There are a lot of options in the truly wireless earbud market, but Apple’s AirPods pretty heavily dominate it. If you’re an Android user (or an iPhone user looking for something different), however, the Jaybird Vista should be on your shortlist.
If you’ve shopped around for truly wireless earbuds at all, you’ve probably run across the name Jaybird a time or two—the Run XT was a pretty popular set when it was first released. But there was room for improvement there, and Jaybird saw that. That’s why the Vista was born.
This set of earbuds takes what Jaybird learned with the Run XT and improves it in every possible way. The case is sleeker and smaller; the buds are lighter and more comfortable, and—maybe most importantly—they sound even better. In fact, this is the first set of truly wireless earbuds I’ve tried that can compete with AirPods’ sound profile.
Let’s Talk About That Case
If I have one big complaint with the Run XT, it’s the case—it’s effing huge. It’s not really pocketable because it’s so big, and its rounded shape just makes it all-around awkward. The Vista’s case fixes both of those issues because it’s smaller, flatter, and more squared off. The overall footprint means it should fit really went in your pocket. It does mine, anyway.
When it comes to how the case opens, it’s sort of the opposite of AirPods—If AirPods have a “vertical” case, then the Vista has a horizontal one. It lies flat, and the top flips open, which is a similar design to what nearly everyone else (aside from Apple) is using right now. While I don’t think it’s quite as sleek as AirPods’ case, It’s still better than almost all of the competition. The case is held closed by a magnet (as opposed to a clasp), which stays in place pretty damn well—I grabbed the little lanyard and flung it around pretty hard, and it remained closed. It works well, and I love the streamlined form factor.
One (mostly minor) complaint with the Vista case has to do with the color. I have a Nimbus Gray model for review, and while the gray is quite sleek, it gets dirty pretty easily. Just regular use (read: being thrown in my bag or pockets) has the case looking a little dingy and discolored around the edges. I doubt you’d have the same issue with the Black or Mineral Blue models.
It’s also worth noting that Jaybird opted for USB-C charging on the Vista case, which isn’t a given even though it’s the year two-thousand-and-nineteen. You know, the year that everything should be USB-C but somehow still isn’t.
But I digress. The case is small, light, clean, and charges over USB-C. It also charges your buds, of course, because that’s its primary job. Speaking of, Jaybird says you should be able to get about 6 hours of use from the buds by themselves (at medium volume), with the case offering an additional 10 hours. And if you find yourself in a position where you’re desperate for tunes but the buds are dead, 5 minutes in the little box will get you an hour of playback.
In use, I assume those numbers are accurate. I didn’t use the Vista for a solid 6-hour session at any point, but I was able to use them multiple times on a few trips (including four 3+ hours flights) without needing to throw the case at a charger. I realize that’s not super scientific, but I feel like it’s still pretty damn real-world.
Wearing Them Is A Joy
The Vista might be the lightest truly wireless earbuds I’ve used, which also makes them exceptionally comfortable—especially when working out or merely wearing them for several hours at a time. If they weren’t pounding music into earholes or blocking out other sounds that I would typically be able to hear more clearly, I would forget that I’m wearing them at all. They’re pretty damn comfortable.
But if you have ears that disagree with the tips that ship on the Vista, there are a bunch more in the box—like four more sets or something. You should be able to easily find something that works well for you (and keep in mind that it’s not uncommon for people to need a different size in each ear!) This is honestly the biggest issue with AirPods—they either fit or they don’t. I’ll never understand that design choice, but I also don’t design products for the wealthiest company in the world, so what the hell do I know?
Because they’re so light, the Vista stays in place very well on their own, but the tips also include built-in “ear hooks.” These—get this—hook into your ear (wild, right?) to make them even more secure. I’ve used several products in the past that use these sorts of hooks, and most of the time, I’m not a fan because I find the hooks to be too damn big. Jaybird must’ve done some market research (or measured my ears while I was asleep?) or something because the ear hooks that come with the Vista are freakin’ awesome. They’re by far the most comfortable set of buds with hooks I’ve ever stuffed into the holes on the sides of my head.
Finally, I want to touch on the buttons quickly. Each bud has one button that can execute multiple functions (play/pause, volume, track control, etc.—more on that down below), and they’re probably the best feeling buttons I’ve used on truly wireless buds. Most of the time, buttons on truly wireless buds are stiff and hard to press, so you end up forcing the bud farther into your earhole while trying to press the button. While this is still slightly the case on the Vista, it isn’t nearly as bad as on most others I’ve used. The buttons are pretty easy to press, but they still provide a tangible click, so you know you did something. It’s still not a perfect solution, but honestly, it’s just the nature of these things. I can’t really imagine anyone doing a better job than this without moving to capacitive buttons, which aren’t as tactile.
Oh, They Also Sound Really Good
Do you know what else I love about the Vista? They sound good. Like, really good. I’m a bass-y sort of guy (but I’m not all about it—-I appreciate treble), which is one thing I love about AirPods. They bring the bass. But so does the Vista!
They sound great and bring lots of thumpy-thumpy to your skull right out of the box, but man, you have to install the Jaybird app (iOS, Android) and give that joker a go too. It’s loaded with a handful of equalization presets for you to check out (mostly made by celebrities or something), but the real benefit of the app is the custom preset.
Basically, it runs through a series of six sounds, and you adjust a slider until you can just hear the tone for each one. This tests your particular hearing range and creates an automatic EQ preset that should theoretically be fine-tuned for you. It’s super rad, and I found it to work exceptionally well—just make sure you’re in a quiet room when you set it up; otherwise, you’ll get skewed results.
Even on the flat setting, though, they produce some primo sound. Also, for what it’s worth, I found the Signature sound profile to be very good, but that could be because it’s very similar to my personal EQ profile.
Otherwise, the app is also where you’ll tweak the Vista’s specific settings, like what the buttons do. By default, both buttons (left and right) pause the music with a single tap, bring up Google Assistant with a double-tap, and power off with a long-press. You can tweak this to your liking, however, as the app offers a bunch of different (and intuitive) options. For example, you can have a double-tap move forward or back one track (depending on which bud you double-tap), have a long-press control the volume, and more. It also features some “custom” options, but all of those rely on playing specific playlists from the Jaybird app, which is probably less useful.
So here’s the thing: if you’re an Android user, these are probably the best wireless earbuds you can get. If you’re an Apple user who doesn’t like or want AirPods, these are probably the best wireless earbuds you can get. But they’re also pricey at $180, so you have to consider that. If you’re looking for something more affordable, I highly recommend the Creative Outlier Air.
If the price doesn’t bother you, however, get ’em, son. They’re great.
Here’s What We Like
- They sound great
- Super light and comfortable
- Good battery life
- Nice, soft-click buttons
And What We Don't
- The gray gets dirty easily