“The ANC won’t wow you, but these buds are still an insane value at just $99.”
- Superb worth
- Customizable controls and EQ
- Big battery life
- Wi-fi charging
- Wonderful ambient sound mode
- So-so ANC
- Poor name high quality
JLab has a historical past of constructing wi-fi headphones and true wi-fi earbuds that ship an awesome mixture of efficiency and options for shockingly low costs. Its $29 Go Air and $149 Epic Air Sport are each nice examples.
However clearly, each of those have been mere warm-ups for what JLab has now launched: The $99 Epic Air ANC, a set of noise-canceling true wi-fi earbuds with a characteristic set that seemingly goes on eternally.
Has JLab lastly over-promised and under-delivered, or do the Epic Air ANC set a brand new benchmark for worth? Trace: They’re superb.
Let’s see what the entire fuss is about.
What’s within the field?
JLab’s bins have at all times been extremely flimsy, cheap-looking affairs. And whereas that won’t rating the corporate factors with buyers a bunch of aggressive merchandise on a retail shelf, I find it irresistible.
I find it irresistible as a result of it’s completely fabricated from simply recyclable paper and cardboard. The one plastic you’ll discover are two tiny detachable stickers over the earbuds’ charging contacts. The remaining is as guilt-free because it will get.
Inside that field you’ll discover the Epic Air ANC earbuds nestled of their charging case, an easy-to-read and really properly illustrated fast begin information, and the included 5 additional ear ideas (the earbuds ship with the medium measurement put in).
JLab’s line of true wi-fi earbuds have three normal shapes: The easy, earbud-only design of the Go Air, the sport-oriented ear hook design of the Epic Air Sport, and the AirPod-esque earbud-plus-stem design of the Air Govt.
Exercise addicts are lined: With an IP55 ranking, there’s little or no these earbuds can’t survive.
The Epic Air ANC use the identical design because the Air Govt. They’re so related, you may not be capable to inform them aside even upon shut inspection.
The Epic Air ANC are a bit bulkier than, say, Apple’s AirPods or AirPods Professional, however they’re nonetheless remarkably mild and don’t look as huge as most of the prime earbuds we’ve reviewed, like Sony’s WF-SP800N or Sennheiser’s CX 400BT True Wi-fi.
Contact controls on the skin provide you with full entry to the entire most-used features, whereas a wear-sensor on the internal floor provides you the power to robotically pause your tunes whenever you take away an earbud — if you’d like.
Exercise addicts are lined: With an IP55 ranking, there’s little or no these earbuds can’t survive.
The charging case is bulkier and fewer pocketable than many others in the marketplace, however it makes up for its additional girth by providing a built-in USB charging twine — a superb characteristic for individuals who are likely to overlook to carry cables once they journey. Higher but, ought to that cable ever develop into broken, the case is ready to cost wirelessly, too.
Artificial leather-based does double responsibility as each the outer floor of the case and the lid’s hinge. It’s uncommon and intelligent, however it signifies that the lid strikes round a bit of bit even when closed, which reduces the general feeling of high quality.
Nonetheless, the lid magnet and the earbud docking magnets are sturdy sufficient to maintain all the things in place, which is basically all that issues.
A 3-LED show on the highest floor tells you the cost degree of the case in addition to the charging standing of the earbuds.
The Epic Air ANC could not win any magnificence contests, however functionally talking, they’re very properly designed.
Consolation, controls, and connections
In the event you’ve worn in-the-ear earbuds earlier than and located them comfy, I feel you’ll like the best way the Epic Air ANC match as properly.
In the event you haven’t, JLab’s inclusion of 5 totally different sizes and types of silicone ear ideas, plus an additional pair of Cloud Foam ear ideas, ought to go a protracted option to making them excellent no matter your ear form.
The standard of the seal is at all times vital with in-ear earbuds as a result of it dictates how good they’ll sound, however it’s particularly vital with ANC earbuds. Having quite a lot of ear ideas to select from undoubtedly makes getting a superb seal simpler.
Personally, I like to recommend the Cloud Foams. Reminiscence foam ear ideas don’t final so long as silicone, and never everybody likes the squishy sensation they create in your ear, however they’re tremendous comfortable and so they create a terrific seal with none stress.
As soon as you discover one of the best measurement and type of ear tip, the Epic Air ANC ought to match and really feel excellent. I discovered them to be extra comfy than some earbuds that value greater than double, which simply goes to indicate that cash can’t at all times purchase you a superb match.
I don’t love contact controls on earbuds as a result of they tend to be triggered whenever you don’t need them to do something or, extra typically, they don’t reply accurately (or in any respect) whenever you want them to.
The contact controls on the Epic Air ANC largely keep away from this entice, however there have been nonetheless events after I had bother. Some faucets weren’t acknowledged and a double-tap typically solely registered as a single. I’d nonetheless favor a very good set of bodily buttons like those on the Jabra Elite 75t, however so far as contact controls go, the Epic Air ANC’s are completely serviceable.
And although I may not be a contact management fan, I’m critically impressed that JLab’s free Air ANC app for iOS and Android allows you to customise what every earbud does for each faucet mixture. With three faucet mixtures per earbuds, that may cowl nearly all the things you could possibly ask for. The obtainable instructions are: Play/pause (name reply/finish), observe skip ahead/again, quantity up/down, voice assistant entry, EQ mode, and ANC mode (on, off, Be Conscious).
The one factor you want to bear in mind is that for those who select to make use of only one earbud — an awesome possibility for telephone calls or when you must keep extra conscious of your environment — you’ll have to ensure that earbud’s controls have the settings you want. There’s no level in making a single faucet on the left earbud flip the amount up for those who want the correct earbud to show it again down.
The wear and tear sensors labored like a attraction, shortly pausing and resuming music whenever you eliminated or inserted the earbuds, and the app allows you to shut the characteristic off for those who don’t discover it useful.
Bluetooth pairing is straightforward and fast — merely take away the earbuds from the case and select them in your Bluetooth system menu. Connection high quality was very dependable, however on a number of events — notably after a protracted pause with no music enjoying — the left earbud would develop into unresponsive. Shortly popping each buds again into the charging case and pulling them out once more was a dependable option to get issues again to regular.
Simultaneous machine pairing (a.okay.a. Bluetooth Multipoint) can be good, however it’s an uncommon characteristic even amongst dearer earbuds.
True wi-fi earbuds have seen a large enchancment in battery life over the previous 12 months, and the Epic Air ANC sit close to the highest of this vary.
With as a lot as 48 hours with ANC off, they put all different true wi-fi earbuds to disgrace.
JLab claims eight hours of operation with ANC on, and an enormous 12 hours with it off — only one hour lower than the reigning champ, Sony’s WF-SP800N.
Much more spectacular is the charging case, which carries sufficient capability for 3 full recharges. At a minimal, this implies 32 hours of complete time, however as a lot as 48 hours with ANC off. That places all different true wi-fi earbuds to disgrace. Even the Sony WF-SP800N solely provide a single cost of their case for a most time of 26 hours.
A 15-minute fast cost will get you an additional hour of playtime.
In actuality, JLab’s numbers are fairly spot-on. I ran them repeatedly with ANC off and after 12 hours, they have been nonetheless going.
Sound high quality
For his or her worth, I feel the Epic Air ANC sound excellent. You don’t get the pristine sound high quality of Sony’s WF-1000XM3 or Sennheiser’s CX 400BT, however these earbuds value greater than twice what you’ll pay for the Epic Air ANC.
On the subject of deep bass and clear highs — the 2 areas folks discover probably the most — these earbuds don’t disappoint.
I’m keen to wager that until you already personal a way more costly set of earbuds, you’ll be delighted with the sound of the Epic Air ANC.
They provide excellent separation of frequencies, and relating to deep bass and clear highs — the 2 areas folks discover probably the most — these earbuds don’t disappoint. Bass response is full however doesn’t overpower, and the highs, whereas not crystalline, are nonetheless well-defined. The midranges are neither shining nor lackluster, managing to make themselves heard even when they’re not fairly the celebs of the present.
And whereas they could not have good ranges of element or an ultra-wide soundstage, they’re surprisingly well-balanced for listening to quite a lot of genres.
As with just about all of the earbuds and headphones I’ve examined, to get probably the most out of those earbuds, you want a good supply. I discovered an enormous distinction between listening to my private assortment of AAC-format tracks in Apple Music and lossless, CD-quality choices from Tidal or Qobuz.
Extra importantly, the JLab Air ANC app provides you the power to tweak EQ as a lot as you want. The equalizer has discrete ranges for 10 frequency bands and it can save you 4 presets along with your favourite mixes.
JLab features a “movie mode” which is meant to cut back audio lag from the standard “music mode” in order that on-screen dialog matches up with what you’re listening to. Perhaps my iPhone 11’s Bluetooth connection is already a really low-latency one, however I discovered just about no distinction whether or not film mode was engaged or not. Each modes provided wonderful sync when streaming motion pictures from Netflix and Disney+.
Getting a way for the Epic Air ANC’s noise-cancellation effectiveness is hard.
Whether or not you utilize the usual silicone ear ideas or the Cloud Foams, the seal they supply is fairly nice. Which means that only a few outdoors sounds can enter your ear within the first place.
However even with sturdy passive noise isolation, ANC ought to nonetheless provide a noticeable drop in some exterior sounds. Sadly, this wasn’t the case.
Swapping between ANC on and off produced solely the slightest discount of decrease frequencies. Even then, I may solely inform when there was no music enjoying.
JLab’s Air ANC app allows you to alter the depth of noise cancellation — a welcome characteristic — however maxing out the setting didn’t do a lot to enhance efficiency. They actually aren’t AirPods Professional-killers when it comes to noise cancellation.
On the intense facet, the Be Conscious mode, which lets sounds in, is superb and the app-based adjustment provides you a superb quantity of management over how a lot sound it allows.
Name high quality
Name high quality on the Epic Air ANC shouldn’t be an space of energy. It’s not a characteristic that true wi-fi earbuds are usually nice at, even in some very costly fashions, however it’s particularly weak on these earbuds.
Exterior appears like automobiles, lawnmowers, leaf-blowers, and even a gentle breeze all created quite a lot of sonic competitors for my voice, typically drowning it out fully.
Issues are significantly higher when indoors, however even then, your voice will endure from some wobble.
However, from the wearer’s perspective, the Be Conscious mode makes calling very comfy, letting you hear your individual voice with complete readability.
Irrespective of the way you have a look at them, the JLab Epic Air ANC are an epic worth at simply $99. The ANC may not be spectacular, however with excellent sound isolation because of quite a lot of ear ideas, it merely doesn’t matter that a lot. With excellent sound high quality, monumental battery life, and tons of useful additional options, what’s to not love?
Is there a greater different?
For $99, you could discover true wi-fi earbuds with ANC and respectable sound, however I’m undecided there are any earbuds at this worth that additionally provide 12 hours of battery life, IP55 safety, wi-fi charging, absolutely customizable controls and EQ, plus a put on sensor.
You possibly can spend much less and get fewer options, just like the extraordinarily inexpensive $40 Soundpeats Truengine SE, or you possibly can spend extra and get barely higher sound high quality with the $150 Soundcore Liberty 2 Professional, however nothing beats the Epic Air ANC for total worth.
How lengthy will they final?
Construct high quality on the Epic Air ANC appears on par for earbuds of their worth vary. However with an IP55 ranking and a really beneficiant two-year guarantee from JLab, they need to final a really very long time. The good half about beginning out with batteries that final 12 hours, is even once they finally drop to 50% of their capability, they’ll nonetheless outperform many brand-new earbuds.
Do you have to purchase them?
Sure. Within the Epic Air ANC, JLab has created a feature-rich and cozy set of earbuds that supply unbelievable worth on your cash.