Several other waterproof headphones struggle to deliver superb sound while maintaining submersion-tightness, yet the JBL Reflect Aero succeed where many others fail. The headphones include a great feature set, an IP68 rating, excellent sound quality, and outstanding touch controls. Yeah, and they are less expensive than you might expect.
JBL REFLECT AERO: ONE-MINUTE REVIEW
With its circular design rimmed with wing tips to assist keep them in place when you’re exercising, the JBL Reflect Aero might look like most sports headphones on the shelves. But these headphones are more than they first appear to be.
Its waterproofing is the one feature that immediately distinguishes them from other workout headphones. These wireless earphones are more than just water-resistant thanks to their IP68 classification. With them on for 30 minutes when diving down 1.5 meters in fresh or salt water, they’ll keep playing those tunes (although you do need to take into mind the fact that Bluetooth signals don’t work well in water).
Yet, there’s still more. JBL continues after that. Additionally, it equips the headphones with high-end capabilities like touch controls, active noise cancellation, in-ear detection, and a battery life of up to 8 hours (24 hours total with the charging case). Even taking into account their excellent sound quality and the fact that you can actually configure their touch gestures to offer volume control, that’s already a lot for that sub-$150 / £150 pricing.
JBL REFLECT AERO: DESIGN
- Ear tips not the best for smaller ears
- Touch controls are amazing
- JBL Headphones app expands functionality
The JBL Reflect Aero don’t stand out from other sports headphones much in terms of design. In fact, they resemble the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport earphones in appearance, but the JBL Reflect Aero feature a lovely honeycomb pattern on the side that faces your ears whereas the Bang & Olufsen models are a little chunkier and unsuitable for little ears.
So instead of delving into the specifics of the design, we’ll concentrate on the features that make them unique. For instance, their charging case has a strap so you can attach it to your backpack or wear it around your wrist to prevent them from popping out while you’re moving.
The JBL Reflect Aero’s touch controls, which deserve praise for being intuitive, adaptable, and equipped with useful audible instructions, are arguably its best design feature. The volume can even be programmed into two of those touch motions, something the popular AirPods Pro line didn’t enable until the second generation was released, months after the JBL Reflect Aero went on sale.
These earbuds include three pairs of different-sized wing tips in addition to three silicone tips in three different sizes to better accommodate various ear sizes. It’s unfortunate that those ear tips might use some trimming. Even in their lowest form, they could still be too large for people with small ears (or ear canal openings).
The JBL Headphones app is one of the apps that may be used with the JBL Reflect Aero (not to be confused with JBL Portable, which is for JBL speakers). To use the earphones, you do not necessarily need to download the app, but it is highly recommended. It not only increases their usefulness but also gives you the option to greatly alter those frequencies using the 10-band EQ to give them a unique sound.
JBL REFLECT AERO: PERFORMANCE
- Ambient Aware is good, ANC only ok
- Very good sound quality, bass a little weird
- Mic has less low-end and no background noise rejection
About the JBL Reflect Aero’s performance, there is a lot to say because they excel at the most of tasks. For instance, the JBL transparency mode’s Ambient Aware function is excellent. We’ve discovered that when music is still playing at roughly 50% volume, you can hear enough of your surroundings to engage in conversation with someone else.
Also, you can couple two devices simultaneously, making it simple to swap between your phone and laptop when you’re taking a call on your phone and viewing a movie on your laptop, for instance. Another option is the highly responsive in-ear sensor, which is excellent at recognizing when you take out or put back on an earbud. You may be sure that the person on the other end of the phone call can clearly hear you because the mic works well for phone calls in the interim.
The voices are audibly clean and uncolored (with the in-app EQ turned off) in terms of sound quality (not filtered). Overall, the high end sounds quite crisp and clear, although a tad on the bright side.
The remainder are only ok, at most decent. Since it doesn’t actually cancel out higher frequency sounds—anything in the mids or highs—active noise cancellation is nothing special. It only functions well when music is playing at a louder volume.
You can simultaneously connect to two different devices, but you can only listen to one input at a time. Also, you must pause or stop playing one source before playing the other, which can be annoying if you’re in a hurry. The mic lacks background noise reduction and has a limited frequency range, which results in less low-end.
The mids sound a tad sunken in terms of sound. The guitars in Gemma Hayes’ “Hanging Around” sound subdued although they ought to be more aggressive as it is a rock song. They simply don’t strike as hard as they ought to. The low end has an odd quality. The low end comes out thick and forceful in songs like Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever” and “Maroon” by Taylor Swift. Yet, the bass in “Paprika” by Japanese Breakfast seems underwhelming.
Our best guess is that the bass frequencies are erratic, as though the low end of the frequency curve contains a valley. Also, the bass in “Maroon” and “Happier Than Ever” is slightly distorted and entering the mid-range, thus it is not impacted by the decrease in the bass. Yet, because “Paprikalow “‘s end is entirely bass, it is losing some of it as a result of that dip.
Beware: these headphones will sound dreadful if those silicone ear tips do not fit snugly in your ears. With the mid-range sounding buried, the bass being very restrained, and the high end not providing the same degree of information, the overall sound won’t sound full and rich. When listening to music or watching videos, make sure the earplugs are all the way in.
To be clear, the JBL Reflect Aero don’t sit at that premium, audiophile level, so they won’t have the best sound quality or most high-end features. This is why we’re pointing out these drawbacks. It only truly matters to people who are pickier or used to expensive headphones, though.
According to their current state, the JBL Reflect Aero are excellent-sounding, feature-rich earbuds that, despite a few kinks, make superb workout partners – especially if water is involved. They have an IP68 rating and are totally submersible for up to 30 minutes without experiencing any performance issues. We have personally verified that they not only survive being submerged in water but also continue to play music. You may also swim laps while wearing these as long as your phone is nearby and you aren’t performing deep dives. See how other earphones perform that. EQ also allows you to dramatically alter those frequencies.
SHOULD I BUY THE JBL REFLECT AERO?
You require exercise partners with lots of features.
The JBL Reflect Aero are loaded with all the greatest features to keep you focused on your workout, including wing tips to keep those earbuds in place, in-ear recognition, and sensitive touch controls.
You desire water-resistant earbuds.
Most other earbuds cannot tolerate complete submersion, but the JBL Reflect Aero can thanks to its IP68 designation.
You desire high-quality audio without spending a lot of money.
They sound great and work virtually as well as earphones that cost $200 or $200 but are considerably less expensive.