We’ve reviewed stuff from the Swedish craftsmen at Jays before, I was very impressed with their flagship IEM the q-JAYS, and was genuinely excited to see what would come next (you can read that review and get a little introduction to the company here). Once I learned we were able to get these through I was pretty chuffed to say the least!
However, it’s the same issue as that second album! Would it live up to my expectations?
The u-JAYS are the newest and most premium addition to their headphone range with a price tag of 230 Euros or approximately £185 at the time of review (they are also $230 which means the Americans are getting a much better deal than the rest of us.. AGAIN). I can already hear people muttering ‘that doesn’t sound like a premium price tag in this day and age?!’ In a sense, you are right but this is a portable on ear headphone rather than an over-ear design. There are several benefits to this such as the fact it makes them far more portable as they are less bulky, lighter and more discreet too. This kind of headphone perfectly suits the person on the go or someone that just wants a smaller, less in-your-face looking headphone.
Before we get down and dirty with the actual headphone I want to talk about the experience of receiving a Jays product. At the price point, I don’t think any other brand is offering this level of quality in packaging and product, period. The box is simple, sleek and informative, not like the cluttered exterior to the box of the Meze 99 Classics. Once you remove the sleeve a plain black, stiff cardboard box with just the words ‘u-JAYS | For Android | by JAYS’ printed on the side in white. It reeks of class. Once the box opens the quality continues, there is no ‘chocolate tray’ plastic it’s just sturdy foam holding the relevant parts of the headphone in place and a very swanky user manual which follows the same design philosophy as the packaging. It looks rather like a very nice chequebook actually….
Something lovely about this product is that you assemble the headphone yourself to a certain extent, with just a very satisfying twist and click into place you can then place them into the very nice carrying pouch to top off the thoughtfulness of their design.
Aesthetics, Build and Comfort
There is really no getting away from the fact that Jays have got a really fantastic looking headphone here, its simplistic but very effective. On our all black version the small white accents just add that little extra to keep in line with the theme from the packaging and Jays usual style. I’ve already mentioned the lovely click you get when slotting the product together, but there is more to be said for the build than that! Starting with the headband, I actually think the silicon outer layer is really nice for two main reasons. The first of which is that because of the very well designed shape of the headband you can barely feel they are on the top of your head even when they weigh in at 224g. The second reason is solely down to the choice of material as silicon doesn’t slip, it’s slightly grippy on your hair but not in an uncomfortable way by any means! It just gives you the confidence that you can move your head around and you aren’t going to send your headphones flying! Oh, and it’s very easy to clean as well.
Moving down to the stems that connect into the ear-cups I can’t be quite as positive; they are plastic and noticeably so. I know that to get the shape they have achieved with the swivelling ability it would have been way more expensive, but when you’ve had the unboxing experience that these offer the last thing you expect to come across is a cheap plastic. It will keep them lightweight I guess, and to be frank I can’t fault how they function. The cups themselves do feel a lot sturdier which is great, and more in-keeping with what I have come to expect from Jays! In all honesty, these are built to last, they come with a two-year warranty which is great and they are just generally a very sturdy product.
The ear pads are an area that most companies fall short on in the on-ear headphone market; they are often uncomfortable and can get sweaty and just generally be a bit of a nuisance on your head. While these are certainly not perfect it is a darn sight better than I was expecting. They use ‘viscoelastic ear-cushions’ which are set do adapt to your ear to maximise comfort and seal. To be fair to them, it works! They are the most comfortable on-ear headphone I have tried and not just for 15 minutes either. While writing this sentence I have been listening for over an hour with no discomfort at all (which is what prompted me to open up the laptop!). Occasionally I find myself fiddling to get them to sit exactly right but once you find the perfect adjustment you can just leave them be! My only criticism really is that maybe the clamping force could be a little tight if you have an ‘above average’ sized head.
Something quick on possible accessories…
Whilst you do get a removable cable which I applaud hugely, it would be great if you got a cable without a microphone so they could be used with a non-Android DAP, I love the HiSound S6 but I can’t use it with the Jays because of the 4 pole jack. This annoys me.
The second thing would be to take advantage of the great clip on clip off ear pads have some bigger ones so they could be a circumaural fit, even if they were a 15 euro option at checkout?! I would certainly be adding those to my basket! I understand that the pads affect the sound so it could be difficult to replicate the quality by just bunging bigger pads on them but it would be doable. Jays call the relationship between the pads and the driver their ‘Acoustic system’… just FYI.
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