SciTech

August 7, 2014

Review: JBL Synchros E10 and Reflect in-ear headphones

JBL’s recently launched in-ear headphones offer improved sound and ergonomics.

JBL recently launched their new Reflect and Synchros headphones. I sampled a couple of sets of their in-ear headphones.

JBL Synchros E10: capable, durable

The JBL Synchros E10 in-ear headphones have 8 mm drivers trimmed by knurled industrial design accents. The cable is flat which tends to reduce tangling. There is a single-button inline remote and microphone. A large indetent on the remote helps make it easier to find the button. The connector is angled 90 degrees extending far enough to work with most cases.

JBL has angled the earbuds to improve comfort and stability and included three sizes of silicone ear-tips. While I found them comfortable, they stayed in place at my desk, but did work their way loose while walking around.

The Synchros E10 sound good with a bit more emphasis on the bass which is noticeably boomier than Apple EarPods. The higher frequencies and middle frequencies that tend to include vocals are clear and not overly bright or harsh.

Overall, they are a capable sounding pair of in-ear headphones that for the MSRP of $39.95 deliver good sound isolation, extra bass kick, durable build quality with Android and iOS compatibility. They are a step up from Apple’s EarPods. Color options include black, white, red, blue and purple.

JBL Reflect: workout-proof

Tired of your earbuds falling out of your ears? The secure-fitting and sweat-proof JBL Reflect in-ear headphones are designed to stay in place during activities like hiking or running.

The ear tip has a soft flexible appendage that secures the 8.5 mm drivers in your ears and are surprising comfortable. These never once fell out of my ears despite a few clumsy tugs while running and working out. The tips buffer some environmental noise, but allow enough for me to safely hear my surroundings.

The Reflect have similar durable construction to the E10 using a flat cable that is highly reflective to aid in low-light visibility. There is a 3-button inline remote/microphone and a shirt clip. JBL has equipped the Reflect with a short cable optimized more for armband users, but includes a cable extension for those who prefer to pocket their device. Cleverly, the buds can magnetically clasp together while around your neck or stowed away.

While running I found them more comfortable running the cable down my back rather than in front. With the clip attached to the rear of my shirt collar, it kept the cable mostly out of my way with enough length to slip the phone into my pocket.

The JBL Reflect in-ear headphones deliver satisfying audio with prominent bass which is what most consumers prefer. The bass and higher tones sounded slightly more prevalent than with the Synchros E10. The middle frequencies seemed slightly more natural.

Not priced to compete with hifi oriented options, JBL’s $59.95 Reflect in-ear headphones deliver good sound performance that is a notch above the Synchros E10. Their sweat-proofing, secure fit and comfort earn a recommendation for physically active users. They are available for Android and iOS. The reflective cables can be trimmed in black, blue, red or green accents.

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