Best jbl anc earbuds. JBL Tour Pro Plus TWS Earbuds with ANC review

JBL Tour Pro Plus TWS Earbuds with ANC review

The market for high-end true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation is continuing to grow every year. Sony and Bose are two of the main competitors, but there are brands vying for your hard-earned dollar, such as JBL with its latest Tour PRO true wireless earbuds with ANC.

Fortunately, JBL was nice enough to send out a pair for review, and here are my thoughts after using them for the past few weeks.

Design

The JBL Tour PRO comes in a fairly compact matte black plastic case that has a nice weight to it and feels solid in the hand. There’s a USB-C charging port on the bottom and it lies flat for wireless charging. Also, I have to call out JBL here for including a charging cable that is reversible on both ends.

JBL is the only brand that I know of that includes cables with its products with a reversible USB-A connector, and I’ve always been a huge fan of its bundled cables for that reason.

My only complaint about the case is that you cannot stand it up straight while having the lid open. The bottom is slightly rounded and with the top opened it causes it to tip over.

Inside the case are an attractive pair of buds with IPX4 water-resistance and touch-sensitive buttons to control music playback, noise cancellation, and more where the JBL logo is located.

Comfort

JBL includes four sets of ear tips for the Tour PRO buds, and unfortunately, none of them were small enough for my ears. Admittedly, I have smaller than average ear canals and this is an issue for me with many earbuds, even Sony’s top-of-the-line buds.

While I was able to use the smallest set of ear tips, they weren’t the most comfortable things to jam into my ears, but once in, I was able to listen to music for a couple of hours before ear fatigue set in.

Still, it would have been fantastic if JBL and other brands were to include slimmer ear tips with their earbuds. At least JBL uses a standard connector, which allows you to buy third-party ear tips for a better fit such as this set from Amazon.

User experience

The JBL Tour PRO incorporate Google Fast Pairing technology which makes them easy to connect to your phone and set up right after taking them out of the box.

JBL also has an app on the Play Store that you’ll need to install for additional features such as customizing the touch-sensitive buttons, changing the equalizer settings, viewing the battery life of the buds or case, and more.

The JBL Headphones app isn’t as fully featured as something like the app from Sony, but it still provides the most important controls, and it even allows has a feature that will prioritize audio quality or try to keep audio and video in sync better.

Overall, my experience with the JBL Tour PRO was a positive one, except I did run into a couple of issues. For instance, when trying to reposition or push the buds back in, I would often end up activating one of the touch-sensitive buttons. This must be due to the button itself being quite large and it makes it easy to accidentally press or graze with your finger.

Next, there were several occasions when I would put the buds back in the case and I would hear a loud piercing noise while closing the case. I’m not sure what the root cause of this was, but I did notice a couple of times one or both of the buds wouldn’t disconnect and I would have to remove them and insert them again.

In the end, these are minor quirks, but when you’re spending 200 on a pair of headphones, you do expect these sorts of issues to not be present.

Back on the positive side of things, the JBL Tour PRO offers hands-free Google Assistant integration which makes listening to and responding to your notifications a breeze on the go. You can also disable this if you don’t care for it and still use one of the touch-sensitive buttons to activate Assistant.

Furthermore, each bud can be used independently if you’re the sort of person who needs to keep one ear free. However, the JBL Tour PRO also offers a fantastic ambient aware mode that allows you to listen to music while hearing your surroundings, so you can wear both buds all the time if you choose while keeping in touch with the world.

Sound quality

Many earbuds in this price range offer high-quality Bluetooth codecs for audio decoding such as aptX, aptX HD, or even LDAC. Despite JBL omitting these codecs, the Tour PRO still provides some top-tier sound.

The high-end was bright and clear providing clarity in tracks and allowing for separation from the different instruments, while at the same time, there was a deep low-end for some thumping bass. It’s a V-shaped sound signature that I’ve been accustomed to from JBL over the years, and that I’m a big fan of in general.

So, even though I was a bit disappointed there was no high-res audio codec support, I still found myself fully enamored in the sound from the Tour PRO and wasn’t let down.

Noise cancellation

The ANC capabilities of the JBL Tour PRO come up a little short when compared to Sony’s WF-1000XM4 earbuds. That’s no surprise because Sony and Bose both lead the pack when it comes to noise cancellation.

Regardless, the JBL Tour PRO are still able to block out some low-level repetitive noise and it should be helpful at silencing airplane noise or the air conditioner running in the background when music is played at a low to moderate volume.

Battery life

The JBL Tour PRO offer up to a whopping 32-hours of battery life, which is some of the longest I’ve seen from a pair of true wireless headphones. When it comes to uninterrupted playback, the JBL Tour PRO offers around eight hours before the buds need to be topped off by the case.

Plus, you can get an hour of playback time with only a few minutes of charging in the case for when you need to quickly extend your listening time.

Final thoughts

JBL’s latest Tour PRO true wireless earbuds pack in a lot for the 200 price tag. They sound fantastic, feature ANC, and provide all the essential options you’d expect from flagship headphones in the JBL Headphones app.

Nevertheless, there are a few quirks with getting the buds to reliably disconnect when placing them in the case, the noise cancellation is a little weak, and there’s no hi-res Bluetooth audio codec support.

Despite those drawbacks, the Tour PRO buds are still a great pair of headphones and especially considering they come in quite a bit cheaper than some of the competition.

JBL Tour Pro review: Another excellent Airpods Pro alternative

Looking for a set of noise-canceling true wireless earbuds that don’t look like small golf tees protruding from your ears? JBL’s 200 Tour Pro are your latest option. They’re slickly designed, compact, and they let you speak to Alexa or Google Assistant without needing to tap an earbud — a trick that even Apple’s Airpods can’t manage.

  • What’s in the box?
  • Design
  • Comfort, controls, and connections
  • Sound quality
  • Battery life
  • Noise cancellation and transparency
  • Voice assistant access
  • Call quality
  • Extras
  • Our take Show 5 more items

But do the rest of the Tour Pro’s features measure up, and should you add them to your shortlist? Let’s find out.

What’s in the box?

JBL’s soundbar team has definitely read the sustainable packaging memo — the new JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam is a perfect example of how to make a box and its contents fully recyclable. But apparently, the earbuds team missed that email. The Tour Pro come in a heavily coated box with magnet closures and lots of hard-to-recycle foam and plastic.

Inside, you’ll find the earbuds, their charging case, a USB-C charging cord, five sizes of eartips, two sizes of wing tips, and several printed quick start guides.

Design

JBL’s Tour lineup, which consists of the Tour Pro earbuds and the Tour One ANC headphones, possesses an understated yet sophisticated design. Satin-finish plastics, subtle logos, and just a few high-polish accents give the Tour Pro a very high-end vibe.

The earbuds use touch-sensitive surfaces, so there is very little to interrupt their clean lines. Size-wise, they’re similar to Jabra’s Elite 75t, sticking out from your ear just enough to make them easy to insert and remove. An IPX5 rating offers very good protection from sweat and water (just don’t immerse them).

Their charging case, which can be charged wirelessly or via the included USB-C cable, isn’t quite as compact as the Airpods Pro, but it’s still highly able. The lid opens and closes smoothly and the hinge keeps the lid open until you’re ready to close it — something many cases can’t claim. The case can stand vertically if you’re careful, but it’s really meant to lie flat on its back, which lets it charge wirelessly while also exposing the charging status LED on the bottom, next to the USB-C port.

The Tour Pro snap in and out of their charging sockets with ease thanks to their slightly angled position, but take care when re-docking them: They can sometimes fail to align perfectly with their charging contacts. Each socket has its own LED indicator so it’s easy to tell if something’s not quite right.

Comfort, controls, and connections

I found that the default medium cone-style silicone ear tips were perfect for me. Once nestled in my ear, the Tour Pro were very comfortable and secure. Going for a jog or pavement or pounding away on a treadmill shouldn’t budge them at all.

The Tour Pro come with a tiny set of wing tips installed, though that term seems inappropriate. They’re really more like mini-fins. But regardless of what you call them, they didn’t do much for me in terms of extra stability. I think they’re designed to fit just under the antihelix — that fold of cartilage in the outer ear — but I guess my antihelixes are too big (weirdest brag ever). If they actively get in the way or they’re uncomfortable, you can swap them out with flat silicone bands.

Bass response is excellent without being overbearing, and there’s plenty of detail through the midrange.

Inside the JBL Headphones app, which you will definitely want to download to get the best from the Tour Pro, there’s a fit test that helps you figure out if you’re using the best ear tips for your ears. It’s worth doing: A poor fit will compromise both the active noise cancellation (ANC) and sound quality.

Though I still prefer physical buttons, the Tour Pro has very responsive touch controls, which provide audible feedback tones when you tap them. I wish all touch controls did this — there’s nothing worse than not knowing if your tap was recognized or not.

Unfortunately, JBL has somewhat kneecapped these great touch controls by enforcing a very limited set of customizations. Instead of letting users assign one function per gesture per earbud, each earbud must be assigned a function “group.” The playback control group gives you play/pause and track skip forward/back. The volume control group lets you turn the volume up or down. Voice assistant lets you trigger your chosen assistant with a gesture (more on this later), and ambient sound control lets you switch from ANC modes and toggle TalkThru on and off.

The ambient sound control group might be the most confusing of them all. With a single tap, you can switch between ANC, ambient sound, and off (no ANC or ambient). But a double tap lets you turn TalkThru on and off. Since TalkThru and ambient mode are almost indistinguishable, I think JBL should have simplified this, making the single tap all you need to switch between ANC and ambient.

You can have any two of these groups active at once, which means choices must be made. If you want playback control (and who doesn’t?) that means you need to decide which of the other four matter most. Want to control ANC and volume? You can, but only if you give up playback control. These are not choices we should be forced to make.

Built-in wear sensors automatically pause music when you pop an earbud out and play when you put it back in. The feature works really well, pausing and playing quickly in response to changes, but oddly, it only worked on the left earbud. You can also disable this in the Headphones app.

Calling on the Tour Pro is very good. My voice was clear as a bell.

You can choose to use just one earbud at a time, but make sure you assign the controls you need to the earbud you’re using. Don’t worry about call answer/end — these functions work on both sides, regardless of which control group you choose.

Bluetooth connection quality is excellent. Indoors, I was able to put three stories between my iPhone 11 and the Tour Pro without dropping the signal, and that will likely translate into very good outdoor performance too.

Sound quality

Out of the box, and with the right size of ear tips installed, the Tour Pro have a very balanced sound signature. Bass response is excellent without being overbearing, and there’s plenty of detail through the midrange. Highs are a little muted, but still very enjoyable.

But the JBL Headphones app really allows you to dramatically alter how the Tour Pro behave, with several presets and one custom option. My favorite is the Club One EQ, which boosts bass and treble a lot and gives a smaller bump to the midranges. It really woke these earbuds up, increasing the energy and seemingly expanding the already fairly generous soundstage. Vocals received the biggest boost, with much better clarity.

The Tour Pro aren’t going to shake your teeth loose with their bass — if you want that, try the JBL Reflect Mini NC — but the low-end is warm, resonant, and more than punchy enough to let you enjoy bass-forward tracks like Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy or Hans Zimmer’s Time.

They’re better balanced than Jabra’s similarly-priced Elite Active 75t and even compare favorably to Sennheiser’s CX400 BT for overall sound quality.

Battery life

JBL claims six hours of playback per charge for the Tour Pro earbuds and I found that to be almost exactly what I got when playing music at 50% volume. If you turn ANC off, you should get eight hours, but I didn’t test this. That handily beats Apple’s Airpods Pro (4.5 hours with ANC on).

The charging case holds three full recharges, giving you a total of 24 or 32 hours before needing to find a wireless (or wired) charging spot.

Whether in Ambient Aware or TalkThru modes, it was easy to listen to conversations and stay aware of traffic.

Speaking of wireless charging, I found the charging case was very picky about its location on my charging mat. If it wasn’t dead-center, it wouldn’t charge and even then, my charging mat occasionally lost its connection. That’s not something I’ve run into very often, so it’s possible it was just my particular review unit.

Noise cancellation and transparency

ANC on the Tour Pro is calibrated heavily in favor of low-frequency sounds. It works best for counteracting engine and tire sounds from traffic, or the vibrations of machinery that might work their way through walls.

I found that higher frequencies, like the sound of a bathroom fan, weren’t blocked out as effectively, and there’s no way to adjust the intensity of the ANC feature to increase the amount of noise it deals with.

JBL has packed so many features into the JBL Headphones app, I’d say it’s mandatory.

It’s what I’d call a general-purpose ANC. It takes the edge off, but doesn’t really go for that cone-of-silence effect. If that’s what you want, both the Jabra Elite Active 75t and the Sony WF-SP800N proved more capable of blocking a full range of frequencies.

best, earbuds, tour, review

I do like the fact that JBL includes what it calls a “silent now” mode: Hold the two touch surfaces for five seconds and the Tour Pro keep ANC engaged, but turn off Bluetooth so you can get some extra peace and quiet without killing your battery.

Transparency (or ambient mode) works really well. Whether in Ambient Aware or TalkThru modes, it was easy to listen to conversations and stay aware of traffic.

Voice assistant access

One of the coolest features on the Tour Pro is their ability to not only work with both Alexa and Google Assistant (there are several earbud models that already do this), but also give you wake-word access to them so you don’t have to continually reach for an earbud.

Just say, “Hey Google,” or “Alexa,” and your chosen assistant is at the ready, waiting for you to speak a command.

best, earbuds, tour, review

You have to choose which one you want as your active assistant in the Headphones app, but switching from one to the other only takes a few seconds.

I found both assistants responded effortlessly in a variety of situations.

There is one very unfortunate caveat: Wake-word access only works on Android devices at the moment.

If you want wake-word access on an iPhone, you’ll need Apple’s Airpods or the Amazon Echo Buds.

Call quality

Whether on a busy street or in a quiet location, calling on the Tour Pro is very good. Some occasional very loud sounds would overpower my voice, but for the most part, it was clear as a bell and surprisingly full-sounding.

When indoors or in a quiet outdoor location, I suspect your callers won’t even know you’re using a set of earbuds for your calls.

Extras

Normally headphone apps don’t do a whole lot, but JBL has packed so many features into the JBL Headphones app, I’d say it’s mandatory for Tour Pro users. It enables:

  • Find my earbuds
  • Custom EQ
  • Custom controls
  • Eartip fit test
  • Battery life indicators
  • Voice assistant selection
  • Audio mode selection
  • My Alarm (which lets you set an amount of time for music to play before switching the earbuds to Silent Now mode for sleeping)

Our take

With the Tour Pro, JBL delivers a well-priced, elegantly designed set of true wireless earbuds. They sound great, have very good battery life and call quality, and their wake-word access for voice assistants (on Android) is a rare and helpful feature.

Their mediocre ANC and awkward control options are drawbacks, but definitely not deal-breakers.

Is there a better alternative?

I’m hard-pressed to find a set of true wireless earbuds at the same price that goes toe-to-toe with the JBL Tour Pro in terms of features and quality, except for maybe JBL’s own Club Pro. They’re the same price, and while they lack wake-word access to assistants, some folks will prefer their more bass-heavy sound signature.

For a more workout-friendly option, Sony’s 199 WF-SP800N have great battery life, great sound, and better ANC than the Tour Pro. But they’re not as good for phone calls and lack wireless charging and wake-word assistant access. However, they’re compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant.

JBL’s own 150 Reflect Mini NC are also solid contenders for fitness fanatics. Sound quality is once again more bass-heavy, but these earbuds share many of the same features as the Tour Pro.

best, earbuds, tour, review

How long will they last?

JBL builds very good products and the Tour Pro are no exception. High-quality materials and excellent fit and finish abound. They come with a one-year warranty from JBL and I expect they’ll last for many years of use.

The MOST Stylish Earbuds Ever – JBL Tour Pro TWS Review

Should you buy them?

Yes. Despite their weird controls, the Tour Pro are a feature-rich set of great-sounding ANC earbuds.

Editors’ Recommendations

Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like…

If you own an iPhone or Apple Watch, it simply makes sense to add on a pair of Airpods and have the full set. Pairing up beautifully, Airpods in all varieties are great for music fans and those who like convenience. Even better, there are plenty of Apple deals related to these little delights. To help you figure out what to do, we’ve picked out the best Airpods deals going on at the moment. Below, you’ll see the best along with some insight into why you might want to buy each item. Apple Airpods (2nd Gen).- 120, was 130

The Apple Airpods (2nd Gen) are a little old now but they’re still excellent earphones for the price. You get all the convenience of pricier Airpods with Apple’s H1 chip meaning you get a more stable and faster wireless connection to your devices. As well as that, the moment you take them out the case, they connect to your Apple devices. One-tap setup is all that’s needed right at the beginning. There’s also Siri support along with seamless switching between devices. Just 15 minutes in the charging case gives you three hours of listening time with more than 24 hours of listening time available overall. They simply just work perfectly.

JBL has formally debuted its new Tour One M2 wireless headphones and Tour Pro 2 wireless earbuds at CES 2023. The new flagship personal audio products get a series of welcome improvements like JBL’s version of spatial audio, support for simultaneous Bluetooth connections, and compatibility with the latest wireless audio standard, Bluetooth LE Audio. They also get better battery life and the Tour Pro 2 feature an innovative charging case with a built-in touchscreen.

Technically speaking, JBL debuted these new products in 2022, but at the time, the company was only willing to discuss them in the context of the European Union and Asia markets. CES 2023 marks the official planned availability for the Tour One M2 and Tour Pro 2 in North America: spring 2023, with pricing set at 300 for the One M2, and 250 for the Pro 2.

Apple’s first set of wireless headphones.- the Airpods Max.- launched to great fanfare in 2020. At 549, the aluminum-clad cans raised eyebrows for their price and design. But despite their cost and some odd design decisions (like the lack of an off switch), reviewers were nearly unanimous with their praise, especially for the Max’s standout features, active noise cancellation (ANC), and transparency mode. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely.

Do we actually know anything about the Airpods Max 2? No, we do not. Given that the original Airpods Max are more than two years old, we’d have expected at least some hints at this point, if not full-on leaks. But so far all we’ve got are crickets.

Upgrade your lifestyleDigital Trends helps readers keep tabs on the fast-paced world of tech with all the latest news, fun product reviews, insightful editorials, and one-of-a-kind sneak peeks.

JBL Tune 215TWS Review: Great Wireless Earbuds on a Budget

JBL fit a lot of sound into their rather simple AirPod inspired JBL Tune 215TWS earbuds. Enjoyable basic earbuds that won’t break budgets or intertragical notches.

JBL Tune 215TWS bring Apple’s AirPod inspired style, but at fraction of the cost. Less expensive does results in trade-offs, such as Apple unique features, an IP rating, and active noise cancelation (ANC), but these earbuds offer great sounds and a good user experience.

What we like

I was skeptical about the ear dangles associated with Apple Airpods. But since I regularly receive great true wireless earbuds for review, I have not invested in a pair of Apple’s earbuds. JBL’s 69.95 Tune 215TWS proved a pleasant surprise as they fit lightly, felt balanced, and offered all expected features at a price that will fit most books.

Power and charging

Like most true wireless headsets, the JBL Tune 215TWSs run about 5 hours on a single change, with the included charging case adding another 20 hours of top off. The cases charges via USB-C. Indicator lights on the earbuds indicate low battery and charging status. Front-facing lights on the case announce its charge state. The case and earbuds will charge to full in about 2-hours.

The charging case is larger than that of some competitors, but it isn’t too large for a Magnetic latching secures the earbuds to the charging port. Unlike some earbuds, the finish makes it easy to extract the 215TWSs from the case.

Sound

JBL promised bass on the package, and they deliver it. But the highs and mid-ranges still come through clearly. If you know the JBL sound profile, then you know what to expect from these earbuds.

JBL specs state 20-20,000Hz for frequency response from the 6mm drivers. Unlike some other JBL headphones, the TWSs don’t get support from the JBL Connect app, which is OK. App customization often lead to more confusion and complexity than it does to a better listening experience. I would rather see headphones tuned to take queues from the mobile OS.

I recently downloaded the Steely Dan Remastered A Decade of Steely Dan from Apple Music and found the experience very pleasurable. I felt surrounded. Much better than the sound coming out of my old BMW as I drove the freeways of LA with this album cranked up 20-years ago. The tracks were clean, and instruments easy to separate, and the stage open enough to invite me in.

The 215 TWSs don’t include ANC, which I would not expect at this point in time, for this price point. In my home office, without multiple video conferencing going on around me, the passive isolation blocked enough sound to put me in a good musical headspace. The sound profile remains consistent at high and low volumes.

And BTW, phone calls work well for listening and talking.

Controls

I felt a bit silly before reading the manual as I tried to touch and stroke the earbud to make them perform. When nothing happened, I went back and read the manual.

The JBL Tune 215TWSs eschew gesture sensors for actual buttons. The right button answers calls and pauses music, the left skips to the next song. A double-tap on the right envokes the primary voice assistant. A 2-second hold mutes or unmutes. A 5-second hold brings up Bluetooth connection mode, and a triple tap sends the pair of earbuds in search of each other should stereo get lost.

Although that may sound complicated, my experience once paired involves powering the earbuds on by lifting them from the case and answering the phone with a tap—or just putting them in my ears and hitting play.

Additional observations

Unlike many wireless earbuds, the JBL Tune 215TWS feature dual connect, which means either earbud acts as master. It doesn’t matter which you stick in your ear to pickup a call. Either will work, and continue to work should the other be removed.

Bluetooth 5 support brings with it improved sound and more distance from the host device.

And I like the springy sound the meet the ear as the headphones connect to a device.

3 sizes of silicon ear tips and a USB-C cable round out the package.

What can be improved

Budget headphones should not be judged against their more expensive counterparts. While the JBL Tune 215TWS don’t include ANC or a bevy of gesture sensors—those features drive up the cost, and therefore the price. Affordable earbuds bring with them affordable features.

That said, I would like to see JBL offer an IP rating. Any device as exposed as earbuds needs to be able to deal with the exposure, especially for those of us in places like Seattle that run pretty damp most of the year.

JBL Tune 215TWS: The Bottom Line

The JBL Tune 215TWS will travel with me often. I trade-off my headphones to put review units through longer studies—and I update reviews when I experience new pleasures, or encounter previously undocumented problems. What I like most about the JBL Tune 215TWS is that I can just put them in my ears and go. Anyone seeking a good true wireless earbud experience on a budget should put the 215TWSs on their short list.

JBL provided the product for review. Images courtesy of JBL.

Serious Insights LLC is an Amazon affiliate and may receive payment for clicks to Amazon.com.

For more serious insights on hardware and accessories, click here.

JBL Tune 660NC review: these headphones are a no-brainer if you’re on a budget

Not everyone is prepared to pay above the odds for a pair of headphones, though it seems unfair that you’ll be cursed with poor sound quality because of it. Not anymore, the JBL Tune 660NC have impressive, detailed, punchy sound and fantastic noise-cancelling to match. These are great value headphones!

  • – Volume controls aren’t very intuitively placed
  • – Audio is very bass-heavy
  • – Prone to scratches

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You’ll come away from this JBL Tune 660NC review wondering how these on-ear headphones are so cheap. For a budget pair, they do seriously hold their own against some of the best noise-cancelling headphones you can buy.

Granted, they may not be as feature-packed, and the design doesn’t feel as premium as headphones that cost three times as much. However the active noise-cancelling and all-important sound quality are incredibly capable, the JBL Tune 660NC could almost have fooled me. I’m not saying you’ll want to use these in a professional capacity but for casual music listening, they’re fantastic.

So let’s get down to it: in this JBL Tune 660NC review, I’ll cover everything you need to know about this pair of on-ear noise-cancelling headphones from price, design and battery life to their overall performance.

JBL Tune 660NC review: price and availability

New for 2021, the JBL Tune 660NC are an affordable pair of on-ear headphones. You can buy them directly from the JBL site for 99.95 in the US, £89.99 in the UK (likely to be around AU120). Take a look at the widgets on this page for more recent pricing.

It’s also worth browsing our JBL discount codes to snap up a saving.

JBL Tune 660NC review: what’s new and features

The JBL Tune 660NC has a few crucial improvements on the JBL Tune 600BTNC: it’s now a lighter so more comfortable pair with USB-C charging and they’ve made the jump from Bluetooth 4 to Bluetooth 5, ensuring a more stable, reliable connection. JBL has also increased the battery life from 12 hours with ANC switched on to a massive 44 hours, which in itself makes this pair of on-ear headphones a far more convincing buy.

Other features include Active Noise Cancelling, hands-free calls, smartphone voice assistant support and a foldable, portable design. If you have an Android phone, you’ll also be able to make use of Fast Pair enabled by Google.

JBL Tune 660NC review: design and battery life

The Tune 660NC headphones have quintessentially JBL styling and solid build quality to match. the smooth matte-black plastic casing covers the whole of the headphones without looking cheap, although it is slightly prone to scratches. The shiny black JBL logo is integrated into the outside of the small earcups. I liked that they weren’t too big as that meant they didn’t stick out too far from my head, making me look like a helicopter pilot like so many other pairs do.

Controls are placed in a line on the edge of the right earcup: the volume controls and the multifunctional button are towards the back, followed by a 3.5mm audio input to keep listening when the battery has died, then there’s a noise-cancelling switch and finally the power button. I did find the volume controls were too far back, I had to feel around for them quite a bit before successfully turning the music up or down. In between the power and ANC buttons are two small LED lights that indicate Bluetooth pairing mode and noise-cancelling are switched on. The earcups and headband have black cushioning for comfort.

Headphones | Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2023 | Wireless Headphones #Headphones

best, earbuds, tour, review

Adjusting the size of the Band to fit my head was simple, it’s just a case of pulling out the extendable arm. It was a bit jolty to use although that did mean once you have picked your size it stays put. Putting the JBL Tune 660NC headphones on was a little counterintuitive as the headband was placed more towards the front of the earcups, which meant I kept using them the wrong way round. Once on properly though, they were very comfortable. At just 166g they felt light and didn’t cause any discomfort at all even after a long period of use. I wouldn’t recommend using them for any kind of exercise as they did slide around on my head at times. They’re also quite warm so won’t feel great if you get a bit sweaty in them.

The JBL Tune 660NC’s battery lasts 44 hours with ANC switched on, turned off you’ll get a massive 55 hours of music before you need to plug them in. Charging them up again will only take two hours. In the box, there’s a USB Type-C charging cable, a 3.5mm audio cable and the quick start guide.

JBL Tune 660NC review: performance

If there’s one thing JBL does well at time and time again, it’s delivering on sound quality. And that’s not just from their headphones, it’s from all of their audio products. This pair of headphones use JBL Pure Bass tuning, claiming to punch out deep and powerful bass.

In use, that’s exactly what they did. Bass-heavy tracks like I Adore You by Goldie had serious definition in the low-end, coming across weighty, clear and punchy. Perhaps even a little too much so at times. In certain cases, the bass did take over slightly, meaning vocals could get a little lost. Despite that, songs like Heroes by Bowie sounded very expressive. I felt like I could each instrument apart from one another, while Heart of Glass by Blondie felt energetic and crisp. For a pair of affordable headphones, the audio quality could have fooled me as being from a much more pricey pair. They won’t provide studio-quality surround sound, yet they will give you impressive performance all the same.

The Active Noise Cancelling was even more impressive, even though these don’t encase your whole ear. I could barely hear the taps on my keyboard and missed being spoken to pretty much every time someone tried. Testing it out with some aeroplane noise from YouTube, although you could of course hear it, it was very dulled out especially with the volume turned up high. These won’t beat the likes of Sony WH-1000XM4 or the Bowers Wilkins PX7, some of the priciest pairs of noise-cancelling headphones you can buy but I must admit, they did hold their own.

For connectivity, you have the choice of using Bluetooth or the 3.5mm audio. I imagine you would only use the latter if you run out of battery and want to keep listening. The Bluetooth connection was stable, even at a bit of a distance from my smartphone.

JBL Tune 660NC review: verdict

Strong, rich audio with a heavy FOCUS on the low-end is what you get from these headphones. Whether that’s right for you or not will depend on how you like your music, if you’re hungry for bass then look no further. If you want to hear every lyric word for word then maybe look elsewhere.

Their punchy sound performance paired with a simple, Smart design, excellent noise cancelling capabilities and hours upon hours of battery life make these some of the best budget headphones you can buy. All in all, I think you’ll be hard pushed to find a better pair of noise-cancelling headphones for this low of a price.

JBL Tune 660NC review: also consider

Another cheap pair of noise-cancelling headphones worth considering is the AKG N60NC, they’re slightly more expensive than these but the audio quality is really excellent for what you pay.

If you aren’t so concerned about cost, then consider the Beats Studio3 Wireless. They are less than £170/150 at the time of writing and have adaptive noise cancelling which monitors your listening environment so that it can best block out ambient noise. Definitely worth adding to your shortlist!

Or, for something a little more discreet, take a look at the best true wireless headphones you can buy.