Single JBL UA True Wireless Flash bud in-earSource: JBL

Best JBL Headphones Android Central 2019

JBL isn't as popular as it once was but it still makes some really great headphones. The JBL Live 650BTNC is our best overall pick for having excellent sound, battery life, and comfort.

Best Overall: JBL Live 650 BTNC

JBL Live 650 BTNC next to Galaxy S10eSource: SoundGuys

The JBL Live 650 BTNC has the best combination of sound, battery life, and comfort. So let's start with the headphones' strong suit: battery life. While there's no fast charging of any sort, the Live 650 BTNC lasts 30 hours on a single charge. You'll be able to get through a long flight and still have some juice left over. Unfortunately they use the older Micro-USB connector for charging, which isn't ideal in a world where most gadgets now use USB-C.

Sound quality is exceptional. The bass itself is quite boosted giving a rather warm sound signature overall. However, the rest of the sound signature is neutral and flat. Dynamic range is excellent but the soundstage is rather mediocre, being super narrow and unnatural sounding.

The Live 650 BTNC feature active noise cancelation (ANC) and an ambient sound mode as well. The ANC is right where you'd expect it to be — in line with previous generations of Sony and Bose's ANC headphones. Not the best money can buy, but still much better than having no ANC whatsoever. You may struggle hearing others around you with the ambient sound mode, especially in louder environments, but it's fine in practically every other case.

Comfort is decent. While you won't experience any ear fatigue or pain when they're on your head, you may experience your ears getting warm after extended use possibly forcing you to take breaks in between listening sessions. However, the Live 650 BTNC are decently portable, the ear cups fold and swivel to lay flat. They still leave a rather large footprint in your bag, but fortunately, the carrying pouch is super slim.

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Solid, warm sound signature
  • Great comfort in short bursts
  • Good ANC performance

Cons:

  • Micro-USB for charging
  • No fast charging
  • Ear cups can get warm

Best Overall

JBL Live 650 BTNC

All around headphone

The JBL Live 650 BTNC are a pair of solid all-around headphones with great sound and battery life, if you're okay with taking a break every few hours.

Best Workout Buds: JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless

JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless outdoorsSource: JBL

The JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless are great workout buds with its IPX7 water resistance rating. This means that the earbuds can withstand exposure to a puddle, sweat, rain, or snow. The only thing they aren't good for is being used for swimming, though you really shouldn't be using earbuds underwater anyways.

The Endurance Sprint Wireless have a solid v-shaped sound signature. The bass and treble are boosted quite a bit, while the mids are recessed. This creates a piercing and sharp sound that some may find uncomfortable after a few minutes of listening. Dynamic range is excellent and soundstage is mediocre, but that's expected as most earbuds won't have great soundstage.

Battery life is pretty great with up to nine hours on a single charge. There's no fast charging and they charge over Micro-USB. This means that once the bud dies, you'll be looking at roughly two hours of recharging time.

Comfort and fit are excellent thanks to the hook and bud design. This allows the Endurance Sprint Wireless to hook around your ear in addition to being an in-ear earbud, making it nearly impossible for the earbud to fall out. Since they're not true wireless buds, the wire helps prevent the loss of a single earbud and adds stability to the buds.

Pros:

  • IPX7 water resistance
  • Excellent comfort and stability
  • Fun, V-shaped sound signature
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • Treble boost can be fatiguing for some
  • Micro-USB for charging
  • No fast charging

Best Workout Buds

JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless

Workout champ

The Endurance Sprint from JBL is an excellent workout companion with IPX7 water resistance and nine hours of battery life.

Best On-Ear: JBL Live 400BT

JBL Live 400BT outdoors lifestyleSource: JBL

While not as popular as it once was, on-ear headphones are still fantastic for a handful of reasons including great sound without complete isolation. Enter the JBL Live 400BT, the best on-ear headphone the company currently offers.

The JBL Live 400BT perform excellent here with an overall neutral sound signature. The low- and mid-bass is only slightly boosted, and the high-bass is slightly recessed. The rest of the sound signature (mids and treble) are neutral and flat all across the board. However, thanks to the on-ear design, the bass response is highly inconsistent. In some cases the bass will be vastly boosted, while other times the bass can sound underwhelming. Dynamic range is good but soundstage is small and instrument separation suffers as well.

However, battery life is superb with up to 24 hours of battery life on a single charge. There's no fast charging, which means you'll be stuck waiting for roughly two hours to charge from an empty battery. The Live 400BT also charge over Micro-USB, which isn't ideal as the world continues to move to USB-C as the charging standard.

Comfort is decent at best thanks to the on-ear design. The ear cup will more than likely come into contact with the top of your ears as the cups aren't that large. Fortunately, you won't have any issues with warmth on your ear or discomfort towards the crown of your head. They are also fairly lightweight and portable making them super easy to tuck away in your bag when you're done using them.

Pros:

  • Great sound quality
  • Long battery life
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons:

  • Comfort is OK at best
  • Micro-USB for charging
  • No fast charging

Best On-Ear

JBL Live 400BT

Lightweight and portable

The JBL Live 400BT feature great sound quality, long battery life, and are super portable and lightweight.

Best In-Ear: JBL Reflect Mini 2

Single JBL Reflect Mini 2 earbudSource: CNET

The JBL Reflect Mini 2's sound signature is solid. The bass is overall boosted by a good margin giving them an overall warmer sound signature. The lower- and upper-mids are balanced and neutral while the mid-mids are slightly recessed forcing vocals to take a backseat. Treble is neutral overall giving you a very airy and smooth roll off. Dynamic range is excellent and soundstage is almost non-existent, but is expected as most earbuds have a pretty small soundstage due to size.

Comfort is excellent if you're alright with the wing and bud design. Instead of a hook like some other fitness-style earbuds, the wing attaches to the inner portion of your ear. Some may find this uncomfortable or the bud may flat out not stay in your ear. That aside, the Reflect Mini 2 are super comfortable and you won't have any issues with ear fatigue nor pain. Obviously, being earbuds, the Reflect Mini 2 are super portable and can easily be worn around your neck or thrown in your pocket.

Battery life is excellent with up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge. Unlike most other JBL headphones, the Reflect Mini 2 feature fast charging. With its fast charging technology, you'll get an hour of audio playback with a 15-minute charge. It charges over Micro-USB which isn't ideal, especially if you own a modern smartphone.

Pros:

  • Great sound
  • Excellent comfort
  • Long battery life
  • Fast charging!

Cons:

  • Micro-USB for charging
  • Wing design may not fit some ears

Best In-Ear

JBL Reflect Mini 2

In-ear tunes

With long battery life, great sound, and comfort, the JBL Reflect Mini 2 is perfect for those who want in-ear earbuds.

Best Over-Ear: JBL E55BT Wireless

Lifestyle of JBL E55BTSource: JBL

The JBL E55BT Wireless are not only stylish, but are functional as well. The sound quality overall is solid with a good, boosted bass response. The low-mids are slightly underemphasized to compensate for the boosted bass, while the mid- and high-mids are neutral. The treble response is flat and neutral overall.

Comfort is excellent if you have smaller ears. Despite it being marketed as an over-ear headphone, the cups aren't as large as most other over-ear headphones. At the same time, the cups aren't small enough to classify as an on-ear headphone either. If your ears are small, the fit is great but if you have average or bigger ears (like me) the headphone will cause major discomfort, especially around the top of your ear. Otherwise, the headband won't your head and your ears won't get warm.

Battery life is great with up to 20 hours on a single charge. There's no fast charging capability here, which means you'll be waiting around two hours if you have a dead battery. Unfortunately, you're stuck with Micro-USB for charging.

Pros:

  • Great comfort for smaller ears
  • Long battery life
  • Solid, bass boosted sound

Cons:

  • Micro-USB for charging
  • Not fast charge capable
  • Can be uncomfortable for larger ears

Best Over-Ear

JBL E55BT

Over-ear tunes

Bass heads reunite! The E55BT feature a fantastic, bass boosted sound with great battery life, and decent comfort.

Best True Wireless Buds: JBL UA True Wireless Flash

Single JBL UA True Wireless Flash bud in-earSource: JBL

The JBL UA True Wireless Flash feature a surprisingly excellent sound. Other than a slightly recessed lower-treble, the sound signature is flat and neutral all around, giving them a natural sound. Dynamic range is excellent and soundstage is pretty mediocre but that's expected as most earbuds lack in soundstage.

Comfort is excellent. The UA True Wireless Flash use a wing and bud combination to maximize comfort and fit. You won't have any issues with ear fatigue or discomfort as the buds don't enter the ear canal at all. Obviously portability is excellent (these are wireless earbuds, after all). The included charging case is rugged, and is a little bit larger than most charging cases for truly wireless buds, but it still fits in pockets just fine, even if your pocket is packed filled with other things.

Battery life is decent with up to five hours of listening time on a single charge. The charging case will net you an additional 20 hours, giving you a total of 25 hours of battery life. While that's all great, the charging case uses the Micro-USB connector, which isn't ideal as Micro-USB.

Pros:

  • Great battery life
  • Excellent comfort
  • Superb sound quality

Cons:

  • Micro-USB for charging

Best True Wireless Buds

JBL UA True Wireless Flash

Cord-free listening

The JBL UA True Wireless Flash offer great sound, battery life, and comfort. It's only downside is charging over Micro-USB.

Best Value: JBL Tune T120TWS True Wireless

Single JBL Tune T120TWS earbud lifestyleSource: Amazon

If you're looking for the best bang for your buck, and want to stick with JBL, the Tune T120TWS True Wireless are your best bet. In terms of sound quality, they are bass boosted quite a bit, giving them an overall warmer sound signature. The mids and treble are neutral and sound flat and natural.

In terms of comfort, the Tune T120TWS True Wireless are excellent. The earbud is super small and the ear tips don't shove in your ear canal. You won't experience any sort of discomfort or fatigue from the bud unless you're not a huge fan of bass, in which case that could be an issue.

For battery life, you'll get four hours of audio playback on the buds itself, with an additional 12 hours with the charging case, netting you a total of 16 hours of battery life, which isn't bad by any means. You also get fast charging here as well, with a 15-minute charge adding an extra hour of charging time on the case. Unfortunately, you still get Micro-USB here when it comes to charging the included charging case.

Pros:

  • Long battery life (buds + case)
  • Excellent, bass-heavy sound
  • Superb comfort
  • Fast charging capable case
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Micro-USB for charging

Best Value

JBL Tune T120TWS True Wireless

Great sound for a low price

The Tune T120TWS offer great battery life, sound quality, fast charging, and comfort for a great price.

Bottom line

The JBL Live 650BTNC are the best all-around headphones the company makes. They offer great battery life, solid ANC performance, and a superb warm sound signature many people will love.

The only real downside here is that the ear cups get warm after a little bit of use, and the fact that it's still using Micro-USB for charging in 2019. The latter seems to be more of a JBL issue though, as most of its headphones, even newly released ones, are still using that connector.

How to choose the best JBL headphones

JBL Synchros headphones lifestyleSource: JBL

When looking at JBL headphones, the company typically focuses on the overall experience more than anything else. There are a few outliers, but generally speaking, JBL creates great headphones regardless of the price point.

You'll also want to look at comfort, which JBL is pretty decent at. Some of their headphones are super comfortable, while others can be comfortable with a little work.

Lastly, battery life is super important as you don't want to get stuck with dead headphones halfway through an 18-hour flight. Obviously, longer battery life is ideal here, but whether or not they can fast charge is important as well.

Sound Quality

Sound quality should be the top priority for potential headphone buyers. It doesn't matter if they're super comfortable or look pretty if you can't hear what you want to listen to. Fortunately, JBL makes great sounding Bluetooth headphones.

The Live 400BT makes the top of our list for having an overall great sound, including a neutral mid and treble response and great soundstage.

Our second pick goes to the UA True Wireless Flash. While it doesn't have the greatest soundstage, the sound signature itself is neutral and flat, giving you an earbud that will reproduce sound the way the artist intended.

Best JBL headphones, ranked by sound quality

  1. JBL Live 400BT
  2. JBL UA True Wireless Flash
  3. JBL E55BT Wireless
  4. JBL Reflect Mini 2
  5. JBL Live 650 BTNC

Comfort

JBL has a spotty track record when it comes to comfort. Some of its headphones are super comfortable, while others become uncomfortable almost immediately or after a little bit of usage.

The Tune T120TWS True Wireless and UA True Wireless Flash surprisingly take our top two spots as the most comfortable JBL headphones on our list. Both are truly wireless earbuds and feature excellent comfort. There are no signs of discomfort or fatiguing, even after several hours of listening.

Our third pick is another set of earbuds, the Endurance Sprint Wireless. They feature a hook and bud design and can be super comfortable once you find the right tip size. After you get the fit just right, they'll be ready to go for several hours at a time. You won't feel any discomfort or fatiguing.

Best JBL headphones, ranked by comfort

  1. JBL Tune T120TWS True Wireless
  2. JBL UA True Wireless Flash
  3. JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless
  4. JBL Reflect Mini 2
  5. JBL 650 BTNC

Battery Life

Unsurprisingly, over-ear headphones tend to have longer battery life than earbuds, and that holds true here. Our top two picks are the Live 650 BTNC and Live 400BT, both of which are over-ear headphones. The Live 650BTNC get up to 30 hours of battery life on a single charge, while the 400BT net you 24 hours.

Our third pick is a pair of truly wireless earbuds, the UA True Wireless Flash. They technically get more battery life than the 400BT, at 25 hours and 24 hours respectively. However, the 400BT gets 24 continuous hours of listening while the UA True Wireless Flash require a break every four hours to recharge in the included charging case.

Best JBL headphones, ranked by battery life

  1. JBL Live 650 BTNC
  2. JBL Live 400BT
  3. JBL UA True Wireless Flash
  4. JBL E55BT Wireless
  5. JBL Tune T120TWS True Wireless

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Peter Cao is constantly listening to and analyzing headphones and earbuds. When he's not on the clock, he plays video games or listening to even more headphones.

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