JBL has been a powerhouse in the headphone business for some time now, and for good reason. It’s headphones have a lot to offer at a great price. Towards the end of last year, we took a look at the JBL Everest Elite 700, which were extremely comfortable, sounded great, and offered customizability. More recently, however, JBL unveiled the new E Series of headphones — including the JBL E35.
The JBL E35 is targeted at offering that excellent JBL sound in a smaller, more portable, and more affordable package. But does the E35 succeed in that goal? We put it to the test to find out.
The first thing you’ll notice about the JBL E35 headphones is their design, and they look quite nice. They’re distinctly JBL headphones — which is to say, they offer a sleek rounded look with large JBL logos on either ear. The headphones are also available in a range of other colors. It’s a good look, and one that has been proven to work thanks to JBL’s previous headphone offerings.
On the right ear cup, you’ll find an aux jack for the cable. The headphones aren’t wireless, which is something to keep in mind, especially considering you’re likely looking for portable headphones if you’re looking for a pair of on-ear cans.
Speaking of the cable, it’s pretty well-built. Rather than being shielded by plastic, JBL has opted for a nice braided nylon, so they’ll be stronger and won’t tangle as easily. Part way down the cable, you’ll find a single-button remote, which is handy for playing/pausing music and controlling phone calls. A three-button remote might have helped for things like volume-control, but in this case you’ll have to stick with adjusting volume from your listening device.
The headphones look nice, but we can’t help but feel like the build quality could be a little better. JBL made heavy use of plastic for the E35’s, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing — but we certainly would have liked to see a little more metal here. Still, it doesn’t seem like they’ll break too easily, especially if you take care of them.
In the box, you’ll find the headphones themselves and the cable — and that’s about it. It’s a bit of a bummer that JBL didn’t at least include a soft pouch for these headphones. On-ear headphones are almost always aimed at being portable, and because of that a way to store them is important.
In general the headphones look great. While there are some build quality issues, they seem strong enough — especially at this price.
Comfort is an important thing to consider with all headphones, and the JBL E35’s are no exception. Sometimes, on-ear headphone manufacturers struggle with comfort, just because of the fact that the on-ear form factor is a little uncomfortable in and of itself. Thankfully, however, JBL seems to have done a great job at avoiding that issue.
JBL has included a good amount of padding on the JBL E35 ear cans. While when you press on it with your hands, it may seem like there’s not much there — and there’s not. But the headphones also don’t clamp too hard on your head, so not all that much foam is needed.
On the headband, you’ll also find some padding, though we would have liked more. You’ll notice the pressure of the headband after some time wearing these headphones. It’s not overly bad — but noticeable nonetheless.
In general, the JBL E35 headphones are decently comfortable, and while a little more padding, and higher quality padding, would be welcome, it doesn’t get to the level of being a deal-breaker by any means.
Sound is perhaps the most important thing to consider with all headphones, and JBL has long offered great-sounding options. Thankfully, that’s no different with the JBL E35 headphones.
Let’s start with the bass, which is generally decently powerful. The bass frequencies that are on display are punchy and present, though we can’t help but which they were slightly more powerful, and that there was more of a boost in the super low frequencies. That’s not to say the bass is lacking — it’s not. But those looking for super punchy headphones might look elsewhere.
The midrange is quite well tuned, and nothing stands out as overly boosted or cut. There does seem to be a slight boost in the high-mid frequency range, which helps give things like the vocals a little presence. The low mids sound great, and help give a certain warmth to the headphones.
The high end suffers a few of the same problems that the bass does. While high frequencies are decently present and crisp, the higher highs could be boosted a little more, which would help give the headphones a little more clarity.
The soundstage of the headphones sounds good, and the headphones avoid distortion relatively well.
The JBL E35 headphones are a great offering, but they’re not perfect. The lack of case is a frustrating omission, while the build quality could be better and there are a few small tweaks we would have liked to see in sound.
Still, at this price point you can’t really do much better, and we wholeheartedly recommend the JBL E35 headphones. When it comes to on-ear headphones in general, the Grado SR125e headphones scored a little better and are slightly cheaper, but they’re also not as portable nor are they as stylish. It’s a trade-off, and one we wouldn’t mind making.
Because of the high quality on offer by these headphones, they’ve achieved the Headphone Review Bronze Medal.
|Frequency response||20Hz – 20kHz||Active noise cancellation
|Driver size||40mm||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
|Maximum input power
||No||Cable length||1.35m (4.4ft)|
|Weight||165g (5.8oz)||Colors||Black, blue, red, green, white|