Jaybird has made some of the best sports headphones of the past couple of years, with the X4 headphones and Run buds standing out as among the best in class. In our eyes at least, that success is down to focusing on the three keys to good sports headphones – sound, fit and battery life – rather than fancy but unnecessary extras.
Those essential qualities extend to the Tarah Pro, the premium version of the recently-released Tarah headphones. To upgrade the Tarah, Jaybird has not added a load of unnecessary bells and whistles but has stuck to what really matters, with the headline feature being a whopping 14-hour battery life. The Tarah Pro is also made of better materials than the Tarah, with a non-stick reflective cord, and the Switch Fit earbuds can be revolved quickly so you can loop them over your ear.
The Tarah Pro’s battery life is as long as any you’ll find in wireless headphones, and it’s an absolute joy to not have to consider charging them for days at a time, even if using them for everything. I mainly used the Tarah Pro when exercising and they lasted longer than a week, and actually outperformed the 14 hours of juice quoted by Jaybird. I even felt comfortable going on holiday without taking the charger.
When you do have to plug them in, it only takes two hours for that behemoth of a battery to be completely filled. The quick charge function is also incredible – five minutes of juice gives you two hours of playback.
The fit is solid even if you never take advantage of the Switch Fit capabilities of the earbuds. There are three sizes of winged silicone covers in the box, which are comfortable to wear for long stretches even if you apply some pressure by wearing a headband or hat while exercising.
The reflective braided fabric cable can be shortened easily with the cinch and if you pull it tight against your head with the headphones looped over your ears, it creates an immovable fit that feels like you’re wearing truly wireless buds. Many headphones can be worn over the ears if you change the tips and wings on them, but the Tarah Pro is designed so you just twist the whole earbud around rather than fiddling with attachments.
Jaybird hasn’t done much in the way of upgrading the Tarah’s sound for the Tarah Pro, but that’s more because of the strength of the former than a failing in the latter. Jaybird allows you to customise the EQ on the headphones through a partner app, ramping up the bass with a flick of your finger should you so desire.
You can also create a personal EQ with a quick test in the app that checks on what you can hear in the bass, mid and high range. They don’t offer ear-bone-shaking levels of bass, even when you ramp it up in the app, but the Tarah Pro headphones do sound fantastic and the closed fit of the buds means they block out ambient noise well.
In fact, because of that sealed fit, one feature that would be a useful addition is a setting to allow more ambient noise in, something I use on other headphones when running in the city.
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The two earbuds are magnetic and will clip together when you’re not listening to them so you can keep the Tarah Pro headphones around your neck. If you can’t be bothered to turn them off, an internal accelerometer tracks when they have been still for 15 minutes and does it automatically so you preserve battery life.
As you’d expect, the Tarah Pro headphones are fully water- and sweatproof. To help ensure this Jaybird uses a proprietary three-pin charger, which admittedly can be annoying if you don’t have it on you when you need it (and if you can’t just borrow a micro-USB from someone), but given how infrequently they actually require charging it’s worth the extra waterproofing.
The Bluetooth connection is also rock-solid and it’s easy to switch between different devices simply by holding down the on button a little longer. I used the Tarah Pro with a phone, smartwatch and laptop without the sound dropping out. They also passed the crucial test of being able to hold a connection with my laptop while I walked the ten metres to the kitchen to get a cup of tea.
In short, the Tarah Pro are pretty much perfect. They had me at 14-hour battery life, but the headphones also excel when it comes to sound, fit and connectivity. At £139.99 they’re not the cheapest wireless headphones around, but the price came in lower than I expected when I read the feature set. If you want a budget set of buds then the standard Tarah or Plantronics Backbeat FIT are both comfortably under £100, but for my money it’s well worth making the upgrade to the Tarah Pro.
Buy from Jaybird (opens in new tab) | £139.99
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
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