Jaybird’s Tarah Pro wireless sport headphones are exactly what I need for my commute. That’s not really their purpose, they’re actually built for people who run a lot. I’m not talking about people who run a short 10k before work here, I mean they’re for people who run actual marathons. The closest I ever get to running these days is a brisk walk between train stations. This means that any pair of headphones that are comfortable and actually stay in my ears are extremely valuable to me. The Tarah Pro does both.
They’re not the prettiest headphones I’ve ever encountered, and that’s fine. They’re built for people in the throes of a vigourous exercise session so fashion hasn’t been a serious consideration. They come in three colours — black, mineral blue and titanium — but its only once you start getting a real close up look at them that you realise how much work has gone into their design. They have be as strong indoors as they are out and that means going with a mix of components.
The entire unit has a hydrophobic coating that repels water and they boast an IPX7 rating so even if you’re getting properly soaked in a rainstorm, they should hold up okay. The plastic used for its outer shell allows the whole unit to weigh in at a tiny 20g prior to adding the rubber ear wings. The wings come in three sizes with the medium size equipped by default. There’s also a Jaybird three-point charger you can dock it on for extra juice, but the micro USB cable attached to it is hilariously short. You might need an extender if you want to charge it on your desk. The charger will actually get you quite a bit of power without much down time — five minutes on the dock gets you, I’m not kidding, around two hours of juice. 30 minutes gets you a full work day.
At first blush, I thought the rubber ear wings were going to be a battle to keep in my ears but once they were in, there they stayed. It was surprising how locked in they were — I bounced on the stop, did a short sprint, shook my head around. Didn’t budge. Impressive, considering my ears are notorious for flinging buds into the middle-distance for the crime of making much lesser movements.
The audio is surprisingly strong. I find most earbuds sound tinny and nasal to me these days, built not for sound quality but for simply playing whatever the user wants to throw at them. Sound is often an afterthought in sport headphones, the machinery keeping them in your ears is considered far more important, but in the Tarah Pro’s case it packs quite an aural punch. Each bud contains a single mid-range driver that undertakes all the heavy lifting but seems up to the challenge. It does come across a bit bass heavy for my tastes, but neither does it totally blow out all the other sound. Vocals are clear and even if the back of each mix sounds a bit muddy, it’s still pretty impressive.
It’s quite a feat of engineering to be frank. Jaybird have had to come with a solve for sports headphones that don’t block out all external noise (which runners need for spacial awareness and safety) and providing decent audio. There are other headsets that probably do a better job of this — Senneheiser’s Momentum In-Ear for instance –but Jaybird have nevertheless pulled it off well, they should be pretty pleased with themselves.
These are strong, smartly-made earbuds that actually take in consideration the things that athletes and runners want in a headset, especially those who don’t want to lose audio quality for the sake of a run. They’re easy to use, easy to charge, the battery is quite long and they’re light as a feather. Highly recommend.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Highlights: Utilitarian design; Strong sound; Very lightweight; Very comfortable; Fast charge
Lowlights: Charger cable ridiculously short; Will drain battery fast if you forget to turn them off
Price: $249 AUD
Review conducted using a retail headset provided by the manufacturer.