Jays is back at it again, this time with a new pair of closed-back on-ear headphones, which the company boasts as its most premium set of cans yet. They certainly look the part. The u-JAYS are stunningly minimalist, clean and timeless in design, boasting Jays signature black colorway with ultra modern aesthetics and contrasting metal accents. Priced in at $230, the u-JAYS promise extreme prolong wearability using a lightweight silicone-skinned headband with stainless steel reinforcement for increased durability as well as a balanced fit with minimized clamping force over the ears. Viscoelastic on-ear cushions help create a tight fitting seal by conforming to the shape of the wearer's ears, and are said to help improve sound quality and minimize sound leakage. Sounds intriguing, but as always, we'll be the judge of all that. So be sure to check out our full and in-depth review of the u-Jays down below!
As with all Jays products, packaging is always on point. Upon opening up the u-Jays box, you'll be greeted with an unboxing experience that is as thrilling as fine dining at a Michelin starred restaurant. I like the fact that Jays wanted to show off some of the features of the u-Jays by laying out the components all separated for you to discover and put back together in this very minimalist, all-black interior setting.
Inside the accessory compartment you'll find a multilingual user guide, a protective fabric bag to store the headphones in, and a 53-inch long detachable cable with a fully featured, in-line 3-button remote and microphone module.
Jays signature sleek designed and color-coordinated iOS remote isn’t exactly what is used to be. The buttons don’t feel as good and the overall fit and finish isn’t as high as the remote we tested on the a-Jays Five and a-Jays Four. That said, this is still a great 3-button remote with a high-quality microphone built-in and a fully featured set of controls. As always, Jays offers three kinds of remotes that have full support for popular smartphone platforms such as Android, iOS and even Windows.
The detachable cable in itself is without a doubt Jays’ best cable yet. It’s tangle-free and has a very nice thickness to it as well as a high-quality rubbery elasticity with slim 3.5mm plugs at each end. If you notice closely, there are small details at the very end that indicate that this particular cable was made for iOS, as Jays also offers models with Android and Windows support.
The exchangeable ear pad cushions have been put into the accessory tray like an easily swappable pair of silicone ear tips with the headphones themselves presented in their flattened state. Although you can change your ear pads for a fresh new pair after a while, you’ll probably end up paying more for than your typical foam cushions due to the larger section of the ear pad that includes the aluminum outer accent. That said, you’ll also be able to customize your headphones with different colored ear pad accessories when they’ll become available for sale on Jays’ website. And while we're on the subject, I really do hope larger over-the-ear pads will be available soon if not included with the headphones outright. Because there are some issues were about to discuss. At the moment you can pick up a pair of u-Jays in four different colorways including: all-black, black and gold, white and silver, and white and gold.
If there's one thing you can't deny it's how amazingly good looking the u-Jays are. These are honestly one of the better looking on-ear headphones we've ever seen. Scratch that, these are the best looking on-ear headphones we’ve reviewed. They're so hype you can't help but imagine some of Drake's music playing in your head when you see them in person. It's only a shame they weren't made using premium materials to match their high-end, svelte design. From the chamfered aluminum ear cup rings to the swooping Zik-esque headband joints, portable headphones rarely look this good. Jays did a really good job coming up with the aesthetics of the u-Jays and has successfully blended the essence of minimalism and refined contemporary qualities.
Now I know that I’ve previously said that the q-Jays were one amazingly made pair of in-ear monitors with an impressive metal construction that merits its costly price tag, but I just can't say the say about the u-Jays. They just don't impress given the $230 asking price. And I'm sure you'll agree when you'll pull them out of the box. And I know Jays put a lot of thought into the design and it boasts about the core of the headphones being made from metal and whatnot, but to me these actually feel somewhat cheaply made. Unfortunately. I'd be perfectly fine had these been priced at $100, but for $230 I expect more. Especially after using the q-Jays and knowing how capable Jays is when it comes to making a very high quality pair of in-ears.
Sadly, none of Jays previous attempts at making headphones had really impressed is in the slightest. All featuring a seemingly cheaply constructed, flimsy, all-plastic build quality. Granted, the u-Jays are a step above Jays' current v-Jays on-ear headphones in absolutely every regard. If it hadn't been for these aluminum ring accents on the ear cups, I'm afraid the u-Jays would have an even less of an impact as far as a pleasing, quality fit and finish goes. That being said, these are by no means poorly made and are comparable to Sony’s H.ear On MDR-100aap, albeit with the exception of plastic made ear cup housings.
What I dislike the most about the build quality of the u-Jays are the headband arms and rotating ear cup hinges. While I can't fault their functionality, they're incredibly plasticky to the point where they feel like parts taken from a cheaply made kids toy. The u-Jays are definitely not the worst when it comes to build quality, but they're also not one of the best made headphones that we've reviewed.
The headband doesn't add much either. It's entirely made out of rubber on the outside with a thin metal wire at its core giving it its springy flexibility. But otherwise it also cheapens the feel of the headphones by a great deal. They say first impressions are always the most important, and I'm honestly underwhelmed by these. That said, the headband provides a good amount of padding and doesn’t hurt or put any pressure on the top of your head. However, being that it’s made out of black rubber, it does tend to attract dust and lint very easily.
Getting into one of the most crucial categories of on-ear headphones - comfort. While the ear pads are fairly large and completely cover the ears, they still don’t fit around them like over-ear headphones do. We rarely find on-ear headphones comfortable enough to wear for longer than 30 minutes, which ultimately means watching movies and wearing your headphones for long periods of time is very difficult. The thing is, the u-Jays don’t have excessive clamping, which is surprisingly good. And these ear cup joints provide a wide range of articulation, which is great for adjusting to your head shape and ears. However, the pleather-covered ear pads are on the stiff side and put direct pressure on your ears to the point where they’ll start hurting after a while. No matter how great the ear cups are capable of self-adjusting over your ears, the amount of hardened force being applied over the ears is simply unpleasant after no more than 30 minutes or so.
While the u-Jays aren’t as comfortable as I would have hoped for and as much as I admire the svelte styling, the sound quality is by far and away the best thing about the u-Jays. They sound outstanding. So much so that they actually outperform Sony’s H.ear On MDR-100aap over-ear headphones, which is something that took me by surprise. If only the u-Jays were as comfortable as the H.ear On, I’d safely say that they would have deserved our Editors’ Choice award. I’m not sure exactly how Jays did it, but the 40mm drivers in these headphones deliver a stunning sound with an impressive amount of clarity throughout the sound signature. Highs are incredibly clear and bright, but not overly so. Mids pull through with plenty of definition and can clearly deliver a full and rich separation without being overshadowed by the excellent bass response, which I must say is impressively thumpy and bold with a great low-end extension. The u-Jays are just such an enjoyable sounding headphones that will satisfy people who like bass, treble and balanced dynamic sounding audio.
I think what they’re really competing against are the Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H2. Both share a similar lightweight, on-ear construction with somewhat similar design cues and each feature 40mm dynamic drivers. However, the H2 do offer a bit more bang for your buck such as genuine leather ear cushions fashioned out of soft lambskin leather. Unfortunately, we cannot compare the two in terms of sound quality and comfort because we’ve yet to get our hands on B&O’s H2 headphones, but we think they’re worth considering as they also cost $200 and offer a unique likable design.
The u-Jays are the best looking on-ear headphones that we have reviewed so far. They’re not the most comfortable or premiumly made, but they sure can deliver an exquisitely balanced sounding audio with brilliant clarity, pristine vocal reproduction, defined mid tones and an enjoyable bass response that is precise and impactful. With their compact form factor and ability to flip flat for effortless storage, the u-Jays make for a fantastic pair of portable on-ear headphones that offer superb internal and exterior sound isolation. At $230, the u-Jays are some of the best sounding on-ear headphones under $400. We only wish they had a more impressive build quality with more metal used around the outside and where moving parts are instead of plastic, and at the least came with a set of over-ear cushions to swap out for extended comfort – which is the single largest downside of the u-Jays.