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JBL releases a host of headphones, earbuds, and speakers at CES
- The JBL Boombox 3 and Pulse 5 use Bluetooth 5.3 and share an IP67 dust- and water-resistant build.
- JBL expands its Quantum gaming headset line and debuts true wireless gaming earbuds.
- The company announced a handful of true wireless options for daily and specialty use.
JBL, a Harman Audio subsidiary, took the CES 2022 floor this year with plenty of new releases from true wireless earbuds to flashy speakers and gaming headsets. With a great number of products to go over, let’s dive right into JBL’s 2022 audio collection.
JBL makes some of the most iconic speakers around, from the Flip series to the Xtreme. This year, the company updated its larger Bluetooth speakers and those specifically designed to bring the house down.
JBL Boombox 3 and Pulse 5
The JBL Boombox 3 Bluetooth speaker rests horizontally and looks a lot like the Xtreme 3, only bigger. The Boombox 3 has a claimed 24-hour battery life and the ability to charge smartphones and tablets via a USB connection. Listeners can charge their devices while playing music (though this drains the battery faster).
Both the Boombox 3 and Pulse 5 have an IP67 rating to resist dust and water, Bluetooth 5.3 with multipoint connectivity, and both support JBL PartyBoost. PartyBoost lets you pair two compatible JBL speakers for stereo playback or join multiple speakers together for extra-loud output.
Learn more: Everything you need to know about IP ratings
What sets the JBL Pulse 5 apart from the rest of the company’s speaker line is its 360-degree LED light show. You can use the JBL Portable app (iOS and Android) to customize the colors for up to 12 hours of entertainment.
The JBL Boombox 3 and Pulse 5 will be available this summer and cost $499 and $249, respectively.
JBL PartyBox Encore and PartyBox Encore Essential
The JBL PartyBox Encore and Encore Essential are essentially identical, with the Encore providing two digital wireless mics to sing along. With the PartyBox Encore, you get a claimed 10 hours of battery life, four more than the six-hour battery life of the Encore Essential. These speakers have the same IPX4 rating, 100W output, PartyBox app compatibility, and Bluetooth 5.1. No matter which speaker you get, you can use True Wireless Stereo to pair two compatible speakers together. You can customize the light show and choose your preferred connectivity option (Bluetooth, USB, and aux) too.
The PartyBox Encore Essential will be available in March for $299, and the PartyBox Essential Encore will be available in the summer as a Sam’s Club exclusive for $399.
JBL Quantum gaming headsets
JBL released three gaming headsets and debuted the Quantum TWS gaming earbuds. All JBL Quantum headsets announced at CES will be available in the spring.
JBL Quantum TWS
The Quantum TWS are for mobile and console gamers alike, with the USB-C adapter for low-latency playback across PC, Mac, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and compatible mobile handsets. You can also connect to two devices at once (one via the USB-C adapter and the other over Bluetooth).
Like the company’s full-fledged gaming headsets, the Quantum TWS support JBL QuantumSurround for spatial surround sound. They also use adaptive noise-cancelling and each earbud has three microphones for clear audio quality. You can get an idea of the microphone and audio output from the similarly priced JBL Reflect Flow Pro.
You get a claimed eight hours of battery life on a single charge, with an extra three charges from the case, totaling 24 hours of portable playtime. The earbuds merit an IPX5 rating and you can access your favorite smart assistant directly from the earbuds.
The Quantum TWS design and features rival the popular Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro gaming earbuds. The JBL Quantum TWS will be more affordable than Razer’s earbuds and cost $149.
JBL Quantum 910, 810, and 610
The JBL Quantum 910, 810, and 610 are all over-ear gaming headsets with the 910 being the most premium of the bunch.
The JBL Quantum 910 active noise-cancelling (ANC) gaming headphones use JBL QuantumSphere 360 with head-tracking and DTS Headphone:X 2.0 for an immersive listening experience on PC that’s comparable to 3D audio on the Sony PlayStation 5. You get a claimed 24-hour battery life, 2.4GHz connection over wireless USB, and Bluetooth 5.2 support. The boom mic flips up and each ear cup houses a Hi-Res certified 50mm driver.
The Quantum 810 headphones are similar to the 910, though they lack 360 audio. Instead, these support JBL QuantumSurround and DTS Headphone:X 2.0, so you miss out on the head-tracking and slightly more immersive experience. You get the same Hi-Res 50mm drivers and connectivity options, along with a similar voice-focus boom mic. Interestingly, the Quantum 810 also have ANC with an extended 30-hour battery life claim.
The JBL Quantum 610 are the cheapest headphones of the bunch but still manage to be feature-packed. The 610 share the same QuantumSurround and DTS Headphone:X 2.0 support as the 810 and they use a 2.4GHz wireless connection. You get an impressive claimed 40 hours of battery life and can use these while charging (same with the Quantum 910 and 810). All three Quantum over-ear headphones use JBL’s QuantumEngine PC software to customize the EQ, RGB colors, and more.
The JBL Quantum 910 will cost $249, the Quantum 810 will cost $199, and the Quantum 610 will cost $149.
True wireless earbuds
JBL has its hand in just about everything, and true wireless earbuds are no exception. Like the Samsung Galaxy Buds line, JBL true wireless earbuds can be hard to untangle. Let’s see what sets each pair apart.
JBL Live Pro 2 and Live Free 2
The JBL Live Pro 2 are stemmed true wireless earbuds with touch controls and a claimed 10-hour battery life. The case provides an extra 30 hours of playback, for 40 hours of on-the-go listening. You get large 11mm dynamic drivers from the Live Pro 2 and speedy fast charging: 15 minutes of Qi wireless charging yields four hours of battery life.
Read on: The best true wireless earbuds
Both the Live Pro 2 and Live Free 2 have ANC/ambient listening and hands-free voice control of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Both sets of portable earbuds also share Dual Connect and Google Fast Pair features along with an IPX5 rating. The more oblong Live Free 2 earbuds lack a wireless case and have a shorter claimed battery life (seven hours of standalone playtime, and 28 hours from the case).
The JBL Live Pro 2 and Live Free 2 will each retail for $149 this spring
JBL Reflect Aero
The JBL Reflect Aero are designed for athletes with their impressive IP68 durability rating and proprietary PowerFin wingtips. Each earbud has a 6.8mm dynamic driver and three microphones inside. Like the Life Pro 2 and Live Free 2, the Reflect Aero have hands-free Alexa/Google support and noise-cancelling with ambient aware listening to pipe in environmental sounds.
You get a claimed eight hours of playback on a single charge and 16 hours from the case. Listeners can customize the touch controls through the JBL Headphones app.
The JBL Reflect Aero will retail for $149 in the spring.