These are the Jays x-Five. And, with these headphones ends my search for my de facto recommendation for the best headphones under Rs 5,000. Allow me to tell you why the Jays x-Five is such a good pair of on-ear headphones.
Design and fit
For those who don’t know, Jays is a Swedish brand. Sweden is also the home of Ikea, a globally renowned brand that makes DIY furniture with a minimalistic and stark design aesthetic. And, you know what? Jays have always had that similar design ideology. The company mostly makes black headphones and the design is utilitarian to an extent that it could look boring for some but these are headphones that will actually win design awards.
Anyway, the x-Five has an on-ear supra-aural design. In all honesty, I don’t like the on-ear design. But, that’s not true for the x-Five. In fact, these are only the second pair on-ear headphones I have liked apart from the wonderfully comfortable Sennheiser HD-25. So, the x-Five has a nice design primarily because of how that design augments the comfort and fit. At 150g, these are one of the most lightweight headphones I’ve ever used. Moreover, the clamping force is pretty low and you really won’t feel the weight on your head even after five hours of active listening. Trust me, it is that good.
The all-plastic construction of the x-Five doesn’t feel cheap mostly due to the soft-touch matte finish. You can also easily fold it and stow it away in a corner of your backpack. Furthermore, you get plush faux leather padding on the headband and the adjustable mechanism feels pretty robust too. You can easily flex the headband without having to worry about it breaking. These are decidedly sturdy and can last for generations if handled with a little care. What I also like are the plush ear pads that come with memory foam inside. These are possibly the most comfortable ear pads I’ve tried on a pair of on-ear headphones.
The controls are laid out at the bottom part of the right ear cup. You get a three-button layout for play/pause and volume control – which also doubles up as the next song/previous song button. There’s a headphone jack right next to it enabling you to use it wired as well. Finally, you get a micro-USB charging port on the left ear cup. This is possibly the biggest drawback of the design only because I don’t really have micro-USB cables lying around anymore.
To sum it up, the Jays x-Five’s design is not a head-turner but it ticks all the right boxes.
Sound signature, call quality, and battery life
The Jays x-Five has a pair of 40mm dynamic drivers that can go as low as 32hz and as high as 20,000Khz on the frequency spectrum. Before I talk about the good part – the sound quality – let me tell you that x-Five is not great for calls. In my testing, the person on the other end kept complaining about the noise. In fact, I couldn’t hear them clearly either.
I want to say something about the sound signature outright – these are not meant for bass heads. If you listen to a lot of dance music, don’t expect the x-Five to satisfy you. The sound signature is what I’d classify as somewhere between balanced and bright. There is definitely an increased emphasis on the mids and the trebles but not too the extent that it is fatiguing. I absolutely loved listening to acoustic tracks or songs heavy on vocals. For example, in Cherathukal from Kumblangi Nights, I absolutely loved the smoothness of the female vocals.
What I also like about the whole soundscape is how airy it sounds. There is enough space for instruments to spread across your headspace. And, in a song such as Flirting With June by Les Gordon, which has a heightened sense stereo separation, you will particularly enjoy the soundstage on offer. However, the tonality of instruments might be slightly off, which could irk hardcore audiophiles. But if you are a beginner in the world of audiophilia, you will appreciate the sound. Especially, the treble response, which feels almost pitch-perfect.
Overall, the sound signature is clean crisp, and spacious, which makes it perfect for casual easy listening on-the-go. This is why BT headphones were created in the first place right? Now, Jays claims a battery life of 20 hours and I matched the number, maybe achieved even more in my testing. The battery takes a long time to die. This might not be the best battery life ever, but the x-Five is definitely one of the most dependable headphones out there.
Should you buy the Jays x-Five?
For its current asking price of Rs 3,999, the Jays x-Five is a steal. The only flaws that I can think of are: the lack of aptX support, micro-USB charging port, and average audio quality in calls. However, the lack of aptX codec is trivial, in context at least, considering the sound signature is so universally appealing. My colleagues actually thought these were an expensive pair of headphones but they were visibly shocked when I mentioned the price.
There are a few alternatives I’d like to highlight. I really like the Creative Sound Blaster Jam as well but finding one today could be tough. Also, it has a mediocre design. The original Jabra Move, possibly the most recommended pair of affordable Bluetooth headphones ever, is also available for the same price but my biggest gripe with those is the clamping force is too tight. The same is true for the over-the-ear Audio-Technica – ATH-S200BT. Both, the headphones have a likable sound signature, though. However, go-to pair for the best headphones under Rs 5,000 starting today is the Jays x-Five.