JBL’s Reflect Mini NC cordless in-ears are punchily tuned, support Bluetooth 5.1, and offer noise-cancellation features which amplify outside perception as well as communication. Sound and system adjustments can be made via connection to an app and they can also be integrated to voice services such as Google Assistant or Alexa.
To ensure a stable fit during sporting activities, these earphones are equipped with so-called EarWings, which, like Eartips, are supplied in three sizes and can be used in any combination. This provides flexible adaptability, promoting a comfortable fit, especially since the wings reduce the strain on the auditory canal. The design of these in-ears means they have to be twisted into the ear, which at first requires a certain amount of care and attention, but the right way can soon be learned. The housings protrude a bit, so if you want to wear these wireless headphones under a hat or cap, then it should not fit too tightly. However, the system does not need to be protected from weather-related wetness, since these robust-looking in-ears are made to be water- as well as sweat-resistant according to IPX7.
In our battery test, the Reflect Mini NC proved to be enduring true wireless headphones with a runtime of seven hours and twenty minutes at high volume. At six hours and fifteen minutes, the runtime with active noise cancellation was also respectable. Despite decent endurance, the total runtime of this compact set was rather low because the battery reserve of the transport case, which serves as a charging station, was already 75% exhausted by the time the in-ears were fully charged. In ANC mode, an external power supply was therefore required after about 14 hours, while about 17 hours could be achieved without noise suppression. A charging cycle of these headphones takes almost 100 minutes, and a quick charge function is available for spontaneous use, which provides capacity for just under 70 minutes after ten minutes of charging. The case is recharged in less than 90 minutes via the included USB-C to USB-A charging cable.
Device control and voice service integration
Pairing the in-ears, which offered a stable range of nine metres within an urban environment when paired with various Android and iOS devices, is done directly when the case is opened. This turns the system on and automatically puts it into pairing mode while placing them back in the charger turns them off. There is no provision for manually switching the headphones on and off, which seemed a little bit impractical. However, a bilateral mono mode is supported, so there is a free choice between the left and right side when using the headphones. Another good feature is the in-ears’ automatic start/stop function, which pauses playback when an earpiece is removed; this can be activated and deactivated via the app as required. The assignment of the precise and reliable touch control can also be adapted to your personal needs within a predefined framework, so that title navigation can be replaced by volume control, for example.
In the default configuration, one tap on the right side controls playback, while double-tapping is used to skip forward and triple-tapping to skip back. Meanwhile, tapping the left side toggles between ANC, ambient-aware mode and basic sound, while double-tapping turns the Talkthru function on and off. Phone calls, which have satisfying speech intelligibility, can also be accepted or ended by double-tapping, and this can be done on either the left or right side. Activating voice assistants or services can be done via pressing and holding the control surface. Users of Google Assistant also benefit from well-designed integration. Provided that the voice control has been set up via the app beforehand, it is possible to communicate with the assistant at any time by holding a headphone surface without your Smartphone having to be in the immediate vicinity. In addition to requesting information, messages can also be read out and answered. However, voice control reduces the functional range of the touch control significantly since it completely occupies one side of the headphones.
The contemporary tuning of the Reflect Mini NC gives a full, warm sound and provides a powerful bass response for enjoyable listening. The rounded bass foundation reaches down quite deep, which benefits electronic music or hip-hop. At the same time, the low bass is not too heavy and is compact enough to reproduce bass-driven productions powerfully making a powerful motivator for sports. But these in-ears are also suitable for softer sounds, spoken content and films, as voices are presented in a present and lively way without seeming over-focused. Although at higher volumes there is a tendency to overemphasise sibilants, on the positive side, the high-frequency range does not drop noticeably in the upper regions but is reproduced with stability and clarity. In terms of audio codecs, these wireless headphones support Bluetooth standard SBC as well as the higher-quality AAC format, but they lack aptX.
ANC, Ambient Aware and Talkthru modes
While these in-ears have a fairly high level of passive shielding, the active noise cancellation in the default setting shows weaknesses, especially with high-frequency and complex noise sources. Street noise or a kitchen radio in the background was not noticeably attenuated. However, this was presumably due to the fact that the ANC setting in the app, which is supposed to allow flexible adjustment of the noise suppression, was not yet operational, but this could be remedied with an update. On the other hand, there are no effects on the Ambient Aware and Talkthru functions, both of which fulfil their purpose and cleanly amplify outside noises via the integrated microphones without creating a perceptible background noise. The ambient mode maintains the set volume and serves to increase the overall external perception, while the Talkthru function enables conversation by lowering the playback level and specifically amplifying voices. However, there is a shortcoming: It is not apparent which mode is being used, even in the app, as the headphones do not provide any audible or visual notification as to whether noise cancellation, ambient mode or the Talkthru function is active.
JBL Headphones App
The app connected to these in-ears does not seem fully developed at the moment. The operation of the free JBL Headphones app is not smooth, is often laggy and its functions are limited. These problems did not exist with previous versions. Nevertheless, there is obvious potential for using the personalisation options, which include an EQ that enables custom sound settings and offers ready-made presets. In addition to the assignment of the touch control, integration of voice services and ANC setting, there are also three Smart Audio modes to choose from, which, according to the manufacturer, optimise the wireless connection, audio quality or synchronicity during movies. Complementing the customisation options are useful features such as a search function that activates a beep to locate the headphones and firmware updates that can also be made via the app.
JBL’s Reflect Mini NC aim to offer a high level of customisable functionality when used as versatile True Wireless headphones for sports, everyday use and travel. This is currently still limited by the app (as of early December), particularly with regard to noise cancellation, so we await an update. However, good sound with powerful bass reproduction is offered and these weatherproof in-ears score points with a comfortable, stable fit, long-lasting batteries and precise touch control. The Ambient Aware and Talkthru modes are also successful, as is the integration of Google Assistant.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
- Impedance16 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)@1KHz: 97 dB
- Weight without cable7 g each, incl. case: 42 g
What's in the box
- Eartips and wings in three sizes each (S/M/L)
- USB-C to USB-A charging cable
- Charging case
- available in black, white and blue
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC
- BT version: 5.1