Jaybird RUN XT Review: True Wireless Earbuds Hit Their Second Generation

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You know a product category is transitioning from cool and exciting to mature when companies start releasing second generation devices. That’s the case with true wireless earbuds, which have gone from “the future” to everyday over the past several years. Jaybird was an early entrant to the category with its RUN true wireless earbuds, and now the company is following them up with the second generation Jaybird RUN XT.

Jaybird RUN XT review
Jaybird RUN XT earbuds with Charge Case and ear fins/tips. (Photo by Brad Moon)

Like the RUN, But Waterproof

Here’s the thing about the Jaybird RUN XT earbuds. They are all but identical to the Jaybird RUN earbuds, released several years back. I wrote a full review of those and rather than repeat myself, I’m going to link to it. If you want details, everything in that review still stands. Highlights, for those who don’t want to click through, include:

• Ultra-comfortable, super secure and interchangeable ear fins and ear tips (Jaybird has this down to a science)
• Solid audio performance that can be customized to impressive levels using Jaybird’s mobile app
• Battery life of four hours per charge, with two additional charges in the Charge Case (for a total of 12 hours), and five-minute quick charge for one hour of playback
• Support for Siri and Google Assistant

Jaybird RUN XT review
Can you spot the difference? (Photo by Brad Moon)

So What Is the Upgrade for the RUN XTs?

It comes down to water resistance and a new paint job. The nano coating on the RUN XT earbuds gives them an IPX7 water resistance rating. That translates into being able to survive 30 minutes in three feet of water. I tested it out, dropping the RUN XTs in a bowl of water while powered up and swirling them around for a while. No problem, they survived just fine. I’ve also had them outside in heavy rain and in snow.

Jaybird RUN XT
Verified, the Jaybird RUN XT earbuds are IPX7 water resistant. (Photo by Brad Moon)

What’s the practical meaning of the improvement? It’s not like you’re going to be tossing your earbuds in a pool, but with the Jaybird RUN XTs, no amount of sweat or extreme weather will be an issue. Torrential rain or a blizzard won’t keep you from having music during your run. And the paint job (Black/Flash in my review units) is prettier than the originals…

Video Lag

I hadn’t considered video lag until I saw some comments about it being an issue with The RUN XTs on Amazon. I don’t even have video testing in my routine for wireless sport earbuds because I’m assuming that you’d be listening to music and running, walking, or working out. But I suppose you could be watching video on a tablet on the treadmill… Anyway, after reading the comments, I dug the review units out of storage and gave them a try. Sure enough, there was a fraction of a second lag when watching video (at least on my iPhone). Audio was out of sync just enough to be irritating when watching people speaking on a video.

So if you were looking for true wireless earbuds to wear while watching video, the Jaybird RUN XT is probably out. And, apparently, I’m going to have to add video to my testing routine going forward.

Should You Buy the Jaybird RUN XT Earbuds?

Jaybird RUN XT review
Jaybird RUN XT wireless earbuds are designed to survive any weather.

This is actually a much more complicated recommendation than most.

First, if you already own a pair of original Jaybird RUN XT earbuds, there’s no compelling reason to upgrade to these unless you truly need that extra water resistance—or your earbud batteries are showing their age from use.

If watching video is a priority, we’ve already established you had better move on.

If you’re looking for a good set of wireless earbuds for music, I would point you to Jaybird’s Tarah Pro earbuds instead. They have the same IPX7 water resistance, great audio, I find them more comfortable to wear, the battery life is extraordinary, and they’ll save you some cash to boot.

But if you want true wireless earbuds, the $179.99 Jaybird RUN XT true wireless sport headphones are one of the better options out there—pretty much unbeatable when it comes to comfort and a secure fit, with great (customizable) music playback and decent battery life.

Disclosure: Jaybird provided RUN XT earbuds for evaluation but had no input into this review.

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