Jaybird has been killing it in the fitness earphone space in recent years, and its latest Jaybird X3 keeps the tradition.
The earphones finally became available locally earlier this month, more than half a year after they were first released in the United States last October.
The company continues to keep things simple and focused with the X3. The wireless earphones come with a simple in-line control and are made of plastic, with a sweat-proof coating on both the cord and the earpieces.
The X3 is just as light as last year's Jaybird Freedom, which means they are barely noticeable while exercising. Jaybird's cable shortener clips return on the X3, allowing you to adjust the cable length so that the cord doesn't bounce around your neck while you are working out.
Being in-ear headphones, the X3 provides a good bit of passive sound isolation. It works for a noisy gym setting, allowing you to shut out those questionable pop tracks some gyms like to play on repeat.
Outdoor runnerswill have to take some care when running near traffic, as the X3 blocks off outside noise a bit too efficiently.
I found myself startled by the occasional cyclist while jogging along park connectors with the X3 on, and even by the occasional e-scooter zooming precariously by.
It's not just the isolation either, as the X3 can go loud when it needs to, with noticeable distortion kicking on only around 80 per cent of the maximum volume.
The sound quality on the X3 is stellar, despite its small drivers and wireless connectivity.
While there is a generous amount of bass and body to tracks, it does not use excessive bass as a crutch to cover up poor sound quality.
DRIVER DIAMETER: 6mm
FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20Hz - 20kHz
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
Vocals and audio recordings, such as podcasts, come through clearly, with enough detail and articulation.
Those who want to make tweaks to the sound signature to their liking can download Jaybird's MySound app, which lets you create custom sound profiles.
Once created, the profiles are saved on the earphones themselves, letting you connect to other devices and still carry over the sound profile you are accustomed to.
Comfort is key when it comes to fitness earphones, and I have no complaints with the X3. It can be worn in various ways, depending on individual preference. You can wear them under-ear, using the given ear-fins to keep them in place, or over-ear, looping the cable behind the ear. I personally prefer the latter, and the X3's earpieces stay inside my ears snugly even without the fins.
The X3 connects to phones and music devices through Bluetooth 4.1, which allows the earphones to connect to multiple devices and have two X3s connect to one device.
So if you have an exercise buddy with an X3 as well, both of you can listen to the same song while pounding the pavement.
The long battery life - 8hr - meant that I was confident of taking just the earphones along on a week-long overseas trip, knowing that they can probably last several short morning work-out sessions.
•Verdict: In an increasingly crowded fitness earphone market, Jaybird still leads the pack with the X3. The combination of clear sound quality, lightness and comfort makes them the go-to option for fitness junkies.