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Should you buy Jaybird headphones? Our verdict on Vista and Tarah sport earbuds

Should you buy Jaybird headphones? Sports headphones compared, with deals
(Image credit: Jaybird)

A good pair of wireless headphones should see you through most scenarios, but sometimes you want a dedicated sports pair. Whether you're a runner, cyclist, swimmer, gym bunny or all of the above, having a pair built for exercise can make all the difference.

Enter Jaybird. The Utah-based audio brand has been making sports headphones since 2006 and has now firmly embraced the wireless and true wireless categories. Not only that, it's signed up some big-name athletes like basketball player Jimmy Butler, soccer player Kelly O'Hara and mountain biker Kate Courtney to endorse the brand's models, and you couldn't call its marketing materials anything other than slick.

Unlike headphones giants Sony, Bose and Sennheiser, Jaybird doesn't have a wide range of models in its arsenal. In fact, it has just four – and not all of them are available in all countries. 

Its latest offering is the Jaybird Vista 2 true wireless earbuds (£140 / $150), which earned a rave review from us – as did the original Vista model. If you'd rather a more affordable model and don't mind the wireless earbud pieces being connected by a cable that rests on the back of your neck, the cheaper Jaybird Tarah or better-specc'd Tarah Pro could be the ones for you.

The two Tarahs are a little harder to find online than the Vistas, mind you. And it's the Vistas we wouldn't be surprised to see on the end of a hefty discount come Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday. So, let's see whether they should be on your shopping list...

Yes, if you're looking for a sports pair with excellent comfort

Jaybird may have been one of the first in the sports headphones market, but it's far from the only player. Pretty much every major headphone manufacturer now has a wireless sports pair to rival Jaybird's, and most of them are a little cheaper, too. So why should you consider Jaybird over the likes of Sony, Bose and JBL?

Comfort. Jaybird's headphones are some of the most comfortable – if not the most comfortable – we've tested. In our review, we noted that the Vista 2 earbuds pop into your ears without any fuss, while the discreet wing helps them stay there during even the jerkiest of head movements. Three sizes of interchangeable eartips (or ‘Sport Eargels’, as Jaybird calls them) accommodate various ear types, too. One member of the What Hi-Fi? team swears by them for runs.

The comfort helps justify the slightly higher price, but it's not the only string to Jaybird's bow.

In order to qualify as a sports pair, headphones should have some kind of protection against water (and ideally dust as well). Plenty of pairs only offer IPX4, which is basic splash resistance, but the Vista 2 are rated IP68, which means they're waterproof to a metre deep and completely dust-tight. Unlike some, the case has a rating too, though it's the lower IP54 – this will still protect it from dust and water splashing.

The Vista, Tarah and Tarah Pro offer the same waterproofing as the Vista 2, just without the dust resistance.

The Vista 2 offer noise cancellation along with Jaybird's SurroundSense – this is an ambient aware mode that lets in some outside sound to keep you aware of your surroundings. Thanks to the physical controls rather than touch panels, they're easy to use while exercising, and total battery life stands at a very respectable 24 hours. 

Audio is surprisingly refined too, eschewing the bass-heavy sound common to sports pairs in favour of a more neutral sound that's plenty clear and – as you'd want for sporty pair – energetic. They don't offer quite the same sonic chops as similarly priced wireless earbuds that aren't geared for sports – the Sony XM3 are more detailed and dynamic, for example – but that's often the way it is with sports headphones, whose manufacturing costs also have to cover sport-centric design elements.

The standard Vista aren't quite as compelling as their newer sibling, with a 16-hour battery life and the aforementioned lack of dust-tightness. But they are similarly upfront in the sound department and worth considering if there's a significant price gap between them in the Prime Day sales.

We haven't reviewed the Tarah or Tarah Pro so cannot comment on their audio performance, but the Vistas' performances bode well for the quality of their neckband-featuring siblings. But they put in six and 14 hours on a single charge, respectively. The Tarah Pro charge quicker than the standard Tarah, too – a five-minute charge gives you two hours of playtime with the Pro, while the standard Tarah gets an hour's use from 10 minutes' charging. The Tarah Pro come in more colours than the Tarah as well.

What about the best Jaybird headphones deals?

The prices we've quoted so far are the recommended retail price (RRP) or manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), but Jaybird headphones can often be found with deals attached, making them even better value. 

Here are the best prices on Jaybird headphones available right now...

Jaybird UK deals for Prime Day 2022

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Jaybird Vista 2 £190 £145 at Amazon (save £45) (opens in new tab)
There's a healthy £45 off the latest on the Vista range at Amazon. The discount only applies to the grey finish – the blue are £148, while the black remain at full price.

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Jaybird Vista £160 £140 at Amazon (save £20) (opens in new tab)
There's £20 off the original Vista, too. You lose significant battery life and the dustproofing of the Vista 2, and for a saving of just £5. Still, if money is tight, this deal could be for you.

Jaybird US deals for Prime Day 2022

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Jaybird Vista 2 $200 $150 at Best Buy (save $50) (opens in new tab)
With 50 bucks off the MSRP, this is a great deal on the Vista 2. It includes free delivery and applies to all three colors: black, blue and gray.

So, should you buy Jaybird earbuds?

Jaybird headphones are a great option for anyone looking to listen to music while they exercise. They are equally as compelling as sports-focussed models from big-hitting brands like Sony and Bose from a comfort and design point of view, and sound quality is up there too.

They might sound a bit more journeyman than the best non-sports pairs like the Sony XM3, Sony WF-1000XM4 and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3, but as already discussed, that's not really comparing like with like. And those models are at the top end of the market, whereas Jaybird's retail for less and have sport-proof designs.

Pitted against rival sports pairs, Jaybird models fare very well indeed. Like we say, they're great choices for anyone working out. And if you can find them on a deal this Prime Day, even better.

MORE:

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Joe Svetlik
Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.