Since we reviewed Jaybird’s Run, the company’s first truly wireless earbuds, the competition has heated up significantly. So much so that just making the Run fully waterproof isn’t enough — Jaybird needs something bold to turn heads (and ears) again. Enter the Vista ($180): they’re lighter and sleeker than the Run buds, while also delivering significantly better audio quality and some useful upgrades.
Clearly, Jaybird learned a lot from the Run. Whereas those earbuds were a bit bulbous and large, the Vista are tiny and practically weightless at 6 grams (just a gram heavier than a sheet of paper). They fit comfortably, thanks to their ever-reliable wingtips and three bud sizes, and they feel sturdy enough to take a few hard tumbles. Jaybird also dumped its previous charging case, which was too large for most pockets and had a bad habit of popping open unexpectedly, and replaced it with something much more compact. It’s slightly larger than a pack of gum, and it also holds 10 hours of charge (on top of the six hours in the Vista themselves).
Based on my brief testing, the Vista feature a more stable wireless connection than the last models. You can also use each earbud independently, thanks to a much more efficient Bluetooth connection. With both Run models, your phone only paired with the right unit, while the left one basically piggy-backed on that connection. Typically, I traverse New York while listening to podcasts on a single earbud, so it’s nice to have the option of choosing either side.
Over the past few years, I’ve spent plenty of time with the Run and its newer XT variant because they were the best sounding wireless earbuds around. But the Vista still manages to be a huge step forward. Jaybird developed a new 6 millimeter driver that makes everything sound richer. The previous models were bit bass heavy and lacked nuance — the Vista sound more like a pair of wired earbuds. I could clearly make out the layers of instrumentals in Thom Yorke’s Anima, as well as the orchestral flourishes of the The Dark Knight soundtrack (something that always sounded a bit muddy on the Run).
I’ll admit, the Vista still can’t touch Sony’s new noise canceling earbuds in terms of sound quality, but they’re close. They also have the advantage of being waterproof, sweatproof, and “crushproof” (according to Jaybird). After taking them out on a few runs, they’ve quickly become my favorite exercise earbuds. And on more than one occasion, I’ve even forgotten that I was wearing them, only to be jolted by The Daily’s theme music popping up out of nowhere. That’s pretty much everything I’ve ever wanted from exercise earbuds.
You can snag the Jaybird Vista today for $180 at online retailers and the company’s store. They’ll hit physical stores in August.