JBL Reflect Aero vs JBL Endurance Peak II: which waterproof headphones is better?

JBL Reflect Aero vs JBL Endurance Peak II
(Image credit: Future)

The JBL Reflect Aero versus the JBL Endurance Peak II is not a match up based around which is better. Instead, it’s about which one is better for your needs. After all, they’re both very capable earbuds that can handle the most intense of workouts without succumbing to wear and tear.

While they’re both excellent workout companions, one will be a more ideal fit based on budget, feature-related needs, and sound quality. The kind of workouts you plan on engaging in will also be a factor. The JBL Reflect Aero is one of the best running headphones out there while the JBL Endurance Peak II’s lack of features, namely the fact that there’s no ambient mode, makes it better suited for activities that don’t involve anticipating and dealing with traffic.

However, the JBL Endurance Peak II’s ear hooks make it among the best workout headphones when the workout requires your headphones or earbuds to be very stable, rock-climbing for instance. Whatever you’re looking for, this head-to-head comparison will help determine which of these two offerings from JBL is the right choice for you. Even if you don’t quite go for one of these, you can apply the same factors to other earbuds to see which one you like.

JBL Endurance Peak II

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

JBL Reflect Aero vs JBL Endurance Peak II: price & availability

  • Endurance Peak II is much cheaper in the US
  • Reflect Aero is not available in Australia

These two JBL earbuds fit in slightly different sectors of the workout headphone market. The JBL Endurance Peak II goes for $99.95 (£104.99 / AU$149.99) and so is priced to compete with more budget options, even if it’s much better than most sub-$100 options out there. 

In comparison, the JBL Reflect Aero’s price tag of $149 (£119 / about AU$222) puts it more in range with the mid-tier / almost premium models like the Beats Fit Pro. While those workout earbuds from Beats are better in some ways, particularly in their implementation of active noise cancellation, they’re also $50 / £80 more expensive.

Basically, both JBL earbuds punch above their weight for what they do. But, when compared to each other, the Endurance Peak II are much more limited on features but offer the more stable ear hook while the Reflect Aero have smaller wings but are as feature-packed as $200 / £200 earbuds. And, spending that extra $50 or just £10 for those in the UK might be worth it to not only get app support but active noise cancellation and, more importantly, Ambient Aware aka JBL’s ambient / transparency mode.

Of course, the JBL Endurance Peak II gets a slight nod in terms of value not just because they’re cheaper but also because they’re available everywhere. The JBL Reflect Aero, which are not brand new, still haven’t made their way down under.

  • Winner: JBL Endurance Peak II (by a hair)

JBL Reflect Aero in reviewer's hand

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

JBL Reflect Aero vs JBL Endurance Peak II: design

  • Endurance Peak II is stripped down, Reflect Aero is fully-featured
  • Reflect Aero has an ambient mode, Endurance Peak II does not

While both JBL earbuds come in three similar colorways (black, blue, and white for the Endurance Peak II and black, mint, and white for the Reflect Aero), they couldn’t be more different. The Endurance Peak II are large, bulky and utilitarian while the Reflect Aero are small, slim, and fully-featured. 

That has a lot to do with their functionality as the Endurance Peak II come with those large ear hooks that keep them in place during even the most extreme activities. And, while the ear hooks are bendable so they’ll work with most ear shapes, the only customization comes in the way of different size silicone ear tips.

The Reflect Aero come instead with small wings that slip inside the folds of the ear to stay in place, which along with the silicone ear tips can be changed out for different sizes for a more customizable fit.

Speaking of customizable, the JBL Reflect Aero has a lot more going on on the software side as well. While the Endurance Peak II is stripped down and doesn’t have app support, the Reflect Aero does where you can not only adjust your listening experience but fine-tune the actual frequency range as well via a 10-band EQ.

The JBL Reflect Aero also come with active noise cancellation – the Endurance Peak II does have decent passive active cancellation – and, more importantly, Ambient Aware (aka ambient or transparency mode), a crucial feature that lets you hear your surroundings while wearing the earbuds, something that’s sorely lacking on the Endurance Peak II and might a deal-breaker for those who want to use them in a public space like jogging along a busy road.

Let’s not forget the IP ratings of these earbuds as that’s important for certain workouts. The Endurance Peak II has a solid IP67 rating that can keep out debris and water though it’s not meant to be kept submerged for very long. The Reflect Aero with its IP68 rating, however, is fully waterproof and can be used for any number of water sports (though you should be aware that Bluetooth doesn’t work very well underwater).

  • Winner: JBL Reflect Aero

JBL Reflect Aero on a white table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

JBL Reflect Aero vs JBL Endurance Peak II: performance

  • Reflect Aero sounds a bit better but has inconsistent low-end
  • JBL Endurance Peak II has a lot of bass

Sound quality is always a central pillar of any pair of headphones, no matter the size or form factor. After all, there’s little reason to invest in a pair if they don’t sound good. Luckily, both the Reflect Aero and Endurance Peak II offer solid, if not amazing, sound quality. 

The Reflect Aero are actually the better sounding of the two but do suffer from some inconsistent bass response. Some songs have strong bass while others sound anemic. Luckily, the rest of the frequency range is consistent. The mids are a little recessed which keeps everything sounding clear if a bit polite. And, the high end is detailed and clear if a tiny bit bright.

The Endurance Peak II not only has a consistent low-end but it’s also the most prominent part of the frequency range. JBL did this intentionally for extra motivation during workouts, though we prefer a more balanced sound profile. The mids are full enough but the high-end lacks the clarity of the Reflect Aero.

Call quality is not quite as important but is still a factor. Both earbuds do fine on calls though the Reflect Aero can make you sound a little thin to the person on the other side of the line. Battery life is also a secondary consideration. Both pairs provide more than enough juice for most people. The Endurance Peak II has more than enough battery life overall as the earbuds have six hours of use and another 24 on tap from the charging case. However, the Reflect Aero has just a little more as the earbuds can last eight hours before needing to recharge while also having 24 additional hours of charge in the case.

  • Winner: JBL Reflect Aero

JBL Reflect Aero vs JBL Endurance Peak II: which is right for you?

Overall, the JBL Reflect Aero are the better earbuds. They sound a little better, have a higher IP rating, and come with more features, most notably that Ambient Aware mode. Yet, they’re not in a different league.

The JBL Endurance Peak II are cheaper (33% cheaper in the US), actually available in Australia, and, most importantly, come with those ear hooks that keep the ear buds secure in extreme situations. For instance, if you plan on using earbuds during rock climbing, you’ll never have to worry about the Endurance Peak II popping out. As secure as the Reflect Aero typically are, that’s still a worry.

Both earbuds offer excellent value and do what they set out to do well (with a few hiccups here and there). So, consider what kind of workouts you want earbuds for and then choose accordingly.

James Holland
Freelance writer

James Holland loves audio gear! So much so that he covers all the ins and outs, good and bad for TechRadar and T3. Where does that so-called expertise come from? Not only is he a lifelong music-lover but he also works in the music industry and is a musician. When not testing headphones or listening to music, he loves to travel, rage at the latest PC games, and eat off-the-beaten-path but not too off-the-beaten-path food.