JBL is on the right track with Live Pro+ TWS. Wireless earbuds come fully packed with technology, and you can control everything from an app.
The new earbuds from JBL are a surprisingly compelling buy.
They sound good with added bass, have active noise cancellation, Ambient Aware, and in-app EQ. The latter can make them sound close to neutral, which is superb.
Of course, let’s not forget about excellent comfort and 2 types of ear tips for the best fit possible.
There are other features too, but more on that in review down below.
- Great sound quality (after EQ)
- Comfortable and stable fit
- Feature-rich companion app
- Compact charging case
- Good battery life with fast & Qi charging
- Responsive touch controls
- App experience could be better
- Manually selecting custom EQ after every pairing is frustrating
What’s in the Box?
- JBL Live Pro+ true wireless earbuds
- Charging case
- USB-C charging cable
- 3 pairs of regular silicone ear tips (s, m, l) & 2 pairs of shorter ear tips (s, m)
- User guide
Comfort & Fit
Earbuds sit relatively shallow and don’t poke in your ears. While they seem to stay in securely, running with them isn’t the best idea.
JBL Live Pro+ TWS have a similar shape to Apple’s AirPods. They use ear tips instead and feel much more stable in the result.
Despite having a somewhat shallow fit, they don’t feel like they’re about to fall out. Even smiling doesn’t break the seal.
There’re 2 types of ear tips in the box. You get 3 pairs of regular ear tips (s, m, l) and another 2 pairs of slightly shorter tips (s, m).
JBL added different types of tips so that everyone can achieve a perfect fit.
They seal as much as any in-ear headphones. You can still hear louder sounds, but when you start playing music, the outside noise goes away.
Using regular ear tips, the passive noise isolation performance is on par with similar in-ears, which is great.
Relying on noise cancellation to do the heavy lifting can be troublesome in some situations. ANC can create annoying wind noise when used outside.
Adaptive noise-cancelling works really well on lower frequencies but struggles on higher ones. Also, there’s a small amount of background hiss present.
Most annoying things like humming home appliances and engines are the things JBL Live Pro+ TWS can easily reduce.
However, once you get into higher frequencies, the effect of active noise cancellation isn’t as impressive.
Compared to Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, the latter does a noticeably better job blocking high frequencies.
And even then, both cannot come close to bigger and more expensive solutions, like Sony WH-1000XM4.
Still, if the low-end hum is what you seek to eliminate, these should do the trick.
Earbuds can also amplify ambient noise. TalkThru and Ambient Aware ambient modes work sufficiently for quick replies to a person next to you.
The connection itself is stable, with no visible audio lag. However, the app comes with some quirks.
Bluetooth 5.0 ensures a reliable connection. The JBL Live Pro+ TWS start to stutter as soon as you try to pass a second brick wall.
It’s worth mentioning that I got slightly better results from some other earbuds like TaoTronics Soundliberty 97.
When pairing to your smartphone, you need to download the JBL Headphones app. Later, the app guides you through the procedure.
For some reason, you have to enable both Bluetooth and GPS if you want successful pairing. Despite the app lacking a tracking feature (only “find my buds” feature where each earbud produces loud noise).
Earbuds like Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 or Jaybird Vista, both having even more features in their apps, don’t require GPS. At least not all the time. Therefore, it seems to be an unnecessary requirement.
Do JBL Live Pro+ have Multipoint?
Yes, you can connect the true wireless earbuds to more than one device. While you need a companion app to pair them with a smartphone, they connect with a Windows laptop without a problem.
What Bluetooth Codecs They Use?
There are only SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. The AAC is set to default, even when you’re using an Android device.
You can force earbuds to use SBC in Developer options, but after the next pairing, they’re back to using AAC.
That’s a bit frustrating since AAC doesn’t work that well on Android devices.
Is There an Audio Lag?
Thankfully, no. The audio is in perfect sync when watching videos or playing games. There’s no difference between SBC and AAC.
The battery life of 7 hours per charge, and another 21 hours in the case, is quite respectable. Earbuds also support fast and Qi-compatible wireless charging.
Seven hours of battery life per single charge is relatively normal nowadays. It’s enough for a full day or two of use.
Normally, noise cancellation does take some toll on the battery life. However, in our test, at 50% volume, we got 7 hours and 18 minutes with ANC enabled.
Since convenience matters, JBL Live Pro+ TWS also support Qi wireless charging. It’s noticeably slower than regular charging but could come in handy.
Both earbuds and case are well made and feel great in hand. The only thing holding them back is an IPX4 rating, which makes them only sweatproof.
As with all true wireless earbuds, these are also plastic. Though they don’t feel cheap and feel solid in hand, despite having a stem.
Both earbuds and charging case have a soft matte finish. The case is relatively small and fits nicely in your pocket.
If I had to nitpick is that the lid is a bit wobbly. However, that is something you only notice if you look for it.
JBL Live Pro+ TWS come packed with features and an app to control them all. However, the JBL app could be better, especially with syncing.
These wireless earbuds come with most features that are important to an average user.
From active noise-cancelling, Ambient Aware, TalkThru, wear detection, “find my earbuds” feature, integrated voice assistants (Google Assistant or Alexa), to customizable EQ and controls.
The best thing is that you can manage all of them in a companion app. However, two things are a bit frustrating.
Problem #1: touch controls customization
Commands are separated into 3 groups:
- Ambient Sound Control
- Playback control
- Volume control.
Each of them has 3 unique commands that you can use. Unfortunately, you can’t mix different commands from other groups.
Therefore, if you want to set one tap for play/pause and double tap for ANC on the left earbud, you can’t do it. You have to set one playback control to the left and ANC controls to the right.
Ultimately you have to sacrifice one command group and use your phone instead.
Problem #2: EQ
While it’s great and can bring the sound close to neutral, the problem lies in synching.
The app doesn’t set my custom EQ to default every time I reconnect my earbuds. Instead, they play on a default JBL tuning.
I tried to wait for earbuds to sync with the app automatically for my custom EQ to start working, but with no success.
Unless I manually sync them with the app and click on my EQ preset, it simply doesn’t work. The app doesn’t recognize my decision on EQ, despite knowing my other decisions like disabling proximity sensor and ANC.
Hopefully, JBL will address both problems with future software or firmware updates.
I can’t complain much about phone calls quality in quiet environments. JBL’s claims about zero noise calls are true and if you plan to use them in the office or at home, go for it.
There is some distortion when you add loud background noise, but the overall performance is still passable if you’re in a hurry.
The sound is perfectly balanced in the midrange, while the bass and upper treble receive a considerable boost. Thankfully, you can correct the response to almost neutral in the app.
Learn how we make and how to understand sound comparisons.
Out of the box, you’re greeted with a fun, bass-heavy sound signature. It isn’t bassy to the point of creating headache, but a powerful low-end tends to bleed into midrange.
The bass digs deep and rumbles a lot. It’s fairly controlled and agile for fast-paced music, although faster rock or metal can be a bit challenging.
For more popular genres like EDM, rap, and pop, this kind of tuning is fantastic.
Moving to the midrange, it’s almost perfectly flat. That’s excellent since most fun-sounding headphones tend to reduce mids (V-shaped sound).
Vocals and instruments sound natural, with only occasional harshness. The latter is a result of a bad recording and not earbuds being sibilant.
The treble is boosted around the 16kHz region, which brings in a bit more air. However, it can also be a bit harsh, though that depends from track to track.
Playing with EQ and reducing the bass and upper treble brings new life to these earbuds. The sound profile gets very close to Harman target curve.
You can see my EQ in app screenshots under “Features” category.
They start sounding less congested and have overall smoother sound signature. Meanwhile, their fun, warm characteristics stay the same.
Should You Get JBL Live Pro+ TWS?
JBL made a compelling package here. The price is a bit high at $180, but considering the competition, they can do as much or even surpass them in some areas.
Most notably in noise cancellation, feature-rich app, and call quality. The sound quality is also great, especially after EQ.
Of course, there are some annoyances with the JBL Headphones free app, which I hope they will address.
Nevertheless, if you’re buying yourself a pair of truly wireless earbuds for commuting, with all the bells and whistles, these are a great option.
For the same price, you might find Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro quite interesting, offering similar features but with higher durability rating.
|Mic & Controls:||Yes|
|Battery life:||7h (6h with ANC) + 21h in case|
|Charging time:||2h + quick charge – USB-C & Qi wireless charging|
|Active noise cancelling:||Yes|
|Bluetooth codecs:||SBC, AAC|
|Wireless range:||33ft (10m)|