Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones: The Jaybird RUN True Wireless Sport

Jaybird continues to lead the efforts to remain cutting edge relevant in the crowded wireless Bluetooth headset market. Its latest innovation, the Jaybird RUN True Wireless Sport Headphones ($179.99), is the company's first effort into the wireless headphone arena that Apple initiated with its AirPods. Does the Jaybird RUN sprint past the competition? Read on to find out.

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This is the Jaybird headset I have been waiting for since the AirPods were announced. Knowing that Jaybird was already a leading force in the rapidly evolving audio headset field, I had high expectations that the company would apply its years of acquired expertise and release a product that would set a new standard. The company not only set that standard with the Jaybird RUN, it exceeded it.

The Jaybird RUN wireless Bluetooth headphones provide close to four hours of continuous play, and the included charging case can recharge the headphones roughly three more times before the rechargeable battery in the case itself needs a recharge. The case is about the size of a small egg and has a nice sturdy feel with a quality clasp sealing the container shut during headphone recharges. However, it's a bit too large to fit comfortably in a pocket so be prepared to either deal with the bulge or use an alternate bag to carry it (along with its requisite USB to microUSB charging cable). The case has three green LED's in the front, one for each wireless earbud and the middle one for the case's own rechargeable battery. It's a welcome set of indicators giving you the confidence that everything is charging and working properly.

The RUN earphones rest comfortably on the ridge of the outer ear and thankfully the package includes both fin and finless earphone tips in multiple sizes to accommodate most listeners ears. This custom fit capability goes a long way toward longterm comfort. Once I attached the optimal sized tips for my ears, I was able to use the RUN throughout the day without ever experiencing earphone fatigue.

Sound wise, the RUN does not disappoint. In fact, of the wireless Bluetooth headphones I have tested and reviewed so far, the RUN sounds the best. The dynamic range and clarity are nearly as good as the more traditional Bluetooth wireless headsets. This discovery was quite a surprise for me, since I had become used to the often muffled, limited sonic range of other wire-free headsets. Jaybird leveraged its audio engineering to provide an excellent listening experience.

Like the other newer Jaybird headsets, the RUN is sweatvresistant and is compatible with the Jaybird MySound app. One welcome feature that is becoming more prevalent with high-end audio headset companion apps is the ability to locate a misplaced headset. Unfortunately, the RUN's firmware updates are not available via the MySound app (even though you must use that app to identify the version of RUN firmware installed) but rather a separate Windows or macOS program that requires you to tether your case containing the earbuds to the computer while the Jaybird RUN Firmware Update Assistant is running. Hopefully Jaybird can migrate this operation to its MySound app in the future to make firmware updates as easy as its other high-end headphone competitors.

The only other minor nitpick that some may have with the RUN is the push-button style controls to play and pause music, activate Siri, and answer incoming phone calls (the push buttons can be reassigned to other functions using the MySound app). Because the buttons comprise the entire flat exterior of the earbuds, pushing them to activate these functions also forces the earbud to be pushed further into the ear canal. While some may welcome the opportunity to more securely fasten the earbuds in the ear, I did have twinges of discomfort when getting acquainted with the push button controls. One way I mitigated that was to use my thumb and middle finger to stabilize the seated earbud and then pressed the push button with my index finger. The Jaybird RUN manual should consider revising its push button illustration to this healthier alternate form.

Final Verdict

Those minor criticisms aside, the Jaybird RUN is the best sounding and most competitively priced pair of wire-free earphones I have reviewed to date. If you are looking for a true, wire-free listening experience but don't want to be locked into the Apple ecosystem when it comes to your ability to choose which audio headset that best suits your needs, the Jaybird RUN should be at the top of your consideration list.

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Author Details

Mike Riley's picture

Author Details

Mike Riley

Mike Riley is a frequent contributor to several technical publications and specializes in emerging technologies and new development trends. Mike was previously employed by RR Donnelley as the company’s Chief Scientist, responsible for determining innovative technical approaches to improve the company’s internal and external content services. Mike also co-hosted Computer Connection, a technology enthusiast show broadcast on Tribune Media's CLTV.