And in other good news, Jaybird got rid of the Run’s gigantic case. Instead, the Vista ship with a compact charging case that easily fits into most pockets. It also holds an additional 10 hours of battery, on top of the six hours the buds get on their own. During my testing, which involved a combination of stereo and single-bud listening throughout my commute, and the occasional short run, I was usually able to go two to three days without recharging the case. One minor update I appreciated: the case opens up easily, but not too easily like the Run’s, which had a bad habit of popping open in my bag and automatically pairing with my phone.
If you’re into tinkering with equalizer settings, Jaybird’s app gives you plenty of freedom to tweak how the Vista sound. But best of all, you can also download setting profiles from other users. I’ve had better luck using those to improve the Vista’s audio quality, compared to Jaybird’s built-in offerings.
The only major downside I’ve come across with the Vista are the buttons on each earbud. They let you pause, skip and jump backwards — you can also configure them to control the volume by holding them down for a short time. But they require an uncomfortable amount of pressure to activate, a problem I also had with the Run. I ended up hitting them at an angle to avoid painfully pushing them into my ears. It’s strange to see Jaybird come across the same problem again, especially when other companies have figured out this issue over the years. Jabra’s Elite 65t earbuds and the the PowerBeats Pro both have soft touch buttons that don’t take much effort to activate, while the AirPods and Sony’s premium offerings rely on touch sensors.
Usually, I’d recommend getting separate headphones for casual listening and exercise. As good as the Jaybird Vista sounds, Sony’s new WF-1000XM3 wireless earbuds are miles ahead in the audio department, but they’re also more expensive at $230. Those headphones also aren’t waterproof and sweatproof — they’re built primarily with quality in mind. The Vista’s biggest direct competition are Jabra’s Elite Active 65t ($190), which offer a similar level of audio quality and are also built to survive tough workouts.
If you can only get a single pair of new headphones, the Vista are a good bet. They sound better than the $159 AirPods, they’re tough and secure enough for workouts and they offer enough battery life to last you all day. They’re the best sort of gadget sequel: the Vista are an improvement on every level, and show that Jaybird has learned from some previous mistakes.