True wireless headphones are largely considered to be the future of consumer audio-on-the-go, but while there are plenty of contenders in the day-to-day listening space, not many companies have been able to crack the code for great sports-based true wireless headphones. JLab Audio, however, thinks it has the solution — the JLab Epic Air headphones.
The headphones feature some design choices that make it seem obvious that they’re built for sports — but that doesn’t mean they perform well. JLab has built some great products in the past, but do the JLab Epic Air headphones live up to the JLab Audio name? We put them to the test.
The first thing you’ll notice about these headphones is their design, and while they’re true wireless they look a little different from most other true wireless headphones. That’s thanks largely to the somewhat large ear hook, which doesn’t detach. Of course, most of the time you won’t want to detach them — these headphones are built for sport, and the ear hooks play a big role in keeping the headphones on your head.
Each earbud has an inside power button, but you’ll only use that to turn the headphones on and off — after that, you’ll be using the touch-sensitive outside of the earbuds to control playback and volume. For example, you’ll tap on the right bud to skip to the next track, hold down to turn up the volume, double tap the left bud to activate Google Assistant or Siri, and so on. The controls take a little getting used to, but in the end they’re handy and relatively intuitive.
Now, we would be remiss to not mention that when we first received the buds they were a little glitchy and didn’t quite perform the actions they were supposed to — but upon reaching out to JLab and performing a recalibration of the touch sensors, which was quite easy, they worked exactly as advertised. The touch gestures are quite intuitive, but some may find they’ll take a bit of getting used to. Using them, you can adjust volume, skip forward or back, and even activate Google Assistant or Siri.
When it comes to true wireless headphones, it’s not just about the design of the headphones themselves — it’s also about the charging case. The JLab Epic Air charging case is quite a bit larger than most other charging cases, but it’s well-designed and holds a pretty massive battery too. It also features a button to check the battery life, and the cable slots nicely around the case — perfectly enough to where we didn’t even know it was there until we saw it in the instructions.
The only real downside to the case seems to be that the rubber it’s made of is easily scratched. It’s not a big deal, but still something to consider.
In the box, you’ll get the headphones themselves, the charging case, charging cable, and a series of different ear tips. That’s really all you’ll need here.
The whole point of these headphones it that, unlike other true wireless headphones, they stay nice and firmly in the ear — even during sports and at the gym. So do they hold up?
Actually, they do pretty well. We loved the ear hooks, which were able to keep the headphones pretty securely in place. That’s good news for runners or those looking to take their headphones to the gym, though we do recommend trying out the different ear tip sizes to find the right ones for you.
In general, these fit as well as other well-fitting in-ear headphones. You’re always going to experience some discomfort with in-ear headphones, but these did better than most in that respect.
So the headphones are well-designed and reasonably comfortable. That puts them ahead of many other true wireless headphones. But how do they sound? Thankfully, pretty darn good.
Let’s start with the bass — which is generally nice and powerful. It’s not at mega-bass level, but we think that’s a good thing, and it helps them sound a little more natural. The bass doesn’t extend as low as some might like, but there still seems to be a nice, subtle boost where it counts.
That boost carries over into the low-mids, which helps give the headphones a relatively nice, warm sound. The high-mids are well-tuned as well — they deliver enough oomph in the vocal and guitar region, which is an important aspect to consider.
High-end is present and sibilant, and while it could extend a little higher, these aren’t built to be audiophile headphones. Cymbals have a nice shimmer, but again, not a super bright one.
The JLab Epic Air headphones are decently well-tuned. They’re obviously tuned to a consumer-friendly sound — but that’s not a bad thing at all, and we liked the tone of music they produced across most genres.
Some reviews indicate that the JLab Epic Air headphones underperform, but while we didn’t find them to work perfectly, they generally worked well. Music playback was, for the most part, smooth and drop-free, and that’s what’s important here.
Of course, there are a few things to consider. For starters, there’s some lag in audio playback making these a little less than ideal for watching videos. On top of that, for some reason, we found that when we used Google Assistant it only played back audio in the right ear.
Still, the Bluetooth 4.1 connection seemed to work well the vast majority of the time, even through some obstacles.
The other thing to consider is battery life, and these offer a massive six hours. That’s far better than most other true wireless headphones, and means you shouldn’t ever run into running out of batteries unless you really have long listening sessions. The charging case offers 30 more hours of battery life, which is also way better than most others, and means you’ll get five extra charges.
JLab Audio has hit a real home run with the JLab Epic Air headphones. They’re well-designed, generally comfortable, sound good, and they offer way above-par performance. At $150, we think these are among the best true wireless headphones out there — especially if you’re looking for something you can take with you to the gym.
They’re not perfect. While we didn’t experience connectivity issues like other reviews, they were there, and while in the end the touch gestures worked as they should, it took recalibrating them to get them to do so.
Still, those are small issues here — the JLab Epic Air headphones are the best true wireless headphones for sports people, and among the best for everyone else too. They’re not as small as the GoNovate Gemini, nor as stylish as the B&O Beoplay E8 — but thanks to their premium quality, we’ve awarded them the Headphone Review Silver Medal.
|Frequency response||Unknown||Active noise cancellation
|Driver size||Unknown||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
||Unknown||Battery life||6 Hours|
|Maximum input power
||Unknown||Wireless distance||10m (33ft)|
||Bluetooth 4.1||Cable length||N/A|
||No||Case type||Charging case|