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JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive Truly Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Feb 24, 2020 at 07:24 am
JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive Truly Wireless Picture
6.5
Mixed Usage
5.5
Neutral Sound
7.2
Commute/Travel
7.8
Sports/Fitness
6.3
Office
4.5
Wireless Gaming
4.4
Wired Gaming
5.1
Phone Calls
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Truly Wireless
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive are ordinary truly wireless earbuds. They're reasonably well-designed with a compact, low-profile look that should be fairly comfortable for most, but their controls are quite confusing. Straight out-of-the-box, they have an excited, V-shaped sound profile, but they feature a couple different EQ presets that you can toggle directly on the buds. Although not currently captured properly by our graphs and scores, their microphone performance also seems not bad overall. Unfortunately, their battery doesn't perform as well as advertised, and their in-ear fit can be an issue for those with smaller ears, but still perform alright overall and could be a reasonable choice for casual use.

Our Verdict

6.5 Mixed Usage

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive are alright for mixed usage. Their bass-rich yet bright sound profile isn't designed for neutral listening but can help make your commute more excited and their lightweight design is also good for sports. They passively isolate a lot of noises that you might want to block out around the office, but their mic quality doesn't make them the best for phone calls and they're not suitable for gaming.

Pros
  • Different EQ presets built directly into earbuds.
  • Portable design and charging case.
  • Well-built earbuds.
Cons
  • Battery life shorter than advertised.
  • Built-in charging cable can't be replaced on its own if damaged.
  • Confusing controls.
5.5 Neutral Sound

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive are poor for neutral listening. Their default sound profile has a very pronounced V-shape, which is excited but a far cry from neutral. They have a 'Balanced' EQ preset built into the earbuds directly, which might help, but we didn't test it.

7.2 Commute/Travel

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive are decent for commute and travel. They aren't noise cancelling, so they won't do much to help block out the sound of bus or plane engines, but they're lightweight, portable, and feel fairly well-built. Overall, they're an alright choice to throw in your bag before heading on an adventure, or simply going to the office.

7.8 Sports/Fitness

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive are good for sports and fitness. Their lightweight, breathable design makes them well-suited for running or working out, especially if you can get a good stable fit. If your have small ears, you might find it harder to get them to fit securely, but if their fit works for you they can be a good choice.

6.3 Office

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive are passable for use in the office. Their in-ear fit can get fatiguing over long periods, but they do a great job at blocking out office-specific noises like footsteps or chatter. You might get disrupted by their short battery life, but if you leave them in their charging case while you're out for lunch you should be okay.

4.5 Wireless Gaming

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive only support Bluetooth, which has too much latency for wireless gaming.

4.4 Wired Gaming

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive are truly wireless earbuds that only support Bluetooth, so they can't be used for wired gaming.

5.1 Phone Calls

Like most truly wireless earbuds, the JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive are disappointing for phone calls. Your voice should sound fairly clear in quiet environments, but if you're in a noisy place like a busy street or subway station, you'll be harder to understand.

  • 6.5 Mixed Usage
  • 5.5 Neutral Sound
  • 7.2 Commute/Travel
  • 7.8 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.3 Office
  • 4.5 Wireless Gaming
  • 4.4 Wired Gaming
  • 5.1 Phone Calls
  1. Update 8/24/2020: Validated our results.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive have a pretty simple design, with protruding stems similar to the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless. The JLab Audio logo on the side of each earbud has a metallic finish which makes them a bit flashy, especially since it tends to catch and reflect sunlight, but they have a fairly low-profile look overall. We reviewed them in black but they're also available in white.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.03 lbs
Clamping Force
0.0 lbs

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive are fairly comfortable overall, but their in-ear fit won't be for everyone as it does stick into the ear canal quite deeply. The earbud itself is also rather bulky and puts a bit of pressure on the inside of the ear, which can be especially bothersome if you have small ears. On the upside, they're very lightweight and come with thin removable stability sleeves and a couple of different tip options including foam tips, which can help you find a decent fit.

6.5
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Mediocre
Feedback Mediocre
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
On/Off
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

The JLab Audio Air Executive controls are passable. Their controls are surprisingly complete for truly wireless earbuds - not only can you play/pause your music, but you can also skip tracks both forward and back, adjust the volume, cycle through EQ presets, activate talk-through, and activate your device's voice assistant. Unfortunately, the sheer number of options make the controls among the most confusing we've seen to date. The touch-sensitive surface is decently receptive, but they provide very little audio feedback so it can be challenging to tell if a command was registered or not.

9.6
Design
Portability
L 1.5 "
W 1.1 "
H 0.6 "
Volume 1.0 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

Like most truly wireless earbuds, the JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive are super portable. They're easy to throw into your bag when you're on the move, especially with their charging case, and should fit in most pants pockets too.

7.5
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 2.2 "
W 2.2 "
H 1.2 "
Volume 5.8 Cu. Inches

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive come with a good hard case that also charges the earbuds when they're not in use. The case has a faux-leather finish that's actually quite nice and is easy to open and close. There's a window cut out in the front so you can see the charging status lights, which is quite convenient, but the earbuds themselves don't snap securely into place in the case so you'll want to manually make sure they're secure before throwing the case around.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive feel fairly well-built overall. They're made of plastic but don't feel too cheap thanks to their nice matte finish, plus they have an IP55 rating for dust and water resistance, although we don't have a test to vouch for this. Their case feels well-built too, but isn't advertised as waterproof. The case also has an integrated charging cable, which is convenient, but also means that if it breaks you can't just buy a new cable. Fortunately, JLab Audio sell the charging case separately to avoid having to repurchase everything.

7.5
Design
Stability

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive's stability depends on the fit you can achieve. If they aren't too big for your ears, they have a good, stable fit that's suitable for running or working out. It'd be even better with more prominent stability fins, but it should do fine. However, if you have smaller ears and they don't fit as well, you'll find them prone to slipping out of your ears.

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

  • JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive
  • 3 silicone tip options
  • 1 pair of stability sleeves
  • 1 foam tip option
  • Charging case with integrated USB cable
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
5.88 db
Treble Amount
0.64 db

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive have a very pronounced V-shaped sound profile with their default EQ setting. Both the bass and treble ranges are strongly overemphasized, which brings not only extra punch and rumble but also added brightness. They do sound a bit boomy due to the high-bass bump continuing into the low-mids, but the rest of the mid-range is quite neutral so they end up sounding relatively well-balanced if a sculpted, excited sound signature is what you're after. They also have two other EQ settings to choose from, but we didn't measure their frequency responses.

9.1
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.18 dB

Like most in-ear headphones, the JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive have excellent frequency response consistency. If you can get a good fit and an air-tight seal using the assortment of tip options that they come with, they should perform consistently. There may be a bit of variation in the bass range due to the way they fit, but it shouldn't be too noticeable.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
3.6
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
9.01 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
9.75 dB
Mid-Bass
10.58 dB
High-Bass
9.64 dB

The JLab Audio Air Executive's bass is very inaccurate due to their V-shaped sound signature, which boosts frequencies in the bass range. However, the response is impressively even throughout the range, so while these earbuds have a lot of extra punch, thump, and rumble, their bass shouldn't sound poorly balanced.

7.6
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.25 dB
Low-Mid
5.03 dB
Mid-Mid
-0.81 dB
High-Mid
-0.06 dB

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive have good accuracy in the mid-range. Their overemphasized bass carries on into the low-mids, which does make instruments and lead vocals sound rather muddy and cluttered. However, the rest of the range is very neutral, so vocals and instruments still sound clear.

4.8
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
6.87 dB
Low-Treble
3.89 dB
Mid-Treble
7.88 dB
High-Treble
3.46 dB

Just like with their bass, the JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive's excited sound signature gives them very inaccurate treble. The response is flat continuing from the high-mids into low-treble, but quickly rises, giving extra detail and presence to most instruments. The overemphasis persists into mid-treble, which gives these earbuds added brightness, but also makes them sound a bit harsh. Certain sounds, like cymbals or sibilants such as "S" or "T" sounds, can sound especially piercing. Not everyone hears sounds in these ranges the same way, though, so this may not be an issue for some people.

6.9
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
2.01 db
Dips
1.65 db

Due to their dramatically sculpted sound profile, the JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive have quite a few peaks and dips. The large bump starting in mid-bass and continuing right up until the mid-mids brings excess kick and punch to their sound, but at the expense of sounding a bit muddy and cluttered. The rest of the mid-range is slightly scooped, so vocals and instruments have some room to still sound clear and balanced before a few sharp peaks in treble bring extra brightness, but also harshness, to their sound.

8.5
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.16
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
1.03
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.21
Weighted Phase Mismatch
2.18

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive have great stereo imaging. Their weighted group delay is very low and the graph shows that the entire response is well below the audibility threshold, ensuring tight bass and transparent treble. The left and right drivers of our unit were also well-matched in frequency, amplitude, and phase response, which is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo image. However, these results are only valid for our unit and yours may perform differently.

0.7
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
2.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
0.6

Creating an out-of-head and speaker-like soundstage is largely dependent on activating the resonances of the pinna (outer ear) but in-ears are designed in a way that bypasses the pinna completely, so the JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive have a poor soundstage. They're also closed-back earbuds, so their soundstage won't feel as open as that of open-back earbuds like the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019, Google Pixel Buds Wireless, or 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

These Bluetooth in-ears don't have any virtual soundstage features.

7.8
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.206
WHD @ 100
0.120

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive have very good weighted harmonic distortion performance. They tend to distort a bit more in the higher frequencies, which tend to be more noticeable, but it's still within good limits, even at louder volumes.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
Unknown
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 4.2
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Default
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Silicone (small)
Microphone
Integrated

These earbuds' results are only valid for these test settings.

However, we were unable to determine the firmware version. If you own them and know where to find it, let us know in the discussion section below.

Isolation
7.3
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-21.39 dB
Bass
-5.34 dB
Mid
-18.77 dB
Treble
-41.25 dB

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive can isolate a decent amount of noise. Like most in-ears without active noise cancelling, they don't isolate very much in the bass range, so they won't help block out the deep rumbles of bus or plane engines very well. However, they do an excellent job at isolating noises in both the mid and treble ranges, like the chatter of a busy office. They were tested with their silicone tips, but we'd expect even better results with their included foam tips.

9.4
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
24.38 dB

As expected for closed-back in-ears, the JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive have excellent leakage results. Most of the audio they leak is concentrated in a fairly narrow band in the treble range, which makes their leakage sound thin but also a bit sharp. Thankfully, the overall level of their leakage is below the noise floor of an average office, so it shouldn't be too bothersome.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No

These Bluetooth truly wireless earbuds have an integrated microphone.

3.5
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
553.94 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
11.91 dB
HFE
22988.02 Hz
Weighted THD
2272.245
Gain
-13.79 dB

Like most Bluetooth earbuds, the microphone recording quality of the JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive is poor. Speech recorded or transmitted with their mic will sound thin, but you should still be easy to understand.

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

The JLab Audio Air Executive's microphone has mediocre noise handling. It's best suited for quiet environments without too much background noise as they struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in louder situations.

Active Features
5.4
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
5.0 hrs
Additional Charges
4.0
Total Battery Life
25.0 hrs
Charge Time
1.5 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port USB Type A

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive's battery performance is disappointing. We measured one full hour less of playback than what JLab Audio specifies in the product specs, so the total battery time is likely shorter than what's advertised. They also don't have an auto-off timer or standby mode to help save power. On the upside, they charge pretty quickly, providing an hour of playback with just 15 minutes of charging.

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 JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive aren't compatible with a companion app; however, you can cycle through three different EQ presets directly on the earbuds themselves.

Connectivity
6.6
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
180 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
290 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
250 ms
Android Latency
276 ms

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive are truly wireless earbuds that support Bluetooth 5.0. They have a fair bit of latency though, not only on PC but also on iOS and Android, so you might notice some audio lag when watching videos or playing games. However, certain apps and devices do seem to compensate a bit, so you might not notice it as much depending on your own personal use.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

These truly wireless earbuds are Bluetooth-only.

0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

As expected of truly wireless headphones, the JLab Audio Air Executive can't be used wired in any way. The only cable provided is the USB charging cable integrated with the case.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
No
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive can only be used via Bluetooth on PCs, and aren't compatible with the PS4. Due to their high latency, they aren't recommended for gaming.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No

These truly wireless earbuds only support Bluetooth, so they're not compatible with the Xbox One.

2.2
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Charging Case
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
Yes
Power Supply
USB

These truly wireless earbuds come with a charging case that should give you around four extra charges, but doesn't provide any additional inputs or features besides the integrated charging cable.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

The JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive are ordinary truly wireless earbuds that don't stand out very much compared to the competition, unless you're a fan of a very strongly V-shaped, or excited, sound profile. Although you can cycle through three EQ presets directly on the earbuds, which is neat, they'd be even better with a companion app. They perform well enough overall, but none of their features are worth writing home about. Consider our recommendations for the best true wireless earbuds, the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds under $100, and the best travel headphones we've tested so far.

Skullcandy Indy Truly Wireless

The Skullcandy Indy Truly Wireless and the JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive Truly Wireless are similarly performing truly wireless earbuds. While they both have lots of extra bass, the JLab have some extra treble for a more exciting sound as opposed to the Skullcandy, which sound a bit dark. The JLab's battery life is longer, but the Skullcandy have a standby mode to help save power.

Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless

The Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless are much better truly wireless earbuds than the JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive Truly Wireless. Both models have an exciting default sound signature, but the Anker's is less exaggerated, and they have more sound customization options with their companion app. The JLab's battery life isn't quite as good, but they do charge more quickly. The Anker isolate more noise though and feel better-built.

Anker SoundCore Liberty Air Truly Wireless

The Anker SoundCore Liberty Air Truly Wireless are better truly wireless earbuds for most people than the JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive Truly Wireless. The Anker isolate more noise and have a more neutral, balanced default sound profile. They don't have any onboard EQ presets though, like the JLab, and they don't have volume controls either. The JLab battery also lasts a bit longer, but they don't have any power-saving features.

RHA TrueConnect Truly Wireless

The RHA TrueConnect Truly Wireless and the JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive Truly Wireless look similar but don't perform the same. The RHA are a bit more comfortable, especially since they come with more earbud tip options, but they have a rather dark sound profile. Their battery performance is also worse than the JLab's but they isolate more noise and feel better-built.

JLab Audio JBuds Air Executive Truly Wireless Price

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