Jaybird X4 review: Wireless sports earbuds that do it all

Whether you're an avid runner, weight-lifting fanatic, or just enjoy casual strolls on the elliptical, there's a good chance you're already quite familiar with Jaybird earbuds. The Bluebuds X from 2012 kickstarted the company's wireless in-ear buds, and six years later, we've now arrived at the Jaybird X4.

The X4 does a lot of what you've come to expect from Jaybird earbuds. They sound great, look good, and have stupendous battery life. This isn't the most revolutionary product Jaybird's ever released, but it is the best.

The Good

  • Excellent, customizable sound
  • 8 - 10 hours of battery
  • Fully water-resistant
  • Great cable management cinch

The Bad

  • A bit pricey at $130
  • Proprietary charging clip

Jaybird X4 What I like

The Jaybird X4 look almost identical to the X3 before it, but that's not a bad thing at all. There are two buds on either end of a cable with in-line controls on the right side. The plastic of the buds and controls feels sturdy and the flat cable design does a great job at not getting tangled up when you throw the X4 in the included carrying pouch.

You'll find an assortment of customizable ear and wing tips to help you get just the right fit, and for my ears, the small/medium tips and medium fins that come installed out of the box felt great.

If you do want to play around with the tips and fins, Jaybird's included a brand-new Ultra Comply tip that uses a thermo-reactive material to conform to the exact shape of your ear for top-notch sound and durability. Speaking of durability, the X4 upgrades the X3's standard water resistance to IPX7. This means you're covered for up to 1 meter of submersion for 30 minutes, and while I won't be swimming with the X4s anytime soon, having that added layer of protection does allow for more peace of mind.

Sound quality hasn't changed all that much compared to the X3, but once again, this works out to the X4's favor. The sound coming from the X4 sounds great from day one, offering a good mixture of bass and clarity for just about everything I listened to. If you want to fine-tune your experience, there are fully customizable EQ settings in the Jaybird MySound app.

Jaybird rates the X4 for 8 hours of playback per charge, and I saw every bit of that — sometimes coming even closer to 9 or 10. That level of endurance is fantastic and means you should be able to get a full week's worth of working out before needing to refuel.

Jaybird X4 What I don't like

To be honest, it's a good thing you don't need to charge the Jaybird X4 that often.

Just like the X3 before it, the X4 uses a proprietary charging clip that snaps onto the bottom of its in-line controls. The clip works fine and charges the earbuds up rather quickly (1 hour of use after 10 minutes), but as with all proprietary systems, it means you've got yet another cable to keep track of that doesn't work with any of your other gadgets.

Jaybird does sell replacement charging clips for $5 a pop on its website, but for the next-gen model, I'd really like to see the company move to a universal USB-C standard.

Jaybird X4 Final verdict

If you've got $130 to spend and want a pair of earbuds that sound great, have superb battery life, and can withstand just about anything, the X4 is a fantastic purchase. I've been extremely happy with them, and coming over from the old Freedom 2 buds that I picked up last year, this has been a great upgrade.

Right now, the X4's biggest competitor comes from Jaybird itself. The Jaybird Tarah were recently released, and while they take a hit to battery life and sound quality compared to the X4, they're also $30 less.

4.5 out of 5

The Tarah will probably be the more popular choice among buyers this holiday shopping season, but if you want a no-compromises flagship experience, the Jaybird X4 won't let you down.

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Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.