JBL has had a great few years. The company rebuffed its E-Series headphones at the beginning of the year, but it also launched a new pair of sports-focused neckbuds — the JBL Reflect Fit headphones.
The headphones come in at $150, which isn’t all that bad considering what you get. Not only do you get a pair of headphones, but you’ll also get a built-in heart rate monitor. But should you buy them? We put the headphones to the test to find out.
The first thing you’ll notice about the JBL Reflect Fit is their design, and they’re pretty unique — though not necessarily in a bad way. The headphones come in a range of different colors, including red, blue, black, or teal.
As is the case with most neckbud-style headphones, they headphones have a collar-style neckband that rests around your neck. It’s a little tighter than most other neckbuds, but definitely not constricting and the tighter fit is probably better for sports-people. The headphones are made from a rubber material and they boast an IPX5 water-resistance rating. Definitely don’t go swimming with them, but they should be able to get through sweat and some rain.
On the left of the neckband, you’ll find volume controls/playback controls, with playback controls kicking in by pressing the buttons. The right of the headphones is where you’ll find the multi-use button, which controls power, play, and pause features, and a heart rate monitor that will get the headphones to tell you your heart rate. That heart rate monitor can also pair with many fitness apps, which is a nice touch.
The headphones come with a few different accessories, including a soft carry pouch, a microUSB charging cable, a total of three pair os ear tips, and three pairs of sports wings. That’s really all you should need.
As mentioned, the headphones come with a few different ear tips and sports wings, and we recommend experimenting a little with them to get the right fit. In the end, however, these headphones are built to stay firmly in your ears without falling out, even during somewhat heavy activity, and enough to get an accurate heart rate reading — and with that comes some discomfort over long periods of listening time.
In general, the nackband provided a good fit. We never felt that it was too constricting, despite the fact that it was definitely tighter than other headphones — but some might feel differently.
While the JBL Reflect Fit headphones might be built for sports-people, that doesn’t mean they should offer a good sound quality. But do they? Thankfully yes — provided you’re not looking for an entirely accurate sound profile.
Let’s start with the bass, which is generally well-tuned and powerful. Those looking for a bit of extra oomph in the bass to help get them through their workout will like what these have to offer — a good amount of bass without going overboard. On tracks like Katy Perry’s California Girls, bass was strong enough to shine through, like it should but not enough to rattle your brain — which is a good thing.
The mid-range sounds good, but you’ll have to be okay with how tuned it is. On orchestral tracks like Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, there was a clear boost in the lower mids, while the higher mids, while definitely present, were a little overshadowed. Not necessarily a bad thing — and the result is a pretty warm mix, especially with more popular music, but still something to keep in mind.
The high-end is pretty clear and concise, even if it sounds highly compressed. On tracks like AC/DC’s Back in Black, hi-hats get plenty of room to breathe, while vocals are quite sibilant. We could have perhaps used slightly less high-end here — which is not something we say very often when it comes to consumer headphones.
The JBL Reflect Fit aren’t overly accurate. If you’re a purist, keep looking — but if you’re looking for a great pair of headphones to take with you to the gym, then these may well be the right pair of headphones for you.
The JBL Reflect Fit headphones connect to your listening device through Bluetooth 4.2, so you’ll get a standard connection range of 10 meters, or 33 feet. We didn’t experience any real skips or connectivity issues, except at unreasonable distances and through obstacles.
The battery life comes in at 10 hours, which isn’t all that bad. If you’re good at remembering to charge up your devices, the 10 hour battery life should be plenty for you.
We did experience some issues with the heart rate monitor. The headphones were required to be sealed extremely tightly in place and we often got told to adjust them before the headphones could read the heart rate. We managed to get decent reading eventually, but it did require some tweaking.
The JBL Reflect Fit are a great option for those looking for a decent pair of sports neckbuds and like the idea of having heart rate monitoring too. In fact, we can’t think of a better option if that’s you — not too many headphones offer heart rate monitoring just yet.
Of course, if you can forgo the heart rate monitoring, your options open up. JBL itself has some great other sports-focused buds, though the best sports-focused headphones, in our view, are still the Jaybird X3 headphones.
Still, because of their decent design, innovative features, and good sound quality, we’re awarding these headphones the Headphone Review Bronze Medal.
|Frequency response||10Hz – 22kHz||Active noise cancellation
|Driver size||5.8mm||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
||Unknown||Battery life||10 Hours|
|Maximum input power
||Unknown||Wireless distance||10m (33ft)|
||Bluetooth 4.2||Cable length||N/A|
||No||Case type||Soft pouch|
|Weight||37g (1.3oz)||Colors||Black, blue, red, teal|