+ Thursday November 21st, 2019

We’ve had a few sets of “totally wireless” earbuds come through the Ausdroid team lately. Each with their own pros and cons, but I wasn’t prepared when the Jaybird Totally Wireless landed with me just how good they could be. That’s not to say that the previous units I’ve tested have been bad it’s more a case of these are just that good.

As with the previous units we’ve tested, there’s only so much you can do with the technology. It’s a case with independent battery, roughly the size of a large match box which houses the 2 earbuds. Each with their own battery and ability to independently pair if you want them to. But there are a lot of variables in whether they are good to use or not.

The RRP may scare some buyers off – at $299.95 – but honestly, I’d urge you to hear me out before writing them off. I think you’ll be as impressed as I am despite the lack of aptX compatibility.

What’s inside?

There’s not a lot in the nicely packaged retail box and this is going to sound like a broken record for wireless earbuds reviews, but for one significant difference. The case is storage, protection and power for your earphones when they’re not in your ears. It’s a hard plastic with a short carry cord on it to make it easier to carry on your keychain, attach to a bag or on your belt.

Yes Jaybird, Thank you! USB C charging for the case!

For a lot of users, the USB C is neither here nor there – but there’s a lot of people like me who now won’t buy anything that’s NOT USB C. USB C is now approaching a level where absence is more likely to break a deal than not. The charging cable is a decent length too, unlike some I have seen in the past where charging cables are frankly: Too short to be practical.

Like other options we’ve recently checked out, there are several tips for your earphones to ensure you get the right fit. This is so important to the final experience you have. Too small and the sound quality will suffer immensely, but too big and you’ll have issues with them dropping out of your ears and likely major problems with comfort.

I was once again very lucky that my ears seemed to suit the out of the box tips. Initially I found them a bit uncomfortable, but that’s coming from a different design where twisting the earpiece into your ear was a necessity. Not the case here, a simple case of gentle pressure with one finger in line and they just fit really well. After vigorous exercise, they hadn’t moved and I had to give them some persuasion to come out of my ears.

The gym is a good place to go but it does have a lot of noise, distractions and often music I really don’t enjoy. So having a good fitting, lightweight set of wireless earphones that can give me my own space makes a big difference to not just your mindset but the results you get from your “me time”.

It’s a give and take with the Jaybird Vista regarding the size of the earpieces. They’re really quite small, to a point of being fiddly to handle them. They’re visibly well sealed and the IPX7 rating they carry backs this up, partially out of interest for the review and partially because I can… I had a shower with them in and they didn’t miss a beat. In theory you could go swimming in them, but given my swimming skills are fairly limited – I’ve just assumed that’s the case.

With that small size comes some significant weight reduction as well, but thankfully no real sacrifice with the battery performance. I’ve gone close to a working week without needing to charge a couple of times. If I’ve been in the office a lot, I do need to charge them during the week. In terms of playback time, I’ve consistently go around 5 hours music playback without putting the earphones back in the case and two full charges from the case.

How do they go in the real world?

The short answer is they do a great job of managing the daily grind very well. The important thing for users to know is that they’re really comfy providing you have the right fit for your ears. Each earpiece is weighs a tiny 6 grams and once they’re in your ears, it’s disturbingly easy to forget they’re there. That combination of weight and comfort makes the Jaybird Vista Totally Wireless a really good option for long term listening.

Something I’ve really liked is having the controls programmable. Honestly, this is a deal clincher for me. It takes them from a very good set of wireless earphones to nearly indispensable.

As a default, the controls are what extremely user friendly and what I would call “market standard”

  • Single press – play/pause
  • Double press – previous track (left earbud) /next track (right earbud)
  • Long press – power on/off

Inside the Jaybird app you can change the controls to a number of other options to any of those triggers including:

  • Google Assistant – Can be linked to single or double press
  • Previous track (left earbud) /next track (right earbud) – Can be linked to Double press
  • Volume Up or Down – links to long press on the right and left earpiece respectively
  • Some basic (pre-determined) options inside the Jaybird App

I went with the one touch for Google Assistant, two for track controls and long press for volume. I did find though that the volume jump was smooth but could be substantial, so approach with caution.

Placing individual, or both eat pieces back in the box turns them off and charges them. This gave more flexibility in listening, particularly if you’re in an environment that requires some spatial awareness – this becomes very important.

What about the sound?

The sound quality is really good, not earth shatteringly brilliant but given the target market – I don’t believe there will be any disappointed buyers. Audiophiles are going to spend a lot more on audio gear and they’re likley to be over year, no in-ear options.
They’re going to produce really good sound that most users will like it if the box. If they’re not quite to your liking, then the EQ options in the Jaybird app will give you some really good options based on your listening habits and time the sound accordingly.

Much of this will depend on you getting the right fit. The reality is, some users aren’t going to get the fit they need it if the box to make these things really pump some sound. If you’re not quite sure, test all of the tips provided to see which work best for you.

I was really surprised at just how good these are straight out of the box. Equally as pleased to have a firmware update drop immediately. To me that shows a commitment to deliver the best possible user experience.

As is the case with any in-ear sound solution, the fit is key to not just your comfort but critical to the sound. If the earpiece has a tip too large on it, they’re really uncomfortable to wear and if it’s too small you don’t get a seal in your ear and poor sound (particularly bass) production.

Once the initial dazzle wore off, I did find them a bit heavy on the bass. Easily resolved with the earlier mentioned EQ options in the Jaybird app or, if you prefer through your own EQ app. But it’s really important to note that sound preference is very subjective and this is my thoughts, not a criticism of the hardware.

The Jaybird App was extremely easy to use, navigate and get what you need from it. Including updates to the software, firmware for year Vista headphones and general navigation. Once I’d found an EQ I was happy with for day to day listening I belted through quite a few of the options I regularly use to evaluate sound and I’m really happy with what has been delivered here.

The vocal reproduction was really clean and crisp, even on acoustic music where often guitars and voices can interfere with each other on some in-ear options causing flat or “muddy” sound. Listening to heavier music the sound production was absolutely spot on, to a point of being immersive in the feeling I got from the sound.

I’ve had in ear sound in the past where the high frequencies are overpowering and shrill. Having spoke to sound engineers about this they’ve all said basically the same thing – it’s easy to produce high register sound with small speakers. Producing good quality broad sound on a driver the size of an earbud is very challenging. Jaybird have risen to that challenge and given not just comfortable, but a really good and broad audio experience.

The Jaybird Vista Totally Wireless Sport are classified as passive noise cancelling. Much like other wireless earphones we’ve tested recently, they do block a lot of noise out. These are the first I’ve used though that deserve the label of noise cancelling though. Where others will dull surrounding noise, these do a great job of blocking out surrounding distractions – so much so that I have been using them at work occasionally without any music playing just to remove surrounding distractions in busy times.

Should you buy them?

Let’s be really clear straight away, these are way above entry level hardware and you pay a significant cost to get the quality of hardware and sound that the Jaybird Vista Sport delivers. If you’re looking at these then there’s a couple of variables here that need to be explored:

  • What your use case – general day to day, commuting, sports etc
  • Your budget – There are far cheaper options available if you don’t need the IPX7 or sports fit
  • Is USB C a want or a must have?

If you’re shopping for day to day use or commuting only, there are probably other options around that can fulfil your needs, as always we recommend that people do some research before investing your dollars. We’ve recently looked at several options, a quick scroll back through our reviews and you’ll find them easily.

If you’re after a sports compatible set of wireless earphones, then these really do have to be on the pointy end of the list. They’re comfy, lightweight, offer good battery life, are IPX7 compliant and deliver good sound playback.

The case is small enough that it can fit in your pocket throughout the day without causing too much of a hindrance. What could become a hindrance for a lot of users is the price, $299.95 RRP is pretty steep for something you’re not going to be using heavily. So users shopping on budget, probably haven’t read this far into the review but if you have – these aren’t for you.

Unlike other options on the market, these have USB C which makes life easy if you’ve got USB C charging options through your home. I’ve given the review unit a hammering and they’ve not got a mark on them or missed a beat. Ultimately they’re not cheap, but if they fit your wants and needs then they’re worth the investment

Disclosure Statement:


Due to hygiene reasons, the supplier have not requested the unit back.

Phil Tann   Associate

Phil Tann

Phil is an Android enthusiast who spends most of his time reading up on U.S. Android news so he can get the low down on what could possibly hit Australian shores. Coming from a background in IT & T sales, he’s in the perfect position to give an educated view on hardware and software.

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Rowan
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Rowan

I’ve got a pair and the only ‘fault’ is the noise cancelling. It would be nice to be able to tone it down so it would be a bit safer when running or generally being in the street

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