Eric Nilsson is an attorney, an exceptional musician and avid outdoorsman. I asked him to put the Jaybird Run XT earbuds to the test under the tough conditions of a Minnesota winter. The wireless charging buds claim 12 hours of play time and can do a "fast charge", enough for an hour of play, in just five minutes. Designed for workouts, they are sweat and water resistant to the IPX7 standard). What follows is his review:
I recently gave the Jaybird Run XT ear buds ($179) a test run. Or more precisely, a test “ski outing” and a “sedentary trial.”
By way of background, I tend to ski, sail . . . or stroll or sit . . . “solo.” That is, in this Age of Relentless Electronic Stimuli, I prefer to commandeer chunks of time wholly free from electronic influence. Having said that, I do love music, particularly classical, and so I was not averse to testing out this brand and model of ear buds.
From the convenient charging case, I removed the buds and checked out the simple instructions online. At first, I experienced difficulty keeping the buds in my ears, but after switching out the factory-set rubber tips for a smaller set (the buds come with four interchangeable sizes) and patiently adjusting placement inside my ears, I was ready to put the buds to the test. I am a Minnesotan who embraces snow and cold and skis virtually every evening of the season unless the mercury falls below minus 10F (in my book, wind chill doesn’t count, and in any event, it’s only coming at you in one direction). I was curious how extended exposure to extreme cold would affect the charge of the buds. In full disclosure, I wear both a buff (thin stretch tube of material) as well as a warm ski cap, but still—cold is cold.
In any event, 45-minutes at 10F (above zero) did not drain the charge appreciably, which is not what I can say about my phone battery, though the phone was in a pocket and not as well protected from the cold. When it came to sound volume and quality—even as I worked hard going uphill!—the Jaybird XT ear buds performed exceptionally well. Beethoven and Mendelssohn were as alive as ever! So alive, in fact, I grew a little concerned that henceforth I might find it hard to resist skiing without “electronic influence.”
While composing this review back in the warmth of my house, I put the buds to their “sedentary test.” Ten minutes into it, a friend called. The ring tone reminded me of a special feature of the buds: “press twice to answer a call.” For the next half hour I carried on a wide-ranging conversation. I totally forgot I was wearing the buds; even forgot I was on the phone and not talking in person.
(Editor's Note: Eric gave the Jaybird Run XT 4.5 out of five stars. Our rating system only works with "whole" stars.)