Jaybird is a known quantity in the athletic earbud space: all of its products sound good and fit great. That continues to be true of the company's latest offering, the Vista true wireless earbuds. While there's not much surprising here, the Vista deliver where it counts, and despite some minor quibbles, are absolutely worth the asking price for the right buyer.
|Fit||Very secure and comfortable.|
|Water resistance||IPX7 rating is reassuring when you're working out in the rain.|
|Easy pairing||Just press the button in the case and you're off and running.|
|Controls||Limiting and finicky.|
|Price||$180 is steep unless you need everything the Vista offer.|
Design, hardware, what’s in the box
The Vista will feel familiar to anyone who's used a pair of Jaybirds before. Like the company's previous products, they're relatively low-profile, with fins that tuck into the folds of your ears to hold them in place. The preinstalled medium-size tips (or ear-gels, in Jaybird parlance) gave me a very comfortable and assuringly snug fit; I never once worried they'd dislodge as I was running. There are smaller and larger tips included, too.
Each bud has a single button on the outside to control music playback and summon the Google Assistant. I generally prefer capacitive controls on true wireless buds, but the button here is fine — it's got a nice click to it, and the shape of the buds stops them making their way too far into my ear canals when I skip a track. In my time with the Vista, though, a double press sometimes registered as a single, which paused my music instead of skipping a track. It didn't happen all the time, but often enough to be a nuisance.
The included charging case is just the right size, at about two inches long and one inch wide. Its diminutive stature and beveled edges make it very pocket friendly. It's got a little fabric loop at one end — I initially thought that was silly, but I've since taken to hanging it next to my keys by the front door, so the buds are always at the ready for a quick run. If you carry a bag or purse, you might even put the case on your keyring.
Sound quality, features, battery life
The Vista sound the way I've come to expect Jaybird earbuds to — that is to say, quite good, but not class-leading. You won't get the same fidelity you'd hear in a headset from, say, Sennheiser or Sony, but you will enjoy a punchy, bass-forward sound that lends itself well to high-energy pop or hip hop during a jog. Like a lot of true wireless earbuds, they're serviceable for taking calls, but not great; too much background noise makes its way to callers.
If you don't like how the Vista sound out of the box, you can tweak their sound profile with Jaybird's app. That kind of customization is always welcome, but I wish Jaybird presented users straightforward frequency sliders instead of the weird waveform-blob thing you see above. It can be tricky to manipulate.
You can also use the app to customize what the buttons on the buds do. By default, one press will play or pause, two will skip forward, and a long press will power the earbuds down. If you prefer, you can choose to assign the Google Assistant to a single or double press, or make a long press on the right or left bud turn the volume up or down. Bafflingly, aside from volume control, you can't set left and right controls to different actions, and there's no way to skip backward in a playlist. This seems like a considerable oversight.
Battery life is solid for how lightweight the Vista and their charging case are. The earbuds themselves will last about six hours on a single charge, and the case can juice them up almost twice before you'll need to hit a charger, which shakes out to a total of about 16 hours of playback. In a package this compact, two weeks of daily hour-long workouts with a little power to spare is fine by me.
After the microUSB-powered Run and Run XT (and several models with proprietary chargers), the Vista are also Jaybird's first earbuds with USB-C charging. Hallelujah.
Should you buy it?
Yes. The Jaybird Vista have become, by a wide margin, my favorite earbuds for exercise. They sound very nice, they're light, fit snugly, and they're IPX7 rated — a rarity in this product segment.
Samsung's Galaxy Buds are a similar form factor overall and run about 50 bucks cheaper, but they don't feel as secure in my ears, and they're not nearly as water resistant, with only an IPX2 certification. The Galaxy Buds do have wireless charging, but it's slow. They also have additional Android system integrations, but only on Samsung phones. The Vista earbuds work the same on all phones.
- You value a very secure fit.
- You like to exercise outdoors, rain or shine.
Don’t buy if:
- The above don't apply to you. Save some money and pick up the Galaxy Buds instead.