Beats by Dre has become a powerhouse in the headphone market. It’s impossible to leave the house without spotting a would-be DJ or gym rat without a pair of Beats laced around his or her neck. But while Beats boast plenty of pros over cons, they aren’t for everyone. Beats’ steep price-point and admittedly aggressive styling cues have consumers looking for an affordable, stylish, well-made competitor, and u-JAYS might just be the competitor they’re looking for. While JAYS isn’t exactly a household name, that shouldn’t scare you away – After all, Beats by Dre didn’t start at the top. But before we reveal too much in the introduction, let’s jump into first impressions.
The u-JAYS’ packaging is constructed out of sturdy cardboard that details important features like battery life, sound isolation properties, Qualcomm aptX Bluetooth audio technology, and Touch Control information. The headphones are revealed after sliding out the bottom portion of the box, a satisfying Apple-like experience that suggests the product found within is going to be excellent.
Opening the box you’ll find the pair of u-JAYS first off, held in place by plush suede-like styrofoam. All of the components in the box are well organized and hidden underneath the headphones, which include: a USB to Micro USB charging cable, 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable (incase you’d prefer to listen wired), and a user manual.
You’ll need to supply yourself with a USB to AC adapter if you’d like to charge your headphones using a wall outlet; but keep in mind the AC adapter you use with your iPhone will work just fine.
At first glance you can’t help but notice how striking u-JAYS are. The headphones are undoubtedly elegant, which make Beats look like the u-JAYS’ inane older brother. The headphones are uncluttered, without an excess wire or button in sight. The u-JAYS offer an incredibly clean look and its style is more Apple than Microsoft if you know what I mean.
The u-JAYS are light enough for sport use, but built solidly. In comparison, they are heavier than Sony MDR XB650bt wireless headphones of the same style, but this isn’t a con – the pair of Sony headphones feel cheap by comparison. Holding both pairs of headphones in my left and right hands makes me wonder how Sony could get away with selling headphones that feel so chintzy. The sturdy build quality is a major pro for the u-JAYS.
The u-JAYS headband is soft to the touch continuing the suede-like feeling found inside the box. The muffs are plush, and soft-to-the-touch as well. There isn’t a single part of the u-JAYS that you’ll find unpleasing.
Pairing the u-JAYS with an iPhone 7 running iOS 10.3.2 was incredibly easy, and the process was similar to most other Bluetooth headphones on the market. Paring is simple: using the physical button, press and hold until the indicator light begins flashing. Open the Bluetooth settings on your smartphone and you’ll find the u-JAYS Wireless option: Tap and pair. Done. While headphones that feature Apple’s W1 chip (e.g. AirPods) are certainly easier to pair with iPhones due to their magical iOS integration; the process of pairing u-JAYS is still painless and won’t give you any headaches.
The physical button serves multiple purposes including power, Bluetooth pairing, Touch Control lock and unlock (with audible alert), and a battery monitor that announces the power available with a Siri-like tone.
Touch Controls are found on the right earpiece – they are almost instinctive, and won’t take any time to master. Just tap on earpiece once to play/pause, and once to answer a phone call. Hold for two seconds to end a phone call. Swipe left or right to seek and track between songs, or swipe up and down to control the volume.
It’s worth noting that the volume controls aren’t independent from your device’s volume either, meaning the volume you set on the headphones is the volume that will be set on the device. Independent volume controls are a hassle, and it’s fortunate the u-JAYS aren’t plagued by that issue.
Overall, the controls are well thought out and intuitive. Spending just a minute or two with the headphones are enough to learn the ropes, allowing you to ditch the instruction manual quickly.
u-JAYs are rated by the manufacturer for an incredible 25+ hours of battery life. During my week spent with the u-JAYS, I was unable to kill them, even when listening to music for hours at high-volume. Other competing headphones are rated for 6-12 hours of continuous playtime, which the u-JAYS trump by a large margin.
Bottom line: If you’re looking for a pair of wireless headphones with ample battery power you won’t have to babysit, these headphones will suit your needs well.
Sound is delivered by two 40mm dynamic drivers also found in the original wired u-JAYS. Treble is generally clear and crisp throughout a range of different music genres. Bass output is more than acceptable, and more powerful than other over-the ear-headphones in this price range. If you prefer your music with extra bass, try changing your iPhone’s EQ to ‘Late Night’ for a deeper sound. For the best sound overall, use the iPhone’s ‘Latin’ EQ with u-JAYS headphones.
While the u-JAYS’ sound quality was excellent when used with the included 3.5mm wire; throughout testing, a slight audible distortion was noticeable at high frequencies in wireless mode. This is typical for Bluetooth headphones, so beyond that minor detail, sound quality is superb for headphones in this price range.
If you’re concerned about outside noise disturbing your music, u-JAYS will not disappoint. Even in a loud office environment, or standing near rush-hour traffic, music comes through loud and clear without interruption. Music playing from u-JAYS won’t disturb others either thanks to effective sound isolation, making for a pleasureable and private listening experience.
JAYS set out to provide a true competitor to the Beats by Dre lineup, and they achieved that goal. At $130 cheaper than Beats Solo3, featuring an impressive design, fantastic sound quality, long battery life, easy connectivity, and futuristic yet intuitive Touch Controls – it’s difficult to deny the true value of u-JAYS wireless headphones. If you’re looking for high-quality, stylish, and affordable wireless over-the-ear-headphones, u-JAYS are a phenomenal choice. Get u-JAYS here for only $169.95.
Editor’s Rating: 9 out of 10
|Features||25+ hours wireless playback||Excellent sound isolation||Qualcomm® aptX™||Touch Control|
|Wireless||Bluetooth® 4.1||Qualcomm® aptX™||Dynamic 360° microphone|
|Specifications||40 mm dynamic speakers||32 Ohm @ 1 kHz||10 – 20 000 Hz|
|Colors||Black on black||Black on gold||White on silver||White on gold|