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JLab JBuds Air Pro
May 2, 2022
Original: $59 USD
15.2 x 9.4 x 4.7cm
Envision your daily set of earbuds: you commute with it, work with it, work out with it, and make calls with it, seamlessly and effortlessly. This is a lot to ask of any wireless earbuds, let alone the $59 USD JLab JBuds Air Pro, but anything is possible (with some caveats).
We spent a week with the JBuds Air Pro to see if it succeeds as a great pair of affordable true wireless earbuds.
Editor’s note: this review was updated on May 12, 2023, to update the formatting and expand the Alternatives and FAQ sections. We also addressed mobile app support in its own section and updated the scores based on results from our microphone poll.
Bass lovers will enjoy the intensely bassy frequency response, as long as you don’t mind missing out on some other sounds, and anyone on a budget will find it easy to use and reliable at what it does. Athletes who don’t want to worry about sweat or dust damaging their earbuds will enjoy the IP55 rating.
What is the JLab JBuds Air Pro like?
The JLab JBuds Air Pro is matte black with a silver logo on the touch sensor of each earbud, with a small case that fits easily inside pockets. The plastic earbuds are light at 5.3g per earbud—not quite as light as the GO Air POP, but not too hefty to stay in your ear. It includes three silicone ear tip sizes, and the smallest size fits my small ears well.
The JLab JBuds Air Pro is also IP55-rated so it can withstand water splashes and dust. This is great for people who work out, so you don’t have to worry about sweat or chalk ruining your earbuds. Non-athletes can enjoy this durability rating too: no one wants to get caught in a surprise downpour with delicate earphones.
The JBuds Air Pro is really easy to use. You just connect it to your device over Bluetooth, and it’s ready. It features Bluetooth multipoint, so you can easily switch devices if you’re listening to music on your laptop and you get a phone call. The earbuds also have automatic ear detection, so if you take one earbud out, it pauses your music and resumes once you put it back in.
How do you control the JLab JBuds Air Pro?
The JLab JBuds Air Pro is controlled through the touch panels on each earbud. The touch panels occasionally don’t register my taps, like registering my triple tap as a double tap, or not recognizing a tap at all. This isn’t a constant issue, but it’s something to be aware of.
Be aware mode
Press and hold 1 second
Reject incoming call
The earbuds have three onboard EQ options that you can cycle through with the touch panels: JLab Signature, Balanced, and Bass boost. JLab Signature is extremely bassy by default, and Bass boost is way too bassy for regular listeners, though bass enthusiasts may enjoy it if they can live with other sounds getting drowned out. Balanced is better for podcasts or classical music, and doesn’t sound great with other genres.
JLab includes features like “Be aware” and “Music” or “Movie” mode with these earbuds, which affect your listening experience in different ways. “Be aware” allows outside noises in so you can be aware of your surroundings, which can be helpful for runners who want to stay safe. Music mode and Movie mode affect latency, and according to JLab, you can use Movie mode to reduce the latency to 100ms or less.
Should you download the JLab Sound App?
The JLab Sound app is available for iOS or Android. At the very least, you’ll want to download it for firmware updates that can fix bugs or add functionality.
You can also use the app to toggle the audio passthrough on or off with Be Aware mode. JLab lets you customize the controls and equalize the sound with a 10-band EQ module. Having 10 EQ bands to play around with is rare; at most, manufacturers usually only give you five bands.
How does the JLab JBuds Air Pro connect?
These earbuds connect using Bluetooth 5.1 and can stream over the SBC and AAC Bluetooth audio codecs. This is good for iOS users especially since AAC works most reliably on Apple devices. Android users shouldn’t fret though, as many Android devices are getting better at supporting AAC, and you can force SBC in your developer settings if need be.
Don’t forget that you can also connect the JBuds Air Pro to two devices simultaneously. That way, if you get a call on your phone while listening to music on your laptop, you’ll be able to answer the call and go back to your music smoothly.
What’s the battery life on the JLab JBuds Air Pro?
JLab claims that the JBuds Air Pro has a battery life of over nine hours, and in our objective testing, we found this to be an overstatement. The buds last 6 hours, 49 minutes of constant real music output, peaking at 75dB(SPL). This is a standard battery life for wireless earbuds, but it’s a shame it doesn’t live up to what is advertised. JLab also claims that the case adds another 27 hours of battery life, and I haven’t experienced anything to contradict that.
How well does the JLab JBuds Air Pro block out noise?
The JLab JBuds Air Pro doesn’t isolate a whole lot, so outside noise will impact your listening experience. The key to good isolation is getting the right fit with the ear tips to ensure they’re not too loose. A good fit begets optimal audio quality. You will likely still be able to hear talking, typing, and clanging dishes, and street noise will likely be a problem since it’s predominantly at low frequencies.
How does the JLab JBuds Air Pro sound?
The JLab JBuds Air Pro has an extreme bass emphasis compared to our consumer target curve. There’s also a big boost in the treble range, leaving a big dip in between in our chart. The frequency response for this pair of earbuds shows that a lot of emphasis is placed on bass and treble, leaving the midrange underrepresented.
This kind of frequency response is most ideal for people who want to “feel” their music during a workout, and people who like EDM. People more into classical or folk music might not enjoy a frequency response like this, since many instruments will sound quiet compared to any bass sounds. Cymbals, harmonics, and snares will also sound a bit louder from that boost in the treble range around 7kHz.
Lows, mids, highs
In the song Ttv by Telefon Tel Aviv, there is a very high, mosquito-like sound around 0:12, followed by a ticking mosquito sound right after, in the 11-17kHz range. On this pair of earbuds, I can’t hear that sound at all. That range is under-emphasized compared to our consumer curve, so it’s way less perceptible since it’s already hard for some people to hear. If you care a lot about hearing sounds across all ranges well, these earbuds won’t give you that opportunity.
People who are more into classical music or folk music might not enjoy a frequency response like this.
In the song Take the Power Back by Rage Against The Machine, the kick drum throughout is very loud compared to other sounds, and the guitar and vocals can sound quiet in comparison. The guitar solo that begins at 2:41 is overpowered by the kick drum, bass guitar, and some of the higher cymbal and snare sounds. If you’re into rock or punk music, this might not be a good choice of earbuds for those genres, since bass can overpower other instruments and vocals.
How is the microphone on the JBuds Air Pro?
The microphone on the JLab JBuds Air Pro is passable, albeit very mid-heavy, with the response peaking around 1kHz. The sound is inconsistent, and you can hear that even in the ideal condition, the level audibly fluctuates. If you’re outside in the wind or any other situation with a ton of background noise, you will be a lot less audible. The noise suppression on this microphone does a decent job of removing steady noise but fails to do a good job of preserving the speech. Don’t get these if you plan on making calls outside.
Take a listen and let us know what you think below:
JLab JBuds Air Pro microphone demo (Ideal conditions):
JLab JBuds Air Pro microphone demo (Windy conditions):
How does the microphone sound to you?
Should you get the JLab JBuds Air Pro?
If you’re in the market for cheap earbuds that have a lot of uses, you might want to consider the JLab JBuds Air Pro.
This pair of earbuds proves multifaceted with its IP55 rating, bassy frequency response, and Be aware mode, making it great for athletes. The Movie mode makes it good for people who like to watch videos, shows, or movies with earbuds in, and the EQ options make it more versatile overall. While the battery life isn’t what it aims for, the charging case helps.
If you can look past the pitfalls with the frequency response and battery life, this is a perfectly fine pair of budget earbuds. If you want better sound from your earbuds, you should probably look elsewhere.
What are some alternatives to the JLab JBuds Air Pro?
If you want a super-budget pair of earbuds from JLab, the JLab GO Air POP is a great budget choice. At only $24 at Amazon, you get a better sound than the JBuds Air Pro, better isolation, and pretty much the same microphone. It comes in a variety of colors, is super light and small, and works great, save for some occasional connection issues. It’s also IPX4 rated, so it can handle a bit of water. There’s also the TOZO T6, which is IPX8 rated, meaning it can survive full submersion in water. It also has a solid 8 hour battery life, and a bassy sound profile like the JBuds Air Pro. You can get it for $26 at Amazon.
The TOZO T6 is a great bang for your buck, but the controls don't work as expected.
If you want another option for earbuds that are good for working out, check out the Jabra Elite 3. It’s a bit more expensive at $59 at Amazon, but it features an IP55 rating, great sound quality, and supports the aptX Bluetooth codec for higher quality audio. For the same build with the addition of noise canceling, check out the Jabra Elite 4 ($79 at Amazon) instead.
If you’d prefer stemmed earbuds with noise canceling, check out the JBL Tune 230NC TWS. It uses the JBL Headphones app, where you can access active noise canceling controls, an equalizer, and lots of other configuration options. It’s available for $49.99 at Best Buy.
Frequently asked questions about the JLab JBuds Air Pro
An IP55 rating means that the earbuds are resistant to water and dust. Specifically, the first “5” refers to dust, and means that it can withstand any quantity of dust that could cause damage, but it isn’t fully sealed. The second “5” refers to water, which means that it can withstand water jets from a 6.3mm nozzle from any direction.