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Expanding The Sound Horizon with The Jaybird Vista The Jaybird Vista took me a bit by surprise. It was just back in March when I started using the Jaybird RUN XT headphones, Jaybird’s upgraded version of their RUN bluetooth headphones. I was a fan of the original RUN, and I found the RUN XT to be an improvement on the original. Knowing typical product cycles, I figured that the RUN XT would be the last Jaybird earbuds that I would see for a while. I was incorrect in that assumption. As it turns out, Jaybird had another pair of wireless earbuds waiting in their wings, the Jaybird Vista headphones. As you can probably guess from the name, this new pair of speakers is not a new version of the RUN, but rather a new style all together. As I said, I am a fan of the RUN headphones, and as such, a wholesale redesign of the ear buds seemed strange to me. This confusion quickly morphed to indignation. How could they mess with the RUN design? Unless, the Vista design is actually better than the RUN... Vista Specs: Case and Battery Before I get into comparing the Vista to the RUN, let’s take a look at the general characteristics of the Vista. The Jaybird Vista headphones are bluetooth connected earbuds that store in a charging case. OK, so maybe that’s exactly like the RUN, and Airpods, and similar designs. Regardless, this allows Jaybird to put smaller batteries in the actual headphones, with the rechargeable charging case carrying a much larger battery that can then deliver the juice to the earbuds when you put them away after use. Getting to the specifics of the battery, you’ll get six hours of music on a full charge in the earbuds, and the case will add another 10 hours. Should you need charge in a hurry, 5 minutes of charging will get you an hour of music. The case itself charges via a simple USB C port, a departure from the more run of the mill USB cable used for RUN charging. Vista Specs: Custom Fit Like most Jaybird headphones, the Vista earbuds come with silicone ear coverings to fit ears of different sizes. Unlike the RUN series though, the ear fins and the part that goes into the ear are connected as a single piece. This does reduce the possible fit combinations from nine to three, but maybe Jaybird realized that there are not many people out there with tiny ears with huge ear holes. I actually welcomed the lower level of adjustability. I got a little brain locked with the extended choices when I first dialed in fit with the RUN. With the Vista, I only had to pick between three, and the standard sized ones actually fit the best. The fit is nice and snug too. These are not noise canceling, but they block out the vast majority of the ambient sounds. Granted, this can be a bit dangerous if you are running on roads and can’t hear cars, but it’s amazing at the gym or range when your neighbors are talking on the phone, or when bad golfers are giving other bad golfers lessons. The fit is definitely secure enough to meet my gym and range needs. I didn’t experience any slippage at all. The Vista buds stay in the ears. There’s a bit of movement when you press the buttons, especially if sweaty, but not enough to be annoying. Vista Specs: Tune Control Controls on the Vista are pretty intuitive. You have single-press pause, double-press to skip, and so on. What’s cool with the Vista is that you can use the Jaybird app to customize how the buttons work. You can even dial it in so that you can adjust the volume from the buds with long presses. I know that I was initially annoyed with the first batch of RUN headphones where you could not adjust volume, and now you can do just that. Irony is after I goofed around with the new settings, I just ended up going with the factory settings. Should you want options though, you can reprogram the buttons to suit your needs. Vista vs RUN XT So how do these new Vista earbuds stack up against the RUN XT? Here are some of my observations: Both are super easy to pair, but the system has changed a bit with the Vista. Rather than pairing from the headphone like the RUN, the Vista pairing is initiated from a button in the case. This was a bit unexpected, but it worked without a problem. I was worried about the buds becoming unpaired, and then needing the case to repair them, which is likely true, but they have yet to unpair, so this is not an issue. The new Vista case has a smaller profile, and I think that it is an improvement on the RUN case. Sizewise, it fits way easier into a pocket than the thicker RUN case. There are also little magnets in the case that align the earbuds precisely for charging. I actually had one of the small brass charging prongs break in one of the RUN cases, making inserting the earbud correctly annoying. With the Vista, there are only two charging prongs per bud, and the magnet lines them up perfectly with the holes in the earbud. Hopefully this leads to a longer case life. I think that the sound quality out of the Vista earbuds is actually better than the RUN XT. I’ve got no real way to quantify this, but that’s my overall impression. The bass is amazing, especially considering how small the speaker is overall. The Jaybird app allows for easy sound level customization as well. A few tweaks on the EQ, and I was very happy with the sound output. Make sure to use the app because you can also take advantage of the Find my Buds feature should you misplace them. A Vista Worth Exploring With the Vista, Jaybird has continued their streak of producing excellent wireless headphones, and although I was a bit skeptical about them redesigning the RUN, I think that the Vista is a better design. The fit and sound are improved, and the case, even with the switch to USB-C, is better than the RUN case. At $179, the Jaybird Vista is not cheap, but they also do not perform like cheap headphones. This price places the Vista in direct competition with the Apple AirPods. Having “borrowed” my son’s AirPods this summer, I prefer the Vista for anything physical. The fit is just way more secure. I also think that the Vista’s tighter seal in the ear makes for better listening. Watching movies with the Vista headphones allows me to totally tune out the other environmental sounds, something that the AirPods could only accomplish at much higher volumes. As an Apple diehard, it’s tough to not go with Team Jobs, but I think that the Jaybird Vista is a better option.