The Jaybird Tarah Pro set the pace for distance running earphones with incredible 14-hour battery life, unbeatable durability, best-in-class weather resistance and rock-solid Bluetooth connectivity. With good audio quality, a customisable EQ these comfortable and versatile earphones are our favourite one-cable option for serious athletes.
Market leading battery life
Comfortable customisable fit
Sound is only decent
Charging is a pain
By Chris Smith
The advent of reliable true wireless earbuds has been blessing for many runners. They offer reliable wireless connectivity, decent sound and a completely frictionless experience. So why look elsewhere? Well there’s one notable outlier I’ve had my eye on for quite some time – the Jaybird Tarah Pro.
The Jaybird Tarah Pro earphones offer the same wireless connectivity with your music device but bring the security of an adjustable neck band adjoining the two earpieces. The key advantages of the Jaybird Tarah Pro compared to the true wireless stablemates like the Jaybird Vista are clear:
- Advertised battery life is much longer than any true-wireless rival
- Remarkable durability and ability to withstand all weathers.
- Great fit from the adjustable neckband negates fear of popping out mid-run
To my mind, they're some of the best running headphones on the market at the moment. In my Jaybird Tarah Pro review below, I'll share why.
Jaybird Tarah Pro: Price and features
The Jaybird Tarah Pro earphones are reasonably priced at $129.99/£139.99. Compared to the leading true-wireless option, the Beats PowerBeats Pro ($249/£219) they’re much more affordable, but lack some of the smarter features. However, they’re potentially a better overall package for serious runners seeking extra longevity, durability and reliability to go with great sound.
There’s 14-hours of battery life from a single charge, while a five-minute top-up will provide a further two-hours of run time. Perfect if you fancy a run but have forgotten to charge the buds.
The top IPX7 certification for sweat- and water-resistance means a torrential downpour (or even submersion) won’t stop these headphones. The rugged and adjustable neckband is a great option for all terrains, with the customisable wingtips ensuring a secure and comfortable fit on the most uneven courses.
There’s rock solid connectivity thanks to Bluetooth 5.0 and you can use the companion app’s EQ to customise sound. If you want to take calls or control music on your run or hike, there’s a built-in microphone and compatibility with Siri and Google Assistant. So, let's lace ‘em up and run through these features in more detail, shall we?
Jaybird Tarah Pro: Battery life
The 14 hours of battery life is the unique selling point. These are designed for runners with aspirations stretching beyond the 26.2. They’re also perfect for all-day hikes, especially if you’re camping overnight and away from a power source.
The advertised battery life lived-up to expectations. I began playback, fully charged at 10am via an iPhone x running Spotify over Wi-Fi. By the time I clocked off at 11pm, there was 8% battery life remaining. There’s also an auto-off setting that’ll ensure they go to sleep when idle or when the magnetic buds are placed together – another neat design feature that offers security when not in use.
I was thankful the battery lasts so long, because these things are a pain to charge. There’s a proprietary dock (always a turn off, because who needs more cables?) that fits the magnetic pins housed on the back of the remote. The cable is really short, making it easy to transport, but more awkward to plug into a wall socket. You’ll also need a standard USB-A power adapter because one isn’t supplied.
Jaybird Tarah Pro: Fit and comfort
The Jaybird Tarah Pro are designed to be worn for a long time, so comfort has to be king. There’s no point having 14-hours of battery life if they’re rubbing your inner ear 20 minutes into a long run.
Thankfully that’s not an issue, thanks to the lightweight (20g) design and customisable wingtip fit. Jaybird provides three soft silicone ear-gels to ensure the Tarah Pro buds are never too loose or tight. The neck band doesn’t chafe and, when tightened, ensures the built-in remote stays pretty still without flapping against your neck.
Not a single time during testing did I find myself adjusting the earbuds and they certainly didn’t fall out, even during sweatier runs. I also found that switch-fit over-ear fitting, which involves twisting the ear gels, added a little more security. Even the built-in remote is curved to fit the contours of your face or neck.
As we mentioned above, the buds connect magnetically and can stay securely around your neck when not in use. This is great if you’re running through a busy area and would like more awareness. It’s these little details, catered specifically for runners, that made me love the Tarah Pros.
Jaybird Tarah Pro: Audio quality
These are headphones after all, right? While battery life, durability and comfort are primary concerns it would be moot if these things sounded like they came out of a Christmas cracker.
In testing, I found the Jaybird Tarah Pro offered decent audio quality for such a sports-focused pair of earphones. Vocals came through very clearly, which is a plus if you like listening to podcasts on your run. However, in other areas I found them to be lacking somewhat compared to more audio-focused products like PowerBeats Pro. Bass felt lightweight, while the middle and high range can feel a little tinny. The in-app EQ is neat however, and within a couple of minutes you can build a custom profile designed for your ears.
The buds do benefit from the seal created by the ear gels and good fit, meaning it’s quite difficult for external noise to penetrate if you’re staying in the zone. However, for runners, this isn’t always ideal. I’d like to see a passthrough audio mode, which many competing products offer, that enables outside sounds like traffic to make it through while still providing great sound. The alternative here is just to listen at a lower volume.
Jaybird Tarah Pro: Water resistance
Jaybird takes this stuff seriously, and with good reason. Its target audience is not deterred by the harshest of weather conditions and they expect their equipment to keep pace. Besides, when half-way up a mountain, the weather can change very quickly and there’s little chance of escape.
The IPX7 certifications enables the Tarah Pro to be submerged in a meter of water for 30 minutes without suffering any damage. However they're not recommended for swimming, as they aren’t certified for that. If you’re looking for a pair of swimming headphones look for the IPX8 certification, which can withstand greater pressure.
As well as water, they’re heavily sweat-tested and that protection also stretches to the durable cable, which has a hydrophobic coating designed to repel sweat and rain.
Read more about IP ratings and how to tell if your headphones are sweat-proof in our dedicated article.
Jaybird Tarah Pro: Verdict
In this day and age, it’s hard to beat true wireless earphones; they really have stepped up to answer all of our needs as runners. However, the Tarah Pro made me think again, proving there’s life in the old cable yet. They remove anxiety about battery life and durability from the equation – for many runners, that’s a massive deal. They also guarantee comfort and are pretty hard to lose. If you plan on pushing yourself beyond conventional limits, the Tarah Pro will be with you every step of the way.
If you like the cut of Jaybird’s jib, but want to go true wireless, I’d recommend their Vista earbuds. They provide the same customisable, comfortable fit, IPX7 water resistance and 6 hours of battery life boosted to 16 hours via a wireless charging case.
- BOSE SOUNDSPORT
Alternatively, if you like the idea of an adjoining cable, Bose’s SoundSport offer better sound than the Tarah Pro, but only deliver six hours of battery life and IPX4 water- and sweat-resistance.
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