a-JAYS Four: the Earbuds Apple Should Have Put in the Box

| In-Depth Review

Give me a set of earbuds to put in my pocket, and in a matter of seconds I’ll give you a Gordian Knot with a headphone plug. You’ll understand then why I was excited by audio manufacturer JAYS claim that their new a-JAYS Four earbuds are “tangle-free.”

I’m not a big fan of unboxing descriptions, but the a-JAYS Four packaging deserves a mention. The box is elegant in black and shades of grey and exudes quality. It’s quite a different approach from Apple packaging yet is somehow Apple-like in its attention to detail and devotion to design, and beautifully sets the stage that you’re about to enjoy a world-class headset.

Design

All the components are tastefully integrated. Seams and connections are hidden under a rubberized skin that gives the whole product an elegant, polished feel. Even the individual wires inside are so well integrated into the headsets cables that they can’t be discerned. The brushed-aluminum accents on the black headset (white is also available) are a perfect complement to my black iPhone and iPad, and give a much more unified presentation than Apple’s long-in-the-tooth included set.

Testing

The a-JAYS Fours are flat — 5 mm wide, to be precise — rather than the typical round design of most earbud sets. Think al dente pasta and you begin to get an idea of the way they feel. It’s that linguini-like shape that gives them their much-touted ability to resist tangling — and I’ll say “tangle-resistant” is a better description than the company’s claim that they’re “tangle-free.” In testing, I frequently managed to pull a moderately tangled ball out of my pocket. The difference with the a-JAYS Four, though, is that it was wonderfully easy to untangle them. The flat shape even allowed the headset to practically straighten itself out with nothing more than a few gentle pulls.

Also worth noting is the unit’s integrated high-quality microphone and remote control. The mic is well-positioned along the wire below the right earbud. It picked up my voice well, delivering great accuracy when using Voice Control or dictation and excellent call quality during phone calls. The remote works identically to Apple’s own offering, providing the ability to play, pause or skip songs, adjust volume or invoke Voice Control or Siri. Incoming phone calls pause the current song (or podcast, movie, etc.), which resumes when the call ends.

Sound quality was exceptional, with deep, rich bass, full mid tones and clear highs. The company says it’s tweaked the Fours to perform even better than its predecessors in voice frequency ranges — a claim we couldn’t test, but certainly don’t doubt.

The a-JAYS Four comes with five pairs of earbud sleeves in assorted sizes.  It’s hard to imagine an ear that couldn’t be accommodated. And although not advertised as such, they did such a great job of blocking outside noise that they quickly replaced my over-the-ear, battery-powered noise-canceling headphones when I fly. I thoroughly enjoy the reduced bulk when going through airports. It also sports a clever L-shaped plug to lessen stress on the wire.

Summary

a-JAYS Four is a beautiful match of form and function, and its clever design eliminates the frustration of having to spend five minutes untangling my earbuds before I can use them. These are the earbuds Apple should’ve included with the iPhone, and they’ve become the one set I’m determined not to lose.

Product: a-JAYS Four Tangle-Free Earbuds

Company: JAYS

List Price: US$79.99

Pros:

Great sound; impressive build quality; terrific functionality. Awesome design drastically reduces tangling and makes untangling a breeze.

Cons:

Highly tangle-resistant, but not completely tangle-proof.

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Comments

mrmwebmax

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Any idea how sturdy they are, especially the wires? I love earbuds, but I also love air-drumming. With sticks, because I’m a drummer. And invariably, I’ll be thrashing to (most likely) Canada’s RUSH, when an air-cymbal crash catches a wire and yanks it from the ear bud.

Back in the day (the 1980s), when headphones looked like Princess Leia braids, I could take them apart and re-attached a yanked wire with a soldering iron. Not possible with ear buds. (Heck, I’d probably melt the ear but on first solder iron contact.)

So I’m now on my third pair of my current-favorite ear buds (KOSS KE29s—great bass, not so expensive I cry when destroying a pair), but before plunking down $80 for ear buds, I’d need to know how sturdy they are. Any ideas? Would their linguini flat wires make them sturdier than the typical angel-hair-pasta-thin wires on most ear buds?

I don’t have problems with tangled wires. It’s ripped-out wires that’s my concern. Thanks.

Chuck La Tournous

Any idea how sturdy they are, especially the wires? I love earbuds, but I also love air-drumming. With sticks, because I?m a drummer. And invariably, I?ll be thrashing to (most likely) Canada?s RUSH, when an air-cymbal crash catches a wire and yanks it from the ear bud.

The rubberized coating on the a-JAYS four reinforces the connections (earbuds and audio plug) much more than on most “round” wire sets I can think of. Whether that will hold up to air drumming probably depends a lot on whether you’re playing Metallica or a mambo. wink

Breppies

I know a lot of people who have issues with their Apple earbuds, but the answer is really with a new design of earbud cover. In full disclosure, I work for the company that designed the covers called Breppies. We have received great reviews for the product and they are really inexpensive while also extending the life of your earbud. Much better than foam or snap ons. You can see them at www.brepps.com.

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