This is an in-depth comparison of Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats3 vs Jaybird X3 Bluetooth sports headphones, including a comparison chart. These competing wireless sports headphones are popular with millions of athletic music lovers. But which of these premium Bluetooth headphones are better?
If you find this review useful, please feel free to use the affiliate links to buy – it’s the only way I can get paid for my work, and of course, it costs you nothing. First off, here is a chart comparing key features of the Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats3 vs Jaybird X3 Headphones.
Comparison Chart: Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats3 vs Jaybird X3 Bluetooth Sport Headphones
|Best price on Amazon right now:||$118.00||Please check here for the latest price|
|Ships with:||Beautiful hard case, universal micro USB, 6 sets of earbuds, 3 sets of "wings" to anchor earbuds in your ears||Handsome, hard, zip-up case, universal micro USB, 4 sets of earbuds, over-ear "hooks" to keep them in your ears|
|Communication:||A mellow, female voice supplies all kinds of communication||You get a musical tone when you switch on, and the same tone when you switch off|
|Waterproof?||Not waterproof; but guaranteed sweatproof||Not waterproof; but they are sweatproof|
|Ear fit||Comes with three sizes of soft, removable Comply memory foam tips, plus three sizes of silicon tips||Comes with four sizes of soft silicone tips|
|Immersive sound?||Yes, they are designed to block out ambient sound and immerse you in your own sound.||Yes, they are designed to block out ambient sound and immerse you in your own sound.|
|Built-in microphone for making phone calls?||Yes - works extremely well||Yes - works extremely well|
|Can you work the controls while you are active?||Easy to work the controls while you are active, because they are on an inline section separate from the earpiece||Easy to work the controls while you are active, because they are on an inline section separate from the earpiece|
|Bluetooth pairing||Easy and excellent at all times||Easy and excellent at all times; class 1.0 Bluetooth|
|Battery play time||8 hours||12 hours|
|Fast charge option (for when you forgot to charge!)||15 minutes for one hour play||5 minutes for one hour play|
|Charging time||Slightly less than 2.5 hours||Claimed time of 1.5 hours|
|Battery indicator||Icon shows on smart phone to indicate battery level; a voice tells you the level. Plenty of sophisticated electronics to keep you informed about battery level and make sure you are never out of power.||Red solid light indicates 1 hour of battery life left; blinking red light indicates only 15 minutes left.|
|Do they fall out of your ears?||The provided "wings" anchor them into your ears and you have a lot of choices to get the size of the earbud right; still, for some people they may sometimes fall out||Because they hook around your ears, they never fall out|
|App||Great app that lets you customize your sound||No app worth writing about|
Safety note: I often get emails telling me that headphones are not safe for cyclists. All I know is that some cyclists (myself included) use headphones – and that don’t think I have the right to tell other people what they can or cannot do. If you are especially interested in safe cycling, please don’t send me an angry email – instead, please read my very popular post on How to Choose the Safest Headphones for Cycling.
What’s in the Box?
Jaybird X3 arrive with a beautiful hard case, a universal micro charger, six sets of earbuds (three are silicone; three are Comply Memory soft foam), and three sets of “wings” to anchor the earbuds in your ears. You are told to push the memory foam earbuds firmly into your ears for several seconds, after which they will mold to form a tight fit in your ears.
Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats3 arrive with a good-looking, hard-shell, zip-up case, a generic micro USB charger, and three sets of soft rubber earbuds.
Convenience of Bluetooth Headphones
These are both premium headphones that will elevate your listening experience to a new high of wireless, Bluetooth convenience and wonderfulness. Thanks to the Bluetooth technology, you do not not have to run wires through your shirt to your phone. With both of these headphones, you get to control them without having to take your phone out of your pocket or pannier, which is super convenient. Personally, I hate having to stop my bike to change a track or change the volume.
Both have an inline controller on the cord that you can use for most controls. With both of them, you can listen to whatever you like, or take calls while cycling – all without ever touching your phone. Very special, and I feel very privileged to be able to do that. Yeah, I know that I am a very lucky man …
Sound quality of Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats3 vs Jaybird X3 Headphones
Both offer premium listening experiences, making your ears feel like they are wrapped in luxury. I love them, and am completely addicted to the premium Bluetooth listening experience. I have had a pair permanently around my neck for years now (except in bed – they are too expensive to take the chance of squishing them). I feel like Bluetooth music and podcasts are a necessity for my mental health, not a luxury (a point that I regularly explain to my wife). In fact … come to think of it … if I was unhappy, that would make my wife unhappy, so I really use Bluetooth headphones for my wife’s sake. I am thoughtful that way!
Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a great test of your headphones’ ability to handle complex, layered music – and the Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats3 passed the test as well as any I have ever tested (that includes wired headphones). But the new improved Jaybird X3 were slightly better.
These are both upgraded headphones. The upgrade from the Powerbeat2 to the Powerbeats3 is barely noticeable. However, the Jaybird X3 upgrade is the first Jaybirds upgrade that has really impressed me, in many years of Jays upgrades. (For more details, here is my comparison of Jaybird X2 vs X3.) The headphones have even better sound quality, even though they are now smaller (and so fit better under a helmet). The reason they are smaller is that the charger is not in the ear tips any more. This video shows the improvements to the Jaybird X3 more clearly:
I also listened to Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You” and “I’ve Looked at Life from Both Sides Now,” which are great tests of the ability of headphones to handle vocals and guitar – and also their ability to convey emotional complexity (admittedly, the second is a much more subjective test). The Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats3 and the Jaybird X3 performed equally awesomely with the vocals and the guitar – but subjectively, I felt the Jaybirds delivered emotional complexity more convincingly. They just felt a little bit warmer and more human to me.
Sound quality of Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats3
These headphones deliver nuanced, detailed, superb treble, superb stereo quality, and great bass. Listen to The Knife’s “Silent Shout” to see how awesome the bass is on these tiny headphones. (You can listen to almost anything if you are streaming Apple Music or Spotify.)
The detailed layering of complex music such as “Bohemian Rhapsody” is awesome – and that’s not even “awesome for Bluetooth” – it’s just plain awesome. And the Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats3 headphones are completely immersive and very loud. No matter how loud you go, the music does NOT distort. Very impressive.
Sound quality of Jaybird X3
As mentioned, the Powerbeats3 have great sound. Well, the good news is that the Jaybird X3 have even better sound! These improved Jaybird X3 headphones offer a sound quality that just makes you want to get up and move! At the same time, the sound can be mellow, nuanced, deep, detailed, with great stereo quality, and deep bass. They are completely immersive, but not super loud. To me (and most reviewers), the sound quality on the Jaybird X3 is better than the sound quality on the Powerbeats3.
Bluetooth Connectivity with Dr. Dre Powerbeats3 vs Jaybird X3 Headphones
Both of these headphones have perfected Bluetooth connectivity. The initial pairing is effortless and fast, and they both pair up instantly every time you need them. With both of them, if you lose your Bluetooth connection for some reason, you can just switch the headphones off and on, and they will instantly pair again. Alternatively, you can just tap on the device name on your smart phone to restore the connection.
If you are an Apple user, the pairing with Powerbeats3 is just ridiculously easy.
Bluetooth Communication with Dr. Dre Powerbeats3 vs Jaybird X3 Headphones
It is much easier to communicate with Jaybird X3 than with Powerbeats3, because Jaybird X3 communicates with a mellow voice, with phrases that include: “Connected; power on; power off; battery full; battery low; recharge battery,” etc. With the Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats3, you get a musical tone when they switch on, and the same musical tone when they switch off. Sometimes it is a bit confusing to know whether you have just switched them on or off. So the Jaybird 3 definitely wins this one.
On both of these, you control the headphones with tiny buttons on an inline controller. You use these controls to do things like starting music, pausing it, advancing tracks and going back tracks – as well as answering and ending phone calls. The Powerbeats3 also have a neat feature where you can “scan” the music – basically putting it on fast forward. These features all work well on both headphones.
Battery Life of Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats3 vs Jaybird X3 Headphones
Jaybird X3 claims 8 hours of battery life, compared to 12 hours for the Beats by Dr. Dre. However, Jaybird X3 communicates battery charge level much better than the Powerbeats3. With the Jaybird X3, an icon shows up on your smart phone to indicate battery level; and a voice tells you the battery charge level. You get warnings for medium level, low level, and recharge battery.
With the Powerbeats3, there are no such high-tech luxuries. Instead, a red solid light indicates 1 hour of battery life left; and a blinking red light indicates only 15 minutes left. On the other hand, these things pack 12 hours of battery life, so you are unlikely to run out. Plus, they have a new feature called Fast Fuel, in which you can get one hour of battery life after 5 minutes of charging. The fast charge on the Jaybird X3 gets you one hour of music for 15 minutes of charging.
Staying in your Ears: Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats3 vs Jaybird X3 Headphones
Jaybird has a reputation for staying in your ears much better than most headphones. They achieve this by having a choice of six different earbuds in the box, plus you can use these little wing gadgets to hook them into the crease of your ear.
However, the Beats by Dr. Dre stay in your ears even better. Thanks to the little loops that hook around your ears, it is basically impossible for them to fall out. You could use these while playing basketball, skiing, wing-suiting (or, if you are like me, using your Wii to PRETEND you are wing-suiting) – pretty much anything, and they would not fall out. They are also pretty soft and flexible, so you can mold them to suit your ears.
On the other hand, Jaybird X3 earphones do sometimes fall out of my ears. However, the improved X3 are the best of all the Jaybirds so far. The wide range of choices in the box means that you should be able to find ear tips that will stay in your ears. Jaybird – staying in most people’s ears, most of the time …
Apps for the Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats3 vs Jaybird X3 Headphones
The Jaybird X3 are a huge improvement on the Jaybird X2. I have used almost every kind of Jaybird headphones for many years. At times it has been a love-hate relationship, and certainly I was very disappointed by the Jaybirds X to X2 “upgrade.” But I have to say that with the X3, Jaybird has finally hit the sweet spot. Better sound, smaller size, greater comfort, true noise isolation for those who want it, stronger build quality – and they have even dropped the price! The cherry on the top is the new App. The Jaybird X3 headphones are compatible with the new app from Jaybird, MySound. This app behaves like those equalizers we used to have on our hifi music systems, allowing you to fine tune the music. You can even set up different profiles for different kinds of music, such as one for rock and another for hip hop. This video shows how the MySound app works. It was made for Jaybird Freedom headphones, which are the only other Jays that the app is compatible with.
On the other hand, the Powerbeats3 don’t have any app worth writing about …
Robustness of the Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats3 vs Jaybird X3 Headphones
I have only had these for a few months, so I do not know how long they will last. That said, Jaybird has always made a reasonably robust headphone, and they have made the Jaybird X3 even stronger, by incorporating some metal into the ear unit.
The Beats headphones have a solid built quality, and are widely used by athletes who are a lot more active than I am. However, I have certainly seen a lot of buyers complain about how long they last, so … I always advise buying the maximum extended warranty you can get on headphones, especially if you are going to bike or run with them. These are not Crocs, they are delicate technology. Bear in mind, if you buy these things, you are buying a luxury. Just like caviar, they will not last forever. All you can do is get the longest warranty possible. Unlike your Crocs, they will not last your whole life, so try to treat them very gently.
Bottom Line on Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats3 vs Jaybird X3 Headphones
This is one of the toughest comparisons I have ever done. These are both awesome Bluetooth wireless headphones, offering great music for active people without the irritation of wires, but without compromising sound. Both sets are equally immersive, but Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats 2 are louder than Jaybird X3 Headphones. Jaybird X3 are slightly warmer and mellower than Powerbeats3, and the quality of the sound is better. Bluetooth connectivity is superlative with both, and phone calls are magic. Connectivity/control of the Jaybird X3 is more intuitive, easier, and friendlier, as a voice tells you informatin.
Personally, I love both of these headphones and would buy them both again. Both of them are great for athletic people wanting some entertainment while they work out. (When I say athletic people, I simply mean “anyone who sometimes leaves the couch to take a bike ride or a hike, or hit the gym for 30 minutes!”) Both of these made me turn off the TV, stream my old favorite songs on Apple Music, close my eyes, and scare my dogs (and possibly my neighbors) by relaxing into the joy of music and singing along raucously. Also, note that Men’s Fitness gave the Jaybirds X3 a score of 9 out of 10, rating them as one of the best wireless workout headphones of the year.
In the end, as with all things, it will come down to what you like, and what is important to you. However, you cannot really go wrong with either of these premium Bluetooth headphones. If this review was useful to you, please feel free to use the affiliate links to buy – it’s the only way I can get paid for my work, and of course, it costs you nothing. Also, Amazon has excellent return policies, so if you are not totally blown away by your purchase, just return it!
If you find this review useful, please consider using the affiliate links to buy – it’s the only way I can get paid for my work, and of course, it costs you nothing.
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