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Jaybird X2 earbuds: insane range, or clever engineering?

Friday, November 13, 2015 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

November
13
2015

In my preliminary review of the Jaybird Freedom Sprint earbuds, I mentioned that the Bluetooth range was not particularly good. I had to place my phone in my right jersey pocket to get a solid connection with my earbuds while riding. As it turns out, the rather limited Bluetooth range of the Freedom Sprints didn’t matter much: pair after pair repeatedly failed (see my follow-up review). Bummer, because I otherwise loved the Freedom Sprints.

Because my Freedom Sprints kept failing, Jaybird Support was kind enough to send me their brand new, top-of-the line Jaybird X2 earbuds. That’s one heck of a nice free upgrade, and so Jaybird gets top marks for their support.

I have not put nearly enough hours on the X2 earbuds to post a review, but I do have a surprising story to relate this morning.

bluetoothAccording to Jaybird, the Bluetooth range on the X2 earbuds is supposed to be significantly better than the Freedom Sprints. I’ve found that to be true: I can place my phone in any jersey pocket and enjoy a rock-solid connection to the earbuds. I have had absolutely no issues with dropouts while riding, and I mean NONE. In fact, oftentimes I’ll fire up the earbuds and walk around the house listening to music while getting ready for a ride. Even though I usually leave my phone on my desk while I’m doing this, the music rarely cuts out (and only briefly)–and that’s when I’m on the other side of the house, several rooms away.

So yesterday I took off for my ride, and was enjoying some music as I warmed up. Two blocks away from my house the music started to cut out, and the X2 spat out a series of beeps with which I was not familiar. I power cycled the earbuds, and when they came back to life they could not establish a connection with my phone.

“Oh no”, I thought. “Here we go again.”

I reached back to grab my phone, and it was not in my jersey pocket. What the hell?! Because I was two blocks from home and had been listening to music the entire time I was riding, my first thought was that somehow the phone had fallen out of my jersey pocket. That seemed almost impossible, though, as I’ve never had something like that happen and I’ve ridden on some insanely bumpy roads.

I rode back home and, sure enough, my phone was lying on the dining room table. I was shocked. How was I able to listen to wireless Bluetooth music with my phone two blocks away?

I’m thinking that the X2s must have some sort of memory buffer. If they do, I can find nothing specific about it on the Internet. Jaybird says that the X2 earbuds have something they call “SignalPlus™”. Perhaps the “Plus” is a memory buffer of some sort? I believe the range of Class 1 Bluetooth is somewhere around 300 feet (100 meters). I pulled up Google Earth, and I was nearly 3,000 feet away from my house (as the crow flies) when the music cut out. There’s no way I was getting a Bluetooth signal while close to 10 times outside of its typical range.

Anyway, whatever Jaybird has done on the X2 earbuds to prevent dropouts, it really works–and then some!

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