When I checked out the JBL Quantum TWS I quickly became a convert to the JBL earbuds. These versatile earbuds equipped with a USB-C dongle made me a happy man. I got the chance to check out a pair of dedicated earbuds to see how they stack up without the gimmick. The short answer to the question of are the Live Pro 2 TWS earbuds great, is yep. The long answer is as follows:.
The biggest question is always, how is the sound quality? I mean if it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be looking for earbuds. Well I can now say after thoroughly testing for weeks, so good. Normal listening to podcasts sounded good, but when the bass came in, hoo boy. With the default settings, the base was absolutely perfect for me. My test song for sound quality is Straight Out the Gate. The normal version and The Scott Stevens Remix have a wide range of sounds with amazing bass hooks. If whatever sound source doesn’t do Straight Out the Gate justice then I am out, and it was absolutely perfect.
If you are more of a soundphile then the great news is you can tweak away. Using the JBL Headphones app it is super easy to adjust the EQ settings. There are a bunch of default options for different music styles and if any of them aren’t quite right then you can even tweak them. The bass mode kicks some serious ass but I was happiest with the Jazz mode, not listening to Jazz of course.
The Noise Canceling in these earbuds are excellent. It has multiple modes but after playing around I basically left them in permanent ANC mode. The only time it had issues was when I would accidentally jostle an earbud loose and the sound bleed would screw with it. That and the sound of two of my car windows being down, the inconsistent sound of the wind seemed to screw with the ANC like crazy.
Outside of those two specific scenarios the ANC was always excellent. With a 20 month old in the house with the loudest lungs I have ever heard, this made nappy changes much easier. Having them in ANC permanently of course meant that the battery life suffered, but not by a whole lot.
The Live Pro 2 TWS touts a ten hour battery life in the ear buds themselves and 30 hours from the case. As I was using the ANC I found it dropped down to seven to eight hours from the ear buds, and 20+ hours from the case.
This is still an insane battery life. It was more than enough for most situations. I only found that I drained the earbuds battery when I was outside doing yard work, at which point it was time to come in for a rest anyway, so the ear buds telling me to take a break worked out well. It only took about two hours to fully charge both as well, so if you somehow managed to use the 27 hours, it isn’t a long wait until you are back in podcast heaven.
Quality and sturdiness
With ear buds and their cases absolutely needed to pass the sturdiness test. Earbud cases sit in my pockets most of the day with me pulling them out and popping the earbuds in and out on the regular. For the most part I am pretty happy thus far.
Having used them for a month or so they have certainly been bashed around a bit and so far they are all good. I can’t see any surface damage or anything which is a good sign as they were regularly in the same pocket as my keys. I did drop them on the carpet at one point and the earbuds went flying which wasn’t ideal, but also it isn’t an ideal test.
One weird thing happened once where when I put the earbuds in the case a squealing sound came out. This kept happening when I pulled them back out and in until I put the earbuds in my ears to ‘wake them up’ then put them back in the case and all was well. For context I have been using them on and off throughout the day for over a month and this weird thing happened once. I can’t say if it will happen again or not, but it hasn’t happened since.
I didn’t put the earbuds through the accidental washing machine test like the JBL Quantum TWS but so far I am pretty happy with the build quality.
Style and function
I absolutely adored the earbuds style. They have a nice glossy finish to them, but I like the understated little stick style in your ears. The touch buttons are at the top half of the buds which took a little bit of adjustment. As long as you use the bottom of the stick for taking them out and putting them in you won’t accidentally mess with the settings. Now they couldn’t be easier to use.
The tidy matte case looks good and is super easy to open and close. The three LED lights on the front giving the battery status of the device when on charge or when removing/replacing the buds is also incredibly handy.
They are a good pair of buds that look nice and feel super comfortable.
All the other bits
One thing I am liking about JBL earbuds is how easy it is to switch the touch button functions on the earbuds. There are preset functions that you can switch between left and right, or remove and add other presets. I changed them to playback on one ear and volume on the other and never looked back. Annoyingly you can’t tweak the specific functions which would be handy, but the presets are good enough.
If you pop your earbuds down outside their case there is a funky find them function in the app. Using it the buds make a loud sound so you can find where you left them. The annoying thing is because I am good and kept putting them in the case, it was the case I was most likely to lose for which there is no find it feature. I mean if there was it would likely have to sit there draining the battery at all times, so I get it, but man that would make life so much better. If it could find my keys that would be handy too.
Phone calls were surprisingly decent as long as I wasn’t around the wind. In a car with the window down or in, well, Wellington on the street the person at the other end could make it out but struggled. In the car with the windows up, or ducking into a meeting room, the sound quality was fantastic.
Should you buy them?
If you are looking for a pair of earbuds with good sound and excellent noise canceling then I would say a resounding yes. At $300 they aren’t the cheapest but they are worth it for the balance of sound quality and battery life. I’ve used them on the commute, at the gym, and in the garden and these could easily be my long term choice. The only question left is the unit’s long term life, which I will emphatically be testing.