The JBL Live 200BT are decent, mixed-usage, around-the-neck headphones that have a good neutral audio reproduction. These headphones are fairly comfortable, and the buds are small enough and lightweight that you barely feel them when wearing them. They can also be connected to 2 devices and have around 10 hours of 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, the Live 200BT are versatile for most music genres and have excellent wireless range.
Acceptable for mixed usage. These headphones have a good audio reproduction and their design lets you carry them around your neck pretty much everywhere. They only passively isolate, so they won’t be the best option for commuting, but they are still decent for this use and to 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.
Decent for neutral listening. The JBL Live 200BT 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 to be 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.
Decent for commuting. 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’ll be able to block out more noise by raising your volume. They are also easy to carry around your neck or to 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.
Good for sports. The earbuds are very small and fit nicely inside the ear, and you barely notice them. They are very lightweight, but not everyone will like working out or running with a neckband design. They are 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.
Decent for the office. The JBL Live 200BT isolate 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 are also fairly comfortable, but the in-ear fit might not be ideal for everyone.
Poor for gaming. These headphones shouldn’t be used for this use case as their microphone is sub-par for online games and 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.
The 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. 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.
The JBL Live 200BT are fairly 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.
The control scheme of the Live 200BT 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 are used to skip or rewind tracks with a press&hold. You can also trigger your device’s voice assistant by double taping 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.
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, which makes them a good option for sports.
The Live 200BT don’t have a big footprint and are fairly 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, or Sony neckband headphones like WI-C600N, the WI-C310 and WI-C200. You’ll easily be able to fit them in a bag, but they do not come with a case or pouch to protect them.
These headphones don’t come with a pouch or case.
The JBL Live 200BT are decently well-made 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 or the BeatsX. Also, their cables are braided, which is good, but they are fairly thin and feel a bit fragile. On the upside, the buds’ sides are magnetic, which helps with cable management.
The JBL Live 200BT are fairly stable inside the ears 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 are wireless, you don’t have to worry about any cable being in your way or getting hooked on something, yanking the headphones out.
They have excellent frequency response consistency. Assuming the user is able to 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.
Their bass performance is excellent. 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.
The mid-range of the Live 200BT is very good. 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 will not be very audible for most.
The JBL Live 200BT have a great treble range performance. 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.
The imaging is great. 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.
The soundstage is poor. 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 and open as open-back earbuds like the Apple AirPods 2 2019 and the Bose SoundSport Free.
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.
The leakage performance is great. Similar to most other closed-back in-ears, these headphones barely leak. The 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.
Like most Bluetooth headphones, 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 that is 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.
The 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.
These headphones 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. Unfortunately, they don’t have a power saving feature, so be sure to turn them off when putting them down.
The JBL Live 200BT don’t have a companion app that offers customization options.
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. They have a bit more delay than most Bluetooth headphones and some will notice sync issues between the audio and video.
The JBL Live 200BT can’t be used wired. For around-the-neck headphones that can be used passively, take a look at the Sony WI-1000X.
The JBL Live 200BT are good around-the-neck headphones that have a good and neutral sound, 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 best neckband headphones, the best earbuds under $50, and the best cheap wireless earbuds.
The Sony WI-C310 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 Live 200BT and are Bluetooth 5.0. On the other hand, the Sonys can’t connect to two devices simultaneously like the JBL Live 200BT can.
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.
The JBL Live 200BT 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.
The Sony WI-C200 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 Live 200BT and are Bluetooth 5.0. On the other hand, the Sonys can’t connect to two devices simultaneously like the JBL Live 200BT can.
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.
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 Elite 45e 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 Live 200BT will be more versatile since their fit isolates more ambient noise and will be a better option for noisy situations.