Known for their secure fit, decent sound and durability,sport earbuds ($150) have been on our list of and since 2019. Now the Vista 2, an upgraded version that features a very similar design and higher price tag ($200), has arrived with a couple of key upgrades missing from the original: Active noise canceling and a transparency mode called SurroundSense that allows you to hear the outside world.
I’ve been playing around with the Vista 2 buds for few days and have been generally impressed. As I said, they essentially have the same design as the originals. However, they’ve added some fabric to the outside of the buds that helps cut down on wind noise (think of the fabric as a dampener) and an ear-detection sensor, so your music automatically pauses when you take the buds out of your ears.
The Vista 2 buds have an IPX68 water-resistance rating, which means they’re both dustproof and fully waterproof. Jaybird also says they’re sweat proof, crush proof and drop proof. And the compact case is now splashproof and dust-resistant with an IP54 rating.
The other feature Jaybird is touting is that in addition to tracking buds, the Jaybird app for iOS and Android can track the earbuds’ case. Even if your earbuds are in the closed case, they’re still trackable in real-time, Jaybird says. The app also allows you to create customizable EQ settings and share them with the Jaybird community. Personally, I tend to take more than I share, and some of the user-created EQ settings I’ve used have made a significant impact on sound quality for the better.
Battery life is rated at up to 8 hours with noise canceling off and about 6 hours with it on. The case, which has both USB-C and wireless charging, holds an additional two charges. And a 5-minute charge gets you one hour of battery life.
Like the Vista, it’s easy to get a tight seal with the Vista 2 and that snug fit passively seals out a lot of sound. Adding active noise canceling provides even more muffling and I found the noise-canceling quite effective, though I need to compare it more rigorously to that of other noise-canceling earbuds in this price range before I deliver a final verdict on it. The same goes for sound quality, which appears to have improved slightly (the drivers are the same 6mm drivers, but Jaybird made some small design tweaks and the digital processing has been upgraded).
The big feature add for runners and bikers is SurroundSense transparency mode that amplifies ambient sounds for safety. As I said, the original Vista earbuds did a good job of passively sealing out ambient noise but if you like to be able to hear approaching traffic, it’s key to have “open” earbuds that allow sound in.
Last but not least, the earbuds feature a pair of microphones in each bud with beamforming technology. I have to do some additional testing with call quality, but my initial impressions are that they worked pretty well for voice calls. I’ll have a more expansive review of the new Vista 2 earbuds in the coming days.