JBL wireless earbuds deliver Active Noise Cancellation to battle AirPods Pro

Eric Abent - Sep 2, 2020, 1:48pm CDT
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JBL wireless earbuds deliver Active Noise Cancellation to battle AirPods Pro

JBL is expanding its lineup of true wireless earbuds today, introducing three new pairs that each have an array of features. Two of these sets of wireless earbuds – the JBL Live FREE NC+ and the Reflect MINI TWS – are entirely new entries in JBL’s lineup, while the third – the JBL Tune 225TWS – is an upgrade to an existing pair of earbuds (in this case, the 225TWS are the successor to the 220TWS).

JBL Live FREE NC+

The JBL Live FREE NC+ earbuds seem like the flagship product of the day. With these buds, JBL promises up to 21 hours of combined use on a full charge, though if you’re looking to do some heavy music playback, expect them to only last around 7 hours. The Live FREE NC+ come in a case that can be charged either through USB-C or with a Qi-compatible charging pad, and the buds will pair with your device as soon as you open that case.

All of that seems pretty good, but where the Live FREE NC+ might stand out from the rest of JBL’s lineup is with its Active Noise Cancelling and Smart Ambient Technology. The earbuds are also IPX7 water and sweat resistant, support Google Assistant and Alexa, and allow you to use the left and right earbuds independently of one another.

JBL Reflect MINI TWS

The Reflect MINI TWS seem to be aimed more at sporty types, but they have a lot of the same features as the Live FREE NC+. They similarly offer Active Noise Cancelling and Smart Ambient Technology, 21 hours of combined use/7 hours of music playback, support for Google Assistant and Alexa, and the left and right earbuds can be used independently. Just as well, they’re IPX7 water and sweat resistant, which is basically a necessity if you’re going to pitch earbuds for exercise.

There are a few areas where the Reflect MINI TWS differ from the Live FREE NC+. For instance, the Reflect MINI feature reflective accents, so they’re probably the better choice for those who like to go for runs or walks at night. The Reflect MINI also have adjustable ear fins to keep them in place while you’re working out. Finally, while the earbuds will automatically pair with your device when you open the case, it seems that the case itself can’t be charged wirelessly – only through USB-C.

JBL Tune 225TWS

Finally, we come to the Tune 225TWS, which should be very familiar to anyone who has used the 220TWS before. JBL says these new Tunes feature improved battery life, which clocks in at 5 hours of music playback. JBL has also fitted them with a 12mm dynamic drivers and its own Pure Bass tech, and it will offer the 225TWS in six colors.

There’s no Active Noise Cancelling or Smart Ambient tech on these earbuds, but you can once again use them independently of one another. Given the design of the earbuds and their accompanying case, these seem to be JBL’s AirPods competitor.

Pricing and availability

All three of these sets of earbuds will debut in October, and all of them will be available from JBL’s website. The Live FREE NC+ and the Reflect MINI TWS will be available at the same price points – $149 – while the Tune 225TWS will cost a fair amount less at $99.95.


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