Anyone familiar with JBL products already knows they make high-quality audio equipment. This compact pair of wireless Bluetooth earbuds is no different. Promoted as an audio solution for “active lifestyles,” they include a number of useful features. And, of course, wireless functions, which are a must for many users.
So, what boxes do these earbuds tick, and how do they perform?
Let’s answer those and other questions in our in-depth JBL LIVE 300 Review…
The Build and Design
These earbuds are built for active and on-the-move users. Specifically, they are intended for commuters and fitness-minded people.
The housing is made of plastic that does not feel flimsy nor cheap. On the other hand, the plastic does reduce the durability and overall strength. But, that’s the trade-off in terms of weight and comfort. The plastic housing is lighter, but just not as strong as a metal housing.
The iconic JBL logo is stamped on each earbud. And there are several colors to choose from.
Finding your fit…
Included with these earbuds are three sets of ear tips and four sets of ear-fins. There are S, M, and L sizes for the ear tips. As for the ear fins, they come in various shapes and sizes and can be used when you are really moving and grooving for a more secure fit.
Therefore, you should be able to find a secure and comfortable fit for whatever you are doing.
Since these earbuds are geared towards active and outdoor use, they have a little extra in that they are sweat-proof and water-resistant with an IPX5 rating. This means they can handle a rigorous sweaty workout. As well as for drizzle and light rain without any problems.
While they are not the most durable earbuds out there, the overall build is solid enough.
Controls and Connections
For these earbuds, the controls are simple touches. Each earbud takes care of different functions. This makes them easier to operate, but you have to remember which is which.
At your fingertips…
The right earbud controls the playback functions with single or double taps. Conversely, the left earbud controls Alexa and Google voice commands. However, you will need to familiarize yourself with how they work.
The main control is the JBL app, which works with both Android and iOS devices. Using the app allows you to access a 10-band EQ loaded with multiple presets. You can also customize your own sound. Likewise, the volume is controlled by the app.
Taking calls, staying aware…
These earbuds feature TalkThru and Ambient Aware modes. Both help to move seamlessly between music, surroundings, and calls.
The Ambient Aware mode lets in sounds from your immediate environment while listening to music or talking on the phone. You use the app to activate this mode. TalkThru mode allows you to quickly switch from music to incoming calls. You can activate TalkThru mode by swiping on the earbuds.
The main difference between these modes is the music volume. With TalkThru enabled, the volume is lowered dramatically. When using Ambient Aware, the volume remains the same.
JBL LIVE 300 earbuds have no wires and no options to connect in any way other than Bluetooth. These are “active lifestyle” earbuds, so it is not surprising. However, relying solely on Bluetooth can have some drawbacks.
First, without any wired connections, you are limited to Bluetooth devices. Therefore, you cannot use them with a desktop computer or older DAPs without Bluetooth. Second, there is no way to charge the battery while you are using them. If you forget to charge them before heading out, you could be without your jams on the train.
With that said, let’s take a look at the battery.
A single charging option…
These earbuds come in a sturdy little oval carrying case. Furthermore, this case is the only way to charge the battery.
A single charge gives you six hours of playback. Likewise, a quick-charge of just ten minutes provides you with a one hour boost. In our opinion, this is not a great nor versatile feature. For starters, if you lose the case, you have no other charging option. So, you’ll have to buy a new case. Additionally, if the case breaks, you will find yourself in a similar situation.
Some may like the charging case idea, but for us, it is more of a hindrance than a benefit.
Sound and Performance
The audio performance is one you would expect from JBL, and they handle the low-end frequencies very well. Even at a high volume level, the bass does not distort.
The same goes for the highs and mids. However, the mid-range is dialed back compared to the lows and highs. Fortunately, you can adjust the EQ using the JBL app to find your preferred sound balance.
JBL LIVE 300 Review Pros and Cons
- Signature JBL sound.
- Bluetooth connectivity.
- Ambient Aware and TalkThru technology.
- Google Assistant and Alexa enabled.
- Water-resistant IPX5 rating.
- Up to 20 hours of battery life.
- Durable charging case included.
- Stereo calls.
- Uncomfortable for extended periods of wearing.
- Can only be charged with the carrying case.
- No aptX codec.
- No noise-cancelation.
- Slightly pricey.
Not quite what you want?
Then check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Earbuds Under $100, the Best iPhone Earbuds, the Best Wireless Earbuds For Small Ears, and the Best Sound Quality Earbuds currently on the market.
Also, take a look at our comprehensive reviews of the Best Bluetooth Headphones Under $200, the Best Running Headphones, the Best Travel Headphones, the Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds, and the Best Waterproof Headphones you can buy in 2021.
JBL LIVE 300 Review Final Thoughts
As far as “active” wireless earbuds go, these are a pretty good pair. Some will really enjoy the convenient touch controls and freedom of wireless use. Alexa and Google Assistant are also a plus for on-the-go busy-body types.
Yet, for the traditional audiophile who just wants great-sounding music, the JBL LIVE 300 earbuds are more confusing than convenient. That being said, the customizable EQ on the app, balanced soundstage, and exceptional low-end deliver a pleasing audio experience. In that regard, they are very much a JBL product.
But, as we mentioned, some things might not really appeal to the less active crowd. In the end, “lifestyle” and intended uses are going to determine the appeal of these earbuds more than their sound performance.
Until next time, happy listening.