Come on Apple, the best cheap wireless earbuds have this great feature, why don't AirPods?

JLab Go Air Tones held by hands on a beige background
(Image credit: JLab )

Regular readers will need no further fanfare from us on JLab's Go Air Pop, the cheap $20/£20 earbuds that somehow managed to receive an unprecedented 4.5 stars out of five under intense review at this publication – leaving us with no option but to put them right near the top of our best earbuds buying guide. And naturally, they're sitting pretty in pole position on our best cheap headphones roundup too. 

But there's one feature that I think marks them out above all others: JLab has capitalized on its success by offering these winning budget headphones in a series of neutral colors, all of which are meant to change how people view wireless earbuds.

Make no mistake, JLab's Go Air Tones earbuds are the Go Air Pop wearing a different jacket, but they might just be the first collection of skin-tone based, mass-produced earbuds designed to be more discreet in appearance than the look-at-me black, white, or brightly colored options that are more commonly available – Apple AirPods and Beats Studio Buds we're looking at you. 

JLab explains that the idea for JLab's Go Air Tones came from customer feedback requesting more subdued color options that would not immediately draw attention to the earbuds themselves (we get it, you're in a lecture and you shouldn't really be listening to music… but then again, music!) but until now, there hasn't been an earbud option available in a range of nuanced, neutral, inclusive color choices. 

It's interesting, often earbuds come bearing a 'tonal' moniker, but usually it refers to sound rather than hue – and we like this difference. 

It is not a process that JLab took on lightly either. The San Diego audio specialist partnered with Orly Color Labs, a division of the Los Angeles-based nail care brand Orly, to select the finishes. 

Together, JLab and Orly (a leader in creating custom nude polishes for different skin tones) selected the Go Air Tones color options from an original palette of more than 60 shades, which Orly Color Labs' senior mixologist whittled down to encompass a variety of skin tones with a mix of warm, neutral, and cool undertones. 

Pulling data from existing colors as well as from the team’s experience in mixing shades to flatter customers with a wide range of skin tones, Orly Color Labs is confident that the shades match actual skin tones and are flattering for people across a spectrum of skin tones. 

The result is an earbud collection spanning seven Pantone colors, covering a wide range of neutral shades, aka earbuds that are designed to be heard, but not seen.

Opinion: JLab's winning Go Air Pop earbuds just got even better

JLab Go Air Tones virtually worn by a woman

JLab Go Air Tones in shade 474C: JLab's Fitting Room lets you virtually try them on. (Image credit: JLab)

And that's not all you get for $20/£20/€25, because the Go Air Tones earbuds have also been integrated into JLab's online Fitting Room, an augmented reality filter that allows us to see how the different options would look in our ears – above, you'll see me, virtually wearing shade 474C. 

In the ever-expanding world of true wireless earbuds, it's hard to offer a USP and in all honesty, new colorways don't exactly break the internet for originality. But this is different. Not only is this a great set of wallet-friendly earbuds, but as far as I can deduce, this has been done with care, love, and inclusivity at its heart – and for a ridiculously inclusive fee too. 

As mentioned, the JLab Go Air Tones are already a winning recipe in my book; not the audiophile choice (true wireless earbuds are rarely the audiophile choice over wired options anyway), but I keep my teal JLab Go Air Pop review set in my bag because the battery is long, they fit beautifully in smaller ears, the charger is built right into the case, and the sound is energetic and musical. 

If you're in the UK, the JLab Go Air Tones are available to buy for £19.99 from JD Williams , or in the US you can shop them on Amazon, Best Buy or JLab's own website (above). 

Maybe you want earbuds that don't look as if you're wearing them, and maybe you just want true wireless headphones that look and sound a lot more expensive than they are. Either way, JLab's Go Air Tones are a great shout.

Becky Scarrott
Senior Audio Staff Writer

Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.