JBL Reflect Mini NC have their ups and downs but compared to other high-end workout earbuds they’re still worthy of consideration.
JBL is a company that you associate with fun products for the general public. Reflect Mini NC are made for those people in mind.
Their bass-heavy and punchy sound fill you up with energy during workouts. It’s isn’t the most natural, but with a little tweaking inside the JBL headphones app, you can make them sound close to the Harman curve.
Earbuds come with long ear fins to help them stay in your ears securely. However, the comfort could be better. Bulky earbuds are squeezed in your ears, which can cause aching after a couple of hours of use.
While Ambient Aware works okay, the active noise-cancelling isn’t worth mentioning. It barely makes any difference, even struggling to reduce lower frequencies.
Still, you might want to check JBL Reflect Mini NC out, especially if you find them on sale.
Find more information in our detailed review down below.
- Excellent sound quality (after EQ)
- Great stability during workouts
- Comfortable fit
- Stable Bluetooth 5.1 connection
- Companion app with custom EQ
- Durable build with an IPX7 rating
- Poor active noise cancellation performance
- Control customization could be better
What’s in the Box?
- JBL Reflect Mini NC true wireless earbuds
- Charging case
- USB-C charging cable
- 3 pairs of silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
- User guide
Comfort & Fit
Earbuds are too bulky for users with small ears and can start hurting after 2 hours of use. At least ear fins help stabilize them during rigorous movement.
JBL Reflect Mini NC come with 3 pairs of proprietary ear tips in a mushroom shape. Tips don’t go too deep into the ear canal, which is why you don’t feel too much pressure.
Initially, earbuds feel great, but after 2 hours of use, you start feeling a little bit of wearing fatigue. Since the housing barely fits into your ears, it starts pushing into earlobes.
Readjusting them doesn’t help, so it’s better to take a short break.
Extra 3 pairs of ear fins come in different lengths. Replacing them is easy and they don’t seem like they will tear easily.
However, if you’re a person that doesn’t like ear fin stabilizers, I have bad news: you have to use them.
The reason lies in the pointy plastic that holds ear fins in place. That small plastic fin can start poking your ears. Since it’s quite sharp, it might result in injury.
Thankfully, ear fins come in a perfect size, so you don’t even feel them. They do their job wonderfully, providing a secure fit. I was shaking my head like crazy, and both earbuds stayed in place.
It’s safe to say you can use these for all kinds of sports activities without a problem.
All in all, JBL Reflect Mini NC are stable and reasonably comfortable but not for long listening sessions.
Earbuds isolate quite well, but they’re not perfect. They’re on par with similar in-ears with silicone tips. When you play music, the surrounding noise goes away completely.
Comparing to other earbuds, Reflect Mini NC block a similar amount of outside noise.
Their passive noise isolation is great, but you have to play music if you want to get completely rid of external sounds.
Even then, you might hear loud noises, which is actually practical when you’re outside.
Safety is always first, and you can also enable Ambient Aware, which helps you hear traffic noise.
It doesn’t work as great as on Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 or even JBL Live Pro+, but it’s still nice to have.
Honestly, active noise suppression does very little to eliminate even the lowest frequencies. You can hear a slight difference, but it’s nowhere near competition.
The active noise-cancelling performance of Reflect Mini NC is very disappointing. Especially since JBL put the “NC” in the very name of these earbuds.
Compared to Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 and JBL Live Pro+, these true wireless earbuds are far behind.
They even struggle with low-end hum, which is something budget ANC headphones can eliminate.
Earbud’s performance is closer to Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, although Samsung’s buds are even worse in this regard.
It has probably something to do with the fact that these buds have an IPX7 rating. None of the best noise-cancelling earbuds have such a high IP rating. But this is only my speculation.
Therefore, do not buy JBL Reflect Mini NC for noise cancellation alone.
The connection is solid with the standard Bluetooth 5.1 range. They connect via app and support multipoint.
We managed to walk past the second wall in our wall test, which completely cut off the audio. It isn’t the best Bluetooth range I’ve seen, but quite good, nevertheless.
Smart Audio Modes supposedly make for a more stable wireless connection by prioritizing stability over quality. In practice, the difference isn’t that big.
For pairing, you have to download the free JBL Headphones app. For some reason, it requires both Bluetooth and GPS enabled.
At least earbuds always sync with the JBL app as soon as you reconnect them to your phone. The JBL Live Pro+ model has many more problems with that, despite using the same app.
Also, they support mono mode. To get mono mode:
- Place both earbuds out of the case and wait for them to connect
- Once connected, simply put one earbud in the case and continue to use the other
You can successfully pair Reflect Mini NC with your smartphone and laptop at the same time.
If you like skipping between devices, this is a handy feature to have. Listen to music on your laptop and accept calls from your phone at the same time.
What Bluetooth Codecs They Use?
Only two Bluetooth codecs are SBC and AAC. I’ve yet to see a JBL product with aptX or even LDAC.
However, SBC can do a great job at audio quality, as long as you listen to high-fidelity music files.
Is There an Audio Lag?
You might notice a fraction of a second delay, but it’s hardly distracting. After a few moments, you don’t even see it anymore.
The delay is the same on SBC and AAC.
While 7 hours of battery life per charge is more than enough, there’re only two extra charges in the bulky case. JBL doesn’t confirm if these buds support quick charging.
Reliable and long battery life are some of the most important things about true wireless headphones.
Sure, JBL Reflect Mini NC pack around 7 hours of battery life in buds, but only another 14 hours inside a case.
The charging case is rather big, which makes this fact slightly incomprehensible.
Nevertheless, I have yet to encounter a situation where these earbud’s battery would let me down.
Seven hours is plenty for a decent workout or two. You can even run a marathon before draining all the juice.
The whole package feels robust and ready to endure the outside world. Earbuds come with an IPX7 water resistance rating and show no visible weak points.
Since Reflect Mini NC are geared towards sportspeople, they need to be durable. JBL enforced both earbuds and case, so they both feel sturdy.
Sport wireless earbuds are made of hard plastic with silicone tips and fins. Both of them don’t look like they can crack easily.
They’re fully waterproof with an IPX7 rating. Meaning you can easily dunk them underwater to clean off accumulated sweat.
The charging case is a bit bulky and shaped like a pill. Compared to JBL Live Pro+, the lid’s hinge on Reflect’s is noticeably more robust and doesn’t wobble.
JBL is confident enough to put a string on a case so you can tuck it on your backpack.
The feature-rich JBL app offers a good level of customizability, while the built-in microphone ensures great call quality.
The JBL Headphones app is a must when you have to control so many features.
In the app, you can toggle between:
- ANC mode on/off
- Ambient Aware mode
You can adjust the intensity of active noise cancellation, but there’s no audible difference.
Earbuds can also detect if you take them off and automatically pause/play. You can turn this function off in settings.
The EQ is excellent, giving you control over many frequency bands. It can even extend further than the one for JBL Live Pro+ (+-10dB compared to +-5dB).
The buds remember your custom EQ every time you reconnect them to your phone.
With touch controls, there are two issues; you have to hit the exact spot to register them, and there are locked gesture presets.
With gesture presets, you can’t fully customize controls. Instead, specific controls are grouped together. You can only pick a group, not a specific gesture.
JBL decided to make 3 gesture presets:
- Ambient Sound control
- Playback control
- Volume control
The main problem is that you can’t mix commands between groups.
Therefore, if you use ambient controls on the left side and playback controls on the right, you have to use your phone to adjust the volume.
I hope JBL makes this process a bit more customizable like Sennheiser did in their app.
One other cool thing to mention is that the JBL logo on earbuds is reflective (as the earbud’s name suggests). So when you’re outside at night, you should be more visible to passing cars.
JBL Reflect Mini NC do a surprisingly clean job with phone calls. Their performance is excellent when in a quiet room, with no distortion whatsoever.
Earbuds apply heavy reduction over background noise while maintaining your voice reasonably clean. Regardless of where you need to answer a call, a person on the other side will understand your every word.
While their default sound is overly bassy, equalizing through the app does wonders. Expect a natural sound that follows the Harman target response.
All JBL products sound a bit bass-forward and Reflect Mini NC are no different.
Their stock preset produces a punchy and warm sound, bleeding over to the midrange and covering some details.
After applying EQ, the sound quality improved significantly. The bass is much more controlled and tighter.
Even the song “Duende” by Bozzio Levin Stevens sounded great on these, and this track has brutal bass guitar lines.
The extension is also excellent, digging deep and creating rumble when asked upon.
The midrange is already pretty accurate out of the box, so there isn’t much to tweak. It’s natural and full-bodied, with lovely sounding vocals.
Higher frequencies are also nicely tuned, although they can get a bit harsh on higher volumes. Reducing them with an equalizer helps a bit.
If I have to nitpick, there’s minor distortion in the high-end that even EQ can’t fix. However, you really have to focus to hear it.
Detail retrieval is good, especially on well-mastered songs. Dynamics and timing are great, too, which is always pleasant to hear.
It’s worth mentioning these workout earbuds can get really loud. Don’t exaggerate with higher volumes if you want to avoid hearing damage.
To hear how the audio presets sound like, see the video below:
Should You Get JBL Reflect Mini NC?
If you want durable, true wireless earbuds for sports activities that sound amazing, these have to be on your list.
While they can’t do everything perfectly, they excel in areas where it matters.
They’re waterproof, have a long battery life, stable connection, and customizable sound through a companion app.
The only thing that might change your mind on purchase is if you also want good active noise cancellation or require Ambient mode often since they don’t work well.
Overall, as long as you know what to expect from JBL Reflect Mini NC, you will be satisfied. The great sound quality alone is a big reason to pick these up.
|Weight:||13g (both buds)|
|Mic & Controls:||Yes|
|Battery life:||7h + 14h in case|
|Charging time:||2h – USB-C|
|Active noise cancelling:||Yes|
|Bluetooth codecs:||SBC, AAC|
|Wireless range:||33ft (10m)|