First off, I’d just like to day that I’ve owned many name brand headphones and ear buds in my day; from Skull Candy to Beats by Dre, I’ve definitely been around the block a few times when it comes to listening to music. So, you can imagine my skepticism when I come across a brand I’d never heard of, such as Jays. One of the reasons this company is unfamiliar to me is because it’s a Swedish company and isn’t sold in many of the retail stores that I shop in. But this is one of the reasons why I love being a tech reviewer–I get to discover some amazing companies that I wouldn’t otherwise know about–and I feel very fortunate to have discovered the amazing brand that it is Jays, and their amazing earbuds known as the a-Jays One+.
Alright–I don’t normally include this category in my reviews, but I feel that it has to be mentioned for the a-Jays. I don’t know if all Jays’ products come in boxes of this quality, but the a-Jays One+ box will Definitely grab your attention. The Jays come in a thin, oval topped box with a hard rubber finish that just feels…expensive. And when I say that, I mean that you expect to get a very high quality product on the inside (and the Jays definitely live up to that expectation). One gripe I did have, however, is that the box is very hard to open. I actually ended up looking it up online, thinking there was some sort of trick involved–turns out, you just have to give it some force. And once you do get it open, the inside is very impressive as well. The Jays come with 5 Sets of rubber buds to put on your headphones, each individually placed within the box. Then there are the manuals and instructions…and that’s about it.
In today’s society, headphones are one of the most important aesthetics in a techie’s (or anyone’s) wardrobe; but at the same time, they’re also a vital tool on the technical side.–so it’s very rare that you find a good balance at a decent price. But the a-Jays just might strike that perfect balance. The Jays have a beautiful flat back finish, that again, feels expensive; the wires are also flat, like many other new headphones, to avoid tangling. Also, the 3.5 mm headphone jack is at a right angle, which stops the wire from fraying over time. It’s these small touches which you sometimes don’t notice that make the overall listening experience much more enjoyable. One of the main reasons I love these headphones is the large selection of buds. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but in this selection, I think I’ve finally found a bud that fits perfectly in my oddly shaped ear. This is the first pair of headphones I’ve owned where my ears don’t start to hurt after long periods of listening. In fact, I eventually forgot they were even there. And not only do these buds fit my ears, they stay in as well. Whether its walking, running, or even biking, if I push them in once (with a little force), they stay in. I know this perk might sound like it only applies to me, but I think there are probably many of you out there that have had trouble finding in-ear headphones that fit you perfectly–and if so, you should be pleased with the variety of buds included.
Like many new headphones, the a-Jays One+ come with controls and a microphone on the wire of the right headphone. These additions are usually the deciding factor on whether or not I can use a pair of headphones as my daily drivers or not, since I need the microphone to use my headphones with my phone. Like any other product, the a-Jays have positives and negatives in this category–and luckily, the positives greatly out number the negatives…so let’s run through them. First, the microphone sounds great. Everyone I’ve called while having the One+ plugged into my phone didn’t even know I was using headphones; and as an iPhone user, Siri understood all of my commands the first time I requested them–which doesn’t even work all the time while using the built in microphone on the iPhone itslelf. Also, the button on the control is raised and very responsive. The only negative is that there is only one button; and while this button allows you to pause, play, skip and rewind tracks, you can’t control the volume on whatever device you have the Jays plugged into. This isn’t a deal-breaker (I still love the headphones), but I’d like to see volume controls on future models
If there was a lesson to be learned from this review, it would be that you don’t have to sacrifice quality for design–and the a-Jays are a great example of that. These headphones sound amazing; you hear everything clearly–every instrument, no matter what genre of music you’re listening to. It’s a great feeling to discover new instruments in a song that you never knew we’re there, all because of the quality of your headphones. I’ve never had to put them above 75% volume, yet I always have enough sound to drown out the world for a few hours and relax, without having to sacrifice clarity.
The Bottom Line
So the real question is: are the a-Jays One+ worth your hard earned cash? For the price of just under 60 bucks, I say absolutely. While they may only have the same functionality of some mid-range Skull Candies, they have the best sound quality of any earbud I’ve ever heard–and that more than makes up for any missing bells and whistles. You definitely won’t regret the purchase, and you’ll get many compliments walking around with them. Too bad you won’t hear them–you’ll be too busy rocking out.