- Nov 17, 2010
A while back I saw a press release that JLab Audio was going to add an affordable alternative to their true wireless headphones the Epic and Elite. The new true wireless earbud is the Jbuds Air True Wireless. It can be had for $49. I was interested in these because of their price point and the fact that they had not used the ear hook in their design and instead opted for the cush fins to get a proper fit.
The Jbuds Air come with the charging case, and a built in usb cable. They also include a set of cush fins, and two separate set of tips.
Here you can see that both Jbuds are charging and the docking lights
The earbuds are Bluetooth 4.2 and have an IP55 rating. With the IP55 rating, this means that they are resistant to water and dust. This should help them last while being used at the gym. The included case is compact and where the Jbuds Air connect magnetically to the case and start charging. There are 3 white leds letting you know how charged the case is. This case also shows two blue led lights letting you know that the headphones are properly docked. It is interesting to note that you should make sure the right and left earbuds are in their respective sides within the case, or they will not charge\shutoff. The case has the usb charging cable built into the underside of the petite case. Without the case, the Jbuds Air last 3-4 hours and the case allows them to recharge and have a total time of 14 hours.
A closeup of the built-in charging cable
These earbuds also have the 3 custom EQs built in. The 3 EQ are, Signature, Balanced, and Bass Boost. Like the Epic Elites, the Jbuds allow you to change between the 3 EQ settings by triple clicking either the left or right earbud. It is nice that no app is needed to switch between the EQs.
Volume is changed by single clicking the left ear to lower it and the right bud to raise the volume. Play/pause is engaged by double clicking the left ear bud. Moving between tracks is accomplished by clicking the left bud button for a second or more to go back and doing the same on the right bud allows you to advance. Double clicking allows the right bud activates Siri/Google.
These paired very easily to my older Samsung Galaxy S7, all I had to do was hold and press the button on each bud for 3 seconds, their white lights flashed and they paired to each other. Once that was done the right earbud was flashing blue\white, and I selected them from the list of available Bluetooth devices.
I used these in the gym and found that they allowed me to be about 30ft away from my phone, any further than that and they start to lose signal. I took these to Land Between the Lakes and hiked with them this past weekend. My phone is in a holster on my right side(Otterbox Defender) and I did not run into any problem with signal. I did have occasion to have put my phone in my left pocket and they earbuds were still connected.
Here is a front and back shot of the Jbud Air True Wireless
The Jbuds Air are enclosed in a durable plastic cover with an angled nozzle. The included cush fins are a durable rubber like gasket which goes over the underside of the ear buds and covers them. The control buttons on each side seem very sturdy and work well. I did find myself having to put my forefinger against my head when clicking either bud with my thumb to stabilize my hand.
I used myself to "model" how they fit in your ear
As for fit, the cush fins and the included tips helped me to get a fairly good fit when inserted in my ear. It also helps to move the buds left to right after insertion to get a tight seal. I found that the seal sufficiently blocked out ambient noise. It would be interesting if JLab at some point in another iteration of these were to make them more like my IEMs so they could be inserted deeper into the ear, thereby getting better isolation.
Another shot of the diminutive charging case
For this review, I utilized my Samsung Galaxy S7 and tried to use FLAC or at least 320kbps MP3s. I listened to different genres of music from metal to classical. Like the Epic Air Elites, I like to keep the earbuds on either the Signature or Balanced EQ. I think that they provided great sound with decent low end and detailed highs. I am not a bass head and do not like using Bass Boost. While these earbuds are not for accurate listening, the 8mm drivers performed well and did not distort during bass heavy tracks such as Muse’s Stockholm Syndrome, and Radiohead’s Subterranean Homesick Alien.These headphones definitely provide enough bass in all 3 EQ selections. As for clarity, the balanced mode does have a little more clarity where vocals are concerned. They also provided good stereo separation and had a decent sound stage.
While using the Jbuds for calling is a secondary feature, I did test them out. I made and took some calls. I noted that sound only came out of one side, but the calls sounded ok. I also asked the person I was on the call with how I sounded and they said I sounded pretty clear. While I would not make a habit of calling people while using these, they are usable.
For $49, I think these are a great deal for someone looking to try out wireless Bluetooth earbuds. They performed well in the gym and when used on the go, or at work. The 4 hour battery life is more than sufficient for most activities and the included case extend that to a total of 14 hours. The only negative I could find was the very short built-in usb cable, I found it awkward. Other than that the JBuds Air True Wireless are a great deal and coupled with the 2 year warranty, give you peace of mind in case they might malfunction.