The JBL Live 650BTNC offers good noise-cancellation, battery life, comfort, and features for a great price. We came away impressed at the well-rounded package JBL put together here and highly recommend it those who don’t want to splurge on the flagship ANC headphones from Bose and Sony.
– Dynamic, punchy sound
– Supports Google Assistant + Alexa
– Extremely comfortable
– MicroUSB charging
– Good, but not class-leading ANC
– Non-adjustable ANC
On the subject of wireless active noise-cancelling (ANC) headphones, absolutely everyone knows that Bose and Sony rule the roost with the QC35 II and the WH-1000XM3. Those headphones provide the exceptional ANC headphones on the market, hands down, but at round $350 (£299, AU$400), they’re not reasonably-priced.
So what approximately those folks who do not have that sort of cash to spend on headphones? Nicely, in case your price range is half of that, there are some strong alternatives like the Plantronics BackBeat pro 2, Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC, and now, the JBL live 650BTNC.
For $200 (£one hundred eighty, AU$250), the
JBL stay 650BTNC are an incredible stability of sonic performance, battery existence, functions, and rate. For 1/2 the fee of what Sony and Bose fee, you get 80% of the overall performance. After spending a few weeks with them, we located ourselves now not missing the more high priced headphones.
Wherein the Sony and Bose appearance a chunk simple, JBL mixes it up with a mature, yet elegant layout. The 650BTNC are available 3 distinct colorways – black with copper accents, all white, and the blue and silver combo which you see with our evaluation unit.
In phrases of materials, the scarf is fabricated from durable fabric you’d discover on JBL’s Bluetooth audio system, which ought to stand the test of time, and the ear cups are manufactured from a faux leather that’s extremely comfortable on the head.
The general production of the headphone is very good, and there’s a pleasant mixture of metal, fabric, leather-based, and plastic. Despite the fact that some users might also cringe at the usage of plastic, it makes for a mild headphone that you won’t mind carrying for hours. To that end, we determined the JBL stay 650BTNC to be one of the maximum secure headphones we’ve tested and although it wasn’t as feather-light because the Bose QC35 II, we had no problem wearing them for an entire workday and on our go back and forth.
Talking of commuting, the headphones fold up and flat for travel and include a fabric pouch. We might have liked to peer a difficult case to guard the headphones but that’s a nitpick at this price point. The headphones additionally include a three.5mm cable for the usage of whilst you’re out of juice or honestly need to maximize the battery life for noise-cancelling. Also covered is a flat microUSB charging cable.
Now for the bad news: The 650BTNC uses the old microUSB preferred, that’s disappointing in case you want to apply one USB-C cable to fee all of your gadgets.
Where JBL reduce down on value become through making maximum of the controls at the headphones physical buttons in place of contact capacitive like Sony has carried out at the 1000XM3; on the right ear cup you have a energy/pairing slider, extent and media controls, pairing button, and ANC toggle transfer. Some other nicety that Sony offers and JBL lacks is adjustable ANC to permit in some ambient noise when someone is speakme to you… But you may’t without a doubt fault JBL for omitting the feature at this price factor.
The handiest touchpad manipulate is at the left earcup and it is used to set off your voice assistant of preference – both Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa – but, you’ll just need to down load the corresponding app on your phone, in addition to the JBL Headphones app to apply it. If voice assistants aren’t for you, you will nonetheless need to download JBL’s app because it lets in you to set custom EQs, take a look at battery lifestyles, and update the headphones. The enjoy is a piece rudimentary but it receives the job accomplished.
The sound of the JBL live 650BTNC can be summed up by way of one word: interesting. Those headphones offer awesome dynamics where bass slams difficult even as now not overwhelming the mids or highs.
Furthermore, highs are thrilling and simply on the threshold of being vibrant at times, and whilst the bass turned into a piece a great deal for our liking, we are able to see many taking part in the more low-cease punch. In phrases of resolution, the AKG N700NC out carry out the JBL however we didn’t like the AKG’s consolation. However, we prefer the JBL’s sound to the Bose QC35 II, that’s a bit too gentle and blurry for tastes.
On the subject of keeping sound out, the 650BTNC’s noise-cancelling is ideal but not magnificence-leading. In our testing the JBL stay 650BTNC managed to drown out voice properly and maximum of the sounds of our loud commute at the educate, however there has been a soft hiss when no tune become playing and there has been slight pressure on our ears. Even as ANC isn’t always as excellent as Bose and Sony, we did locate it higher than the Plantronics BackBeat seasoned 2, that’s in the same price variety.
Battery life is rated at 20 hours with ANC and wireless enabled and we had no problems reaching that variety at medium quantity. Higher, we often saw an hour or two more if we saved the volume low and had the headphones idle. In case you use the JBL stay 650BTNC with a cord with ANC enabled, you could get upwards 30 hours on a single price – extra than enough for a journey overseas.
Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa worked as anticipated but we observed that it turned into too easy to trigger them accidentally by brushing up against the touchpad. Absolutely, we want the assistant function changed into a bodily button instead of a touchpad.
For the cash, the JBL live 650BTNC punch above its weight in phrases of sound fine, build, and features. The cons we’ve got indexed above – like mapping the assistant to the touchpad and its use of microUSB – are truly nitpicks without any of them being outright deal-breakers. That said, we came away very impressed at the properly-rounded package deal JBL created for the market and would simply propose them to every person within the market for a reasonably-priced pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
For the identical charge, the Plantronics BackBeat seasoned 2 have lengthy been our move-to recommendation however they’re getting long in the tooth at this point. They have got niceties like auto play-pause whilst you are taking off the headphone however the JBL has support for voice assistants, is built better and sound better.
In case you don’t need to splurge at the Bose QC35 II or Sony WH-1000XM3, you’ll be glad with the JBL stay 650BTNC understanding that you’re now not sacrificing an excessive amount of within the manner of performance or features.
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