The original JBL Reflect Flow were an affordable set of true wireless earbuds for sports that offered solid sound, strong battery life, along with some protection for those using them regularly in the gym or outdoors.
The Reflect Flow Pro present upgrades in most areas, while delivering some new features too. They promise better sound, a more rugged design and the addition of active noise cancellation.
We’ve been putting the Reflect Flow to the exercise test, running, rowing, cycling (indoors) and taking part in some HIIT classes to discover whether they stand up to the challenge. Here’s how they got on.
JBL Reflect Flow PRO price and release date
The JBL Reflect Flow Pro are available from JBL’s website for $179.95 / £159.99, which works out at around AU$300 – although Australian pricing is yet to be confirmed.
Design and features
- Available in four colors
- IP68 water and dust resistance
- Excellent fit
It’s fair to say that the original Reflect Flow weren’t the most exciting true wireless earbuds to look at – and that doesn’t really change for the Pro version.
They are at least available in four colors, and like the regular Flow, the focus here has been about packing the tech into buds that don’t feel bulky in the ears, yet offer a reliable fit.
Each bud comes with extra sets of ear tips and what JBL calls ‘stabilizers’ to help them to stay put in the ears. The Reflect Flow’s tips look skinnier than those on the Flow – but, crucially for us, offered an excellent fit. We were lucky to find a combination of tips and stabilizers that worked straight out of the box, but it pays to play around to get something that’s well matched for a range of exercises. Once in our ears, we didn’t have to fiddle around with these buds at all, even through an extra sweaty workout.
Staying on the theme of exercise, JBL has bolstered the durability here with an IP68 water- and dust-resistant rating, which is a notable improvement over the Reflect Flow’s IPX7 rating. Technically, it means these buds are suitable for a dip in the water – but with no music player onboard, it isn’t going to be hugely useful in that scenario as Bluetooth tends not to work very well underwater.
Where this improvement will make a difference is if the buds become drenched in sweat or rain. We put them through their paces in both these scenarios and the buds continued to work without issue. That IP68 rating also means you’ll be able to give them a quick rinse under the tap when they do get grimey.
On the outside of the buds you’ll find some touch controls, which work using single, double- and triple taps, along with holding, to offer access to a range of features. It’s worth having the JBL Headphones app to ensure you can fully customise these controls, which include play/pause audio, skipping tracks, as well as being able to summon smart assistants via the controls available on both buds.
Not surprisingly, as is the case with most running headphones that opt for touch controls, a single or double tap is much easier to master if in full sprinting mode or going hard in a HIIT workout. Triple-tapping is fine once you slow down a bit, but we’d advise that you assign your most used controls to those simple taps combinations.
When the buds aren’t in use, they sit in the charging case, which is a pocket-friendly size, but still a little on the bulky design means they’re not going to sit the most naturally in a pocket. The case features an LED light to indicate whether they’re connected to a device, charging or they’re running low on battery and there’s the option to reboot the buds from there too.
- Read our AirPods 3 review
- 6.8mm drivers
- Active noise cancellation
- Adjustable EQ
In the sound department, JBL has upgraded the 5.8mm driver in the non-Pro Reflect Flow for a bigger 6.8mm driver here. The resulting sound is bright, offering decent power; overall, it will happily deliver for most workout playlists.
You could find a little more finesse in pricier sports buds from the likes of Bose, Sony or Jabra, but there’s ample depth in the bass here and still plenty in the way of detail, which make the Reflect Flow Pro well suited to more uptempo audio or a even a podcast while you run instead.
JBL’s adaptive Active Noise Cancellation is the big new addition here and, on the whole, it does a solid job. On outdoor runs, it doesn’t entirely dampen the noise of wind, but it did a better job of muting traffic if running near busy roads. Back indoors for HIIT workouts, indoor rowing and bike sessions is where the adaptive nature really shines, ensuring it’s your audio that’s heard above all other sources. While you’re unlikely to work out on a train, we did notice how well the Reflect Flow Pro’s ANC worked on carriages, making them decent buds to use between your workouts, too.
In addition to ANC, there’s an Ambient mode to offer a better balance between internal and external noises. You can access these features via the touch controls on the buds themselves or via the JBL Headphones app.
Support is available for handling calls and interacting with your smart assistant, too. JBL uses two beamforming microphones and an additional one dedicated to suppressing wind noise. We found the buds fared well for calls and Alexa and Google Assistant interaction – although they proved most effective at cancelling out external noise indoors and outdoors in less blustery conditions.
- 10 hours without ANC turned on
- 20 hours from the charging case
- Wireless charging
When it comes to battery life, there’s some good numbers attached to the Reflect Flow Pro.
JBL states you should get 10 hours of music listening without ANC turned on; this drops to 8 hours with ANC on. The charging case provides a further 20 hours before it will need to be charged. That 10 hours with ANC off matches the battery life of the Flow Reflect, so the Pro’s don’t really offer any improvement on this front.
Nevertheless, those figures were accurate based on our testing. With ANC engaged, that quoted 8-hour figure was spot on. There wasn’t any worrying drop-off after an hour-long workout with ANC enabled, with the battery of each earbud depleted by about 10%.
When it comes to charging, it’s simply a matter of dropping the buds back into the case. Charging the case itself is via a USB-C charging cable. From fully flat, it takes around 2 hours to get back to 100%, but support for quick charge provides an hour's listening time from just a 10-minute blast. The Reflect Flow Pro also match Jabra’s Elite Active 75T by offering QI wireless charging, letting you drop the case onto a compatible wireless charger for greater convenience.
Should I buy the JBL Reflect Flow PRO?
Buy them if...
You want sporty buds that don’t budge
The combination of the secure tips and the water- and dust-resistant design make them ideal for intense workout sessions.
You want to block out (some) of the world
The Reflect Flow Pro’s ANC skills work surprisingly well indoors and outdoors, making them ideal if you want to focus on your own sound.
Don't buy them if...
You like good-looking buds
While you can’t fault the performance, the Pro’s aren’t the most stylish buds around – and neither is the small but bulbous charging case.
You’re on a tight budget
While they do offer great all-round performance, the Pro’s aren’t cheap. You could get a solid experience for less with the non-Pro version of the Reflect Flow.
- Looking for more? Read our guide to the best workout headphones