JLab JBuds Mini review: teeny tiny earbuds that are super convenient

Tiny yet weirdly precious

The JLab JBuds Mini against a patch of grass
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

Questioning how they can be so tiny is the first thing you'll think of when looking at the JLab JBuds Mini. Second will be you wondering how they can pack so much into such a small price tag.

Pros

  • +

    Incredibly small

  • +

    Useful features like multipoint

  • +

    Customizable sound

Cons

  • -

    Limited codec support

  • -

    Quick charge is fairly slim

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How on earth are the JLab JBuds Mini so small? Seriously, the earbuds are 30% smaller than the Go Air Pop before them and the case is 50% smaller. Next to any other earbud I can think of, they're teeny. Potentially the smallest around, it's safe to say storage isn't an issue, unless you're worried about losing them given their slight and non-existent heft. JLab has thought of that though by adding a keyring to the side so you can easily attach them to your keys ensuring you'll never miss out on having earbuds on your person. 

None of this would matter if the JLab JBuds Mini were pretty ropey but they're actually great for the price. Costing just $39.99 / £39.99, they'll suit every budget. Cheap and tiny, the JLab JBuds Mini still pack a fair bit in. While codec support is a little limited, there's Bluetooth Multipoint connectivity, the JLab app to help you tweak some settings, and a Be Aware mode that makes up for the lack of true ANC. 

They're IP55 rated which will be handy for those sweaty days. A quick charge function could be better with 15 minutes giving back only an hour of play, but with 20 hours overall via the (did we mention it's tiny?) charging case means that'll rarely be an issue.

The JLab JBuds Mini are really quite cute yet potent, easily vying for a place among the best budget wireless earbuds. They fit in your ears perfectly and all we could really hope for is options that would match skin tone accurately, as no one would notice you wearing them if so. 

JLab JBuds Mini review: price and release date

The JLab JBuds Mini inside their case

(Image credit: Future)
  • Released in September 2023
  • Priced at $39.99 / £39.99

The JLab JBuds Mini was released in September 2023 for $39.99/£39.99. Currently available across Europe, the UK and the USA, they're affordable across the board.

The earphones are available in five colors – black, aqua teal, pink, mint green and sage gray. Count on the fairly ordinary looking black to be first to see a discount. 

JLab is competing among itself for rivals with the JLab Go Air Pop hanging around at just $20 / £20 but being a little older and a little bigger than the JLab JBuds Mini. There's always the pricier EarFun Air Pro 3 too if you need ANC although the buds are certainly a lot bulkier.

JLab JBuds Mini review: specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Drivers6mm
Active noise cancellation No
Battery life 5.5 hours per bud, up to 20 hours via the charging case
Weight3.3g per earbud, 18.5g charging case
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.3, USB-C
WaterproofingIP55

JLab JBuds Mini review: features

The control app for JLab Jbuds Mini

(Image credit: Future)
  • Multipoint support 
  • Great app
  • Be Aware mode 

The JLab JBuds Mini are so small that you'd almost expect them to have nothing going for them. However, JLab has squeezed a fair amount in for cheap earbuds. Notably, it's always good to see Multipoint support so you can connect two devices at once – something that pricier earbuds can still lack. 

At all times, it's simple to just keep to using one earbud if you prefer, while the Be Aware mode provides you with a bit more of an ability to hear what's going on around you, such as if you need to listen out for traffic. There's no ANC here but the passive noise isolation is better than you'd think for earbuds of this size and price, presumably because they're such a nice and snug fit in your ear. 

Via the JLab app, you can make some adjustments to the EQ with a choice of presets as well as the option to make changes for yourself. Out of the box, you won't instantly find yourself in need but we'll get into that later.

With no issue with connectivity, it always felt like the JLab JBuds Mini were ready even when I just need one earbud by my metaphorical side. It's those little things that mean you're more likely to grab the JLab JBuds Mini, even when there are alternatives nearby.

Features score: 4 / 5

JLab JBuds Mini review: battery life

A close up of the charging port on the JLab JBuds Mini

(Image credit: Future)
  • Up to 5.5 hours through the earbuds and up to 20 hours including the case
  • 15 minutes charge gives back an hour  

The JLab JBuds Mini is pretty typical for your average pair of earbuds but that means it's better than you'd think for the size. You'll get about 5.5 hours from one charge with 20 once you factor in the charging case.

There's also quick charge support although it's a little weak. A 15 minute charge gives back an hour. That's ok but it's far from special even if it could get you out of a jam.

Battery life score: 4 / 5

JLab JBuds Mini review: sound quality

A hand holds one of the JLab JBuds Mini in their hand

(Image credit: Future)
  • Adjustable EQ
  • Strong noise isolation 
  • Vibrant beats

The JLab JBuds Mini block out sound far better than you'd anticipate given their size and price. While you'll still hear traffic as you walk past, it isn't as all encompassing as with other weaker earbuds. There's still room to enjoy your music with the JLab JBuds Mini being suitably vibrant at all times. 

There's the app's EQ for getting things just how you like them but out of the box, the JLab JBuds Mini sound pretty good. While bass could be stronger in an ideal world, it's all still pretty lively with a wider soundstage than anyone could have seen coming here. 

The JLab JBuds Mini use standard codecs so it's all good for your usual streaming services, but there's no aptX or LDAC support. 

Still, vocals are clear at all times while there's a reasonable crisp quality to ballads like Harry Styles' Sign of the Times. It's a weaker story when switching to something dance heavy like I'm Good (Blue) by David Guetta and Bebe Rexha, but you'll still enjoy it. 

Sound quality score: 4 /5 

JLab JBuds Mini review: design

A hand holds the left bud of the jLab Jbuds Mini

(Image credit: Future)
  • So small 
  • Keyring accessory 
  • Touch-sensitive surface on buds

We've mentioned it a lot but the JLab JBuds Mini are supremely small. They come with a keyring attachment and the case is a perfect fit next to your keys. As someone who hates to forget their earbuds, this is ideal for avoiding the peskiness of hearing my surrounding environment when I don't want to.

The earbuds are small too, of course, but not so small that you'll worry. They fit snugly in your ears and even during a run, there was no wobble factor here. The earbuds are sufficiently comfy that your ears won't ache during extended periods of use either.

Controls are a little tetchy. With not much room on the bud, it's very easy to accidentally mistap when adjusting them in one's ear. On the other hand, no one likes to have awkward controls so this is a tricky one to complain about or applaud too. 

Design score: 4 /5 

JLab JBuds Mini review: value

The JLab JBuds Mini inside their case next to flowers

(Image credit: Future)
  • Well priced 
  • Plenty of good features 

The JLab JBuds Mini might have a plasticky case but it suits their style. More importantly, they're cheap yet have many of the key features you could want. 

The main competition comes from JLab's previous small earbuds – the Go Air Pop with most other rivals like the EarFun Air Pro 3 and the Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 proving much bulkier.

Value score: 4 /5 

Should I buy the JLab JBuds Mini?

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Section NotesScore
Features All the essentials are here with a particular highlight from the app.4 / 5
Battery lifeDecent battery life given the size. 4 / 5
Sound quality Not perfect but good noise isolation helps a lot.4 / 5
Value It's hard to find better at this price without ending up bigger. 4 / 5

Buy them if...

Portability is everything
We've never really thought of earbud cases as big but the JLab JBuds Mini truly demonstrate how small things can get.

You're on a budget
Sure, there's no ANC but that's the only key thing you'll miss from the JLab JBuds Mini unless you're big on bass.

You love anything cute
The JLab JBuds Mini have cute Instagram aesthetic written all over them and we like that.

Don't buy them if...

You want strong bass
The JLab JBuds Mini sound good for the price but don't count on thumping bass here.

You need ANC
Noise isolation works well but it's not perfect so for the loudest environments, you need ANC.

You lose stuff easily
The JLab JBuds Mini are so small that we could see someone accidentally throwing them out in the trash. Attach the case to your keys!

JLab JBuds Mini review: also consider

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Row 0 - Cell 0 JLab JBuds MiniJLab Go Air PopLypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0
Drivers6mm6mm6mm
Active noise cancellationNoNoNo
Battery life 5.5 hours per bud, up to 20 hours via the charging case8 hours per bud, up to 32 hours via the charging case10 hours via earbuds, up to 70 hours through the charging case
Weight3.3g per bud, 18.5 charging case3.7g per bud99g
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.3, USB-CBluetooth 5.1, USB-CBluetooth 5.2
WaterproofingIP55N/AIPX7
Image

JLab Go Air Pop
Even cheaper than the JBuds Mini, the JLab Go Air Pop are lightweight, have app support, but no Multipoint or other essentials. There's that pesky awkward charging cable too.

Read our full JLab Go Air Pop review

Image

Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0
Providing better sound than either alternative, the Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 cost more but are worth it for audiophiles on a budget.

Read our full Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 review

How I tested the JLab JBuds Mini

The JLab JBuds Mini being held inside a hand

(Image credit: Future)
  • Tested for one week 
  • Used outside and around the home, in both noisy and quiet environments
  • 10 years of audio reviewing experience 

Swapping my regular earbuds for the JLab JBuds Mini, I solely used them for a period of just over a week. They were part of my daily morning walk where I walked among quiet areas and noisier traffic-filled parts of suburbia. I also used them while running to check the fit was snug and correct.

Around the house, I used them while completing housework and also for quieter times in the evening to relax.

I listened to a mixture of modern and older music, as well as many podcasts. These were all through Apple Music, Apple Podcasts or Spotify. I also watched a few YouTube videos thanks to the JLab JBuds Mini's multipoint feature simplifying the process.

Over the past ten years, I've reviewed dozens of speakers, headphones, and earbuds. These have covered a wide range of price ranges and I'm always pleasantly surprised when cheap can defeat expensive options.

Jennifer Allen
Contributor

Jennifer is a roving tech freelancer with over 10 years experience. Having graduated from Swansea University with a degree in Media and Communication Studies, and later with a diploma from Staffordshire University with a post graduate diploma in Computer Games Design, she's written for a huge number of publications, including T3, FitandWell, Top Ten Reviews, Eurogamer, NME and many more. 

Her main areas of interest are all things B2B, smart technology, wearables, speakers, headphones, and anything gaming related, and you'll find her writing everything from product reviews to buying guides and hunting down the latest coupon codes to save you money. In her spare time, she enjoys the cinema, walking, and attempting to train her pet guinea pigs. She is yet to succeed.