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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.
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 ear canals really well.
The JLab JBuds Air Pro is also IP55 rated, so it can withstand some water 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 to go. 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.
There’s no app support, but you do get other features
The earbuds have three onboard EQ options: 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.
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
How does the JLab JBuds Air Pro connect?
These earbuds connect using Bluetooth 5.1 and can stream over the SBC and AAC Bluetooth 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 at once. That way if you get a call on your phone while you’re 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 like 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 battery life is pretty standard for true 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 really want to “feel” their music during a workout, and people who really like EDM. People who are more into classical or folk music might not enjoy a frequency response like this, since many instruments will sound quiet in comparison 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?
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 in 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):
JLab JBuds Air Pro microphone demo (Wind):
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 $20, 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.
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 $79 USD, but it features an IP55 rating, great sound quality, and supports the aptX Bluetooth codec for higher quality audio.
If you’d prefer something with noise cancelling, check out the JBL Tune 230NC TWS. It uses the JBL Headphones app, where you can access active noise cancelling controls, an equalizer, and lots of other configuration options.
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.