Positives

IP55
Auto connect
Value
Fit
Minimal wind noise

Negatives

Bulky
Discomfort after an hour
AAC and SBC only
Calls only taken through right earbud

Bottom Line

Among the cheap true wireless earbuds to rule them all are the JLab JBuds Air. The IP55 certification ensures longevity, while the fit counteracts the bulky build. Plus, the sheer value of this product is hard to ignore.

7.4
7.4
JLab JBuds Air
by JLab Audio

Among the cheap true wireless earbuds to rule them all are the JLab JBuds Air. The IP55 certification ensures longevity, while the fit counteracts the bulky build. Plus, the sheer value of this product is hard to ignore.

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?

JLab JBuds Air true wireless: The earbuds in the case which is open and angled away (slightly) from the lens.

The JLab JBuds Air truly wireless earbuds lack aptX and AAC support but stay connected within a three-meter range.

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.

Read: JLab JBuds Air Executive review

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.

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.

How do the JBuds Air compare to the JLab JBuds Air Icon and other cheap true wireless picks?

An aerial picture of the JLab JBuds Air Icon true wireless earbuds in the charging case.

The JBuds Air Icon charging case provides up to 18 additional hours of battery life.

JLab rounded off 2019 with an update to the JLab JBuds Air with the JBuds Air Icon edition. The new Icon earbuds and their included case are smaller than the original model. What’s more, listeners are afforded an extra two hours of playback on a single charge from the JBuds Air Icon. The newer charging case retains the company’s signature integrated USB cable, so you can charge the earphones from anywhere. The new generation uses dual-connection technology, which operates similarly to Qualcomm True Wireless Stereo Plus. All you need to know is that connection strength and autoconnect have been improved.

Alternatively, if you want to keep with a sub-$50 budget, consider the Edifier TWS1. These earphones retail for $49, support True Wireless Stereo Plus, and high-quality aptX streaming. They lack dust-resistance but have earned an IPX5 rating, so you can workout with them, even though they’re not the most ergonomic. If you want something stylish and affordable, the Edifier TWS1 is a great alternative.

If you can swing a more generous budget, the Creative Outlier Air earphones are worth investing in. These earbuds have an awesome 7.78-hour battery life, are IPX5-rated, and support AAC and aptX; no matter what smartphone you have, you’ll be able to enjoy high-quality Bluetooth audio.

Should you buy the JLab JBuds Air?

JLab JBuds Air true wireless: A close-up of the earbuds showing the JLab logo on the ear tips.

Silicone ear tips keep things comfortable, while the Cush-Fins effectively keep the ‘buds in place.

Yes, worthwhile cheap true wireless earbuds are hard to find, but those included with the JLab JBuds Air remain 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.

$49 .00
JLab JBuds Air
Buy it Now
JLab JBuds Air Buy it Now
$49 .00
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