The JBL Tune 130 NC are here to offer superlative audio quality coupled with an extremely long battery life. While these affordable premium earbuds punch way above their weight when it comes to audio quality, there are some compromises that you might have to live with.
Long battery life
Application to customize audio output
No in-ear detection
Looks slightly bulky
Lacks wireless charging
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One minute review
We often come across products that do the basic job perfectly fine or even better than most of their peers, however, they do lack fancy or value-added features that people may not be able to live without.
The JBL Tune 130 NC falls in the former category as they excel in delivering amazing sound output and offer stupendous battery life. You also get decent noise cancellation and a brilliant awareness mode that lets you communicate with people without removing the buds from the ears.
This is what a typical pair of earbuds are supposed to do, right, one would ask? However, what you miss out on are modern features like in-ear detection – a staple feature in most mid-range TWS these days. This means that you need to manually pause the music or movie that you’re streaming when you need to remove the buds from your ears.
Additionally, you also don’t get an option to control the volume from the buds themselves and have to reach out to the phone in case you want to lower the volume. Though you can manually customize the touch settings on the earpiece to control music - but then you lose out on some customization features.
That being said, what you get is strong and stable wireless connectivity which means that even if you leave your phone in one corner of the room and roam around. There will be hardly any distortion or disturbance even if there is a wall in between.
So, if you’re the one who rates audio quality higher than fancy features and can live with these shortcomings, then you’d love what JBL Tune 130 NC has to offer. These earbuds are impressive and worth giving a shot at.
Price and availability
The JBL Tune 130 NC are priced at Rs. 4,999 and are available to purchase via HARMAN Brand Stores, in.JBL.com and Amazon India from today onwards. The earbuds are available in three colourways – White, Black and Blue.
JBL Tune 130 NC: design and features
- Relatively large and weighty
- Good battery life and fast charge support
- Missing some key features but scores well on the basic ones
When you talk about the overall design, it is safe to say that this is not the highlight of the Tune 130 NC, however, the design is distinctive. Both the buds and the charging case are single coloured with a bold glossy JBL branding. There are three white LED lights to display the charge status on the carry case and one blue LED light on each bud.
The buds and the case are made of plastic which doesn’t feel flimsy at all. The magnet to hold the buds in place as well and to help keep the lid close is strong enough which ensures that the buds do not fall off easily. The lid also offers a satisfactory click when closed.
The charging case has a USB Type C charging port at the back. The case is small and can easily slip into the pockets of your jeans. The charging case is almost 40 grams while the buds are on the heavier side as they weigh 11 grams in all. Coming from the Nothing Ear (1) which are among the lightest and tiniest in the market, I could feel the bulk while using the JBL Tune 130 NC.
The company offers ear tips of three different sizes and orange coloured small USB Type C cable for charging. The retail box also carries a lot of printed manuals, guides and paperwork that we feel are unnecessary and could be done away with.
The Tune 130 NC buds do not have a stem-like design and all the touch controls are located on the outer surface of the buds. In terms of controls, you have a choice of a single tap, double-tap and tap and hold on the earpieces and you can customize the functions using the bundled app for your phone. I configured the left earpiece to activate/deactivate noise cancellation with a single tap and control Talkthru with double taps. Tap and Hold on the left bud would activate voice assistant.
I used the right bud to control volume. Both the earpieces automatically activate the call control menu when they detect an incoming call. This would override the custom settings and will allow you to respond to calls. The touch response is pretty decent though it might take some time to get used to the sensitivity.
Talking about the battery backup, JBL claims that the buds can offer up to 40 hours of playback – 10 hours from the buds and additional 30 hours from the case – which is extremely impressive. In case you use ANC regularly, then you can expect slightly less backup. In case you still run out of battery, a quick 10 minutes of charge is enough to offer an hour of juice. Sadly, the case doesn’t support wireless charging.
The JBL app is a pretty straightforward application that tells you the remaining battery on the case as well as the earpieces individually, manage ANC and lets you choose the level of ambient noise. You can also customize the audio output according to your choice. There are five presets – Jazz, Vocal, Bass, Club and Studio available by default and in case you aren’t still satisfied with the output, you can create your own preset and save it for future usage. Additionally, you can choose between Google Assistant or Alexa as your preferred voice assistant using the app.
You can also select between different modes - audio mode, a normal mode that offers stable connectivity, and video mode for the least latency while watching movies.
While I loved the battery backup and the overall build quality, I sorely missed the in-ear detection feature. The video that you’re streaming or the song that you’re listening to doesn’t pause automatically the moment you take out the buds from your ears. This is a staple feature in almost all budget and high-end earbuds.
JBL Tune 130 NC: Audio performance
- Excellent separation
- Great audio quality
- Powerful bass and absorbing sound
For a mid-range TWS, the JBL Tune 130 NC sounds just great. The buds seem to be very powerful and the bass is thumpy in case you like it that way. We heard various songs using these buds – including Hideaway by Jacob Collier, Drover by Bill Callahan, Chand Baaliyan and even songs with a lavish amount of folk music like Kagaz ke do pankh or Chaudhary by Mame Khan and we were impressed by the rich audio experience.
The earbuds offered serious bass wherever required. The separation between vocals and various instruments while listening to Hideaway by Jacob Collier was impressive. You could experience each instrument and beats distinctively.
Listening to some of the songs composed by A.R Rahman that we’ve been listening to for ages, makes you fall in love with the music maestro all over again. I’d heard a few songs from Rockstar multiple times using different headphones and earbuds, however, I was able to notice that Rahman has ensured that some instruments are only heard on the right side while some are only on the left.
We heard most of these songs at 70 per cent volume and cranking up the volume to the maximum also didn’t impact the audio quality. This is where most affordable earbuds fail to deliver.
Overall, the listening experience with the JBL Tune 130 NC is pleasing with the scope to amp up the performance using the equalizer – in case required. Last but not the least, turning on the ANC didn’t impact the audio quality as noticed in some earbuds.
Should I buy JBL Tune 130 NC?
Buy them if
You’re buying TWS for audio quality
You prefer audio quality over the looks and design of the TWS. These are among the best in the price range higher than what they sell for.
You want non-stop performance
If you’re looking for great audio quality and long battery life, then Tune 130 NC is what you should go for.
Don’t buy them if
You like fancy features
If you like features like in-ear detection, touch-sensitive audio controls and a pair of cool-looking earbuds then these aren’t the ones for you
You want top-notch Noise cancellation
The noise cancellation on the JBL Tune 130 NC is good but not the best. In case you’re the one who prefers top-notch noise cancellation, then you might have to shell out some more to get pricier earbuds
Jitendra has been working in the Internet Industry for the last 7 years now and has written about a wide range of topics including gadgets, smartphones, reviews, games, software, apps, deep tech, AI, and consumer electronics.
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