Let me preface by saying that in the past year and a half of hiking (I hike at least 2 times a week and walk around the neighborhood at least 3 times a week), I was using Jaybird X2s. The X2s were excellent but I needed to get a new pair because I really beat this pair up. Things I noticed about the Jaybird X2s:
- Excellent sweat/water resistance (even while hiking in 4 hours of rain in Yosemite)
- Used with Comfy earbuds, you can absolutely remove ambient noise (which can be a bad thing if you are hiking alone but great if you just want to listen to music)
-I never wore them underear during hiking because they didn't seem to stay in the ear while hiking. When worn over the ear, they stayed put nicely.
-I used them to listen to music on an iphone 6S plus. I rarely used them to make/take calls because where I hike is remote and has no cell service.
-Bluetooth connectivity was good but not great. Connecting always required me to go into the iOS Bluetooth settings to find the device.
So as I researched for a new pair, I narrowed it down to the Jaybird X3s and the Beats Powerbeats 3.
About 2 weeks ago I purchased the Jaybird X3s based on my past positive experience with the X2s and I got a 10% off coupon at Best Buy. I tried out the X3s for those two weeks and here is my feedback:
-The look great (I bought the black pair) and are smaller than the X2s in that they don't stick out of your ear as noticeably.
-I do like the new charging mechanism on the in line control vs. the X2s where you plugged into a port on one of the earpods. The reason I like this is because the cover's attachment on the earpod that exposes the port to charge the headphones on the X2s eventually broke...so whenever I would charge the X2s I had to make sure to keep the plastic cover close by otherwise I wouldn't have anything to cover the exposed port after completing the charge.
-Even though they seem smaller, I still wore the X3s over ear because when I tried to wear them underear, they seemed to feel like they were going to fall out. I even tried the various ear fins and different Comfy earbuds and it didn't make a difference.
-Sound quality was pretty good and seemed better than the X2s. Sound isolation with the Comfy earbuds was excellent.
-Connectivity: The Bluetooth connectivity was on par with the X2s. However, connecting to the new MySound app worked probably two times over the 2 week trial period. I had to call Jaybird support and we went through all the troubleshooting steps and it still wouldn't connect the MySound app to my Apple iPhone 6S plus. Looking at other forums online, others had the same issue.
After my experience with the MySound application on the X3s not working, I decided to return them.
I opted to try the Powerbeats 3 because the price reduced to $149.99 (from $199.99) and Best Buy honored my 10% coupon on top of that! After trying the Powerbeats out for several days, I couldn't be happier.
What I like about the Powerbeats 3s is that I totally feel secure with them on. Because of the ear hooks, I don't feel like they will even fall off my ears. Aside from the secure fit, I actually do prefer that the earpods allow me to hear ambient sounds. This is particularly important because I often hike alone and need to be aware of my surroundings.
-They sound great, a little more bassy compared to the X2/X3. I do like that option of custom EQ via MySound app on X3s but it unfortunately didn't work for me...and I believe you have to have an internet connection for the MySound application to work (which I didn't have very often in the remote areas I hiked..I'd check on whether an internet connection is needed with Jaybird support if that's a concern).
-At the $149.99 plus 10% discount, the Powerbeats 3 are comparably priced to the Jaybird X3s at $129.99 retail (although I see the X3s just now went on sale for $99.99)
-Connectivity: With the Powerbeats 3 this is much better/simpler than the Jaybirds. Whenever I power up the Powerbeats 3s, the iphone recognizes them...I don't have to go into settings in iOS to find the device and pair them!!! The Bluetooth connection is really strong. I can listen to music anywhere in my 3 story townhouse...no connection loss at all.
-Battery life: Awesome! When I do any major peak hiking, I'd expect to be out on the trail for 6-8 hours. These bad boys never die out with that 12 hour battery life.
Overall, I like the Powerbeat 3s. If I had to pay the original $199.99 retail price for them, I don't believe they are worth it. But with a drop in price and my 10% discount, that price is on par with the Jaybirds and I get a much longer battery life, strong secure fit, and seamless connectivity. The only thing I'd recommend with the Powerbeats 3s is to add a EQ to customize the sound like the MyApp on the X3s.