The Vista 2 headphones pretty much nail everything you want from sports headphones, with the only downsides being the high price and less-than-stellar ANC.
- Great fit
- Durable design
- Impressive sound
- More expensive than main rivals
- ANC is just OK
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Here’s the short version: Jaybird has crushed it. These are spot-on sports headphones. I’m not going to leave it there, but be prepared for most of what follows to simply expound on that.
With the Vista 2, Jaybird has simply nailed it, they have everything you could want from the best workout headphones. The fit is superb, very few buds beat them on sound quality, and the battery is good – eight hours in the headphones and another 16 in the small, light case puts them among the best running headphones out there. An especially rapid quick-charge function also means the Vista 2 will last an hour after just five minutes in the case.
On top of a strong showing in those essential characteristics, there are a host of useful extras. The Vista 2 buds offer active noise cancellation (ANC), plus an awareness mode called SurroundSense that allows in just the right amount of external noise in. There’s also a “find my buds” feature that can help you locate either the headphones or the case.
The Vista 2 are hardy, too. They are IP68 rated, meaning they are dustproof, dirtproof and sandproof, as well as waterproof enough to survive being submerged in water 1.5m deep for 30 minutes. Even the case is impressively water resistant, with an IP54 rating.
There are three sizes of “eargels” – essentially in-ear tips plus wings – in the box to help you achieve a snug fit. A little more choice would have been welcome, but I found that whichever of the three I used resulted in a secure enough fit for running and strength workouts.
The medium size worked best for me, offering the right mix of comfort and security – the larger size would start to irritate my ears after an hour or so, though I did need to use them on hot days when my ears would get sweaty and the medium eargels weren’t quite secure enough. The Bose Sport Earbuds are still the most comfortable truly wireless headphones, but these are in second place, while being smaller and a little more secure than the Bose Sport’s wingtips.
I rate the sound quality as up there with the best. I slightly prefer the sound profile here to that on the Bose Sports Earbuds and the Jabra Elite Active 75t. The Vista 2s offer powerful but not booming bass, and a warm feel that suits my preference for indie rock.
Don’t worry if that doesn’t sound like a good match for your tastes because I reached a sound I liked after 20 minutes tinkering with the EQ in the Jaybird app. I highly recommend doing the same because at first I didn’t rate the sound on the Vista 2 that highly and it’s easy to adjust.
I’ve recently tested a few sets of cheaper headphones that offer ANC but in reality cancel little in the way of noise, so it was a relief to find that the Vista 2’s ANC does what it claims to. Switch the feature on and there is a notable reduction in sounds like traffic or the hum of a treadmill or exercise bike. The awareness mode is also useful for filtering in external sounds when required.
That said, the ANC is not life-changing, and I also found that the sound quality seemed to be slightly better for music when both ANC and SurroundSense were turned off. If Jaybird had left off the ANC and made the headphones £30 cheaper, I’d probably rate the Vista 2 just as highly.
You can switch between the modes by double-tapping either bud, and this control worked remarkably reliably, since it’s normally the kind of gesture that would take two or three tries with other sports headphones. In the app you can set the control to switch just between ANC and awareness mode, or also add “Off”, which will save a little battery.
The other controls on the buds involve pressing the buttons on each side. You can set up the controls you’d like in the app for a single press, a double press, and a press and hold on each side. These controls worked reliably well while running – though I never enjoy a press and hold action with in-ear buds, since it can be a little uncomfortable to jam the bud further into your ear.
You can set up the Vista 2 to connect to up to eight devices, and once set up it’s usually fairly easy to switch between your laptop and phone. I say usually, because sometimes I needed to put the buds back in the case before they would accept the change in audio source. Overall the Vista 2 headphones are pretty easy to use with multiple devices, if not quite as reliably fluid when switching as the Jabra Elite Active 75t, or Apple and Beats headphones when using Apple devices.
I liked the Vista 2 buds from the off and after 10 days and a variety of workouts with them I’ve only grown to like them more. They rival the Jabra Elite Active 75t, which also excel on all fronts, for the title of best sports headphones.
The higher price of the Jaybird Vista 2 compared with the first generation is a shame, however, because if they were also £159.99 they’d be an easy pick as the best choice for most people. The Jabra Elite Active 75t buds have an RRP of £199.99 but, now that they’ve been available for over a year, are available for £149.99.
Head to head, the Vista 2 headphones offer marginally better waterproofing and longer battery life on the buds at eight hours compared with 7½ on the Elite Active 75t. Both have an excellent fit and great sound quality with the ability to customise in a partner app, as well as ANC and an awareness mode. If you’re looking for the best all-round sports headphones, it’s one of these two, and I’d probably say go with whatever is cheaper at the time of asking.
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.