Update: My Bluebuds have gone dead, one month after this review. It looks like the internal battery is no longer working: The red charging indicator remains lit without ever turning green. I’ll be sending them back to Utah for a warranty return (oh, if only they had a Philippine distributor!) and will keep you posted on developments.
Update 2: Barely 3 days after I reported the issue to Jaybird, they sent me a replacement set via FedEx, around the world and all the way from Utah. They even included a t-shirt, a couple of stickers, and a handwritten note wishing me luck (I told them I was hoping to use the BlueBuds for a race this weekend). Now THAT’s customer service. Bravo!
Here’s a strong statement: I may have just found my new favorite pair of earbuds. To be exact, these would be the BlueBud X Bluetooth earbuds, from a company called Jaybird Gear, based out of Utah in the US.
Let’s start with the negatives first, because there are many, many more positives to enumerate on the other side of the balance sheet. Of course it’s up to you to weigh the factors for yourself. The biggest one: at $170 (around P7,000) SRP, they aren’t cheap. Here’s another hurdle: at the moment, Jaybird does not to my knowledge have a Philippine distributor, so the only way to get one right now is to buy one from the US and ship it in. And lastly, the supplied carrying case looks like it should be holding women’s makeup instead of earbuds. So there. Now on to the good stuff.
I have to say, my expectations were REALLY high. The BlueBuds promise amazing sound (via much geeky tweaking and tuning of their product’s frequency response and even a custom Bluetooth codec), an eyebrow-raising 8 hours worth of battery life (250 hours standby), all crammed into what they claim are the smallest Bluetooth headphones in the world.
An essential part of how good a pair of earbuds sounds to me depends on how well they fit my ears, and the BlueBuds came with a small, medium and large pair of ear tips to ensure the best seal. In addition, there were a couple of curvy-tadpole shaped soft rubber wings that are meant to mount on each earbud to further secure them inside my ear (as you can see from the image). I must say they were odd looking in my hand, but pretty effective in actual use. However I wouldn’t go as far as to say they’re the comfortable earbuds I’ve ever worn – while still tiny for Bluetooth earbuds, the large capsules still make their presence felt in the ear and it does take getting used to.
But wait, Vic – how do they sound? Well, I’m happy to report that they sound GREAT. I know I must have looked silly when I powered them on for the first time, cued up a track on my phone, and then broke out into a long, surprised guffaw of laughter. They really sound terrific. Bass is solid and meaty, without sacrificing the all important mids and highs. Everything is confident and musical, with a surprisingly nice and wide soundstage. Plus these things don’t distort when you max them out and can go louder than is probably safe for you, most especially if you’re using them for running (and many of us will). Frankly, these wireless babies sound better than a lot of wired earphones I’ve bought over the years.
There are a couple of other interesting points worth mentioning: Jaybird guarantees these buds for life against any sweat-related damage, meaning you can work out with them as hard as you want. In fact, they’re proudly touted as the Official Training Headphones of USA Triathlon. Another nice touch: there’s a sweetly sexy voice (named “Jenna”, apparently) that purrs “Power On” into your ear when you activate the set, and “Headphones Connected” when a link is established. Also, I left my phone on the desk and walked around the room and even went part of the way into another room without dropping a connection, so it’s safe to say that the BlueBuds will not have any problems keeping a link with a phone that’s in your pocket or tucked away in a racebelt or bag.
In conclusion: These are by far the best wireless headphones I’ve ever used, and give even some comparably priced wired earbuds competition in the sound quality department. Want to spoil yourself this Christmas? These are worth saving up for.
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