Brands like Bose, Sony, and Apple might initially come to mind when you think of the best wireless earbuds. But thanks to a relatively new company called JLab, the premium earbud market has never been so competitive.
If you aren’t familiar with JLab, in 2005, they started out making value-priced headphones. Since then, they have moved on to bigger and more premium products like their JBuds Air Icon wireless earbuds. One thing that the company hasn’t changed over the years is how well-priced their audio products are.
The Jbuds Air Icon earbuds are a cost-friendly option compared to most other earbuds on the market. Does their low price affect the build and sound quality of the Air Icons, though?
Let’s find out in our in-depth JLab JBuds Air Icon Review…
The JBuds Air Icon wireless earbuds come in a blue box. JLab accents the box they come in with a bit of gold leaf that gives the product an overall premium look. Flip the box lid open, and you will see the Air Icons front and center along with the charging case. The inside section of the box lid gives you a rundown on how to control the earbuds.
Once you pick up the earbuds, you will immediately notice just how light they are. Each earbud only five grams, making them some of the best lightweight wireless earbuds on the market.
Even though they are made from plastic, they feel extremely well made. On the outside of each earbud, you will see a shiny JLab logo that doubles as a touch interface.
The included protective charging case is also small and lightweight, coming in at 50 grams. It’s small enough that you can place it in your pocket and take it with you wherever you go.
At the bottom of the box, you will see a tiny flap. Open up the flap, and you will find your extra ear tips. Overall, first impressions are surprisingly good. Our only gripe is that the charging case doesn’t have a magnetic lid.
Cush Fins and Comfort…
Before you use these earbuds, you will want to make sure they fit correctly. That way, they will be comfortable over long periods while still providing the best sound quality.
Right out of the box, the Air Icons come with medium-sized ear tips installed. Included with these earbuds are a pair of small and large silicone tips and a medium-sized foam tip.
They also provide what they call Cush Fins. These vary in thickness, and when placed on the earbuds, provide additional support. As a result, these are some of the best wireless workout earbuds around.
Comfort and toughness…
We found the foam tips work best at blocking out ambient noise because they mold to fit your ear canal. They do seem to get warmer than the gel tips do, though.
Since the Air Icons are IP55 rated for water-resistance, you can use them in the gym. If you do want to use them while exercising, you will want to use the gel ear tips. However, once the foam ear tips get wet, the ear tips are not as stable and could fall out. You can easily swap between ear tips, thankfully.
When they are correctly fitted to your ears, they are amazingly comfortable. Thanks to their lightweight, you can wear them for hours on end, meaning these are some of the most comfortable wireless earbuds on the market.
Bluetooth and Controls
Now that you have the Air Icons sitting comfortably in your ears, you need to connect them to a compatible Bluetooth device. The first time you pair them to a device, you will need to touch the sensors on each bud simultaneously for three seconds.
Then open up the Bluetooth settings on your device, and the Air Icons should be listed and ready to pair. If you do not see them in your Bluetooth list, look at the outside of the earbuds for two LED indicators.
Pairing with friends…
These LEDs should flash blue and white when the earbuds are in pairing mode. Once connected to your device, they turn blue and stay lit. Furthermore, you can pair two devices simultaneously, allowing you to quickly switch between audio sources. The Bluetooth 5.0 technology in the earbuds allows you to use them up to 30+ feet away from your device as well.
Touch controls might need some practice…
Once paired and listening to music, you notice that each earbud touch sensor does different things. The left earbud will turn the volume down, access your voice assistant, and skip tracks backward.
The right earbud does pretty much the exact opposite while also allowing you to play and pause music. Either earbud will allow you to answer or end calls and adjust the integrated equalizer as well.
Different controls require a different number of taps or to be held for a certain amount of time. And there is a bit of a learning curve to controlling these earbuds.
The JBuds Air Icons have an 8mm driver in each earbud. Even though they might be small, they produce 103dB of sound. Additionally, these earbuds favor the low-end no matter what equalizer setting you are using. Therefore, they are some of the best bass heavy earbuds you can find.
Bass-lovers take note…
Music that is more bass-focused, like funk, comes across with depth on the low-end without sounding muddled. The low frequencies produced aren’t going to be ear-rumbling like you will find on over-the-ear type headphones, though.
Vocals and lead instruments, and other mid-frequency sounds are very accurate. You occasionally notice a bit of bass seeping into the mid frequencies, which makes them sound a tad bit cluttered depending on the track.
Highs, while they may be accurate, are sometimes over-embellished as well. You can easily make out high hats and cymbals, but they occasionally sound harsh.
Customize your sound…
Integrated into these earbuds are bass boost, balanced, and JLab signature equalizer settings. Tapping on either earbud three times will switch between the different equalizer settings.
With most earbuds that are marketed towards fitness, a bass-heavy sound profile is normal. Supposedly, people out at the gym prefer more bass, and the Air Icons deliver that in a small, lightweight package.
Even if you aren’t into all that much bass, these earbuds are still worth considering. Because of their trademarked Cush Fins and multiple ear tip sizes, noise isolation is pretty exceptional.
Isolation and communication…
Noise leakage is also at a minimum. You can crank up the volume on your daily commute bothering no one and with little background noise seeping in.
If someone calls you while you are using the Air Icons, you can take that call hands-free thanks to the integrated mics on each earbud. The microphone works well enough, but you might hear the occasional echo. It does work well at blocking out ambient noise, though.
The Jbuds Air Icon earbuds deliver a sound that is above par given their price. You shouldn’t expect the level of precision that you get with headphones that cost ten times as much.
Battery Life and Charging
Inside of each earbud, there is a small yet efficient 60mAh lithium battery. When fully charged, you can expect a playback time of six hours from each earbud. And while wearing the earbuds, you will occasionally get voice prompts letting you know how much battery life is left.
To top up these earbuds…
You will want to stick them in the included protective charging case. This case will provide an additional 18+ hours of battery life. Once you place them in the case, it takes just over an hour and a half to fully charge. If you’re in a hurry, integrated rapid charging technology allows for an hour of playtime in only 15 minutes.
The charging case has a 700mAh lithium battery built into it that will need to be recharged as well. To do so, JLab has integrated a USB-A cable into the body of the case.
This cable is noticeably short and can be connected to pretty much any 5V 1A USB-A compatible adapter. JLab recommends only using a 5V 1A adapter, but we found that pretty much any old USB adapter will work.
Something to keep in mind…
While having the charging cable integrated into the case is certainly convenient, it is also problematic. If you were to damage the USB charging cable, you are out of luck.
You cannot detach it from the case, so if you break it, you will end up having to buy an entirely new case. Fortunately, just like the Air Icon earbuds, an additional charging case is also inexpensive and widely available.
JLab JBuds Air Icon Review – Pros and Cons
- Battery life.
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And don’t miss our comprehensive Monolith M1060 Headphone Review, our JBL Flip 3 Review, our Oontz Angle 3 Ultra Review, our Blue Yeticaster Review, and our Marshall Stockwell 2 Review for even more awesome products currently available.
JLab JBuds Air Icon Review – Final Thoughts
When it comes to earbuds sitting at or near the same price point, the Jbuds Air Icon is hard to beat. Thanks to their IP55 rating, they are some of the best waterproof wireless earbuds you will find.
They are super comfortable and stable, allowing you to wear them for hours on end as well. Battery life is also pretty exceptional at six hours. If you take the charging case with you, you can top them up an additional three times. That gives you a playback time of 24 hours collectively.
The sound produced from them is pretty clear, even in noisy environments. If anything, we would have liked it to have been a bit more balanced.
So, until next time, happy listening.