver clear sound with little distortion even at high volumes, though it is worth noting that they don’t actually go very loud, and when seeking a boost at the end of a tough run I found myself trying to turn up the volume in vain.
There are no real faults to pick out with the Vista headphones. They don’t have one standout feature deserving particular praise, but Jaybird has undoubtedly covered all the bases by delivering a set of headphones that sound great, fit well, have a solid battery life and come with a pleasingly portable case.
Buy from Jaybird | £159.99
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.