Earbuds over headsets has been in the works for a few years now, basically ever since the Apple AirPods were released in 2016. Since then, major audio equipment manufacturers like Sony and Sennheiser have joined the game, with PC accessories makers also jumping in, with companies like ASUS and Razer releasing their own versions. The American audio equipment manufacturer, JBL, is no different, with their Quantum TWS originally releasing last year.
This year, the JBL Quantum TWS Air Earbuds have been released, with a lighter, simplified approach, while still having all the features you could want from a middle to high tier earbud, in terms of price. While the lack of Active Noise Cancellation is a bummer, the convenience provided by the dongle, as well as the versatility between music, gaming, and talking on the phone makes this one to keep on your watch list.
In terms of design, the JBL Quantum TWS Air Earbuds offer a more sleek design than their predecessor, from the buds themselves to the case. The light weight of this pair of earbuds definitely matches up with the Air branding, feeling much less intrusive than some earbuds on the market. While the way they fit in the ear will be different for every person, the addition of three sets of ear tips allows those with varying ear hole sizes to match their needs to the device.
The dongle used for charging is a nice touch that others on the market don’t offer, utilizing not only the standard Bluetooth connections, but also USB-C for whatever other devices you may be using—showing off its versatile nature. The only real downside is that if you’re attempting to use the USB-C dongle and also want to be connected via Bluetooth, it won’t function properly, so connection to multiple devices at once can get tricky in some instances.
“While the lack of Active Noise Cancellation is disappointing, no doubt, the Ambient Aware tech in the JBL Quantum TWS Air Earbuds helps alleviate some of that disappointment…”
The JBL app is seamlessly integrated and even automatically triggers a prompt to download when initially connected to a smartphone. From there you can switch between audio modes, adjust your equalizers, or use the Find My Buds feature if they’re lost or stolen. While the options available aren’t the most fleshed out compared to others, it gets you everything you’d need besides some of the missing features, such as Active Noise Cancellation.
For those not wanting to stare at an app, the JBL Quantum TWS Air Earbuds use a side-tapping system, where one tap pauses, two skips, and three replays whatever song you are on. This system is incredibly convenient when jogging or working around the house, allowing you to not have to necessarily have your phone or other device right next to you in order to still be able to operate the device.
The battery life of the JBL Quantum TWS Air Earbuds is top-notch. With up to 16 hours available on the case’s charge—and an additional 8 from the earbuds themselves—you should never find yourself having much trouble keeping your earbuds up and running. I could even see scenarios where just a quick, weekly charge is sufficient for most users who aren’t using them for long gaming sessions.
“In terms of design, the JBL Quantum TWS Air Earbuds offer a more sleek design than their predecessor, from the buds themselves to the case.”
While the lack of Active Noise Cancellation is disappointing, no doubt, the Ambient Aware tech in the JBL Quantum TWS Air Earbuds helps alleviate some of that disappointment, allowing the user to hear what’s going on around you while still having your headphones in. Still being active with the noises around you is a great feature for a light earbud that adds to the fact you could regularly wear these and not feel encumbered, but being able to shut everything out should be present too.
The sound quality itself is great, as the JBL Quantum TWS Air Earbuds definitely don’t lack in this department. There aren’t very many options on the market at this price point that you can expect to get sound this good. While it can sometimes be hard to differentiate from earbud to earbud whether or not you’re getting better or worse audio, the JBL Quantum TWS Air Earbuds showcase a great example of how you can tell the difference.
Featuring four beamforming microphones, the JBL Quantum TWS Air Earbuds offer an even better experience in terms of sound quality going out than what they have personally, and that’s not to its detriment. It can be frustrating when out and about to get what you’re saying across to whoever you’re calling, so having an earbud that takes that seriously really gets the message across.
While the lack of some features, like Active Noise Cancellation, and an app jam-packed with more settings would be nice, the JBL Quantum TWS Air Earbuds don’t disappoint with it’s top-of-the-line microphone, versatility and ease of use through the Bluetooth and USB-C options, as well as the battery life, which is on point for those in the market for a $100 pair of earbuds. While you might be able to find a better pair of earbuds out there, for the price, the JBL Quantum TWS Air Earbuds will be hard to beat.