I was so relieved when I finally got around to testing and reviewing the Jaybird Vista 2. You see, I had sky-high expectations about these true wireless running buds after using their predecessor for a long time. I was worried that the new buds wouldn't A) live up to my expectations, B) justify the hefty price tag, and C) deliver the workout experience I expect from them.
Thankfully, the Vista 2 is so much better than its predecessor that it'll make my life very hard not to turn this review into a full-on ad about the headphones. "Anyone remotely into fitness will find it hard not to love these earbuds", we said in our Jaybird Vista review a year ago, and the same applies to the Vista 2. They might not be the best running headphones – the competition is fierce nowadays – but these premium headphones are still among the best buds money can buy.
What makes the Jaybird Vista 2 special? Read the below review to find out.
Jaybird Vista 2 review – Price and availability
The Jaybird Vista 2 is available to buy now directly from Jaybird US and Jaybird UK for a recommended retail price of $149/£189. The buds aren't available in Australia; strangely, only the first version which retails for AU$349. They come in three colourways, Black, Nimbus Gray and Midnight Blue.
As a cheaper alternative, you can consider opting in for the OG Vista that now sells for much cheaper than its RRP via third-party retailers. Interestingly, on the Jaybird website, the Vista is currently more expensive than the Vista 2, thanks to the deal on the latter (at least in the UK).
Jaybird has a third set of wireless sport earbuds (not true wireless, mind) called Tarah; these are much cheaper than both the Vista and Vista 2. A decent alternative if you're after IPX7 sports headphones and don't mind the connection cable sticking to your sweaty neck.
Jaybird Vista 2 review – What's changed?
Jaybird almost completely overhauled the Vista the second time around, making it even more durable than before. In fact, the Jaybird Vista 2 are the most resilient true wireless sports headphones on the market with their IP68 rating (the Vista was 'only' IPX7). Read more about it here: what are the best waterproof headphones for running?
The updates don't stop there, though: the Vista 2 now has active noise cancelling (the OG Vista used passive noise cancelling only), a feature called 'SurroundSense' (a.k.a. ambient sound mode, let's noise in from your surroundings), better microphone performance (although still has two mics only) and longer battery life.
One thing that stayed the same is the sound quality, or, more like, the driver, that's still 6 mm with an impedance of 23 Ohm +-15% at 1KHz. What's changed is the addition of ANC (and SurroundSense), which makes the sound more audible in noise environments. Admittedly, ANC will enhance the sound, so audio purists might prefer the more natural-sounding Vista still.
Anyone who runs/cycles/walks outdoors will appreciate these new features, at least I did.
Jaybird Vista 2 review – Design and fit
The Jaybird Vista 2 aren't tiny but comparatively smaller than earhook-style headphones such as the Beats Powerbeats Pro. They weigh a mere 6 grams (or 0.2 oz, per bud). In terms of design, the Vista 2 looks and feels very similar to its predecessor, with the main difference being the material covering the buds: the Vista 2 sports a fabric-like, textured cover instead of the Vista's full-plastic design.
When it comes to personalised fit, the Vista 2 buds offer the same three Secure-Fit Eargels options (1/2/3 or S/M/L). As much as I don't like fiddling around with ear and wing tips, this integrated Eargel-approach certainly makes it harder to find the perfect fit for every ear. I appreciate that Jaybird is trying to make the process hassle-free, but considering how different people's ears are, it would be better to have an option to customise the ear tips and wing tips separately.
As a result, I found the Vista 2 headphones slightly uncomfortable to wear after long periods of time as the wingtips put too much pressure on my ears. Normally, I'd try smaller wing tips, but because that would also change the ear tip size, I have to put up with the wing tips being too big. That said, thanks to the small form factor, the Jaybird Vista 2 were most than comfortable to wear for workouts/runs.
Jaybird Vista 2 review – Battery life
Battery life has been improved, and, as a result, the Vista 2 can now run long enough to last for an entire work day on one charge, up to eight hours. This goes down to six hours when ANC/SurroundSense is turned on. There is an additional 16 hours' worth of charge in the wireless charging case.
It takes around 2 hours for the Vista 2 to charge from 0 to 100 per cent, but there is a quick charge option which tops up the buds in just five minutes (adds one hour of playtime). These numbers all check out based on my experience. You can keep an eye on battery levels using the glance-view on Android (I only tested the buds on Android).
Jaybird Vista 2 review – Sound quality
As mentioned in the 'what's changed' section above, the hardware that creates the sound hasn't been changed in the Vista 2 (compared to the Vista), but thanks to the new features added, the buds are now even better suited for loud environments and workouts in general.
Active noise cancelling (ANC) will come in extra handy when using the Vista 2 in the gym – sound isolation is okay, thanks to the combination of passive and active noise cancelling, but, sadly, it can't be customised (make it less/more prominent). However, SurroundSound can be adjusted (low/normal/high), and there is even a slider that lets you tweak how much sound the buds let in.
Bit puzzling why we can't do the same with ANC.
To customise the sound even further, eight EQ presets are available in the Jaybird app (I went 'Bring the Bass', naturally). It would have been great to have customisable sound options, like what Skullcandy and Jabra do with some of their headphones, but maybe this is something we'll see in the Vista 3...
Jaybird Vista 2 review – Workout performance
An area where the Jaybird Vista 2 buds really excel is workout performance. The new features and the even more impressive IP rating make the Vista 2 not only sound clearer in loud environments but also more resilient, no matter how sweaty/hard your workout is.
This is important as nothing is worse than worrying about buds falling out of your ears or getting soaked when you work out. The only thing workout headphones should do is to distract you from other people working out around you by blasting music in your ears; that's it. If I can feel the headphones in my ears, especially as they travel out of my ear canals, that'll make me lose focus.
I need my workout headphones to improve my focus, not to distract me from the task at hand.
Thankfully, the Jaybird Vista 2 fit well (maybe a bit you snug; see above) and provides entertainment without distraction. The vitrually indestructible construction filled me with confidence that even if the buds fall out of my ear, I won't have to worry about them; I can just pick them up, blow the dust off, and put them back in my ears.
The ANC and SurroundSense were also helpful during gym workouts/runs (respectively); these features make the Vista 2 all the more versatile.
Jaybird Vista 2 review – Verdict
If you need a sturdy yet lightweight pair of running headphones with ANC and ambient sound mode, look no further than the Jaybird Vista 2.
Thanks to the IP68 rating, these true wireless buds meet the US military MIL-STD 810G standards and can handle repeated shock, vibration, drop, and crush tests. The Vista 2 can also withstand extended exposure to tropical humidity, hurricane-force water, and desert sandstorm conditions.
Long story short, it will be able to put up with a sweaty workout or two without any issue.
Battery life is long enough to last multiple workouts, even with ANC on, and even if the buds' batteries are completely depleted, the quick charge function will allow you to top them up fast. There is plenty of juice left in the case, too, and you can always double-check battery levels in the Jaybird app.
From a workout performance point of view, the Vista 2 added ANC and SurroundSound modes, which enable you to modify the sound to match your surrounding better. When you're running, you can turn on SurroundSound to hear oncoming traffic better; if you're in the gym, ANC will help you keep unwanted groans out of your ears so you can focus on lifting heavy.
The Vista 2 running headphones aren't perfect, but they are not far off from being the ultimate workout buds money can buy. Can't wait to see what the Vista 3 will look (and sound) like!
Jaybird Vista 2 review – Also consider
The Jabra Elite 7 Active buds are a significant update over the Jabra Elite Active 75t and offer more personalised sound and ANC, better fit via the ShakeGrip coating and even improved call performance thanks to the three-microphone-per-bud setup. If you aren't too keen on wing tips/ear hooks, the Elite 7 Active are your best option for running headphones.
The Beats Fit Pro are a stellar pair of active earbuds. Excellent battery life and implementation of features such as transparency mode and active noise cancellation are paired with solid sound and a tight, secure fit, making them ideal running headphones. They’re only held back by a less than stellar mic and a fit that, while very secure, can become uncomfortable after a while.
Sennheiser came very close to creating the perfect running headphones in the form of its latest in-ear buds, the Sennheiser SPORT True Wireless. The open/closed ear tips system is not without flaws but offers more versatility than standard true wireless earbuds. Buy these buds if you need secure-fitting, well-sounding buds for exercise and running.