Jays, as mentioned, is a Swedish headphone company that has been on the scene for nearly 10 years. The new buds (on sale until September 4th) share some traits with the old model, which cost half as much. It still has the tiny size, curved shape and choice of five different silicon ear tips. Everything else, however, is new, including the one-piece metal housing, dual armature drivers, threaded connectors and even the packaging.
The company certainly didn't chintz on the unboxing experience. The dramatic packaging includes a case for the silicon buds, one for the cables and a round, plastic box with cutout foam for the earphones. The company claims the q-Jays are the smallest headphones available with removable cables, but they're so small that it's tricky to figure out which headphone and wires are left and right, because the markings are so discreet. Once I assembled them, I eventually figured out that they curve toward the back of your ears, which makes it easy to insert them by feel.
Build-wise, the headphones themselves are a far cry from the original q-Jays. Instead of plastic, the body is now made from a single block of stainless steel that's been CNC machined and finished with a fancy physical vapor deposition. Stuffed inside the 1-inch-long housings are armature drivers with both a woofer and tweeter, along with a crossover filter to blend them. The cable -- which is honestly a bit too short -- features gold-plated connectors and can be unscrewed from the headphones. If you're hoping to show off the buds in public, forget it; there's no Beats-style branding anywhere.
The five custom silicone tips combined with the tiny size of the q-Jays make them more comfortable than any earbuds I've tried. If that still won't cut it, they also come with expanding Comply foam tips. My ears got hotter with those, but I quickly became addicted to the tighter, more comfortable fit and (claimed) 40dB noise reduction. If you need a microphone and remote, there are screw-in modules available for iOS, Windows and Android that include a MEMs microphone with built-in noise/echo reduction.