JBL’s CES lineup scoffs at wires with four new pairs of true wir - 100.7 San Diego - True Variety - 1007sandiego.com

JBL’s CES lineup scoffs at wires with four new pairs of true wireless buds

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By Ryan Waniata


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JBL is going big at CES 2019, offering a slew of new speakers, soundbars, and, of course, headphones. The Harman-owned brand (now under Samsung’s mighty umbrella) has pressed down the throttle on portable audio for the new year with four new pairs of true wireless earbuds — one of which offers a massive 10 hours of playback per charge — and a new “Live” series of headphones aimed at every headphone lover who doesn’t want a pair of fully wireless buds.

Here’s a breakdown of all the new cans in JBL’s 2019 arsenal so far.

JBL Reflect Flow

jbl true wireless earbuds live headphone series ces 2019 reflect flow prod

We expected a massive battery increase for true wireless earphones at CES 2019 thanks to improved Bluetooth technologies, and the Reflect Flow appear to be among the first true wireless buds to match those expectations.

While JBL doesn’t spell things out clearly in its press release (we’re never sure why companies do this), it lists 30 hours of total playback time for the Reflect Flow, while adding that the portable charging case offers 20 hours of charge time. We’re not mathematicians, but that means the Reflect Flow earbuds themselves offer a mighty 10 hours of playback per charge, which doubles Apple’s AirPods and helps ring in the new true wireless earbud generation.

As the name suggests, the Reflect Flow are also designed to be excellent workout buds, offering IPX7 waterproofing — meaning they can actually be submerged in 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes — ambient sound to keep you aware of your surroundings, and what JBL calls an “ergonomic fit.” At just $150, these could be a very compelling pair of true wireless buds. They’re slated to arrive in summer 2019.

JBL Endurance Peak

The Endurance Peak are another sporty pair of true wireless earbuds from JBL that also offer IPX7 waterproofing, as well as JBL’s PowerHooks, which are designed to keep them in place in virtually any workout situation. With a listed 28 hours of total playback time — and 24 in the case — the Endurance Peak take a big step down in battery life, offering just four hours of playback per charge. But if you just need a pair of fully wireless earphones that’ll stay put through any and all of your workout regimens, these could fit the bill.

UA True Wireless Flash

This pair of Under Armour-branded headphones are “engineered by JBL” and geared toward those “looking to push themselves to the limit.” The limit, in this case, appears to be five hours of playback time, along with 20 hours from the charging case, but again, that’s more than you’ll need for all but the most intense workouts. Other features include three different fit options with JBL’s Sport Flex Fit eartips, ambient sound to keep you aware of your environment, and IPX7 waterproofing, along with sweatproofing, which the company is calling UA Storm Proof technology. The UA Flash are available January 8 for $170.

JBL Tune120TWS

At just $100 ($59 below Apple’s AirPods) the best featureof the Tunew120TWS may be the price. These appear to be a rather frill-free pair of true wireless earbuds, with minimal features and heavy tuning in the low-end thanks to JBL’s Pure Bass Sound.

Available in a wide array of colors, the earbuds offer a somewhat middling four hours of playback time per charge, along with three extra charges in the charging case for a total of 16 hours on the go. If the juice does run low, JBL claims you can get about an hour of playback time with 15 minutes of charging time, and the buds also connect to Google or Apple voice assistants with a touch. The Tunew120TWS earbuds are slated for availability this spring.

JBL Live headphone series

JBL is also introducing its new Live headphones series at CES 2019, which starts at just $40 for the Live 100 wired earbuds, and moves up from there with multiple wireless configurations. Those include the $70 Live 200 BT halo-style earbuds (which offer a claimed 10 hours of playback time per charge), the $100 Live 400BT on-ear headphones (24 hours of battery per charge), the $150 Live 500BT over-ears (30 hours of battery per charge), and the $200 Live 650BTNC over-ears, which tack on active noise canceling for 20 hours of playback time per charge, or 30 hours of playback time without noise canceling.

The Live on-ear and over-ear cans all offer touch controls, as well as ambient audio technology that lets you control how much ambient sound comes in so you won’t have to fret about what’s happening in the world around you during a workout. JBL’s TalkThru tech can also pause music at the touch of a button. The Live headphone series is expected to debut this spring.


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