JBL has released a bunch of solid quality true wireless earbuds for reasonably budget-friendly prices. The Vibe Buds, for example, sell for 50 bucks, sound great and have extra features, like an equalizer. So, I was curious to see what more JBL could offer in the higher price range. The JBL Tune Buds are priced at $140 and boast ANC technology. What other features do they deliver, and do they sound any good?
What’s in the Box?
- Tune Buds
- Charging Case
- USB-C Charging Cable
- User Guide
- Warranty Literature
Look and Feel
The Tune Buds don’t look like anything fancy. The earbuds are a touch clunky while the case is has a simple, no-fills design. That being said, the build feels solid and appears durable. And once I fiddled a little with the positioning, the earbuds offered a comfortable and secure seal.
The Tune Buds feature touch buttons that allow to play, pause, skip, and go back to the previous track. They can also control volume, answer calls, switch between ANC modes, and activate the voice command feature. All of the advanced controls can be modified using the JBL Headphones App.
Design and Functionality
With the ANC on, you will get 10 hours of play with and extra 30 hours in the charging case, which is on the high end for wireless buds in this price range. And 15 minutes of charge will give the earbuds 4 hours of extra use.
ANC (Active Noise Cancellation)
The ANC is quite good. It provides just enough cancellation to quiet down the hum of an office, but avoids becoming too powerful by putting pressure on the eardrum. In addition to ANC, you’ll also get Ambient Aware and TalkThru modes that invite in sound from the surrounding environment.
The Tune Buds have an IP54 rating, which means that they can withstand significant sweat, rain and dust.
No problems in this department. The call sounded clean from both ends, and I didn’t experience any dropouts. At times, the Tune Buds picked up a little too much ambient noise, but otherwise, conversations felt quiet enough.
One of the most impressive features is the equalizer that comes with the accompanying app. Given the bass generous profile of the Tune Buds, the ability to adjust the low-end might be useful.
Don’t expect a thoroughly immersive stage experience. Although there is decent distance between instruments in the stereo field, the imaging doesn’t reach soaring heights or depths. That being said, I did feel instruments sit to the rear of the ear. And the tidy separation adds to the sense of space. So, there is some dimension here even if it doesn’t feel entirely 3D.
The Tune Buds present a very bass-centric profile. Ample thickness and impact characterize this bass response, which super deep and utterly immersive, making it the perfect candidate for pop and hip-hop tracks. Still, classical music fares well here too, bringing out plenty of texture in bass string instruments. And I didn’t hear much bass bleed into the higher frequencies. So, although there’s plenty of depth to the bass, it doesn’t overtake the mix unless it’s meant to.
With the equalizer at its default setting, you’ll hear a little dip in the mids, with the more bassy and trebly instruments becoming feeling prominent and creating a dynamic character. Though warm, the sound is notably clean in this range, revealing tidy separation within instruments even in the low-mids. So, despite the heaviness of the low-end, you won’t experience any muddiness in this range.
While there is a bit of shine in the high end, there is also some roll-off that avoids harshness or piercing. So, it’s easy listening in this range. The transparency in the highs is also impressive, with breathy, velvety vocals, and rich and detailed strings. But don’t expect a super bright or extended high-end with tons of sparkle. This is a smooth listen.
Besides the somewhat boring look of the Tune Buds, it’s hard to find any complaints. The battery life is long, the sound has a satiating, crowd-pleasing balance, and the ANC and accompanying equalizer are a big plus, especially given the price. So, at the end of the day, it’s a classic JBL product: well built and relatively easy on the wallet.