The Tarah are the most affordable wireless running headphones in Jaybird’s current lineup. They sit just below the £100-plus Jaybird X4, retailing for a more modest £89.99.
Despite costing less, Jaybird ensures that compromises are kept to a minimum, with the Tarah miraculously retaining most of the perks that make the company’s more expensive sets a staple part of Trusted Reviews’ “Best running headphones” guide.
For the money, you get a fantastically solid fit and above-average audio which add up to make the Jaybird Tarah some of the best value running headphones currently available.
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The Jaybird Tarah sport a similar design to the X4s. They’re band wireless headphones with wing tips, and come with a remote complete with volume, play/pause controls and a mic on their right. The Tarah also benefit from a cinch cord management system, similar to the X4s, which makes it quick and easy to stop loose cable flapping about, distracting you mid-workout.
The earphones offer the same IPX7 certification as the X4s, which means they’re suitably sweat-proof to survive gym sessions as well as runs in the rain – don’t take them into the pool or shower, though. Build quality is also a clear cut above similarly priced headphones, including the KitSound Immerse Active and Fender PureSonic Wireless.
The only major difference is that the earphones are slightly chunkier and have a different tip setup. Unlike the X4s, the Tarahs have single-piece silicon wing tips. This means you can’t mix and match tip and wing sizes to achieve the perfect fit.
Despite this, I found the three tip sizes included in the box were more than varied enough for me to achieve a solid fit and seal. Throughout the three weeks I’ve been using the Tarahs as my primary gym and running headphones, I haven’t encountered any issues with them falling out of my ears or feeling in any way uncomfortable. Running at my local park in the rain, the buds remained steadfast in my ears. The same was true whilst doing heavy-step treadmill runs.
The only serious compromise of picking the Tarahs over the X4s is the reduced six-hour battery life. This isn’t terrible, but it’s a clear step below the X4s’ more robust eight hours – and it means that moderately serious athletes won’t be able to get a week’s worth of workouts from them off a single charge.
For the most part, fast-charging support makes up for this. I was able to get a full 10km’s worth of juice following only 10-15mins at the mains. But I still don’t like the fact you have to charge the Tarahs using a proprietary charger. Jaybird claims it uses proprietary chargers to help improve its headphones’ sweat-proofing, which is fair, but the fact remains that having to remember to pack yet another cable when you’re out and about is a pain.
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Sound quality is impressive for a wireless pair of earphones at this price. The 6mm drivers are the same size as used in the more expensive X4, and fare surprisingly well against the Fender PureSonic and other moderately more expensive sets.
Audio isn’t quite as detailed as I’d like – more subtle genres with textured, layered arrangements can sound a little flat – but, at this price, it’s more than good enough for a basic set of gym earphones. Tonal balance is fine, with no one part of the sound overtly obvious.
Dynamics aren’t terribly powerful. Compared to equivalent wireless sets such as the TicPods Free and Amps Air 2.0, crescendos didn’t have the same swooping feel and nor did punk guitar breakdowns have the same bite. But the audio was good enough to ensure the music wasn’t completely lifeless and that bass lines had enough impact to keep me motivated mid-run.
Bass extension is par for the course for a wireless set of earphones at this price – which is good, not great. The only minor quibble is that it could do to be a little tighter. While not exactly flabby, the low end didn’t always sound quite as controlled as I’d like, especially when listening to bass-heavy genres.
All-in-all, though, you won’t find better audio on a wireless set at this price.
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If you’re a casual music-listener who’s looking for an affordable pair of wireless in-ears for the gym, you’ll struggle to do better than the Jaybird Tarah. The headphones offer the robust fit for which Jaybird is well known, and couple this with a rugged sweat-proof design that will happily survive the odd run in the rain.
Audio quality isn’t industry-leading, but it’s more than good enough considering the Tarah’s price. The only minor downside to the Tarah is battery life, which is well behind the slightly more expensive Jaybird X4.
The Jaybird Tarah are one of the best value running headphones money can buy.