JLab Audio JBuds Air Truly Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Apr 23, 2019 at 10:50 am
JLab Audio JBuds Air Truly Wireless  Picture
Test Methodology v1.4
6.9
Mixed Usage
6.4
Neutral Sound
7.4
Commute/Travel
8.1
Sports/Fitness
6.6
Office
5.1
Wireless Gaming
5.0
Wired Gaming
6.4
Phone Calls
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Truly Wireless
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The JLab Audio JBuds Air are decent mixed usage truly wireless earbuds. They are a bit on the bass-heavy side and will be better for genres like EDM, hip-hop, and rap. These headphones are decently well-built and are stable for sports. They are fairly versatile as they isolate a decent amount of noise, which is good for commuting and since they barely leak too, you’ll be able to use them at the office. However, they have very high latency, which won’t be great for watching video content and gaming. They also have very short battery life for the charge time. On the upside, they are decently comfortable and offer good overall value.

Our Verdict

6.9 Mixed Usage

Passable for mixed usage. Their sound is a bit heavy on bass and won’t be great for critical listening, but their in-ear design blocks a decent amount of noise, which is suitable for commuting or to use at the office. These earbuds are also breathable and very stable, which means they are a great option for sports. However, like most Bluetooth headphones, they won’t be suitable for watching TV and gaming because their latency is very high, and people will notice a delay with video content.

6.4 Neutral Sound

Okay for neutral listening. The JLab Audio JBuds Air have a powerful, consistent, and extended bass, a fairly well-balanced mid-range, and a good treble. However, their bass is slightly overdone. It is thumpy, which some people may prefer, but it is also noticeably boomy. The mid-range is also recessed, which pushes the vocals and leads to the back of the mix. Additionally, their treble is slightly uneven, which results in a lack of detail and brightness on S and T sounds, but some may also sound overly sharp and piercing. Overall, these headphones will be better suited for bass-heavy genres and won’t be ideal for vocal-centric music. You can also cycle between their 3 EQ settings and find the one you enjoy the most.

See our Neutral Sound recommendations
7.4 Commute/Travel

Decent for commuting and traveling. Their design is very portable and easy to carry around. The JLab Audio JBuds Air also isolate against a decent amount of noise, which is good for public transit, although their bass isolation isn’t the best for blocking out engine rumbles. Also, their battery life will be a bit short for very long rides and flights, which will require you to charge the headphones.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
8.1 Sports/Fitness

Great for sports. These truly wireless headphones are very portable and very stable in the ears, especially if you use the rubber coated sleeves. They don’t move around much and you should be able to run with these without a problem. Also, their small design doesn’t trap too much heat inside your ears, which means you won’t sweat more than usual.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
6.6 Office

Decent to use at the office. The JLab Audio JBuds Air do a good job at isolating against work environment noises like ambient chatter and A/C system noises. However, they won’t be very comfortable to wear for long hours and some may feel some ear fatigue after a while. Also, their battery life is fairly short and you will probably need to recharge them during lunchtime. On the upside, they have good wireless range, so you should be able to get up from your desk and walk around a bit without getting audio cuts.

See our Office recommendations
5.1 Wireless Gaming

Poor for gaming. These headphones are not designed for this use case. They have very high latency, a mediocre microphone for online games, and their short 3-hour battery life won’t be great for long gaming sessions. They aren’t also as customizable as gaming headsets with companion software.

See our Wireless Gaming recommendations
5.0 Wired Gaming
6.4 Phone Calls
  • 6.9 Mixed Usage
  • 6.4 Neutral Sound
  • 7.4 Commute/Travel
  • 8.1 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.6 Office
  • 5.1 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.0 Wired Gaming
  • 6.4 Phone Calls
Pros
  • Breathable and stable for sports.
  • Well-built earbuds.
  • Minimal leakage.
Cons
  • Short battery life.
  • Non-replaceable integrated charging cable.
  • Very high latency.
  1. Update 2/6/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

Check Price

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The JBuds Air are fairly low profile truly wireless earbuds. They have an all-black design and don’t stand out much. However, the buds are fairly thick and protrude out of the ear a bit. They have a one-button control scheme with the company logo on each bud.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.02 lbs
Clamping Force
0.0 lbs

The JLab Audio JBuds Air headphones are decently comfortable, but the in-ear fit will not be for everyone. The angled design of the nozzle helps to get a more comfortable fit, but the buds are fairly thick, which means some people may feel pressure being put on their inner ear. The earbuds come with 3 different sizes of tips to help you find the best fit for you, but only one sleeve.

6.3
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Mediocre
Feedback Decent
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

The JBuds Air have a decent control scheme, but it is fairly hard to use as the buttons are stiff and you need to push the earbud even more inside your ear to register commands. On the upside, you get common functionalities such as call and music management, track skipping, volume controls, and triggering your device’s voice assistant. You can also cycle between their 3 EQ presets, although there is no voice prompt that tells you which preset you’re on. However, you do get voice prompts for the pairing procedure and you also get battery information when powering on the headphones, which is nice.

9.2
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 0.8 C

Like most truly wireless in-ears, the JBuds Air don’t trap much heat and keep your ears fairly cool. You shouldn’t notice a significant difference in temperature when wearing these. You could wear them for sports without sweating more than usual.

9.4
Design
Portability
L 1.1 "
W 1.3 "
H 1.2 "
Volume 1.7 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

These earbuds are very portable. You can easily fit the two buds inside your pockets or put them in a bag. They are easy to carry around, even when placed in their charging case, although it is a bit bulkier than most truly wireless cases we've reviewed recently.

7.0
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 3.0 "
W 1.7 "
H 1.5 "
Volume 7.7 Cu. Inches

Update : 04/23/2019 We've updated the text to show that you can purchase a spare case separately, as pointed out by a user.

The JLab Audio JBuds Air come with a decent charging case. The case is slightly bulkier than other truly wireless headphones cases and the lid feels a bit plasticky. The case also has an integrated USB charging cable. This is nice since you can charge it easily without carrying around a cable, but it is very short and you can’t replace it if it breaks, which isn’t convenient. You’d have to buy another case, which isn't too expensive thankfully. If you'd prefer a case without an integrated cable or that can support wireless Qi charging, take a look at the Sabbat E12.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The JLab Audio JBuds Air are well-built headphones. The buds are thick and dense enough to survive a few accidental drops without too much damage. However, the case feels a bit cheaper than the earbuds, which is unfortunate. The integrated charging cable is also not ideal as if it breaks, you’ll have to buy a new case. On the upside, these headphones are rated IP55 for dust and water resistance, which is good.

8.0
Design
Stability

The JBuds Air are very stable in-ears and you should be able to run and do physical activity without a problem. They don’t move much around thanks to their fit, and they also come with a few tip options and a sleeve to help you get a more secure fit. Their truly wireless design also helps since you won’t have a wire that could get stuck on something and yank the headphones out of your ears.

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

  • JLab Audio JBuds Air earbuds
  • Charging case
  • 3x tip sizes
  • 1x stability sleeve
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
5.9 db
Treble Amount
-1.48 db
8.8
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.24 dB

The frequency response consistency is excellent. If 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
4.8
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
7.28 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
9.34 dB
Mid-Bass
8.06 dB
High-Bass
7.15 dB

The bass performance of the JBuds Air is good. The LFE (low-frequency extension) is down to 10Hz, which is excellent. Low-bass is overemphasized by about 5dB, which adds noticeably thump and rumble to the bass, which some may prefer. However, the rest of the response is also over our target curve. This will add extra punch to the body of bass guitars and kicks of drums and excess boominess to the mix.

8.5
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.05 dB
Low-Mid
2.95 dB
Mid-Mid
0.0 dB
High-Mid
0.51 dB

The JBuds Air mid-range is also good. The response throughout the range is fairly well-balanced, but mostly underemphasized. The 4dB recess in mid-mid will push the vocals and lead instruments to the back of the mix. High-mid being under out target curve also results in a negative effect on the projection of vocals and leads.

8.1
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.59 dB
Low-Treble
-0.09 dB
Mid-Treble
2.83 dB
High-Treble
-1.76 dB

The JBuds Air have a good treble range. Unfortunately, the range is slightly uneven. The dip in low-treble will have a negative effect on the detail and brightness of those frequencies, while the high peak around the 10kHz region will tend to make S and T sounds sharp and piercing. However, not everyone hears the treble range the same way, so your experience may vary.

8.1
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.16 db
Dips
1.21 db
9.2
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.11
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.38
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.02
Weighted Phase Mismatch
2.96

The stereo imaging is excellent. Their weighted group delay is at 0.11, which is very low. The group delay graph also shows that the entire response is well below the audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Also, the L/R drivers of our test unit were well-matched in frequency, amplitude, and phase response. This 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.

0.6
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
2.6
Acoustic Space Excitation
0.3

The soundstage is poor. This is because creating an out-of-head and speaker-like soundstage is largely dependent on activating the resonances of the pinna (outer ear). The design of in-ears and earbuds fully bypasses the pinna and doesn't interact with it. Also, because the JLab Audio JBuds Air headphones have a closed-back enclosure, their soundstage won't be perceived to be as open as that of open-back earbuds like the Apple AirPods 2 2019, Google Pixel Buds, or the Bose SoundSport Free.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
6.9
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.500
WHD @ 100
0.322
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
7.4
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-22.2 dB
Bass
-6.35 dB
Mid
-18.86 dB
Treble
-42.44 dB

Their isolation performance is decent. In the bass range, where the rumble of plane and bus engines are located, they reduce outside noise by about 6dB, which is okay, but won’t be ideal for public transit. In the mid-range, which is crucial for blocking speech, they achieve 19dB of isolation, which is very good. In the treble, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts and A/C system noises, they also achieve a reduction of 42dB, which is excellent.

9.7
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
22.8 dB

The leakage performance is excellent. Most of the leakage is concentrated in a narrow band in the treble range. This makes their leakage very thin and sharp sounding. However, the overall level of their leakage is very low. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage averages around 23dB SPL, and peaks at around 31db SPL, which is far below the noise floor of the average office.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
6.5
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
297.71 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
3.07 dB
HFE
3466.89 Hz
Weighted THD
2.626
Gain
24.59 dB

These headphones have an integrated Bluetooth microphone with an okay recording quality. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 298Hz and HFE (high-frequency extension) is around 3.5kHz, which means that speech recorded or transmitted with this microphone will sound thin, lacking a bit of detail and noticeably muffled. However, it will still be relatively easy to comprehend, since speech intelligibility is mostly dependent on the 500Hz-4kHz range.

5.9
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
10.39 dB

This microphone has mediocre noise handling. In our SpNR test, the mic achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of approximately 10dB, indicating it is best suited for quiet environments and will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in moderately loud or very noisy situations.

Active Features
5.1
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
3.3 hrs
Additional Charges
10
Total Battery Life
36.3 hrs
Charge Time
1.9 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port USB Type A

The JBuds Air have poor battery life. They offer just over 3 hours of continuous playback on one charge, which is a bit short even for truly wireless headphones. On top of that, they take about 2 hours to fully charge, which is very disappointing. They also don’t have any power saving features, so be sure to turn them off or to put them in their case when you are not using them.

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 headphones do not have a companion app for customization options and controls. That said, you can cycle through their 3 EQ presets directly on the buds.

Connectivity
6.9
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
329 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
339 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
232 ms
Android Latency
273 ms

These truly wireless headphones are Bluetooth compatible and also support version 5.0, which we couldn’t test the full capacities of with our 4.2 dongle. You could experience better results if your source is 5.0 as well.

Their latency is very high and won’t be ideal for watching video content or for gaming. While some apps and devices offer some sort of compensation, most people will still notice a delay when watching video content.

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

As expected, the JLab Audio JBuds Air headphones can’t be used wired in any way.

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 Wireless
No
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

The JLab Audio JBuds Air come with a charging case that gives you a few additional charges, but it doesn’t have any inputs. The case also has an integrated USB power cable that can’t be replaced if broken.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

The JLab Audio JBuds Air are decent truly wireless earbuds, but they don’t particularly set themselves apart for their performance. They are decent in pretty much everything, without excelling in anything, and offer good overall value. However, their case with an integrated charging cable is an interesting concept that we haven’t seen before, but we think it could have been done in a better way. Take a look at our recommendations for the best truly wireless headphones, the best wireless headphones under $100, and the best Bluetooth earbuds under $50.

Skullcandy Sesh Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Skullcandy Sesh Truly Wireless are slightly better headphones for mixed use than the JLab Audio JBuds Air Truly Wireless. They are very similar truly wireless in-ear headphones with an equally bass-heavy sound profile, though the Sesh are generally better balanced. While the JBuds Air last a little less time on a single charge, their case will give you an additional ten charges, much better than the Sesh's two. Unfortunately the JBuds have an integrated charging cable, which means you'd have to replace the entire headphones should it get damaged.

Anker SoundCore Liberty Air Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker SoundCore Liberty Air are better truly wireless headphones than the JLab Audio JBuds Air. While they don’t have volume control, they have a much better sounding audio reproduction and their fit blocks out more ambient noise, which is good for commuting. They come with a smaller case and offer better battery life, on top of taking less time to charge. However, their stalk design is a bit more fragile than the dense JBuds Air and is slightly less stable for sports.

Jabra Elite 65t Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Jabra Elite 65t are slightly better truly wireless headphones than the JLab Audio JBuds Air. They have a companion app that lets you EQ their sound profile and have a more isolating fit against ambient noise. Their battery life is noticeably better, offering about 2 more hours of continuous playback than the JBuds Air. They can also connect to two devices and have less latency. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more straightforward experience and mostly listen to bass-heavy music, then the JBuds Air might offer better value and be a better choice.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung Galaxy Buds are better truly wireless headphones than the JLab Audio JBuds Air. They are more comfortable, have better sound quality, noticeably better battery life, and are also compatible with a good app that offers customization options and controls. You can also get volume controls if you have the app, or else you won’t have it by default like on the JBuds Air. Their case is also compatible with wireless Qi chargers. On the other hand, if you don’t need an app and like to listen to bass-heavy music, the JBuds Air might offer better value and can be a better choice.

SoundPeats TrueFree/True Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The SoundPeats TrueFree and the JLab Audio JBuds Air are fairly similar headphones and perform almost identically when it comes to sound. However, the JBuds Air offer volume control on their one-button scheme, which the TrueFree are lacking. The recording quality of the integrated microphone is also better than the TrueFree. On the other hand, the SoundPeats don’t have an integrated charging cable which would force you to buy another pair of headphones if it was to break, although their case lacks a lid to protect the headphones.

Sabbat E12 True Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sabbat E12 True Wireless and the JLab Audio JBuds Air Truly Wireless are very similar performing truly wireless in-ears. Both have a dark sound profile and will be better suited for bass-heavy genres, but the JBuds Air don’t lack as much detail in the treble range as the E12. Their fit is also slightly better at blocking out ambient noise. On the other hand, you’ll have slightly more battery life out of the E12 and their microphone recording quality is noticeably better. Additionally, their E12 case supports wireless charging, while the JBuds Air case has a short and integrated charging cable, which can be annoying to use.

Ylife True Wireless Earbuds
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Ylife True Wireless Earbuds are slightly better than the JLab Audio JBuds Air Truly Wireless in terms of mixed usage. The JLab has controls that the Ylife doesn't have, including volume control. However, the Ylife has much better bass accuracy than the JLab and better overall sound quality. If you're looking for user-friendly controls and don't plan on listening to bass-heavy music, go for the JLab Audio JBuds Truly Wireless; otherwise, the Ylife True Wireless Earbuds are a better choice.

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JLab Audio JBuds Air Truly Wireless Price

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