Jaybird Tarah Pro Review by Tom's Guide
The Best Fitness Earphones You Can Buy
Fitness-focused Bluetooth earbuds are a dime a dozen, and you can easily find worthy contenders for less than $50. But battery life is not a strong suit of even-pricier Bluetooth buds, with most sport earphones promising just 8 hours on a charge. Jaybird's $160 Tarah Pro Bluetooth buds are the marathon runners of fitness headphones.
Jaybird's fitness-focused Bluetooth earbuds are designed to offer something for everyone at a variety of prices, from $100 for entry-level buds to $160 for the Tarah Pro. Jaybird says these are the first in a new line of Pro headphones designed with feedback from athletes. It shows.
Jaybird’s $160 Tarah Pro Bluetooth buds are the marathon runners of fitness headphones.
I've been wearing Jaybird's new Tarah Pro fitness buds for a week, using them on a few 3-mile runs, 45-minute daily commutes to and from the office, and half-hour phone calls to family, and I haven't had to charge the buds once. That's pretty rare.
The Tarah Pros resemble the other Bluetooth earphones in Jaybird's lineup, with a cord connecting the left and right buds and a cinch to adjust the cord length between the two. The Tarah Pro's cord is covered in fabric, making the cord more comfortable to wear around your neck than the plastic cord you find on most wireless fitness earphones. The fabric keeps the cord from sticking to your skin as you sweat.
When I draped the Tarah Pros around my neck after a workout or to chat with someone after walking into the office, I often forgot the earphones were there. The fabric cord played a part in that unobtrusiveness, but the headset is also incredibly lightweight, at 0.7 ounces (with ear gel).
The Tarah Pros are waterproof and sweatproof, with an IPX7 rating, which is what you'd expect from a pricey pair of sport earbuds. Jaybird uses a proprietary charger: a triple-pin dock that snaps onto the back of the device's controller and then plugs into a USB charger.
Aside from the fabric cords, the Tarah Pros are similar to Jaybird's other 2018 models, Tarah and X4, with silicone-gel tips and wings in three sizes in the box.
If you've tried out other Jaybird earphones, such as the X3 or X4, the Tarah Pro's fit will feel familiar. Jaybird's gel-tip and wing pairing comes in three sizes, with the medium one chosen by default. I stuck with the medium size, and the stabilizing wing and gel tip felt sealed into my ear. They didn't move at all as I ran.
Jaybird introduced a new feature for the Tarah Pro called Switch Fit, which lets you rotate each bud to be worn over the ear or under the ear. This is a small change, but a useful one. Before, you could wear your Jaybirds under or over the ear, but you had to remove the wing and tip and then put them back on. Now, you can simply twist the the earbud, which rotates just enough to fit snugly no matter which way you wear it. I wore the Tarah Pros both ways while running and commuting and found that the two were equally comfortable.
Jaybird's earphones have always delivered amazing sound, and the Tarah Pros are no different. The free Jaybird app for iOS and Android lets you customize your audio profile, so you can make your running playlist flatter or more bass-heavy.
A new feature exclusive to the Tarah Pros is Personal EQ, which fine-tunes the audio so it's perfectly tailored to you. When you set up the earbuds, the Jaybird app guides you through a hearing test to customize the highs, lows and mids that you'll hear in a song. The profile is saved to the device itself, so even if your Tarah Pros are paired to multiple devices, the Personal EQ setting will carry over from device to device.
My own profile is slightly more bass-heavy than the default Flat setting but not as booming as the Bring the Bass setting in Jaybird's app. You can further customize your personal settings if you don't like the results.
Some runners prefer more ambient noise than the Tarah Pros offer, especially people who run outdoors. The Tarah Pros aren't noise-cancelling, but they do block out most sound. That's helpful when I'm commuting on the screeching subway surrounded by people, but it could be problematic if you run near busy streets.
Battery life is where the Tarah Pro shines. I've used a range of Bluetooth fitness earbuds, from the cheapest of the cheap to incredibly pricey models, and most deliver less than 12 hours of battery life. (Most of the sub-$200 options deliver less than 8.) This is problematic, because I never remember to charge my headphones. I take them off when I walk in the door after a run or a day at the office and leave them sitting on a counter or a table. I usually forget to turn them off, so they die, and then I have to dig around to find the pair of earbuds that came with my iPhone.
I've been testing out the Tarah Pro earphones for eight days, and they're still holding steady at a 40 percent charge.
Jaybird uses a proprietary triple-pin charger, which would normally annoy me. However, this snap-on charger prevents sweat from corroding the device's internal components. Most cheap buds have micro USB ports that can collect sweat, even when the earphones have port covers.
You can easily find Bluetooth sport earbuds for much less than $160, but those cheaper buds won't give you any of the features the Tarah Pro delivers, from 14-hour battery life and a secure, customizable fit to a personalized audio profile and a thoughtful corrosion-preventing charger.
Casual runners or those who rarely hit the gym don't need a pricey pair of waterproof earbuds. but for those who regularly work out and hate having to charge up yet another device every day, the Tarah Pro is practically perfect in every way.