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JBL is known for its speakers, but the JBL’s LIVE 300 TWS is a set of valuable but straightforward, truly wireless headphones that includes Google Assistant and a variety of listening modes. Let’s test the LIVE 300 TWS and see whether the headset is worth the hype.
Design Features of the JBL LIVE 300 TWS
The Live 300TWS comes in various colors, including black, blue, lavender, and white. The pack includes two standard-sized true wireless earbuds and a charging case that looks like an eggshell. There are three different sizes of ear tips and four different shapes and sizes of earfin sleeves included with the earpieces, allowing for a custom fit in the ear. The internal frequency range of 5.6mm drivers is 20Hz–20kHz, while Bluetooth 5.0 is supported by the earbuds, although the AptX codec is not.
When it comes to sweaty workouts, an IPX5 certification implies the headphones can resist splashes and mild rain—they'll be good to wash clean with a wet towel. Heavy pressure from the faucet or submerging the earbuds is not recommended. There are many gym-focused in-ears with IPX7 ratings in this price range if you need something that can get wet and endure higher water pressure.
There are high expectations for every new JBL true wireless headphone model. Regarding boxed headphones, JBL seems to have covered all the bases and added a few additional touches with the Live 300TWS.
The brand's prior showy casings and teal colors have replaced more practical and long-lasting black, white, and navy designs.
I enjoy the way it looks and feels like a bar of soap. The JBL Reflect Flow is a significantly better case, and it's simple to carry about in your backpack or pocket. A halo of white light pulses around it when the buds are put back in their nest to make it easier to locate the USB-C connector on the bottom of the casing while connecting to a power source. It's red while it's charging.
While the branded circular housing is reminiscent of the previous Reflect Flow model, the design of the buds seems more streamlined and teardrop-shaped due to the perfectly-angled neck of the elder brother. It's clear that each new design feature is carefully considered and contributes to the overall quality of the product.
The inclusion of Alexa and Google Assistant is a major selling point. Fortunately, the JBL Headphones app is free and easy to use. Custom EQ profiles and the opportunity to decide what swiping forward and back from the center of each bud accomplishes are also available, in addition to facilitating Alexa/Google Assistant access.
As a result, it's difficult to see if you're pushing the right earbud's volume control properly since there's no physical button on the earpiece. Ultimately, we'd rather dig around in our luggage for our phone since it's too difficult to operate.
Siri performs nicely in terms of voice assistant access. Two rapid presses on the right bud initiate play/pause; three quick taps on the right bud initiate skip ahead or backward by one track.
Using Alexa on the JBL Headphones app and the Alexa app is a bit of a difficulty at first, but after you get used to it, it becomes second nature. We execute a reboot, manually pair the device, and then upgrade the firmware. Afterward, on our Alexa iOS app, Alexa recognizes the Live TWS300 in-ears, but they seem offline.
It took a while, but eventually, we got it done. By pressing once on the left bud and saying "Play Coheed and Cambria," an Amazon Music-curated playlist is sent to our ears.
Our lives are made a lot simpler by Google Assistant, which is already up and running much before Alexa does. To get Google to answer our inquiries regarding Bake Off and the UK singles charts when we press the left bud, we have to pick Alexa or Google in the JBL Headphones app (you can't have both assisting you simultaneously).
After lowering the playback level to give us what we need to know, Google Assistant walks away and lets us continue listening to music.
JBL Headphones App
Even after reinstalling and uninstalling the JBL Headphones app, I still have issues: The program sometimes crashes. Despite this, you should still download the app since it lets you do various customizations, including updating the buds' firmware and customizing the controls. It's also an excellent tool for anyone who wants to experiment with different EQ settings.
You can also locate your earphones, activate Ambient Aware and TalkThru modes, and read the headset's instructions, among other things. When it works for more than two minutes at a time, it's a great app.
Audio Performance of the JBL Live 300
For example, the Knife's "Silent Shout" has a satisfying sub-bass thud delivered through the headphones. At low volumes, the bass is strong and doesn't distort, while at high volumes, the bass is loud but doesn't distort. Things don't lean too strongly toward the lows since the highs are also tuned up.
"Drover" by Bill Callahan offers a better idea of the overall sound signature since it has significantly less deep bass in the mix. This track's drums benefit from slightly more bottom depth, but it's not overpowering—the drums feel forceful and round. There's too much low-mid richness on Callahan's baritone vocals; on the other hand, the high-mids and highs are well-present, enabling the songs to maintain their shape and clarity throughout. When it comes to the strums and high-register strikes, the default sound signature is bright and quick; nevertheless, some may find it too scooped out in the mids compared to the lows and highs. Using the in-app EQ to adjust the balance may make a big difference.
For example, the kick drum loop on Kanye West and Jay-"No Z's Church in the Wild" is given a lot of high-mid presence, enabling the assault to keep its punchiness while getting a little more low-frequencies. As a result, the sub-bass synth bursts that punctuate the rhythm are delivered with tremendous low-frequency depth that will appeal to bass lovers—there is enough of sub-bass here, but it does not overrun the mix or interfere with the vocals.
The sound quality is excellent for orchestral music, such as the opening scene of John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary, using the Live 300TWS. The mix boosts the lower-register instruments, but the effect is milder than if the mix included a more robust low-frequency content. Brass, strings, and vocals remain powerful, sharp, and in the foreground, but the sculpting over the frequency range means this isn't an authentic sound characteristic of the song. Again, the EQ may help flatten the sound character to some extent for those looking for accuracy.
The microphone has excellent speech intelligibility. With the Voice Memos app on an iPhone 8, we could comprehend every word we recorded, and although Bluetooth distortion fuzzing around the edges was there, it wasn't excessive, and the mic signal was rather strong.
Read also our review of the Apple Airpods Pro
Battery life of the JBL LIVE 300
The JBL LIVE 300 TWS lasts five hours and fourteen minutes when tested at a steady sound pressure level (SPL) of 75 dB. JBL claims a six-hour battery life, but most of us don't listen to music for that long anyway, so it's still acceptable. The earbuds can be charged in only 10 minutes, allowing for an hour of listening time.
When not in use, the earbuds will be stored in the charging case, which will keep them charged until the battery is depleted. For roughly 18 hours of battery life, the case requires two hours of charging time and delivers an extra 2.3 charge cycles.
Comparison: JBL Reflect Flow Pro vs. JBL LIVE 300 TWS
The earphones and carrying case of the JBL Reflect Flow Pro have a total battery life of 30 hours, and the carrying case is compatible with wireless charging. Compared to the LIVE 300, the REFLECT FLOW PRO has a 10-hour stand-alone battery life, more than twice as long as the LIVE 300. Earbuds have dynamic drivers tailored to JBL's home sound, which most people like. Because of their IP68 certification, the earbuds in the REFLECT FLOW PRO are almost immune to dust and water.
Is the JBL LIVE 300 TWS worth the investment?
No matter how wonderful people it is, the JBL LIVE 300 TWS is not a game-changer; there are better models out there. I'm not overly excited about them, but these earbuds aren't as bad as you would anticipate. Disrupting the existing status quo is the only way to stand out in a market full of gimmicks and crazy items.
Success for bigger firms is often achieved by following the example of smaller enterprises that cannot successfully launch new, helpful goods. If you're searching for a headset that performs well and costs less than Apple, Sony, or Samsung, the LIVE 300 TWS is a good choice.
True wireless earphones on a budget can be had for less than $100 with the JBL LIVE 300 TWS. Athletes on the run will appreciate the bass-boosted frequency response and PowerHook technology of the JBL Endurance Peak II earphones, which are IPX7-rated.
Alternatives to the JBL LIVE 300 TWS
As with JBL's previous wireless earbud releases, this new set includes stems to make them easier to insert and remove. The good news is that for the price, you're getting a lot of features like active noise cancellation, IPX4 protection, and compatibility for a wide variety of Apps.
You may prefer the Jabra Elite 3 over the JBL earbuds in terms of sound quality. This Bluetooth 5.2 headset supports SBC and aptX codecs, making it a flexible choice for music listening. Furthermore, it has been tested to IP55 standards and comes with built-in fast charging capabilities.
Those using a Samsung Galaxy smartphone can opt for the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus. As of this writing, it is still one of the most comfortable wireless earbuds on the market. Battery life on a single charge may last up to 12 hours.