Year 2015 is not a good year for premium bluetooth sport earbuds. It was a major theme of 2015 CES, and most contenders I reviewed so far had major design and reliability issues.
Today, its another California-based company and their product - JLab EPIC Bluetooth.
Again, we have the design that I love, around the ear earbuds, with memory wire. Do they work?
Well, sort of….
First, I need to say that marketing is properly done. Tons of metrials and impressive video sequence, with comparison against top premium brands - Beats by Dre and JayBird.
Let's dive in and see what's what.
JLab advertises 10-hour play time. Which is a LOT. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test it. Why? Read on.
These come with 8mm sound drivers. I didn’t take the opportunity to take these apart, so I don’t know who the OEM manufacture is. Regadless, how is the sound quality?
Loud - yes. Plenty of volume, well above Jabra Sport Plus.
Clear? Hell, no. Low mids are horrible. Not bad - horrible! Is it the size of the driver or an amp? I have no idea.
Mid-lows are muddy, loud and mids and mid-highs suffer tremendously. Sound is not clear. Mumbled, softened in a bad way. Based on sound alone I wouldn't recommend these. But let’s move on.
Design is good, but the silicone eartips - not. Maybe its my anatomy, but right drive constantly pops out and I loose seal.
Wire, connecting both drivers is so thin - I’m afraid it won’t be able to sustain occasional pulls and tugs that happen at the gym. And that's another potential flaw that you need to watch out for.
Range is average. Less than others, if you ask me. Not critical, but consider this if you need range. Not the best choice
The most hideous part - the quality of signal processor and implemented mode announcements. I get the fact that these $99 earbuds are not expensive ones. It is essentially $29.99 JLab Fit 2.0 version with added Bluetooth.
So, the sound is bad because the drivers are cheap - I get that. But why pair it with a processor that makes announcements with the voice of a vintage robot? They are annoying. They sound cheap. I don’t want to hear it ever again.
I wasn’t able to test both pairs longer than one week each. Second pair broke after a single 10k treadmill run.
These will not sustain everyday beating at the gym. Same issue as with others - sweatproofing. And I'm stunned that JLab advertises these as 'washable'.
Its there one? YES! Make more colors and continue to sell this crap, while marketing against Beats by Dre and JayBirds!
Wonderful strategy (sarcasm alert). It must be working, because when I tested these earlier this year, only black color was available. Now you can have black, white or blue.
In what color would you like your sport earbuds to fail? Epic, isn’t it? Indeed.
Avoid at all cost. Good night.