Buying a decent pair of headphones isn’t always easy. The world of good audio has gotten more competitive over the past few years. More and more people are interested in getting an actual decent pair of headphones these days. However, there are a lot of things to consider. Sound quality, durability, and even design are all important factors. With that said, we know some people like to stick with certain brands.
As such, JBL happens to be one of these brands. It’s also one of the more popular ones out there, often competing with Apple and other giants. While they don’t aim their products at audiophiles, JBL headphones are still a good buy for the masses. They are most recognizable for their solid connection and reliability. This is especially true in wireless headphones.
Since they mostly focus on wireless audio, most of their products are aimed at the cord-cutting crowd. So, with all of that in mind, here are our favorite JBL headphones in 2021.
The JBL LIVE 650BTNC is a product of heated competition in wireless headphones. Active noise cancelation is a big feature for premium headphones these days. Sony and Bose have already cemented themselves as the top dogs in that department. However, JBL offers a lot of value with their LIVE 650BTNC headphones. Here are a few reasons why people love them.
It is refreshing to see that JBL decided to focus on design and construction. While a lot of headphones out there end up looking the same, the 650BTNC are immediately recognizable. The branding on both earcups and the top is there to remind you of that. However, the logos are not obnoxious, which is a relief. You can get them in Blue, White, or plain Black.
JBL is using plastic construction for these, but they still feel quite premium. We don’t have any concerns in terms of durability. The outer area of the headband has a fabric material covering it, which looks sublime in the Blue color. They also offer decent battery life with 20 hours of playtime. That’s with both Bluetooth and ANC turned on.
The active noise cancelation is quite good, and they work well for flights. They’re not up there with Bose or Sony, but given the price, we don’t mind. We just wished that we could adjust the level of ANC, like other headphones. They pack a deep rumbling low-end, and sound quality is great for the price. There is little to no distortion anywhere.
The only thing missing here is a USB Type-C port. Seeing a micro-USB port in 2021 feels dated. Apart from that, it’s easy to see why these are JBL’s most popular headphones right now.
JBL knows that not everyone buying a pair of headphones is an audiophile. A lot of people are just looking for a casual yet comfortable listening experience. Keeping the price in the cheaper region also helps in driving sales. This is exactly where the JBL LIVE 400BT tends to succeed.
The JBL LIVE 400BT headphones follow the usual design language of the LIVE headphone lineup. The plastic exterior and fabric material covering the headband are quickly recognizable. They come in a variety of colors, which is good since JBL wants to sell these to the younger crowd. The construction is quite good overall, and durability is not an issue.
These headphones have 24 hours of battery life, which is quite decent for the price. They also have a quick charge feature. This means you can plug them in for about 15 minutes and get 2 hours of juice. There is a good amount of travel for adjusting the headband size. Comfort is excellent for a pair of on-ear headphones.
The memory foam padding is soft and plush, and the lightweight aspect makes these easy to wear for longer periods. In terms of sound, it’s what we’ve come to expect from JBL. Everything sounds crystal clear and detailed, yet the bass is still powerful. It’s not as overpowering as Beats, and they’re not as neutral as Bose headphones. A lot of people tend to like this characteristic.
The mic quality is quite bad if that matters to you. Still, that doesn’t take away from the fact that these are some of the best on-ear headphones out there.
When it comes to sports headphones or generally headphones made for the gym, there are a lot of options out there. Earbuds tend to be the most popular choice, since they are small and stay out of your way. However, your earbuds keep falling out, or you need a better listening experience, the UA Sport Wireless is worth looking at.
The thing that immediately stands out about these headphones is the design and rugged build quality. Under Armour teamed up with JBL to create the perfect headphones for the gym. They are built like a tank, and you should not be worried about breaking them in any way.
They have an understated look going on, which is good for the gym. You can go with the black and red accents option if you want, which does pop a bit more. Comfort-wise, they have quite a snug fit. Not everyone will love that, but if you want to wear these while weight training, you’ll come to appreciate it. Just get ready to go through an adjustment period at first.
Active noise cancellation is also built-in if you want to completely tune yourself out. These are perfect if you really want to focus on your workout and the music. They sound loud and powerful, although the mids could be a bit smoother. Battery life is quite short at around 16 hours. With ANC turned on, you’ll deplete the battery even quicker.
These headphones aren’t for everyone. But for the person who is looking specifically for gym headphones, these are a worthy option.
Following the trend of sports earbuds, JBL decided to make the Under Armour Flash In-ear headphones. These are another pair of truly wireless earbuds, which we see more of every day. However, these earbuds are still taking a look at their design and overall quality.
These earbuds make a strong first impression right when you pull them out from the box. The charging case is well built and feels premium to the touch. The earbuds slide out from it, and the entire maneuver feels quite slick. However, the case is quite big and bulky, and it’s not going to be pocketable at all. Still, they seem perfect for throwing into a gym bag.
The earbuds themselves have winged ear tips, which are quite common among sports headphones. They sit snugly in the ear and won’t fall out as easily compared to other earbuds. They have an IPX7 water resistance rating, so they can handle the sweat. Battery life is also quite good with 5 hours of playtime, while the charging case can provide an additional 20 hours.
Unfortunately, audio quality is a department where these tend to suffer. They sound okay for the most part, but you can occasionally hear an audible background hiss at times. They also struggle to reach a tonne of loudness. These issues might add up to some people.
Overall, these are a decent option if you just need them for outdoor use or the gym. But prepare to deal with a few headaches if you want to daily drive them.
Finally, let’s include a budget option on this list to tie everything together. For people looking for a cheap and affordable pair of headphones, look no further. The E55BT Bluetooth headphones are an excellent pair for casual listening, and they’re even better for kids or young teenagers.
These headphones have an over-the-ear design, which is good to see. Most headphones aimed at the younger audience tend to be on-ear. Comfort is not an issue since the padding is quite deep. Furthermore, the earcups feel good to the touch and the clamping pressure is well balanced.
JBL has done a remarkable job of making these headphones stand out from the crowd. The color options are something JBL excels at and makes the headphones pop. The design and iconic look also immediately set them apart from the rest. Build quality is decent, but I wouldn’t be too rough with these headphones.
Sound quality is about what you’d expect at this price. They won’t blow you away by any means, but they will get the job done. For watching movies and general use, they are pretty good. However, if you are the sort of person who picks apart their music every time they listen to it, look elsewhere.
Battery life is quite short and doesn’t live up to the 20-hour mark a lot of the time. Still, these are worth considering as a pair of headphones for casual use.