The JBL E55BT are average wireless headphones for most use cases. They have a stylish design with a decent sound and a comfortable design. They're lightweight yet decently well-built and they're pretty easy-to-use. They do well for most use cases but do not block enough noise for very noisy environments and won't be the best headphones for watching movies or gaming.
The JBL E55BT headphones have a simple and straightforward design. They come in a couple of color variations to match your preferences and tastes. They're also more comfortable than the JBL E45BT and so, you can keep them on for hours without much fatigue. They do, however, make your ears a bit warmer than the on-ear design of the E45BT, and although they're decently well-built, they look and feel a bit cheap once in your hands. On the upside, they're decently portable, easy-to-use, and stable enough to exercise with.
The JBL E55BT have a simple design and clean look. They look almost identical to the E45BT but with over-ear cups instead of on-ear ones. They have a relatively thin headband and decently sized oval ear cups that are well padded and relatively well-built. They have a few color schemes that stand out, like the red version we reviewed, but there's also a more understated all-black variation that some may prefer. The ear cups protrude a bit once on your ears and the buttons on the right ear cup look and feel a bit plasticky, but overall, they're a stylish looking headphone that should work for most.
Update 06/17/2019: We've adjusted the comfort score since we felt these headphones are noticeably tighter than the JBL Live 650BTNC.
The JBL E55 are comfortable headphones. They have decently sized ear cups that fit well around most ears. They're lightweight and do not put much pressure on your head. However, the ear cup padding is a little stiff which is most noticeable after long listening sessions. They will get a bit fatiguing after wearing them for a while.
The controls scheme on the headphones is simple and efficient. You can skip tracks, play/pause audio, and control the volume with their easy-to-use three buttons set up. They also have an additional button to enable the Bluetooth pairing mode. The control scheme is responsive but the buttons feel a little cheaply made.
The JBL E55BT are not the most breathable headphones. They create a fairly decent seal around your ears, so they will make you sweat a bit more than usual if you use them while working out. They should be oaky for more casual listening, like most closed back over-ears with regular pads but they won't be as breathable as the JBL E45BT.
Like the Skullcandy Hesh 3, the JBL E55BT fold into a more compact format which makes them decently portable. They're still somewhat cumbersome to carry around on your person since they won't fit in any pockets and do not come with a case. But compared to other over-ear headphones they're pretty small and should easily fit into a handbag or backpack.
These headphones do not come with a case or pouch.
They have an above-average build quality, but slightly cheap and plasticky ear cups. The headband is decently flexible and has a thin metal frame that makes it sturdy enough for repeated use or accidental drops. The ear cups are also decently dense and won't get damaged if the headphones fall once or twice, but the quality of plastic used in their build feels cheap. This is most noticeable with the buttons on the right ear cup. They're a sturdy headset they just don't feel as durable as some cheaper options like the Bluedio T4. For better-built JBL headphones, we suggest taking a look at the Everest 710 or take a look at the very similar JBL Live 500BT.
These headphones are stable enough to jog or work-out with but won't be the ideal headphones for intense sports. They're wireless and won't move much during physical activity thanks to the slightly tight fit. However, the protruding ear cups sway a bit when running or doing strenuous exercises.
They have a deep and powerful bass, a balanced mid-range, and a neutral treble. This makes them quite versatile and well-suited for a variety of genres from EDM and Hip-hop, to rock and podcasts. However, the bass is slightly hyped and prone to inconsistencies, their mid-range is a bit recessed which makes vocals sound a little thin, and their treble could lack some detail on leads and cymbals. Additionally, they image great, but like most other headphones, don't have a large and speaker-like soundstage.
The headphones have a sub-par frequency response consistency. The consistency in the treble range is very good, with the maximum deviation being less than 3dB. However, in the bass range, we measured as much as 18dB of variance at 20Hz across our human subjects. We also noticed having glasses on could break the seal the JBLs and cause a drop in bass.
The imaging is great. Their weighted group delay is 0.23, which is very low. Also, the GD graph shows that the entire response is below the audibility threshold which ensures a tight and fast bass, and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched, which is important for the accurate localization of objects (like voice, instruments, footsteps) in the stereo image.
They have a sub-par soundstage. The PRTF response graph shows that the JBL E55BT don't activate the resonances of the pinna (outer ear) much, which is one of the big factors in creating a speaker-like soundstage. Therefore, the soundstage will be perceived as small and located inside the listener's head.
The JBL E55BT only passively isolate against ambient noise. They create a decent seal around your ears that blocks some high-frequency noise from seeping into your audio. However, in most cases, they won't isolate enough for loud, noisy environments like those involved in commuting and traveling. You can mask some of the noise if you play your music at higher volumes but the headphones will leak a little and may distract those around you.
The JBL E55BT have sub-par isolation. These headphones don't have active noise canceling and isolate only using their ear cups. In the bass range, occupied by the rumble of airplane and bus engines, they achieve no isolation. In the mid-range, important for blocking speech, they achieve only 7dB of reduction which is sub-par. In the treble range, occupied by sharp S and T sounds, they isolate by more than 28dB, which is above-average. The JBL E65BTNC do better for noise isolation since they have an ANC feature so if you're often in noisy conditions they may be a better fit for your use case.
The leakage performance is below-average. The significant portion of leakage sits between 500Hz and 4KHz, which is a relatively broad range and concentrated in the mid-range. The overall level of leakage is not very loud though. Therefore, their leakage will sound fuller than that of in-ears and earbuds, but not as full as an open-over ear's leakage.
The integrated microphone has a mediocre performance. In quiet situations, speech recorded or transmitted with the JBL's mic will sound relatively thin and noticeably muffled, and this will have a small negative effect on speech intelligibility. In noisy environments, the JBL E55BT will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise even in moderately loud situations like a busy street.
The recording quality of the E55BT's mic is below-average. LFE (low-frequency extensnion) is at 281Hz, making recorded or transmitted speech to sound relatively thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3.5KHz, results in a speech that is noticeably muffled and lacking in detail, but it will still be decently intelligible, since speech intelligibility is mostly dependent on the 500Hz-4KHz range.
The integrated microphone has mediocre noise handling. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 11dB, suggesting they're are best used in quiet rooms and may struggle to separate speech from background noise in moderate to loud environments.
The JBL E55BT have a good battery but no app support for added customization. They lasted about 18.5 hours on a single charge, which should be enough for most use cases, and they have passive playback so you can use an audio cable if the battery dies. Unfortunately, they do not support the JBL Headphones app which makes them less customizable than the Everest Elite 700. It also means they do not have an adjustable auto-off timer, which is a bit disappointing and slightly reduces their battery performance.
These headphones have an above-average battery life and decent charge time. They do not have an auto-off timer, like the Everest Elite 700, but have passive playback, and you can use them while they charge if they're plugged in via the audio cable but not wirelessly which is a little disappointing.
They do not support the JBL Headphones app.
The JBL E55BT do not have NFC but can pair simultaneously with two Bluetooth sources and come with a versatile audio cable that has an in-line mic compatible with most consoles and PCs. They're also fairly easy to pair thanks to their dedicated Bluetooth sync button on the right ear cup.They have a good wireless range that should be more than enough for most use cases, but like most Bluetooth headphones, they have a bit too much latency for watching a lot of video content or gaming.
These headphones, like the E45BT, connect wirelessly via Bluetooth and can pair simultaneously with 2 devices. Unfortunately, they do not have NFC, but on the upside, they are fairly easy to pair thanks to their dedicated Bluetooth sync button.
The JBL E55BT won't be ideal for watching video content. They perform about as well as most Bluetooth headphones with no low latency codecs at 185ms, so if you need to watch a lot of videos, use them wired.
The JBL E55BT come with a versatile audio cable that has an in-line mic compatible with most consoles and PCs. The in-line remote also has limited functionality for both iOS and Android and is not OS specific.
These headphones do not have a base/dock. If you want a versatile headset with a base that you can also use wired, check out the SteelSeries Arctis 7.
The JBL E55BT are decent wireless headphones for every day casual use. They're one of the best wireless over-ear headphones we've tested in the budget category so far. They have the same design as the E45BT but with over-ear cups and have about the same performance in most aspects. They are a bit more comfortable though. Your preference between on-ears and over-ears is what will matter most but the E55BT are slightly pricier. See our recommendations for the best wireless headphones and the best over-ear headphones under $100.
The JBL E55BT and E45BT are practically the same headphones, but the E55 are over-ears while the E45 are on-ears. They have very similar audio reproduction and are built the same way. However, the over-ear design is more comfortable for most and is steadier on the head for sports. On the other hand, it's not as breathable as the on-ear design of the E45BT. There are also more bass delivery inconsistencies with the over-ear E55BT, and they have noticeably shorter battery life and wireless range than the on-ear E45BT.
The Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT might be a better option than the JBL E55BT for most users, thanks to its nice app that allows you to EQ the sound of the headphones to your liking. They also have very low latency for Bluetooth headphones and have a few more hours of battery life. On the other hand, the JBLs are slightly more comfortable and can be paired with two devices simultaneously. They also come with a cable that has an in-line microphone, which the HD 4.40 lacks.
The JBL Live 500BT are sort of a newer version of the JBL E55BT Wireless, and perform better. They feel better-built and the folding joints are now made of metal, which don't feel like they might break. They also have noticeably better battery life, with about twice the life of the E55BT. They are also compatible with the JBL Headphones app, which gives you access to a great parametric EQ, while the E55BT don’t have any customization options. The wireless range was also improved on the Live 500BT.
The JBL E55BT Wireless and the Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless are pretty similar, but the JBL E55BT might be a slightly better option. They are a bit more comfortable to wear during long listening sessions and they don’t feel as cheaply made as the Hesh 3. The E55BT can connect to two devices simultaneously and also have an in-line microphone, which the Hesh 3 is lacking. On the other hand, the wireless range of the Hesh 3 is significantly better and they take half the time to charge for about the same battery life. However, the mid-range of the Hesh 3 is pretty underemphasized, which will push vocals and lead instruments to the back of the mix.
If you prefer a compact on-ear design than the JBL T450BT could be a decent choice, however, the JBL E55BT are much better in most aspects but are bulkier over-ears. The E55BT are more premium and durable than the T450BT. They sound better, have a longer battery life, and can pair with two devices at once. They also have a headphone jack so you can use them wired when their battery dies or with your console's controller. The T450BT, on the other hand, are a bit more lightweight, portable, and stable for sports than the E55BT.
The JBL Everest 710 are better headphones than the JBL E55BT. They are more comfortable and better-built, which gives them a more premium feel. Their battery life is noticeably longer and they have a unique music sharing feature. They also have a more neutral sounding audio reproduction, so fans of bass may prefer the sound of the E55BT. Also, the E55BT are a bit tighter on the head, offer better stability, and are more affordable than the Everest 710.
The JBL Everest Elite 700 are a better, more customizable headphone overall when compared to the JBL E55BT. The Everest Elite 700 support the JBL Headphones app, and the E55BT do not. This gives them access to an EQ and a lot more customization options, including noise cancelling settings for each individual ear cup. Also, since the Everest are noise-cancelling headphones, they do much better in noisy conditions. They also have a better build quality and a more durable design overall. On the other hand, the JBL E55BT are more compact and slightly more comfortable, thanks to their lightweight build, and the better fit that does not clamp your head as much.
Average for mixed-usage. The JBL E55BT have a good battery life and a comfortable design. They're a bit plasticky but decently well-built. They also have a fairly balanced sound that won't be ideal for critical listening but should satisfy most casual listeners. However, they do not block a lot of noise and they won't be the best headphones to game or watch movies with.
Better-than-average for neutral listening. The JBL E55BT are comfortable and fairly well balanced. They have a good bass that doesn't drown instruments and vocals, and tapered high tones that do not sound too sharp. Unfortunately, their soundstage is subpar, due to their closed-back design, and they're a bit inconsistent in the bass range, especially if you wear glasses.
Average for commuting. They're lightweight, easy-to-use, and decently portable. However, they do not block a lot of noise so they won't be ideal if you have a very noisy commute.
Decent for sports. They're relatively lightweight and tight enough to stay on your head when jogging. Their wireless design also makes them less likely to fall because the audio cable got hooked on something. However, they get fairly warm during physical activity which is not ideal.
Average for office use. They do not block a lot of noise so you will hear what's going on around you in a lively office, but on the upside, the JBL E55BT do not leak much at average volumes.
Sub-par for gaming. The JBL E55BT have a bit too much latency, a mediocre mic, and no customization options. Also, they're not the most comfortable headphones to use for long gaming sessions but at least they come with a versatile audio cable that is compatible with most console controllers and PCs.