The JBL Endurance Dive is JBL’s set of wireless waterproof earbuds for swimmers and are IPX7-certified to show for it. The company’s proprietary TwistLock mechanism allows for a comfortable and secure fit, making it easy to forget the large build of the headset. If you want a pair of swimming earbuds that double as a fine pair of workout earbuds, the JBL Endurance Dive should be in your bag.

Editor’s note: this review was updated on March 14, 2019, to reflect proper underwater usage. 

Who is the JBL Endurance Dive for?

JBL Endurance Dive: A woman wearing the headphones to display the sizing.

The earbuds are for swimmers but fail to work when submerged.

As signified by the name, Dive, these waterproof earbuds are intended for swimmers. They provide 1GB of onboard storage, are IPX7 rated, and allow for a secure fit. In order to use the Endurance Dive underwater, you must play music directly from the earbuds. Using Bluetooth underwater renders them inoperable. Additionally, these are fine for land workouts like running and weight-lifting.

Related: What makes good workout earbuds?

Build quality

JBL Endurance Dive: Focus image of the Endurance Peak's right earbud dangling from branches.

The Endurance Peak features a nearly identical design to the Endurance Dive with a true wireless form factor.

Much like the JBL Endurance Peak, I was worried about the colossal size of the earbuds and thought they’d be uncomfortable. The Endurance Dive borrows the Peak’s PowerHook design, which wraps around the back of the ear with an appropriate amount of clamping force. Extending behind each earbud module is a rubber-coated cable connecting the two pieces. Although it’s flexible, it maintains its shape and follows the contours of the head well.

By attaching the hook to the back of the earbud nozzles, the headphones are automatically shut down. Detaching the hooks from the back of the nozzles automatically powers the JBL Endurance Dive on and forces it to automatically connect to the most recent source.

The earbuds are quick to auto-connect, and require the use of its 1GB storage capacity to function underwater.

It’s not just a magnet hidden beneath that silicone exterior, though; there’s 1GB of storage integrated into the headset. That means you can upload ~200 songs and take them anywhere with you, which is great. Doing so is as easy as plugging the earbuds into your computer and dragging and dropping your music to the headset—very early 2000s.

Playback controls

JBL Endurance Dive: The headphones on a wet wooden surface.

All playback controls are commanded via the right earbud.

Touch controls are identical to those on the true wireless version of these earbuds. The right earbud houses all controls. Tapping the right earbud’s “L” one, two, or three times pauses, skips, and plays the previous track respectively. To begin pairing mode, just hold the same spot for five seconds. Volume controls require you to slide a finger up or down the earpiece lengthwise, which works most of the time. All of this is great but it’s disappointing that the JBL Endurance Dive lacks virtual assistant access. In order to switch between wireless listening and the songs uploaded directly to the headset, tap and hold the right earbud for three seconds.

Working out and swimming are great

JBL gets it right with its proprietary PowerHook, TwistLock, and FlexSoft technologies. The headset really is comfortable to wear during workouts of all kinds. Be sure to avoid the mistake I made, which was trying to swim with them while in Bluetooth mode. Doing so automatically disconnect anytime they take a plunge. However, the ~200-song capacity should be enough to keep you going during even the longest workouts.

Battery life

JBL Endurance Dive: An image showing the microUSB input located on the left earbud.

The earbuds last for nearly 7.5 hours of constant playback and charge via MicroUSB.

Battery life is pretty good. Our objective testing showed that the JBL Endurance Dive can last 7.47 hours when subjected to a constant 75dB(SPL) output. This is just short of JBL’s listed eight-hour battery life, and if you play your music a bit quieter you can probably reach that.

If you happen to forget to charge the earbuds before a workout, they do support fast charging when the battery is low: 10 minutes attached to the microUSB cable provides an hour of music. While it would have been nice to see USB-C charging, the quick charging support is somewhat compensatory.

Connectivity

JBL Endurance Dive: A close-up of the back of the earbud where the magnet is located.

By attaching the earhook to the back of the earbud nozzle, the Dive is automatically powered off.

The JBL Endurance Dive uses Bluetooth 4.2 and supports only the SBC codec. Connectivity is fine on land, but the moment I entered the water, the earbuds immediately disconnected from my phone be it the LG G6 or the Samsung Galaxy S10e. In fact, the only time that the connection between the Dive and my phone completely dropped was when they were submerged. Other than that things were, only slightly below par.

Related: Are true wireless earbuds overthrowing wireless ones?

Sound quality

While these look a bit like bone conduction headphones sound quality is better as a full seal, albeit a weak one, is formed with the ear canal. Due to the dubious isolation properties, bass response is lacking. Similarly to the Endurance Peak, outside noise is quick to mask low-end frequencies.

As shown by the isolation chart, the Endurance Dive isn’t the best performer when it comes to blocking out external noise, which corresponds to the underwhelming bass response. It’s not just the fit though, the Dive—like the Peak—places greater emphasis on higher frequencies. Doing so is likely strategic to feign clarity.

Lows, mids, and highs

JBL Endurance Dive: Top-down image of the headphones coming out of the silicone pouch with the included ear tips to the side. A Cavalier speaker is in the top right corner of the image and all objects are on slatted wood.

JBL includes a silicone carrying pouch and two spare pairs of ear tips.

Regina Spektor’s song Eet opens with her cycling through A#m-G#-C#-F# on the piano. While these aren’t bass-centric chords by any means, their fundamental frequencies lack a great deal of emphasis. This makes the song sound strange since it’s so clearly led by Spektor’s piano playing. That said, Spektor’s voice comes through rather clearly. In fact, her vocals are so clear in the first verse that it’s super easy to hear the contact between her tongue and forward palate in the word “it” at 0:25.

On the whole, it’s a pleasant sound, but it isn’t for everyone. I enjoyed it for its differences relative to most workout earbuds and headphones but felt something was severely lacking during my workouts. While I wouldn’t typically reach for exaggerated bass for at-home listening, most of us seek it out for exercise.

Should you buy it?

JBL Endurance Dive: The headphones on a balcony railing with rain on them.

The JBL Endurance Dive is a pair of IPX7 wireless earbuds that retails for less than $100.

If you’re an avid swimmer who requires music in the lap pool, yes. While 1GB may not sound like much, it’s certainly enough to keep your ears occupied for many workouts before getting bored. Additionally, the media you upload to the headset isn’t static and may be modified via your computer at any time. Additionally, these serve as an operable pair of gym earbuds that fit well and have fine touch controls. That said, if money isn’t an issue, I’d recommend just jumping up to the JBL Endurance Peak for completely wireless listening.

Still looking? Read up on our list of the best wireless neckband earbuds

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Buy Now

JBL Endurance Dive
Bluetooth wireless allows you to stream high quality music through a full 8 hours without the worry of messy wires interfering with your workout. In just 10 minutes, you can power your headphones for an hour of use.