The Jaybird Vista wireless earbuds are a rugged and waterproof headphone option for trail runners and hikers looking to enjoy some music or a podcast on the trail.
The Jaybird Vista are a rugged pair of lightweight earbuds designed with the outdoor explorer in mind. With an IPX7 waterproof rating, 16-hour total battery life, and a secure in-ear design, the Vista earbuds are ready to hit the trail out of the box. As a daily AirPods user, I’ve grown to love the fully wireless and well integrated functionality of Apple’s best selling headphones. The downside to my AirPods is that they have a tendency to pop out of my ears while running or hiking on rough trails. After seeing a number of Jaybird sponsored athletes promoting the Vista for trail running, I knew I needed to give them a try. I’ve been using the Jaybird Vista earbuds for the last few months and will share my thoughts in this review.
Specs and Build
The Jaybird Vista earbuds come in a protective water bottle that is a phenomenal approach to sustainable packaging. I’ve been able to use this bottle each day for water after unpacking the earbuds.
The Vista earbuds come in a self contained charging case that weighs in at 1.59oz with the buds inside. The case is very rugged, and highly durable. I’ve dropped this thing on the trail a few times without leaving a mark. Jaybird markets these with their hashtag #EARTHPROOF, since they’re shock, dust, water (IPX7), and sweat-proof.
***For those that are unfamiliar with IPX ratings, IPX7 allows for water immersion up to 1 meter in depth for 30 minutes.***
The main case charges using a USB-C port, which is really nice since all modern gadgets are moving to this. I always travel with a USB-C and Lightning cable and have both in my 4runner as well, so this makes it easy to keep these charged up.
Opening up the case, the earbuds sit in their charging stations and are securely attached using strong magnets. Each earbud weights .24oz, which is incredible given their features and durability. A standard size ear gel is attached to each bud, but the water bottle case comes with multiple sizes to fit different ears. This is a major advantage over my one-size AirPods. The Jaybird Vista earbuds also have a microphone which allows me to accept calls and use voice commands on the go.
The Jaybird Vista connects to my phone using Bluetooth 5.0, with each earbud connecting independently without latency. This is a very important feature for wireless headphones, as other options connect to one earbud only and then transmit to the other. That relay design can cause some serious latency and audio cutouts, so it is really nice that the Vista connects to both.
The Vista earbuds paired instantly with my iPhone by pressing the small pairing button located between the earbuds on the charging dock. I have been using the Vista earbuds for a few months and have yet to experience a Bluetooth disconnect or pairing issue.
Jaybird MySound App
The Jaybird Vista earbuds can sync up with the Jaybird MySound app for additional features and functionality. The primary feature of the app for me is to quickly check battery life. The app also allows users to do things like assign button controls to each earbud, find lost earbuds, listen to linked Spotify playlists, and customize a personal EQ. The iOS app has been very stable for me and my earbuds connect quickly each time.
Listed Audio Specs
- Type: In-ear style
- Noise-isolation: Passive
- Impedance: 23 Ohm +-15% at 1KHz
- Speaker sensitivity: 103.5 +-1.5dB at 1KHz
- Output 12 mW RMS (with level limit)
- Total Harmonic Distortion <3% (1KHz, 1mW)
- Audio Format: 16-bit Stereo
- Codec: Bluetooth SBC Implementation
- Response Bandwidth 20Hz – 20kHz
- Driver size: 6 mm
Listed Battery Specs
- Play Time: 6 Hrs* + 10 Hrs in the case
- Charging time: 2 Hrs
- Quick charge: 5 min = 1 hour playtime
- Charging: Via charge case with USB connector
- Input power: DC 5V 1A
- Type: Lithium Ion
- Battery voltage: 3.6V
- Energy Voltage in Watt Hrs Per Battery: 0.19 Wh
- *May vary dependent on usage, device & aging
Fit, Feel, and Comfort
The Jaybird Vista earbuds are a very comfortable trail option that disappears in my ear for all day comfort. I have a very standard size ear canal, and was able to use the standard ear gel without making any fit adjustments.
The buttons on the Jaybird Vista provide a nice tactile click, helping me pause a podcast, jump forward or backwards in a playlist, or change the volume while on the go.
I’ve used the Jaybird Vista earbuds for long hikes, fast trail runs, and daily dog walks. I have yet to have them fall out of my ear or cause any issues. I wore them in a light rain to test the waterproofing and they passed the test without issue.
Due to Covid-19, I’ve been taking a lot of walks around my neighborhood, which means I’m also taking work calls while at home. The microphone has worked really well and I’ve never had a caller mention an issue hearing my voice.
The Jaybird Vista earbuds use ear canal gels for a secure fit. This design provides a passive level of noise reduction. I’m usually a fan of this, but there are times I don’t want the surrounding noise cancelled. This is especially the case when walking near the street or on a trail that requires my full awareness. This design also transfers body vibration to the ear, so I can hear a bit of a thud with each running stride. These knocks are not specific to the Vista though, and are just a function of the in-ear canal design that is used by many headphone makers. The positive of this passive noise cancelling is that I can keep the volume lower, which is better for ear health and battery life.
For a pair of earbuds designed for outdoor use, the sound quality is pretty good on the Vista earbuds. I’m not an audiophile in any way, but have been turned off by the tinny and shallow sound of earbuds I’ve used in the past. The Vista provides full sounding voices for podcasts, and is a decent option for music as well. I like that the app allows me to pick a personal EQ profile to optimize the sound for the music I’m listening to.
The battery life on the Jaybird Vista earbuds has been phenomenal. They are billed as getting 6 hours of life on a full charge, and my personal use has gotten close to this. When listening to a podcast at around 40% volume and not using the buttons, I can easily get 5+ hours. This is important on long hikes while listening to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History! Even when the battery on the earbuds get low, I can pop them back into the charging case for an additional 10 hours of cumulative battery life. The best part is the initial quick charge that provides 1 hour of playback in 5 minutes of charging. This is great for peak bagging hikes, where I just pop the earbuds into their case on the summit, and take them out again before heading down the mountain.
At $180 the Jaybird Vista earbuds are on the expensive side for headphones, but are actually on par with similar headphones on the market. Most readers will be cross-shopping these to Apple AirPods Pro ($249), Google Pixel Buds ($180), Powerbeats Pro ($250), or the Bose Soundsport Free ($199). When you factor in the performance and robust build of the Jaybird Vista, it is a fair price to ask given the feature set. Ultimately, your level of physical activity and desire for water/shock proof earbuds should determine your purchase here. If you just need a pair of wireless headphones for casual use, the original AirPods are a good buy at $160. If you need a pair of earbuds with an AirPod feature set and the ability to hit the trail, the Jaybird Vista are a great option.