Two years after the launch of the Jaybird Run, we have a new earphone in our midst - the $180 Jaybird Run XT. Launched as a successor to the Jaybird Run, these wireless headphones are the latest one to join the race for the best wireless earphones.
The Bose SoundSport Free is another pair of wireless earphones that have received some reviews. A feature-rich app accompanies these $199 earphones. Plus, it is compatible with both Google Assistant and Siri.
So, are the new Jaybird Run XT earphones a better investment over the older Bose SoundSport Free? That’s what we are going to find out in this post today.
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1. Design and Fit
Let’s talk about Jaybird Run XT's design first. The Run XT pair is both lightweight, sleek, and sports a discrete look. In short, they are not clunky and don’t look like a pair of alien-tech on your ears.
Also, these IPX7-rated earphones have a comfortable fit and come with two sets of silicone tips and fins for a secure fit. That means you can wear them during vigorous training routines without the fear of them falling over.
On the contrary, the Bose SoundSport Free earphones are the opposite of small. Though the fit is great, thanks to the StayHear+ Sport tips, they are clunky and tend to stick out from the ear flap. That's why they end up giving a goofy look to people with small ears.
Also, the Bose SoundSport Free earphones are not IPX7 rated. Instead, they are IPX4-rated and are just sweat and weather-resistant.
When it comes to the controls, Jaybird's Run XT has the play controls on the left earbud. You can navigate tracks and answer calls all through these controls. However, these do not have volume controls, and the buttons are a little hard to press.
On the other hand, the Bose SoundSport Free bundles dedicated volume controls, and as per the folks at PC Mag, they are pretty tactile and easy to use.
Apart from the volume controls, you’d find buttons for playback, call management, and track navigation.
A feature-rich companion app is an essential part of any truly wireless earphones, for it is these apps that amplify the overall experience. The Jaybird MySound app not only lets you tweak the five-band EQ but also comes with a few curated playlists. Plus, you can either select one of the various presets or make your own.
But the feature which takes the crown is Sound Profile. Once you choose the one you like, the profile stays with you even when you have changed devices. Also, it has Spotify integration which makes it super easy to play your playlists.
On the other hand, the Bose Connect app eases the process of connection. On top of that, it comes with features like Auto-off Timer and Find Your Earphones, among others. However, the audiophile in you will be disappointed to learn that the Bose Connect app doesn’t come with a dedicated EQ.
3. Battery Time
These days, wireless earphones don't have lasting battery life. If you save some then they lass about 5-7 hours on a single charge. And the SoundSport Free and the Run XT are no different.
The Jaybird Run XT has a battery life of four hours on a single charge, and the charging case yields an extra two cycles, cumulating into a battery life of 12 hours. So if you're a power user, make sure you charge the case and the earphones before you use them for commute, work or gym.
Bose’s truly wireless earphones are no different and manage to cram an extra hour. On a single charge, the earphones get you around five hours, and the charging case carries a charge for two cycles.
Thankfully, charging them on the go is possible with these two. While Jaybird claims that 5 minutes of charging time provides 1 hour play time, Bose claims that 15 minutes of charging time will yield you 45 minutes of battery.
If you recollect, the Jaybird Run also had problems staying connected.
The Bose SoundsSport Free had a few issues initially with the individual earbuds failing to connect with each other. However, Bose fixed those problems with a software update.
Also, these earphones do not have the auto-pause functionality, meaning that you have to hit the pause button manually when you take the buds out of the ear.
5. Sound Quality
Bose is known for superior sound quality, and the SoundSport Free is no different. This wireless earphone has a pronounced bass and a clear sound. And as per the review on Tom’s Guide, these buds don’t come with overblown bass.
They try to make up for the big size with quality audio output. Also, since SoundSport Free don’t have any ambient noise cancellation features, it is easier (and safer) to use them while out on a jog or a run.
As per the folks at Android Central, the JayBird Run XT comes with decent audio quality for the price. At this price point, you’d have expected better-sounding earphones.
Again, the audio quality may not matter much if you’ll use these only for the gym. But if not, you might want to consider that issue.
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Verdict: Bose SoundSport Free
The Jaybird Run XT and the Bose SoundSport Free are similar in many respects. Both are truly wireless earphones and have similar charging time.
At $179, the Run XT seems like a great investment if you plan to use it solely to listen to music and podcasts. You get a customizable EQ, better fit, sleek design and topped by waterproof design.
On the other hand, the Bose SoundSport Free are bulky and are just sweat resistant. But you do get a superior sound quality along with a better fit and good connectivity. And that’s where the Jaybird Run XT fails to live up to expectations. The lag of 2-3 seconds poses to be a show-stopper for watching movies or videos, at least for now.
So if you have $70 that you can spare, go for the Bose earbuds, i.e. if you can live with the clunky design.
Next up: Intrigued by the Beats Powerbeats3? Check out how they fair against the Bose SoundSport Free in the post below.
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