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JBL announces the Charge 5 speaker and much, much more
CES 2021 is all virtual, but that didn’t stop Harman from announcing plenty of new JBL headsets. From over-ear headphones to noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds, a lot hit the virtual show floor, so let’s dive right in.
Just a forewarning, there are a lot of products to discuss here.
JBL Tour Series
The JBL Tour headsets are new additions to the JBL portfolio. Designed with business professionals in mind, the JBL Tour One and the JBL Tour Pro Plus feature adaptive noise-cancelling along with other features that frequent flyers will appreciate.
JBL Tour One
The JBL Tour One is a pair of over-ear ANC headphones with 40mm drivers and a frequency response that extends to 40kHz. The headset supports Adaptive Ambient Aware and TalkThru listening modes, and features a four-mic array for clear voice transmission. You’ll get 25 hours of playback time with both noise-cancelling and Bluetooth enabled, but turning off noise-cancelling doubles that time. It charges via USB-C and supports fast charging: 10 minutes of charge supplies two hours of playback.
You can use the JBL Headphones app to customize the sound profile, and certain settings like SilentNow and “My Alarm” for travel. It’s fully compatible with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant. There is also an auto play/pause feature thanks to proximity sensors in the ear cups.
JBL Tour Pro Plus
If you already own a pair of over-ears, the Tour Pro Plus might be more your style. These true wireless earbuds are way more discreet and portable than the Tour One, and offer nice features like adaptive noise-cancelling, Adaptive Ambient Aware, and TalkThru modes. The Tour Pro Plus also support Smart audio and video, which automatically optimizes the sound depending on the content (e.g., music vs. movie playback).
These boast an IPX4 rating, and afford six hours of playback from a single charge. Just like the Tour One over-ears, you can extend that number to eight hours of playback if you disable the noise-cancelling feature. Supposedly, just 10 minutes in the case gives the earbuds an hour of battery life.
You might like: The best JBL headphones you can buy
The Tour One and Tour Pro Plus will both be available on May 30, 2021 and will retail for $299 and $199, respectively.
JBL Reflect Mini NC TWS
The second pair of true wireless earbuds are the JBL Reflect Mini NC TWS. These look much like last year’s JBL Live 300 TWS and feature a more standard earbud design. The “NC” in the model’s name indicates noise-cancelling. Like the Tour One headphones, these earbuds support auto play/pause functionality.
These have a discreet charging case that you can easily pocket or toss in your gym bag. Plus, the buds merit an IPX7 rating, so you can submerge them for up to 30 minutes without damaging them. They’re also compatible with Google Fast Pair, so you won’t need to go digging through Bluetooth settings when pairing to Android.
You can expect around seven hours of constant playback, and the USB-C case provides 14 hours of reserve battery. These will be available in the spring, and will retail for $149. The JBL Reflect Mini NC will come in blue, white, or black.
JBL expands upon its Live line of earbuds
The JBL Live series is full of consumer-friendly headsets meant for everyday use. This is a very popular line of JBL headsets, and the expansion brings welcome updates to popular products.
JBL Live Pro Plus
JBL also added four new pairs of headphones to its Live series, the first of which being the JBL Live Pro Plus. These true wireless earbuds feature adaptive noise-cancelling. They have touch controls that let you adjust playback, and have an IPX4 water-resistant build. It even supports hands-free voice assistance for Alexa and Google Assistant.
The USB-C case is Qi-compatible for wireless charging and supplies an extra 21 hours of playtime for on-the-go listening. The earbuds last six hours on a single charge with ANC enabled. These will go on sale starting on March 14 for $179. You can pick them up in black, white, pink, and beige.
JBL Live Free NC Plus
The second pair of Live true wireless earbuds announced are the JBL Live Free NC Plus. These have an IPX7 waterproof rating with up to seven hours of constant playback. The Qi-compatible charging case will add another two full charges and uses USB-C for charging. These have auto play/pause functionality as well thanks to proximity sensors built into the buds and touch controls for playback and smart assistant access.
The JBL Live Free NC Plus will retail for $149 beginning March 14.
JBL Live 660NC
For those who prefer over-ears, the JBL Live 660NC might be more up your alley. These support voice access to your smart assistant. They also have Bluetooth multipoint, which lets you connect the headset to two devices at once. This is a great feature for remote workers who like to keep an ear on their phones and laptops.
As with many other JBL headsets, these have noise-cancelling and share the same design as last generation’s Live 650BTNC. You can enjoy 40 hours of constant playback with ANC turned on and 50 hours when ANC is disabled. That’s pretty impressive considering the Tour One only gets up to 25 hours when ANC is turned on. Speed Charge technology grants four hours of playtime after just 10 minutes of charging the headset.
These will be available on March 14 and will run you $199. You can pick them up in black, blue, and also white.
JBL Live 460NC
JBL also threw a pair of on-ears into the mix with the JBL Live 460NC. These share all of the same specs as the Live 660NC but in a smaller, more compact design. Fast charging efficiency is even identical to the larger Live 660NC. The only difference here is that instead of 40 hours with ANC you should be able to squeeze out 50 hours of constant playback, which is impressive. These also have hotword detection to activate your favorite assistant, as well as auto-pause functionality.
You can pick up the JBL Live 460NC on-ears for yourself for $129 on March 14 in black, blue, white, and rose.
Related: See more CES 2021 announcements here
JBL adds to its budget headset portfolio with more Tune headsets
The JBL Tune line of headsets is the most economical, and they’re extremely popular among budget shoppers. JBL knows it’s wise to appease money-conscious shoppers, and brought new features to affordable headphones.
JBL Tune 660NC and Tune 510BT
JBL updated its Tune lineup with a few new options. The Tune 660NC and Tune 510BT are two new on-ear models Tuned for a stronger bass response. They feature Bluetooth 5.0 and Bluetooth multipoint.
The biggest differences between the two that you should know about is that the Tune 660NC has active noise-cancelling and slightly longer battery life. You can get up to 55 hours of constant playback (44 with ANC) from the headset, compared to the non-ANC Tune 510BT and its 40-hour battery life. Both headset support Speed Charge; Five minutes of charging gives you two hours of media playtime.
The Tune 510BT will run you $49 while the Tune 660NC costs $99. Both come in three colors: black, white, and blue.
JBL Tune 215BT and Tune 125BT
If you’re still a fan of traditional Bluetooth earbuds and don’t want to deal with the hassle of true wireless, check out the Tune 215BT and the Tune 125BT. These are standard Bluetooth earbuds with a good ol’ fashioned wire connecting the two.
They’re also tuned with JBL Pure Bass Sound and have Bluetooth 5.0. Both models have tangle-free cable, 16 hours of constant playback, and a speed charge feature that gives you one hour of playback in just 10 minutes. Unfortunately, neither model is sweat-resistant so they’re not great options for the gym. The biggest difference between the two is that the 125BT model has magnetic earbuds for cable management while the 215BT does not.
Both models come in black and white and will be available on March 14 for $39.
The JBL Charge 5 brings welcome improvements
JBL Charge 5 has won Android Authority‘s CES 2021 Top Picks Award for Best Speaker. Check out all the awards here.
The JBL Charge series is one of the most popular models in the world of Bluetooth speakers, and the Charge 5 doesn’t reinvent the wheel. Aside from a slightly different look, it seems to be a small upgrade from the previous JBL Charge 4. It has a nice fabric covering and an IP67 dust and water-resistant build. A built-in 7,500mAH battery affords up to 20 hours of constant playback, and it doubles as a battery pack to charge your devices.
It comes with Bluetooth 5.1 and has JBL PartyBoost feature so you can connect it with other compatible JBL speakers. It comes in black, blue, gray, red, teal, and a Squad color. It will retail for $179 in April.
Harman Kardon Onyx Studio 7
For anyone looking for a more premium home speaker, the Onyx Studio 7 is it. This has a sleek new design and useful features like 25mm dual tweeters and an aluminum handle to move it from room to room. It has about eight hours of constant playback and can be paired with a second Onyx Studio 7 speaker for true stereo sound.
You can pick one up in April for $299. This one will be available in black, blue, and gray.