The world of wireless headphones and earbuds is a cornucopia of choice. It’s now easier than ever before to get your hands on things, thanks to the wide variety offered. Yet, because of that variety, it’s become harder than ever for users to make decisions. Many modern users say the way to beat all the complications is to stick to well-known brands.
JBL has a 55-year pedigree and has pioneered the wireless revolution by making some of the most loved wireless speakers, headphones, and earbuds. So, let’s find out if brand loyalty pays off by taking a look at what about $100 gets you in my in-depth JBL Tune 230NC TWS Review.
Design and Build
Handling the case will immediately reassure you of money well-spent. The build quality is decent; the design might be a bit blocky but isn’t unpleasant. Although it is on the larger side, there’s a good reason for that, but we’ll get to that later. There is a unique 3 LED design on the front to indicate power and charging. The lid opens and closes with a very satisfying click.
Having a matte finish is something some would take for granted at this price range, but many competitors don’t offer it. JBL not only offers matte, but matte in three colors, and at this price, that’s very appealing.
Fit and Comfort
The earbuds themselves are a very compact long-stem design. They are accompanied by three pairs of tips to find your fit. The 230NC fits very comfortably and can easily be worn for hours. This is because they are some of the best lightweight wireless earbuds on the market. The fit is also very secure, so they’re great for working out or running.
Functionality and Battery Life
If you’re planning on wearing them for long periods and or working up a sweat while you do, there’s no problem. The 230NC comes with an IPX4 rating, which makes them water and sweat-proof. As a result, these are some of the best wireless earbuds for exercising you will find.
When it comes to battery life…
The 230NC is one of the best investments you can make. On a single charge, you’ll get ten hours of playtime and eight hours with ANC. The case’s size now makes sense since it will provide an additional 30 hours of playtime or 24 with ANC.
Any way you look at it, a total of 30 to 40 hours makes these some of the best battery life earbuds on the market. They outperform even some more expensive competitors when it comes to battery life.
Furthermore, they support quick-charge, which means that ten minutes in the case will provide you with two hours of playtime. The one letdown with functionality is that there is no wireless charging.
Bluetooth 5.2, and Google Fast Pair
The 230NC supports independent use for users who like to use one earbud at a time. Bluetooth connection is easy to set up and seemingly instantaneous. Android users can take advantage of Google Fast Pair, which will automatically initiate the pairing once the case lid is opened. The signal is solid and has a decent range. Unfortunately, there is no multi-point pairing.
Touch Controls & JBL App
The 230NC features a 4-microphone design, which is capable of some very good noise cancellation, but more on that later. The companion JBL app has a stylish interface and is easy to understand. You can activate the ANC and access the 10-band EQ.
There is also a selection of three main modes of operation, Normal Mode, Audio Mode, and Music Mode. Selecting one of these three will optimize your connection for the given scenario.
The touch controls are very responsive and easy to use, thanks to the helpful infographics in the quick start guide. Furthermore, there are quite a few customization options available via the app. So, most users will find a configuration that fits their needs.
These earbuds are equipped with 6mm drivers, which have plenty of punch for their size. The presets for the 10-band EQ in the companion app are somewhat limited. Luckily, they can all be customized, overwritten, and new ones added. The Equalizer on the JBL app is one of the most versatile and responsive of any app I’ve tried.
Energetic Sound Signature
The 230NC offers a very booming bass that has plenty of punch even at low volumes, and the EQ turned off. The mids are clean and also somewhat boosted, but not as prominently as the low-end. Despite the boost in the mid-range, vocals don’t sound unnatural.
The highs are nice and crisp and can be tamed with the EQ should they get a little bright. While there is a distinct boost to the lows and mids, the separation is still very good even at high volumes. Overall, these are some of the best sounding wireless earbuds once you have the settings you want.
Microphone and ANC
The 4-microphone design has been very disappointing in many other designs. However, the folks over at JBL have struck gold with the 230NC. Noise-canceling is some of the most effective in this price range. Tested with low and high levels of background noise that vary in their sonic nature, the 230NCs did quite a great job of keeping the voice isolated and clear.
While the quality of the voice itself is perhaps not as natural and full as other earbuds, it’s by no means as bad as an old walkie-talkie. More than suited to the task for people who plan on making a lot of calls.
Finally, the Transparency Setting also works quite well; the outside noise is filtered in nature and doesn’t have the nasal quality of some other earbuds.
JBL Tune 230NC TWS Review – Pros and Cons
- Reasonably priced.
- Excellent battery life.
- Good touch controls and companion app.
- Decent sound quality.
- No wireless charging.
- No multi-point pairing.
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Also, take a look at our detailed reviews of the Best Wired Earbuds, the Most Durable Earbuds, the Best Earbuds for Running, the Best iPhone Earbuds, the Best Skullcandy Earbuds, aas well as the Best Noise Isolating Earbuds currently on the market.
JBL Tune 230NC TWS Review – Conclusion
If you’re looking for the most practical, best budget wireless earbuds around, the 230NC might very well fit the bill. A fresh-looking design in three different colors is such a nice bonus at this price range. While the case may be a bit bulky in your pocket, it’s got the features and quality to back up that weight.
You’ll be booming out on decent-sounding bass for hours, thanks to the long battery life and a comfortable fit. If you’re planning on doing business or just like chatting a lot, the ANC will keep your conversations clear and audible. The good build quality and sturdy design mean you’ve got great long-term value.
The final score is 8 out of 10.
Until next time, happy listening.