Sunday, June 23, 2024

Forget AirPods: These wireless earbuds offer clever features that Apple doesn’t


Christina Darby/ZDNET

I will be candid. When JBL launched its Tour Professional 2 earbuds with a touchscreen case again in January, my fast response was one in every of cynicism. “Simply what I want, one other display to have a look at,” I believed to myself. 

Additionally: These $169 Apple-owned earbuds had been made with Android customers in thoughts

Whereas the display was undoubtedly revolutionary, and patents recommend that the thought of it’s on Apple’s thoughts too, what I — and most audiophiles — finally worth is sound high quality, particularly with the Tour Pro 2’s $250 premium.

Nevertheless, after a number of weeks of testing the JBL Tour Professional 2, I am completely satisfied to report that, whereas not excellent, each the performance of the exterior show and audio efficiency has swiped and canceled my preliminary reservations. And there is a software program function which may be much more interesting to some. Learn on.

JBL Tour Pro 2 earbuds in case with ZDNET logo


JBL Tour Pro 2

The JBL Tour Pro 2’s standout feature is the charging case touchscreen, which functions as a remote control. 

To begin, the JBL Tour Professional 2’s headliner is that 1.45-inch touchscreen embedded within the charging case. Whereas a few of the touchscreen options are extra enjoyable than sensible, just like the customizable screensaver, tiny “flashlight,” and timer, the show remains to be very enjoyable to work together with. (Kudos to JBL’s PR staff, by the way in which, for sending the tester with a ZDNET brand preloaded!)

Additionally: These $169 headphones sound so good you’d suppose they’d price much more

Whereas the display has a slight delay between faucets and swipes and requires extra strain to navigate than that of your smartphone or pill, I used to be capable of customise my private EQ settings and even use the built-in earbuds locator function. It additionally makes for a swift toggle from ambient to ANC mode, each of which galvanized when it got here to sound management.

Describe what's shown in the image.

The exterior design will be configurated with a picture of your selection. 

Christina Darby/ZDNET 

I discovered that the Tour Professional 2 wasn’t too far off from matching the transparency mode of Apple’s second-gen AirPods Professional. Each successfully enable me to stay conscious of my environment, particularly within the busier streets of New York Metropolis, with out sacrificing my morning Taylor Swift listening ritual. 

The ANC wasn’t too far off from the AirPods’ noise-canceling, too. When toggled on, the buds supply a decent seal and might muffle out subway screeches. However, once more, the sound is barely thinner than different $200+ earbuds and much off from the present ANC champion, The Bose QuietComfort II

Additionally: Finest noise-canceling earbuds you should buy proper now

My favourite function, consider it or not, was not the buds’ touchscreen show or noise cancellation. As an alternative, I discovered the VoiceAware, which helps you to management how a lot of your voice you possibly can hear when making a name, probably the most spectacular. 

As somebody who despises the sound of their very own voice and primarily makes use of wi-fi earbuds for calls, this function not solely diminished how loud I sounded to myself when talking however was simply accessible due to the touchscreen show. The general microphone high quality was additionally satisfactory; I had little to no complaints from callers as I walked across the noisiest of streets.

For the value, the JBL earbuds function the standard checklist of premiums like wi-fi charging, multi-point connectivity with as much as two gadgets, and 40 hours of battery life within the case. Whereas the touchscreen compromises a few of the compactness of the case, it nonetheless matches comfortably in a back and front pocket.

Additionally: Bowers & Wilkins’ Pi7 S2 are music to my ears, however there is a catch

In the end, I am impressed with the JBL Tour Pro 2. The touchscreen is on no account life-changing, however it additionally did not give me the impression of getting extra display fatigue. Sooner or later, I would like to see a display that requires much less strain to work together with and a faster contact response time. At $250, must you purchase these over the similarly-priced rivals? Sure, however provided that the added performance of a show and the blessing of lowered mic enter appeals to you.

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