JBL Tune 500BT Review
Portable wireless on-ear headphones with bassy sound quality.
The overall score: 3.5 out of 5 points.
JBL Tune 500BT are reliable wireless on-ear headphones with bass-emphasized sound quality that shows its under $50 price with cheap materials and basic features.
The Bluetooth features show signs of age, they charge with Micro-USB instead of today’s standard USB-C. The battery life of over 18 hours is great but not among the longest in the category.
Nonetheless, the price makes everything better. They are a great affordable choice for a casual basshead who doesn’t want to spend too much.
PROS & CONS
- Affordable price
- Foldable design
- Multipoint (connect to 2 devices)
- They look more expensive
- Cheap materials
- Noisy earpads
- Muddy bass
You can find these in:
- What’s in the Box?
- Comfort & Fit – 4/5 Great
- Noise Isolation – 2.5/5 Average
- Bluetooth – 4/5 Great
- Battery – 4/5 Great
- Durability – 3/5 Good
- Features – 3.5/5 Almost Great
- Sound – 3.5/5 Almost Great
- Why Buy JBL Tune 500BT?
Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
Driver size: 32mm
Frequency range: 20Hz – 20,000Hz
Cable length: n/a
Microphone & Controls: Yes (built-in)
Bluetooth: Version 4.1
Battery life: Up to 18 hours
Charging time: Around 2h to full charge
Active noise-cancelling: No
Charging cable: Micro-USB
Bluetooth codecs: SBC
Wireless range: 33ft (10m)+
Type: Built-in microphone
Mic design: n/a
What’s in the Box?
- JBL Tune 500BT wireless on-ear headphones
- Orange Micro-USB charging cable
- User manual
Comfort & Fit – 4/5 Great
Very comfortable to wear. The lightweight on-ear headphones have a strong clamping force but cheap earpads.
Now, for the price you pay, you can’t expect premium materials. And you don’t get them.
The earpads are covered by the thin foil-like fabric. That’s the type that is easy to scratch.
And while it’s not the best available in headphones, it’s common in cheaper ones.
Even so, the lightweight headphones stay comfortable for a long time, especially once the pads warm up and soften.
The clamping force is quite strong as well. It makes them suitable for the gym or basic activity. They don’t really move around the head. But they do get hot, and you will sweat after a while.
They fit even bigger heads. With flexible and extendable headband, they’re comfy for an older kid or an adult. The swiveling cups make sure to conform to all head shapes.
Noise Isolation – 2.5/5 Average
Decent noise isolation for on-ear headphones, but you can expect some noise leakage.
On-ear headphones usually aren’t the best when it comes to passive noise isolation. But thanks to a rather “clampy” fit of closed-back earcups, the JBL Tune 500BT offer fair isolation.
If you listen at half volume in a quiet room, you’ll still leak some noise, and others will know what songs you’re listening to.
But in a loud gym, nobody will be bothered.
Also, if you plan on using these outside, you can hear the noise wind creates. It comes with the on-ear design that protrudes out. It’s not more prominent, but we think you should know it’s present.
Bluetooth – 4/5 Great
Even though the Tune 500BT come with an older Bluetooth version 4.1, they provide above-average wireless connectivity with longer range and stability.
The average range of Bluetooth is around 33ft (10m), but these stay connected even a bit further away.
They also work without problems over 1 wall. When you get 2 walls between the headphones and your music device, then you get distortion, but not complete shutdown.
Now, since these are budget on-ear headphones, you don’t get any fancy Bluetooth codecs, like aptX or AAC. You have to do with the basic SBC (and that’s fine for the price).
Connecting is easy. Press and hold the middle button, and the headphones go into the connecting mode. After that, they pair automatically to the last known device.
Can You Connect to 2 Devices at the Same Time (Multipoint)?
Yes, you can do that. A smartphone and tablet, or 2 phones. Pause on one device, and you can play on the other.
If that doesn’t work, like in our case (PC and Android phone), then you can seamlessly switch between the 2 devices. Press and hold the plus and middle button for 2 seconds to hear sound prompt. Then simply continue on the other device.
Is Video Delay a Problem?
No, watching your favorite YouTube videos is delay-free, and it’s almost impossible to spot it.
We do know there’s a minuscule delay because all Bluetooth headphones have it. But it’s so short it’s not noticeable for humans.
Battery – 4/5 Great
While JBL promises you 16 hours, we got roughly 18 hours in our test. It’s plenty of battery life for even hardcore users. And if you run out, you can quick-charge them in no time.
One of the reasons why we probably got a better result is because we listened to them at a normal volume. The headphones are loud and you can listen at a moderate volume at 30%. Putting the slider at half sends a lot of sound over your way. It’s almost too loud.
Charging takes roughly 2 hours to a full charge.
The power cable is bright JBL orange, but it’s the old standard, Micro-USB.
Nonetheless, for a quick charge of 5 minutes, you get around 1 hour of music, which is pretty solid.
You always know how much battery you have left, thanks to the battery indicator on your iPhone or Android phone.
Unfortunately, if the battery dies on you, there’s no way to use them with a wire. The wireless on-ear headphones have no AUX input even if you supply your own cable.
Durability – 3/5 Good
Build quality is where these show their low price. The materials are cheap and somewhat creaky, but look better than you’d think.
These are cheap on-ear headphones, and they feel like it. The plastics is a grade lower compared to more expensive headphones…
…at least when it comes to the feeling in your hands. From afar, you can’t really judge it because they look like they might’ve cost more.
If you’re afraid you’ll look cheap wearing them, don’t worry. From the outside, they look like decent quality headphones with matte black plastics.
The only thing that does look cheap are the earpads. They’re covered by a thin noisy layer that used to be common (way back).
And when the earpads rub against your skin, they create more noise than a pleather of velour pads. Nonetheless, they’re quite comfortable and don’t irritate the ears too much.
The headband has thin cushioning covered by the same thin fabric as earpads.
Charging cable quality is a flattened short Micro-USB cord.
Features – 3.5/5 Almost Great
JBL Tune 500BT have voice assistant support, quick charging, built-in controls, and good microphone.
You get the usual features you can expect from Bluetooth headphones.
The built-in buttons feel quite solid and create a “clicky” sound when you press them. Generally, the buttons are quite solid and easy to use.
But it’s a bit harder to distinguish between them. The middle button has a slightly elevated dot for easier recognition but could be more pronounced.
With the buttons, you control volume, play/pause, song selection, voice assistant, and calls (accept/reject).
There’s also the Multipoint feature discussed in the Bluetooth section. Basically, you can connect 2 devices at the same time and use either seamlessly.
The LED indicator always shines blue when turned on. And it also communicates whether the 500BT headphones are in pairing (or another mode).
How is the Microphone Quality?
The microphone is quite decent in a quiet room but does pick up some background noise. Check the JBL Tune 500BT mic test above.
Sound – 3.5/5 Almost Great
The bass emphasized sound quality is typical for JBL headphones. It’s clearly geared towards a general audience that isn’t too demanding about sonic fidelity and just wants stronger lows.
These aren’t audiophile headphones and come with a strong emphasis on bass. You can hear it immediately hence the name “JBL Pure Bass.”
It overshadows mids and highs to a considerable degree, but if you like bass, you’ll love the sound of these too.
Listening to a bassy song, you can feel the vibrations on your ears.
Since middle and high ranges are less prominent, they take a step back, but an untrained ear won’t hear that. Though, most will probably know that these aren’t high-end headphones.
Generally, the sound is good for modern genres and watching videos or listening to audiobooks (as long as you keep your expectations low). You can rank them among rather average, and for the price, that’s pretty good.
Plus, you can crank them up quite loud, to dangerous levels actually (don’t listen for too long at high volume).
The soundstage is larger than with in-ear headphones, so get the feeling of a more spacious sound but can’t compare to real open-back models.
Why Buy JBL Tune 500BT?
If you’re looking for dependable, portable, and cheap wireless on-ear headphones with strong bass, then the JBL Tune 500BT make a lot of sense.
JBL is a popular brand with solid customer support and high build quality, though they aren’t water-resistant.
These are great for casual listening during your commute, and using them with your smartphone for phone calls and YouTube binging.
When you don’t need them, fold them up and pack them into a backpack. Do you want to listen to music during a walk? No problem. You can even take them to your gym.
The JBL Tune 500BT might not be great at anything but are pretty good at many things, and that’s kind of great on its own.
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