JBL Live 200BT Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Jun 05, 2019 at 10:31 am
JBL Live 200BT Wireless Picture
7.0
Mixed Usage
7.5
Neutral Sound
7.3
Commute/Travel
7.6
Sports/Fitness
7.0
Office
5.4
Wireless Gaming
5.3
Wired Gaming
6.4
Phone Calls
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The JBL Live 200BT Wireless are decently versatile around-the-neck headphones that have a good neutral audio reproduction. These headphones are fairly comfortable, and the buds are small and lightweight enough that you barely feel them when wearing them. They can also be connected to two devices at once and have around 10 hours of continuous battery life. However, they won’t be ideal for commuting since they don’t isolate much low-end noise, and their microphone is sub-par for calls. On the upside, their sound profile is suitable for most music genres, and they have excellent wireless range.

Our Verdict

7.0 Mixed Usage

The JBL Live 200BT are decent for mixed usage. These headphones have good audio reproduction, and their design lets you carry them around your neck pretty much everywhere. They only passively isolate, meaning that they won’t be the best option for commuting, but they're still decent for this use and use at the office. They can be a good option for sports and working out, thanks to their small and stable bud design. However, since their latency is a bit high, they won’t be ideal for watching video content and gaming.

Pros
  • Good and neutral audio reproduction.
  • Breathable and stable for sports.
  • Lightweight and small bud design.
Cons
  • Sub-par microphone.
  • High latency.
  • In-ear fit might not be comfortable for everyone.
7.5 Neutral Sound

The JBL Live 200BT are good for neutral sound. They have very good audio reproduction with an accurate and powerful bass, a well-balanced mid-range, and a very good treble. However, vocals and leads might sound a bit nudged to the back of the mix, but most people won’t find this very audible. Also, higher-frequency sibilants can be a bit sharp on already bright tracks. Overall, these headphones have a good audio quality for in-ears and will be versatile enough for most music genres, but the in-ear fit won’t be ideal for this use.

7.3 Commute/Travel

The JBL Live 200BT are decent for commuting and traveling. They have decent isolation performance, but their passive isolation doesn’t do much against the deep rumble of bus and plane engines. On the upside, they don’t leak loudly at higher volumes, meaning you can block out more noise by raising your volume. They're also easy to carry around your neck or slide in a bag, but they won’t fit in your pockets. They have about 10 hours of battery life, which will be enough for your commute but might not be ideal for very long flights.

7.6 Sports/Fitness

The JBL Live 200BT are good for sports. The earbuds are very small and fit nicely inside the ear, and you barely notice them. They're very lightweight, but not everyone will like working out or running with a neckband design. They're easy to carry around to the gym, and their control scheme is easy to use. Also, like most in-ear headphones, you shouldn’t sweat more than usual when wearing these since they don’t trap too much heat inside your ears.

7.0 Office

The JBL Live 200BT are decent for the office. They isolate you from a good amount of work environment noise like ambient chatter and the noise of A/C systems. Also, they barely leak, so you can listen to your music at high volumes without bothering surrounding colleagues. With 10 hours of battery life, you should be fine for a normal workday, but they will need daily charging if you use them throughout the day. They're also fairly comfortable, but the in-ear fit might not be ideal for everyone.

5.4 Wireless Gaming

The JBL Live 200BT aren't suitable for wireless gaming. These Bluetooth-only headphones can't connect with PlayStation or Xbox consoles. They work with Bluetooth-compatible PCs, but their latency is way too high to play video games. Additionally, the in-ear fit might not be the most comfortable option for long gaming sessions, and they can’t be customized like most gaming headsets.

5.3 Wired Gaming
6.4 Phone Calls
  • 7.0 Mixed Usage
  • 7.5 Neutral Sound
  • 7.3 Commute/Travel
  • 7.6 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.0 Office
  • 5.4 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.3 Wired Gaming
  • 6.4 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Feb 20, 2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  4. Updated Jun 05, 2019: Review published.
  5. Updated Jun 03, 2019: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The JBL Live 200BT have an around-the-neck design that won’t be for everyone. Their cables are thin but braided, and the neckband is flexible, but won’t be as malleable as the Beats BeatsX Wireless. The tips of the neckband are covered in matte plastic, which looks a bit cheap, while the rest is coated with rubber. They also come in red, blue, green, and white, which are a bit flashier.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.08 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

The JBL Live 200BT are decently comfortable in-ear headphones. Their bud design is very small and doesn’t apply pressure on the inner ear. The overall design is lightweight, and you can barely feel them inside your ears, especially if you can find a good fit with the included tip options. However, some might feel some ear soreness after using them for a while, and not everyone will like wearing a neckband design.

6.8
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No

The JBL Live 200BT's control scheme is fairly easy to use and offers most common functionalities. You can play/pause your music and manage calls. You also have volume controls that skip or rewind tracks with a press and hold. You can also trigger your device’s voice assistant by double-tapping the middle button and go into pairing mode by holding it for a few seconds. The buttons are situated on the right exterior side of the neckband and are easy to press with your right thumb.

9.2
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 0.8 °C

Like most in-ear headphones, the JBL Live 200BT are very breathable. Thanks to their small bud design, not a lot of heat is trapped inside your ears. You shouldn’t notice a big difference when wearing these and shouldn’t sweat more than usual, making them a good option for sports.

7.3
Design
Portability
L 6.8"
W 4.5"
H 0.8"
Volume 25 in³
Transmitter Required No

The JBL Live 200BT don’t have a big footprint and are decently portable. They can easily rest around your neck without bothering you, but their neckband isn’t flexible enough to fit inside pants pockets like the Beats BeatsX Wireless or Sony neckband headphones like the Sony WI-C600N Wireless. You’ll easily be able to fit them in a bag, but they do not come with a case or pouch to protect them.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

These headphones don’t come with a pouch or case.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

The JBL Live 200BT are decently well-built around-the-neck headphones. The neckband is thick and covered with rubber, but both tips are made from cheap and thin-feeling plastic, which gives the headphones a slightly cheap feel. The neckband is flexible, but not as much as the Sony WI-C600N Wireless or the Beats BeatsX Wireless. Also, their cables are braided, which is good, but they're fairly thin and feel a bit fragile. On the upside, the buds’ sides are magnetic, which helps with cable management.

7.5
Design
Stability

The JBL Live 200BT have good stability and don’t move too much, thanks to their very small design. They sit nicely, but not everyone will like jogging or doing physical activity with a neckband. The buds feel secure, but a light tug on the cable can make them pop out. On the upside, since they're wireless, you don’t have to worry about any cable being in your way or getting hooked on something and yanking the headphones out.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • JBL Live 200BT headphones
  • 3x tip sizes
  • USB to micro-USB charging cable
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
1.57 dB
Treble Amount
-0.69 dB
9.1
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.19 dB

The JBL Live 200BT have fantastic frequency response consistency. Assuming the user can achieve a proper fit and an air-tight seal using the assortment of tips that come with the headphones, then they should be able to get consistent bass and treble delivery every time they use the headphones.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.6
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.01 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10.91 Hz
Low-Bass
1.7 dB
Mid-Bass
2.84 dB
High-Bass
1.09 dB

The JBL Live 200BT have excellent bass accuracy. LFE (low-frequency extension) is down at 11Hz, which is great, and their low-bass is accurate and within a dB of our target curve, meaning these headphones will reproduce the right amount of thump and deep rumble common to bass-heavy genres. The overall bass response is virtually flawless and isn’t overdone.

9.2
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.08 dB
Low-Mid
0.34 dB
Mid-Mid
-1.54 dB
High-Mid
-0.03 dB

The JBL Live 200BT Wireless have incredible mid accuracy. The response is very well-balanced and even, which means vocals and lead instruments are accurately reproduced. However, there’s a small dip in mid-mid, which results in nudging vocals and leads to the back of the mix, but this won't be very audible for most.

9.0
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.4 dB
Low-Treble
0.26 dB
Mid-Treble
0.1 dB
High-Treble
-4.74 dB

The JBL Live 200BT have fantastic treble accuracy. The response before 5kHz is very well-balanced and even but gets a bit uneven after that region. Some sibilants (S and T sounds) might feel a bit lacking in detail and brightness, while others, around 10kHz, will sound overly sharp and piercing, especially on already bright tracks.

9.0
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
0.74 dB
Dips
0.67 dB
9.0
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.18
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.2
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.53
Weighted Phase Mismatch
3.37

The JBL Live 200BT have an incredible imaging performance. The weighted group delay is at 0.16, which is very good. The GD graph also shows that the entire group delay response is below the audibility threshold, suggesting a tight bass reproduction and a transparent treble. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were well-matched in amplitude, frequency, and phase response, which is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo image. However, note that these results are only valid for our unit, and yours may perform differently.

1.0
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
3.1
Acoustic Space Excitation
1.3

The JBL Live 200BT have a bad passive soundstage performance. Since creating a large and speaker-like soundstage is partially dependent on having a speaker-like pinna activation, and in-ear headphones bypass the pinna (the outer ear) and don't interact with it, their soundstage will be perceived to be small and located inside the listener's head. Their closed-back design also means that their soundstage won't feel as open as most open or semi-open earbuds, like the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 and the Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
8.2
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.203
WHD @ 100
0.076
Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
Unknown
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 4.0
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Silicone (small)
Microphone
Integrated
Isolation
6.9
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-18.56 dB
Bass
-4.77 dB
Mid
-19.19 dB
Treble
-33.15 dB

The JBL Live 200BT have an okay isolation performance. In the bass range, where the rumble of bus and airplane engines sit, they achieve about 5dB of isolation, which is inadequate. In the mid-range, important for cutting out speech, they isolate by more than 19dB, which is very good. In the treble range, occupied by sharp S and T sounds like A/C noise, they isolate by about 33dB, which is good.

8.8
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
28.35 dB

The JBL Live 200BT have a great leakage performance. Similar to many other closed-back in-ears, these headphones barely leak. A significant portion of their leakage is in the treble range, but the overall level of the leakage is not loud. With the music 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 28dB SPL and peaks at around 38dB SPL, which is way under the noise floor of an average office.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
5.6
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
310.89 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
1.96 dB
HFE
1,917.83 Hz
Weighted THD
35.078
Gain
44.87 dB

The JBL Live 200BT have an integrated microphone with sub-par recording quality. Since the LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 311Hz and the HFE (high-frequency extension) is at 1.9kHz, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound thin, lacking in detail, and noticeably muffled, even in a quiet environment, though it will still be intelligible.

6.0
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
11.64 dB

The JBL Live 200BT's integrated microphone has mediocre noise handling. It achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 11dB in our SpNR test, which suggests that it struggles to separate speech from ambient noise in moderately noisy environments.

Active Features
6.0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
10.5 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
10.5 hrs
Charge Time
2.2 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port micro-USB

The JBL Live 200BT offer about 10 hours of continuous playback on a single charge and take about 2 hours to charge fully. This should be enough for most people during a workday but could be slightly too short if you plan on using them during your daily commute as well. They will also need daily charging if you plan on using them extensively. However, battery performance can vary with real-life use, and your experience may vary. Unfortunately, they don’t have a power-saving feature, so be sure to turn them off when putting them down.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

The JBL Live 200BT don’t have a companion app that offers customization options.

Connectivity
8.0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
4.2
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
189 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
254 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
401 ms
Android Latency
199 ms

These Bluetooth headphones can connect to two devices simultaneously, which is convenient if you often want to switch between your work computer and phone. Unfortunately, they don’t support NFC, but their pairing procedure is pretty quick and easy.

With 254ms of latency, these headphones won’t be ideal for watching video content and won’t be suitable for gaming since you may notice sync issues between the audio and video.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

You can't use the JBL Live 200BT wired. For around-the-neck headphones that you can use passively, take a look at the Sony WI-1000X Wireless.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
No
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

They don’t have a dock or base.

Compared To Other Headphones

Comparison picture

The JBL Live 200BT are around-the-neck headphones that have a neutral sound profile, which sets them apart. Other than their audio quality, these headphones are fairly straightforward and don’t necessarily stand out from other similarly-designed headphones other than their flexible and lightweight design.

See our recommendations for the best neckband headphones, the best earbuds under $50, and the best cheap wireless earbuds.

Samsung U Flex Wireless

The JBL Live 200BT Wireless are slightly better headphones than the Samsung U Flex Wireless, especially if audio quality is your most important criteria. Their fit also isolates against more ambient noise, which makes them a slightly better option for commuting. However, both headphones are very similar, and if you have a Samsung device, the U Flex might be the better option since you get access to the Samsung Level app.

Sony WI-C400 Wireless

The JBL Live 200BT are noticeably better headphones than the Sony WI-C400 Wireless. Their overall build quality is better and don’t feel as plasticky. Their audio reproduction is also better and suitable for most music genres. You can also connect them to two devices simultaneously and have better wireless range. On the other hand, the Sonys support NFC and have more battery life, although they take more time to charge. Overall, the JBL Live 200BT will offer better value.

Sony WI-C200 Wireless

The Sony WI-C200 Wireless and the JBL Live 200BT Wireless are two similar performing headphones. The main difference between the two would be that the Sonys have a flexible band while the JBLs have a solid plastic band that can’t be folded and won’t fit in pockets. However, the Sony offer more battery life than the JBL and are Bluetooth 5.0. On the other hand, the Sonys can’t connect to two devices simultaneously like the JBL can.

Sony WI-C310 Wireless

The Sony WI-C310 Wireless and the JBL Live 200BT Wireless are similarly performing headphones. The main difference between the two is that the Sonys have a flexible band while the JBLs have a solid plastic band that can’t be folded and won’t fit in pockets. However, the Sony offer more battery life than the JBL and are Bluetooth 5.0. On the other hand, the Sonys can’t connect to two devices simultaneously like the JBL can.

Jabra Elite 45e Wireless

If sound quality is your main concern, then the JBL Live 200BT will be a better option over the Jabra Elite 45e Wireless. They sound more neutral and accurate. However, the Jabra are better-built, their design is more flexible and portable, and the earbud design is more comfortable to wear for long listening sessions. They also have customization options in their app, which the JBLs lack. On the other hand, the JBL will be more versatile since their fit isolates more ambient noise and will be a better option for noisy situations.

Beats BeatsX Wireless

The Beats BeatsX Wireless and the JBL Live 200BT Wireless are similarly built headphones with a few performance differences. The audio reproduction of the JBL doesn’t lack detail in the treble range like the Beats. They are also a bit more comfortable than the Beats headphones. On the other hand, the Beats take less than an hour to charge and feel more stable for sports. Their neckband is also more malleable and can fit into pockets. The Beats have better noise isolating too. iOS devices will be able to easily pair with them thanks to their W1 chip. 

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