I’ve been on the Jaybird bandwagon since having the opportunity to try last year’s Freedom and X2 wireless earbuds. The company sent a pair of their new Jaybird RUN true wireless Bluetooth earbuds to try out, and the winning streak continues. If you want musical accompaniment to your physical activities—without any wires whatsoever—Jaybird RUN makes for an excellent option.
Earbuds That Are Comfortable, Secure, and Water Resistant
Jaybird is focused on the sport (or performance) headphone market. It’s built a reputation for designing earbuds that are actually comfortable to wear while staying securely in place during vigorous physical activity.
One of the big innovations Jaybird made is its patented ear fins that lock a bud into the folds of your ear. They’ve been widely copied, but I’ve yet to find other earbuds that do it as well as Jaybird. They’re back with Jaybird RUN, although in a tweaked design, and despite the additional size and weight (remember, these buds have to incorporate batteries and radios), the comfort and secure fit remain. That security was always a draw for fitness buffs, but it takes on new importance with true wireless earbuds. If one of these pops out, it’s hitting the ground from the height of your head…
A selection of ear fins and silicon ear tips is included. Unlike the Freedom and X2 earbuds, Jaybird does not include COMPLY memory foam tips with the RUN.
Jaybird uses a double hydrophobic nano coating on the RUN buds, which means they are both sweat-proof and water resistant. Heavy exertion and rain are nothing to worry about.
The Jaybird X2 and Freedom earbuds are wireless, but use a cable connecting the two buds (with a control module/battery pack wired to the two).
The Jaybird RUN earbuds ditch the wires altogether. You still pair to your smartphone using Bluetooth (Bluetooth 4.1), and the buds wirelessly connect to each other. That means complete freedom from wires, and nothing to tangle.
In practice, I never had the two RUN buds get out of sync, nor did I have to manually re-connect them. As soon as they were popped out of the charge case, they automatically connected.
The primary tradeoff to going completely wireless is battery life. Lithium-Ion battery technology has limits, and that means having to balance battery life with physical size. In the case of the Jaybird RUN that translates to approximately four hours. More if you keep the volume down and don’t play around with extra features, less if you like things loud, take voice calls, or make use of Siri (or Google Assistant).
When the battery dies, pop the Run earbuds in the included charge case. Fast charge gets a full hour of play time from five minutes in the case. A full charge from empty takes roughly two hours, and the charge case itself holds the equivalent of two full charges. Add it all up and that means 12 hours before you’ll be forced to search for a power outlet.
The charge case doubles as a protective case, helps to prevent losing a bud, and is small enough to slip in a pocket.
Audio + Extras
The Jaybird RUN earbuds are equipped with 6mm drivers with a rated frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. Getting a good seal is crucial to good audio, especially low-end response, and the company also offers a free app that lets you customize the sound. Get that seal in place, tweak the audio to your liking, and the RUN earbuds offer high-quality music playback. It’s crisp, there’s plenty of volume on tap, and the bass is respectable—not as good as on-ear headphones, but at the upper end of earbud performance. If you don’t get a good seal, though, volume and bass will definitely suffer.
If you want to wear a single bud to keep one ear free for listening to background noise such as oncoming traffic, that is supported.
Music control is via an easy-to-find button that covers the outer case of each earbud, or you can use Siri/Google Assistant to do it.
If you lose an earbud, that app includes a “Find My Buds” feature that shows its last known location on a map to at least narrow the search to a geographic location. It’s not going to pinpoint one within a room, though, so better to keep them in the charge case when not in use and avoid that lost bud scenario altogether.
Jaybird earbuds have been an easy recommendation for fitness enthusiasts who want music. And the Jaybird RUN true wireless earbuds follow in that tradition. You get a comfortable and very secure fit, sweat resistance, and high-quality audio. At $179.99, they are reasonably priced compared to other premium true wireless earbuds.
If battery life is a concern, you may be better off with the latest X-series or Freedom versions, as they get a few more hours on a charge thanks to their external battery pack. But to go completely wireless during your exercise routine, give the Jaybird RUN earbuds a try.
Disclosure: Jaybird provided RUN earbuds for evaluation but had no input into this review.