JLab Audio is slowly but surely making a name for itself, and while it’s most certainly not the most famous headphone company out there, when we tried out the JLab Audio Omni Bluetooth headphones we found out that the company truly has something to offer. But the Omni’s aren’t the only headphones on offer by the fledgling headphone maker — it also has a pair of sports buds: the JLab Audio Epic2 in-ear wireless headphones.
But just how do the headphones perform? We’re always skeptical about sports-buds, so they have an uphill battle ahead of them. We put them to the test to see just how much the Epic2’s had to offer.
The first thing you’ll notice about any new product or device is its design, and the JLab Audio Epic2’s are no different. One way in which they are different, however, is the fact that they look great. They offer a sleek black look with a silver logo that gives them an overall very premium look.
On top of simply looking great out of the ear, they look pretty damn good in your ear too — they’re not too bulky, nor are they too heavy. The ear hook is super thin — to where it almost looks like part of the wire, and you’ll only really notice that it’s not when you see where the hook meets the wire and when you feel that it’s more rigid than the wire.
The headphones are available in three color variants — black, blue/gray/teal, and red/white/blue. We’re testing the black version, but it so happens that the other colors look pretty great too — albeit a little less sleek.
Along the aforementioned wire, which connects the two earbuds, you’ll notice in-line controls that are really quite simple, with a central button and two arrow buttons. With three buttons overall, it’s very easy to learn how to control the headphones without seeing them — and that’s exactly the way it should be.
In the box, you’ll also find a range of different ear tips as well as two cable tighteners to help make them fit tighter around your head, when prevents the cable from bobbing around while you run. You’ll also find a hard case — which is an excellent addition. Too many of these headphones come with a soft bag which offers almost no protection. These, on the other hand, stick to the hard case.
The JLab Audio Epic2’s are also water-resistant with an IPx5 rating, meaning that while you shouldn’t take them swimming, they can withstand the rain. That’s good news for many runners, especially those dedicated enough to run regardless of the weather.
If we had to say one negative thing about the design of these headphones, it’s that they could be a little thinner. That’s not to say they’re overly bulky — they’re not. But to be perfect these already sleek headphones could be slightly sleeker.
The Epic2’s don’t just look great — they feel pretty great too. As would happen with any in-ears, the Epic2’s can’t be worn all day without getting uncomfortable, but they can certainly be worn for at least a few hours before you’ll need a break.
The fact that they come with a total of eight eartips is a very helpful addition to making them comfortable for a range of different people. In the end, the eartips that came on the headphones were our favorite, but that doesn’t mean the same will be true for everyone. It would have been nice if they shipped with a set of Comply ear tips, but they don’t and that’s okay too.
You’ll definitely want to make use of those aforementioned cable tighteners — we noticed that without them the weight of the inline controls cause the right ear to fall out a fair bit, which was a little frustrating. When we put on the clips, however, that problem was quickly eliminated.
In the end the Epic2’s are quite comfortable — but they’re not perfect. Earbuds in general have a long way to go before they achieve comfort perfection, but if you need a pair of earbuds that aren’t distracting while you run and workout, then the Epic2’s are a great choice.
The sound of these headphones isn’t bad, but it certainly doesn’t live up to the quality we saw in the headphones’ design.
Let’s start with the bass — these headphones offer plenty of it, despite their size. Kick drums were nice and punchy, bass guitars were clean and defined, and all this was done without the sound getting too muddy. In fact, we can’t really fault the bass in these headphones. JLab have done a great job of ensuring that there’s plenty of bass — which is important when you’re working out, as it helps pump people up.
The mids are equally as well presented. There aren’t any gross mid frequencies that shine through too much, and the mid cuts are appropriately placed.
Highs are where the JLab Audio Epic2’s really suffer — there just aren’t that many highs in the mix, making music seem far less exciting than it could be. Cymbals just don’t really sizzle the way they should, and even vocals, which sit at far lower frequencies than the highs, simply don’t shine through. We experienced similar issues with the JLab Audio Omni headphones, so perhaps the issue isn’t headphone-specific but rather company specific. We would love to see the company really focus on tuning the high end for future pairs of headphones, because it really helps make music exciting.
Another issue is that the headphones seem to distort sooner than they should. Sure, the volume at which they distort is unsafely loud for long periods of time, the reality is that a lot of people listen to music more loudly than they should.
When it comes to sound isolation, these headphones are pretty good, however not more so than other earbuds that seal your ears. You’re still going to hear some outside noise, but the amount of that outside noise that’s let in is seriously reduced.
Overall, these headphones sound pretty good, but some more high-end would have been nice.
The Epic2’s offer pretty standard performance for sportsbuds, but they’re on the higher end of battery life. While some other sports buds offer a battery life of maybe 8 hours, these go an extra step and give 12 hours of battery — which is excellent for this class of headphone. You’ll experience different amounts of battery life depending on your use and volume levels, and while we got a little under the 12 hour mark, with a slightly lower volume we probably would have achieved the full 12 hours.
When it comes to Bluetooth, there isn’t really much to report here — the headphones use Bluetooth 4.0, and as such have a distance of around 30 feet, although that will be significantly shorter if there are obstacles in the way.
With an awesome design, a comfortable feel, and an above average battery life, the JLab Audio Epic2’s are some of the best sportsbuds we’ve tested. They do suffer from a lack of high frequencies, however for most people bass is more important, especially those into sport. Even better, they come at a great price — $99 isn’t cheap per se, but with this level of quality we think the headphones are well worth the price.
|Frequency response||Unknown||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Driver size||8mm||In-line controls||Yes|
|Rated impedance||Unknown||Ear tip material||Gel|
|Total harmonic distortion||Unknown||Magnet material||Unknown|
|Rated input power||Unknown||Water resistance||IPX5|
|Maximum input power||Unknown||Battery life||12 Hours|
|Wireless connection||Bluetooth 4.0||Wireless distance||30 feet|
|Wired connection||No||Cable length||N/A|
|Detachable cable||N/A||Case type||Hard case|
|Weight||15g||In-the-box||Hard case, 8 tip pairs, microUSB charging cable|
|Active noise cancellation||No||Colors||Black, blue/gray/teal, and red/white/blue|