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Jaybird RUN XT hands-on: Improved water resistance, customizable buttons, and video playback failure

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Music motivates me to run faster and further so I rarely run without something playing from a connected smartphone or music-enabled watch. Jaybird was one of the first fitness-focused audio brands I tested nine years ago. Since then, I have tested several Jaybird products and been pleased with the performance of the brand, until now.

Jaybird released its first fully wireless earbuds with the Jaybird RUN in late 2017. The Jaybird Tarah Pro was released in late 2018 and as the last step in ensuring all of its products meet the IPX7 level of water resistance Jaybird recently released the Jaybird RUN XT. I’ve spent the past couple of weeks with a pair of these new earbuds and they are not going to replace my favorites, the Jabra Elite Active 65t.

Compared to the Jaybird RUN, the RUN XT improves with a higher level of water resistance, new color options, and refined design. The two available colors are black/flash and storm/gray. Storm is light blue and the storm/gray color is the model sent to me for evaluation.

Also: Jabra Elite Active 65t review: Better than the AirPods and designed for active users

Specifications

  • Microphone: Omni-directional MEMS on the right earbud
  • Water resistance: IPX7 rating
  • Battery life: 80 mAh for each earbud for up to four hours of battery life. The charging case provides another eight hours of run time.
  • Wireless connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1
  • Earbud dimensions: 14.3 x 19.5 x 19mm and about 7 grams (depends on your selected fin and tip)

For $180, wireless headsets today should have the latest technology and that means Bluetooth 5.0, or at the least 4.2 Low Energy, with a charging case incorporating a USB-C port and not the old microUSB standard. aptX support would also be nice to see at this price.

Hardware

One reason I discovered Jaybird many years ago was its ability to create headsets with sweat resistance and a warranty to match my usage. I only run outside so am often running in rain and other inclement weather conditions. The new Jaybird RUN XT has an IPX7 water-resistant rating, which means it can handle submersion down to one meter for up to 30 minutes. There is also double hydrophobic nano coating to protect the headset. In other words, you can wear these in just about any weather condition

Fit has always been something you could customize with a Jaybird headset through the use of different tips and fins. The new Jaybird RUN XT model includes four pairs of fins and silicone tips. The fins are integrated with a silicone oblong piece that fits around the earbud. An opening in the fin piece with labeling for the size ensures accurate installation on the earbud. There are also four sizes of silicone tips to help you find just the right fit. We typically see three sizes of tips with most headsets.

Jaybird advertises four hours of playback time and so far that is about what I am seeing. It states that you can get up to an hour of playback with just five minutes of charging. Callers confirmed that I sound good on my end through the Jaybird RUN XT, with the omni-directional mic located on the right earbud. All calls are handled through just the right earbud and you can use this earbud in mono configuration too if you want one ear open for safety.

There is a one button on each earbud, located towards the bottom of the Jaybird logo and towards your face when inserted. There are also indicator lights at the top of each earbud so you know if an earbud is turned on or not. By default, the button on the left is used to activate your selected assistant while the right side is used to play/pause music and answer a call with a single press. A double press of either earbud skips forward or declines a call while a long press on either (more than 3 seconds) turns on or off each earbud.

Also: Jaybird Tarah Pro wireless sport headphones, hands-on: 14-hour battery life powers endurance workouts

I prefer to use wireless headsets where I can control volume so at first I didn’t think the Jaybird RUN XT would fit my usage habits. I then launched the Jaybird smartphone app and discovered that you can switch the single button press to an alternate set of controls. I now have the right bud increasing volume while the left bud lowers volume. A double press of either still jumps ahead one song.

A charging case, colored to match the earbuds, is provided with two formed compartments to store and charge the RUN XT. Indicator lights are present on the front, one for each earbud so you can view the charging state after inserting the earbuds. Unfortunately, the old microUSB standard is used for charging up the battery case. It’s time to move to the USB-C standard folks.

Smartphone software

While you do not need the Jaybird iOS/Android app to use the earbuds, I highly recommend you install it for an optimal experience. With the app installed, you can switch the functionality of the buttons, as I detailed above.

The app lets you customize your equalizer settings, manage the headphones, and even choose and share playlists. Spotify integration is present, which is perfect since I am a Spotify subscriber and have been looking for more playlists for running. Jaybird also recently added some recommended podcasts so it is another way to discover podcasts related to exercise.

How-to guides, fit guides, and support is also provided through the app. You also need the app to use the find my buds function, which will show the last known location of your connected Jaybird RUN XTs.

Price and competition

High end wireless earbuds currently range in price from $150 to $180 so the Jaybird RUN XT is priced about right, if some of the specs were a bit higher. It is the same price as the first version of the Jaybird RUN as well.

The 2018 Samsung Gear IconX has a MSRP of $179.99. However, the Samsung website currently has a $30 reduction in price so you can pick up a pair for $149.99.

RHA recently released the TrueConnect earbuds with a price of $169.95. The Jabra Elite Active 65t headset, one of my faves, is priced at $179. Bose also has the SoundSport wireless headphones for $149.95.

Daily usage experiences and conclusion

The Jaybird headphones I’ve used over the years have always sounded great since sound quality is one of the four pillars of the company’s design philosophy. Music plays loud and clear with the RUN XT and I actually cannot pump them up to the highest volume level or my ears get blown out.

I also have not experienced any connectivity issues with the RUN XTs. I’ve tested them with multiple phones and watches with seamless playback. Despite using an older version of Bluetooth with no aptX support, the earbuds have performed well for music and podcasts.

Calls are handled just through the right earbud with audio limited to just the right side. The left earbud actually allows in ambient sound when a call comes in to help you hear your own voice so you don’t have to take it out to have a decent call. Callers sounded good in the right earbud and they told me I sounded fine as well.

However, there is one fatal flaw that may prevent you from wanting to spend $180 on this headset. On my daily Sounder train commute, I see about half the people watching video content on their smartphones with headsets and I can often been seen streaming the latest Netflix or HBO show. You will not want to use the Jaybird RUN XT for streaming the audio from a video. If you do, you will notice there is a consistent lag between the mouth movement of characters and the audio playback on the RUN XT. I tested several video streaming, and offline, services with the Jaybird RUN XT and the Jabra Elite Active 65t and there was lag on the RUN XT with none present in the Jabra headset. We should not see such poor performance from a $180 headset. It would be great if Jaybird could fix this with an update, but I read through the forums and this was also a problem with the previous Jaybird RUN headset so I’m not optimistic for a fix here either.

The Jaybird RUN XT never slipped out of my ears and were comfortable for hours of wear. The audio sounded excellent and the ability to customize the equalizer is something we don’t see in many of these wireless earbuds. I know that video is not really the focus of wireless sport headphones, but given the fact that mobile devices today require wireless earbuds, other earbuds don’t have this issue, and the RUN XT is priced at $180 this functionality should work perfectly.

The high level of water resistance is great and these earbuds should last you for years with your workouts in various conditions. If an update can fix the video problem then maybe I’ll try them again, but until then it’s back to the Jabra Elite Active 65t headset.

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Does Elon Musk really even want to buy Twitter? – TechCrunch

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When The New York Times got its hands on some of Elon Musk’s plans for Twitter, a company that he is in the process of purchasing, you would have been forgiven for thinking that Musk knew what he was buying.

Per the Times’ reporting, we learned that Musk expects to bolster Twitter’s revenue to “$26.4 billion by 2028, up from $5 billion last year,” while growing the company’s user base from “217 million at the end of last year to nearly 600 million in 2025 and 931 million six years from now,” boosting average revenue per user by nearly $6 over the same time frame.


The Exchange explores startups, markets and money.

Read it every morning on TechCrunch+ or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.


Those numbers might have made SPACs blush, but they showed something critical in the Musk pitch: that Twitter had huge amounts of value that he, Musk, could unlock with his plan.

Since then — the Times broke the Musk investor pitch 11 days ago — matters between Musk and the social media company have become tenuous as its potential acquirer took to the company’s service to complain, prod, and backtrack.

Musk’s displeasure with Twitter has centered around the issue of bots. Not all bots on Twitter are malicious or bad; some are even entertaining. But too many bots, or even the wrong sort, matter because they can dilute the user experience on the social service by spamming real users, and inflate the company’s advertiser-focused metrics.

On May 13, Musk threw the financial world into a frenzy by stating on Twitter that his deal to buy the company was “on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users.” Whether he was able to make such a decision is not clear based on the deal documents.

Although he said he was still “committed” to the deal, Musk ran an experiment involving a set of 100 users to see how many were bots.

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Musk says Twitter deal is dead unless CEO can prove spam stats – TechCrunch

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In a new tweet fired at Twitter before market open, Elon Musk has reiterated that his $44BN deal to buy the social media platform is on hold over the issue of spambots.

But now he’s tacitly accusing the company of lying over the proportion of fake/spam accounts on the platform, claiming its CEO “publicly refused to show proof of <5%”.

Musk has also set what sounds like an outright ultimatum — writing: “This deal cannot move forward until he does.”

He further suggests the platform could have more than 20% fake/spam accounts, linking to a report on comments he made in Miami on Monday saying he believes a fifth of Twitter accounts are fake/spam bots.

The tweet looks designed to pile yet more pressure on Twitter’s management which has already suffered the indignity of having Musk tweet a poo emoji at CEO Parag Agrawal (see our earlier report) in very public discussion about the spambot issue, among other Musk-generated ‘noise’.

With this latest Twitter CEO-targeting tweet, the shitposting billionaire may be engaging in more trollfaced bullyboy tactics — by seeking to drum up more negative publicity (on Twitter) that’s intended to hammer Twitter’s stock price — in a bid to force the company to accept a lower offer, if only to get him to shut up.

Or, well, he’s looking for a way to exit the deal entirely.

At the time of writing Twitter’s share price was down a further 2.75% pre-market. The stock has slid in recent weeks as Twitter grapples with Musk-shaped bumps in the road, from a high of around $50 at the time his offer was accepted to a low of around $37 now.

Let’s hope the mafia isn’t taking notes from Musk’s playbook on ‘the power of a social media megaphone platform’.

It’s notable that the Tesla CEO waived his right to do due diligence when he agreed to buy Twitter last month — presumably to encourage Twitter to accept what he’d couched as his “best and final offer” after its board initially sought to evade the takeover. So whinging about the percentage of bots he’s buying now is either stupidity or calculated stupidity. 

Although his urging that Twitter open itself to “external validation” on the bot detection issue could at least endear him to the independent research community.

Musk also agreed to a non-disparagement clause as part of the deal to buy Twitter. But apparently he doesn’t understand what that word means. Or, else, he continues to act as if binding legal agreements simply don’t apply to him.

Twitter was contacted for comment on Musk’s latest accusations. At the time of writing it had not responded but Bloomberg has just tweeted that the company told it it remains “committed to completing the transaction on the agreed price and terms as promptly as practicable”.

The company has also filed a preliminary proxy statement on the acquisition, further suggesting it’s committed to the deal as agreed.

In its recommendation to shareholders, the board writes:

“The Twitter Board unanimously recommends that you vote: (1) “FOR” the adoption of the merger agreement; (2) “FOR” the compensation that will or may become payable by Twitter to our named executive officers in connection with the merger; and (3) “FOR” the adjournment of the special meeting, from time to time, to a later date or dates, if necessary or appropriate, to solicit additional proxies if there are insufficient votes to adopt the merger agreement at the time of the special meeting.”

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Hinge’s latest feature aims to help users spark conversations about self-care – TechCrunch

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Dating app Hinge is introducing a new “Self-Care Prompts” feature that is designed to inspire initial conversations between matches about self-care priorities. Hinge’s in-app prompts are conversation starters that users answer as part of their profiles and are displayed to potential matches. The prompts are designed to allow users to showcase their personality instead of having a generic bio. With this latest launch, users can now select up to three new self-care prompts to spark conversations about mental health awareness.

There are 15 new self-care prompts that users can answer and add to their profiles. The prompts include “My last journal entry was about…,” “The last I cried happy tears was…,” “My friends ask me for advice about…,” “To me, relaxation is…,” “I feel most supported when…,” “A boundary of mine is…,” “When I need advice, I go to…,” “I hype myself up by…,” “My cry-in-the-car song is…,” “My self-care routine is…,” “I wind down by…,” “Therapy recently taught me…,” “My therapist would say I…,” “My happy place is…” and “I get myself out of a funk by…”

hinge self care prompts

Image Credits: Hinge

Hinge says it hopes these prompts will make it easier for users to share their wellness journey early on in conversations. The company says it found that 97% of Hinge users want to date someone who actively takes care of their mental health, but only 9% feel comfortable bringing up therapy on a first date.

“Talking about mental health has gone from an “oh no” to a must-have in modern dating,” Hinge’s director of relationship science, Logan Ury, said in a statement. “People have been working on themselves and want to be with someone who’s done the same. By adding Self-Care Prompts, Hinge is helping singles show that they prioritize their mental health, and are ready to connect in a deeper, more authentic way.”

The new self-care prompts join the existing prompt packs on Hinge, including, “About Me,” “Story Time,” “Let’s Chat About” and “Voice First.” Hinge’s “Voice First” feature, which rolled out last fall, went viral on TikTok as users shared their experiences with the feature. Voice Prompts allow users to answer a prompt through a 30-second voice recording, which allows for some funny stories to be shared in a more personal way.

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