JBL has entered 2022 in the same way it left 2021 – by announcing three new pairs of mid-range true wireless earbuds.
Having already unveiled the JBL Reflect Flow Pro, JBL Tune 230NC and JBL Tune 130NC in September of last year, the audiomaker took to the floor at CES 2022 to lift the lid on its latest in-ear offerings: the JBL Live Pro 2, JBL Live Free 2 and JBL Reflect Aero.
Like their 2021 counterparts, these new wireless earbuds are all relatively inexpensive, too. The JBL Live Pro 2, Live Free 2 and Reflect Aero will all retail for $149.95 (around £113 / AU$210), and are set to hit shelves in “spring 2022” (that’s between March and June, for our readers in the Southern Hemisphere).
So, what are JBL’s latest earbuds bringing to the table? Well, beginning with the Live Pro 2, users will get adaptive noise cancellation technology, up to 40 hours of playback time (10 hours from the earbuds, 30 hours from the charging case) and six microphones equipped with their own noise and wind isolation features – all delivered in an Apple AirPods-esque design package.
The JBL Live Free 2 are, essentially, a slightly smaller variant of their Pro siblings, delivering similar audio specs in a more compact form – they were also a Best of Innovation Honoree at this year’s CES showcase.
With these in-ears, you’ll get 35 hours of total playback time and slightly smaller dynamic drivers (10mm compared to the Pro’s 11mm), but they’ll still come packed with the same adaptive noise and wind cancellation technology, as well as all that handy hands-free-ness.
Then there’s the new, cheaper sibling to the JBL Reflect Flow Pro: the Reflect Aero. These buds are intended for those on-the-go, hence their adjustable ear-fin design and excellent waterproof rating (though you’ll get the latter with the other two newbies, too).
The Reflect Aero are a little less impressive on the technical side – for instance, their 6.8mm dynamic drivers are smaller than those of their siblings. Larger drivers displace more air to create a more powerful sound, so the Reflect Aero may not pack as much of a sonic punch.
The battery life is lower too, with up to 24 hours of playback – they are, however, still rocking the same microphones, noise cancellation technology and voice controls as the Live Pro 2.
We’re bound to see plenty more true wireless tech unveiled at CES 2022, but JBL clearly intends to lay a marker in the sand when it comes to the amount of audio products one company can announce in a given period.
It’s no secret, though, that quantity doesn’t always equal quality, and we rarely see top-end audio brands (think Bose and Sony) releasing more than one model each year. It’ll be interesting to see, then, whether JBL’s ambition translates into products that are actually worth buying.
Naturally, we’ll have more on each pair of new earbuds when we’ve tested them later in the year.
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Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.
Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.