For the Pro version, JLab pumps up its JBuds Air with larger batteries. Compared to in-ears from other manufacturers in the same price range, this model stands out with three EQ sound modes, a transparency mode, plus sweat and rain protection.
The JBuds Air Pro from the American JLab manufacturer may look a little bulky, but they are 15 per cent narrower than the JBuds Air. Their look is defined by the silver embossed logo, under which the function keys are located.
These True Wireless in-ears fit perfectly and securely in the ear thanks to the rubber rings, which come in two different sizes and are pulled over a matching recess in the housing. The silicone ear tips, which come in three different sizes, also snap into place due to the widened driver opening.
Additional features include a multi-coloured illuminated status LED on each earpiece, a MEMS microphone and the permanently connected USB cable, which is “hidden” in the base of the charging case. The case has three LEDs on the front to confirm the charging process.
Useable in wind and weather
Each JLab JBuds Air Pro weighs 5.3 grams, so they don’t weigh much in the ear. Even with their somewhat bulky shape, they adapt to the shape of the ear well. They protrude visibly from the ear canal but not above the ear, preventing air circulation during sports activities. Their suitability for mobile use is also underlined by their IP55 certification, which means they withstand sweat and rainwater.
Fast charging and long runtime
The JLab JBuds Pro take 1.5 hours to charge, with two hours needed for the case, and this was confirmed by our test. JLab puts the runtime at nine hours, but of course, this depends on the volume. In our continuous play test with three-quarters of the maximum volume, the 60 mAh lithium polymer batteries only lasted eight hours. For a longer gaming marathon, the case stores an additional 27 hours. The runtime benefits from the automatic stop when the in-ears are removed from the ears.
Serve up streaming music and more
The JLab JBuds Air Pro feature Bluetooth version 5.1, and the connection between the earpiece and a smartphone was stable, only breaking down after more than ten metres in an open space.
Pairing the JBuds Air Pro with an Apple iPhone or Android device (here, thanks to Google Fast Pair) was a breeze. Remove the earpieces from the case and place them in the ear, then a voice prompt will indicate that they are ready for pairing and gives the current battery status, broken down into three rough levels (“Full”, “Mid”, “Low”)
For a second device, such as a tablet or laptop, the JLab JBuds Air Pro doesn’t have to be unpaired but can connect directly to it (multipoint). Also, in “single mode”, one earpiece can be used on its own. This is an advantage in traffic, as well as when the battery is low, as one earpiece can have a power nap in the case. In addition to the standard functions (volume, play/pause, next track), the earpieces also offer “Siri” and “Ok Google” support when you double press the button. Incoming phone calls can be accepted, ended and also rejected.
Passable voice quality and transparency
In quiet surroundings, the built-in MEMS microphone sounded somewhat noisy and muffled, with slightly fluctuating frequencies, but it remained clear. However, as the background noise increased, speech intelligibility was lost, but background noise was audibly masked.
With in-ears, one quickly feels too isolated from the environment. This is where the “Be Aware” mode comes into its own. In this transparency mode, ambient noise is mixed in via the two built-in microphones. You don’t feel isolated but can hear the traffic and have face-to-face conversations without having to take the earpiece out of your ear. Thanks to the JLab app, you can even adjust the intensity of ambient sounds.
Adjustments made easy by the app
The app, which is available for both Android and Apple products, not only provides the current battery status in per cent but also allows the user to assign individual settings to the touch buttons. As well as the “Be Aware” mode, the app offers three EQ modes that include JLab “Signature”, “Balanced”, and “Bass Boost”, plus a 10-band EQ for individual adjustment according to sound preferences. Thanks to Tile, also linked in the JLab app, the headphones can be located if they are lost.
Unfortunately, however, the app connection was still quite buggy when we did our test. A JLab technician tipped us off, set the phone to “do not disturb”, and it fixes the problem currently found on Android, where Google Fast Pair blocks the automatic over-the-air update process.
Responsive sound depending on EQ mode
JLab builds six-millimetre dynamic drivers into the JBuds Air Pro, with an output of 98 +/-3 dB and 16 ohms impedance. This means these earphones deliver a hefty, but not overly loud, level. In other words, even at full volume, I still found the signal pleasantly listenable.
The frequency response ranges from 20 to 20,000 hertz. When streaming, which is only supported with SBC audio codec, the headphones delivered a decent whack in the low frequencies. In the intro of Massive Attack’s “Protection”, the bass literally boomed without distorting the transients. The treble can also hold its own on the dominant groove.
Finally, in the factory pre-set JLab SIGNATURE mode, high frequencies were also boosted. Only the mids fell behind, and I personally didn’t dislike this, but it undercut some of the sounds in the song. Advocates of a linear sound should opt for the BALANCED mode. However, I found the pre-set “BASS BOOST” overdone and too muffled in terms of bass. In my opinion, it is only suitable for EDM, where sawtooth sounds with exaggerated highs are supposed to sting the ears.
If you don’t like the three EQ modes, you can simply adjust the sound yourself with the app’s 10-band EQ.
Another special feature of the JLab JBuds Air Pro is the Movie Mode, which improves lip sync between words and images through reduced latency (under 100 milliseconds)
The JLab JBuds Air Pro True Wireless in-ears, which cost just under 80 euros, score points with a fairly long playing time, a comfortable fit and protection against sweat and rainwater. A bass note pervades their powerful sound, which can be adjusted in the app thanks to EQ control. The built-in microphones ensure clear transparency for conversations, announcements or even street noises via “Be Aware”. On the other hand, the JLab JBuds Air Pro are weak during phone calls, with a noisy, somewhat unnatural-sounding voice signal that becomes less intelligible as the background noise increases. This is a snag that can be overcome as long as you attach value to other features, such as movie mode, Bluetooth multipoint and Tile support, along with a good price-performance ratio.
- long battery life
- good and customisable sound
- rain and sweat proof
- sturdy and comfortable fit
- comfortable operation
- Movie and Be Aware modes
- Bluetooth multipoint
- only SBC audio codec
- speech intelligibility during phone calls
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
- Impedance16 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)98 ± 3 dB
- Weight without cable5,3 g each, case 39,1 g
What's in the box
- 1 pair of rubber rings
- 3 pairs of ear tips (S, M, L)
- Charging case
- 3 months free subscription to TIDAL
- BT codec: SBC
- BT version 5.1
- BT profiles: HSP, HFP, A2DP, AVRC
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