Minimal wind noise
Discomfort after an hour
AAC and SBC only
Calls only taken through right earbud
More and more flagship phones are ditching their headphone jacks, compelling many of us to join the ranks of true wireless listeners. While truly wireless earbuds tend to be more expensive than their traditional wireless counterparts, the JLab JBuds Air make a case for cheap true wireless earbuds. Sure, its sound quality doesn’t knock my socks off, but for just $49 these IP55 earbuds are hard to pass up.
Read the in-depth JLab JBuds Air review by SoundGuys
What is the JLab JBuds Air like?
What starts with a “P” and ends in “-lastic”? Oh, right, plastic, which is what the JLab JBuds Air is made of, from the charging case to the earbuds. It may be unsightly to some, but it keeps the earbuds durable. Something that’s more difficult for me to overlook is the sheer size of the earbuds. Despite the bulbous housings, though, the ‘buds remain firmly in place when worn with the included Cush Fins of which JLab provides two pairs to combine with three varying ear tip sizes.
While the JBuds Air excels in nearly every category for its price range, the omnidirectional microphone falls short of expectations.
The earbuds are IP55-certified and can withstand sweat or a spill, just don’t submerge them. These aren’t just ideal for the gym, though; outdoor running is a pleasure since the earbud shape mitigates wind noise. And while the 3.07-hour standalone battery life isn’t anything to write home about, it’s more than sufficient for most of our workout regimens.
Headed to the gym? How long do you typically listen to music while exercising?
— Sound Guys (@realsoundguys) September 11, 2018
The rounded, oblong charging case has an attached USB charging cable, so you don’t have to worry about remembering to bring one with you. Initially, I was skeptical of its durability but JLab has noted it’s toughness, stating that it can withstand upwards of 10,00 bends. It supplies you with an additional 10 hours of playback and supports fast charging: 15 minutes in the case provides one hour of playtime.
How do the earbuds sound?
The earbuds support AAC for high-quality streaming but not aptX, which is a shame for us Android users as AAC’s performance is unreliable on our OS. Nonetheless, bass notes are emphasized, which is appropriate given the exercise-oriented nature of the earbuds. Although the exaggerated bass degrades clarity, I don’t mind it as I’m not deconstructing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons; rather, I’m working out with these earbuds. To get a detailed rundown of the frequency response, read the in-depth review at SoundGuys.
Should you buy the JLab JBuds Air?
Yes, worthwhile cheap true wireless earbuds are currently few and far between, but those included with the JLab JBuds Air are unique. While the earbuds don’t provide any innovative or groundbreaking features, they function well and reliably which is what most of us want when buying cheap earbuds or headphones. Yes, the lack of aptX or AAC support is frustrating, but it makes sense at this price point. If you’ve been wanting to give true wireless a shot, but couldn’t bear the hit to your wallet, the JLab JBuds Air is an affordable, low-risk option that deserves a fair chance.