Last year I was seriously considering to get Jaybird X3. I did not end up with a purchase because I tested a demo unit in a store and found the ear fins are too spiky. Comfort is a non negotiable criteria for me when choosing wearable, so X3 immediately went out of my wish list. This year, I am not really in the market for a new pair of wireless earphones. Just so happen that I came across an ad showing the latest X4 with redesigned fins.
My first impression on Jaybird X4 is almost underwhelming. To be fair, there is nothing particularly wrong about the product and its packaging. Built-quality is decent. Everything looks okay, yet it feels very ordinary. It is a good product without the excitement factor. Maybe it was my problem with expectations.
Let me start with the basic set of features: Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity, 8 hours battery, 2 hours charging time, 16-bit stereo audio, HFP, HSP and A2DP. Jaybird X4 charges using proprietary Pogo pin connector. It is a pain because I need to carry yet another connector to charge something that I use regularly. In the box, we can find the earphones unit, 2 sizes of ear tips, 2 sizes of comply ear tips, 3 sizes of ear fins, charge cradle with cable, shirt clip, speed cinch and carry pouch. X4 delivers mostly the same set of features from X3, plus some minor redesigns and IPX7 waterproofing.
Neither sizes of the normal ear tips feel comfortable, I feel that they only include Medium and Large size and what I need is Small. Comply ear tips feel a bit funny and I just could not figure out a use case scenario when it might be preferred compared to the normal ones. The smallest version of ear fins work nice for me. Therefore, given the available combination, I have to settle with smallest ear tips and ear fins.
Another issue with comfort is that the cable length is short. Too short for my liking. The remote unit is rather bulky and unexpectedly heavy in comparison to the entire weight of the product. As a result, the cable kept moving towards the right side when I wear it. This becomes a comfort issue especially because the cable is short. Quite often, I found the cable was restraining my intention to move my head around. In comparison, Bose SoundSport Wireless has better cable length, and the cable material is a lot easier to move when touching our skin.
One of the main reasons that got me interested to get X3 was the feature to adjust the EQ from app. X4 still has this feature, and it does deliver. Once the EQ is set, it stays with the earphones even when paired to another phone or device. I now have a pair of earphones that sound like anything I want. This alone is probably the saving grace from all the issues I have around comfort. Thanks to this custom EQ, sound quality is quite enjoyable. I get to hear some songs with the best possible EQ settings for optimal experience. However, I have not found a single preset that is ideal for all my favourite songs. I can come up with my own custom settings, but I guess I just found out that I’m not really good at making one. I wish Jaybird would provide a way for people to exchange their custom EQ, perhaps through export/import feature.
I will keep this earphones only because of the custom EQ feature. In everything else, my Bose SoundSport Wireless is a clear winner. I am considering to get X3 set of ear tips and see if it can help me to get smoother experience. The idea is to use X3 ear tips (small) with the X4 ear fins. Will probably write another post if the experiment is successful.