The true wireless in-ear headphones, or earbuds, market has become over-saturated with every tech (and even non-tech) brand coming up with a model or two.
And unlike those pretenders, JBL is the real deal with its long and established audio lineage. And JBL recently released its flagship true wireless earbuds in Singapore with the Club Pro+ TWS.
PRICE: S$299, available in Lazada and Shopee
DRIVERS: 6.8mm dynamic
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 5.1
WEIGHT: 13.7g (earbud), 55.4g (charging case)
It is imbued with “Legendary JBL Pro Sound” designed to provide the ultimate true wireless performance, according to its maker. In addition, it features active noise cancellation (ANC) with smart sound control as well as IPX4 rating for water resistance and sweat-proof durability.
The Club Pro+ is also equipped with Google Assistant as well as Personi-Fi technology that offers customisable audio settings to match your personal listening preferences via the accompanying JBL Headphones app.
Available only in all-black from the earbuds to the charging case, the Club Pro+ earbuds feature a unibody design that is said to be inspired by professional in-ear monitors.
The charging case comes in a plain compact squarish flip-top form that supports both USB-C and wireless charging. On the other hand, the earbuds have a triangular design with no visible stem, as it is covered mostly by its silicone ear-tips.
There are three pairs of ear-tips in different sizes, so you will find one that suit. In addition, you can use the JBL Headphones app to check if you have the right fit. Once you find the ideal ear-tips, the fit is really comfortable and secure. I can wear it for long listening sessions for hours, like when I was writing this review.
The exterior panel of each earbud is adorned with the JBL logo, but it is also touch sensitive. By default, the left earbud takes care of the Voice Assistant, while the right earbud lets you control playback and toggle tracks. This is fairly intuitive.
In addition, both earbuds can answer and reject calls by double-tapping and tap and holding respectively. This arrangement is great, as when an incoming call comes in, you do not have to think which earbud I should be tapping to answer.
Again, depending on your liking, you can change the functions of the gesture control to ambient sound control or volume control via the app.
Pairing the Club Pro+ with a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 smartphone is a breeze. Once paired with your smartphone, the Club Pro+ will automatically connect when you take out the earbuds from the case.
In addition, you can go through the app’s Personi-Fi hearing test. Follow the in-app instructions to get a personalised equaliser setting (EQ) based on your hearing characteristics.
+ Great sound performance
+ Very comfortable fit
+ Customisable EQ to your liking
+ Charging case supports wireless charging
– Active noise cancellation can be better
– A tad expensive
But if you already have a JBL account, you do not have to do it again. You can just logged in and it will be ready to use. You can choose to activate your personalised EQ or opt for preset EQ.
The app has a Stage+ feature whereby you can select your favourite DJ’s EQ so you can hear what they like. For example, I prefer DJ Martin Garrix’s EQ over my personalised EQ.
In terms of audio performance, the Club Pro+ is right up there with the genre leaders. It offers powerful punchy bass with smooth mids and relaxed highs.
The only slight quirk is it does not sound very loud at maximum volume, compared to its competitors. But people can hear me loud and clear during calls using the Club Pro+, even when I was walking back from lunch in a nearby coffee shop.
On the downside, the ANC performance can be better. It is probably good enough to block the chatter of strangers in the MRT train, but it is not going to save you from the rumbles of renovations when you are working from home.
The battery life of Club Pro+ is rated at 6 hours with ANC turned on, according to JBL.
In my reviews, I found the battery life to be around 5 hours with ANC turned on and maximum volume. While not stellar, it is still longer than the likes of Apple AirPods Pro.
But not to worry, the charging case offers another 18 hours of battery life.
At S$299, the JBL Club Pro+ TWS is priced a tad higher than some of its competitors but lower than that of other flagships such as Sony WF-1000XM4 or AirPods Pro.
But if you like customised EQ, comfortable fit, intuitive touch controls, great audio performance and don’t care much about top-notch ANC, the JBL Club Pro+ TWS will be perfect for you.
BATTERY LIFE: 7.5/10
VALUE FOR MONEY: 8/10