JBL recently unveiled a slew of new headphones, called the E-Series. We’ve looked at three of the headphones in the E-Series lineup so far, including the E35, the E25BT, and the E55BT. Now, however, we’re reviewing an on-ear pair that sits squarely in the middle of those we’ve already looked at — the JBL E45BT on-ear headphones.
The headphones are a little smaller than the E55BT’s, but they’re also Bluetooth, like the E35 headphones. But are they worth the $100 they come at? We put them to the test to find out.
The first thing you’ll notice about the JBL E45BT headphones is their design, and they look much like all the other headphones in the E-Series lineup. They feature a distinct “JBL” look, with the JBL logo on each ear cup, as well as rounded corners and the ability to fold up and swivel.
The headphones are available in a range of different colors, including black, blue, red, green, and white. We’re reviewing the green pair, which have a very “fun” look to them — though if you’re looking for something a little more sleek and stylish the black pair look to offer that too.
On the left ear cup, you’ll find a microUSB charging port, however on the right you’ll find a power switch, volume up/down buttons, a multi-use center button, and an aux port. You’ll also get a Bluetooth button. The button placement was a point of confusion for us — the volume controls and multi-use button are all very close together, so it can be a little confusing figuring out which button you’re pressing before you press it.
In the box, you’ll find the headphones themselves, as well as a microUSB charging cable and an aux cable. It was a bit frustrating for us to not find a case or bag of any kind — these headphones are clearly aimed at someone looking for a portable option, and as such there’s no excuse to not include a way to carry them around or protect them.
In general, however, the headphones look good and feel good too. Sure, a bit more metal use would have been nice, but they feel strong enough, and we like that there’s a big selection of colors available.
While these headphones obviously aren’t the same as the JBL E35 headphones, they are built similarly and are generally the same size — so the comfort level between the two headphones is extremely similar. On-ear headphones in general have a rough time when it comes to comfort level, largely because of the way that put pressure on the ear. Thankfully, JBL seems to have been able to avoid that problem in building the JBL E35 headphones.
The headphones feature a good amount of padding around the ear cups. As mentioned in the E35 review, when you press on the foam it won’t feel like there’s much there — and there’s not. But the headphones don’t apply too much pressure either, and they’re quite light, so not much padding is needed.
On the headband, there is some padding — but some more would have been welcome. If you do experience any discomfort from these headphones, it will be on the top of your head rather than your ears.
Perhaps a little more or a little higher quality foam would have been nice, but we’re certainly not complaining about the comfort level of these headphones.
So the headphones are well-designed and decently comfortable, but do they sound good? Perhaps unsurprisingly, they sound pretty nice indeed.
Let’s start with the bass, which sounds quite nice. It’s relatively deep and punchy, while still not overshadowing the other frequencies on offer. The only negative aspect of the bass is that we would have liked to see it extend a little deeper, which would help make that bass a little heavier and more versatile. Still, the vast majority of people will be very pleased with the amount of bass the JBL E45BT headphones deliver.
The mid-range is very well-tuned. The low-mids add plenty of warmth to the music while not getting too muddy, while the higher-mids are strong enough to add a good amount of presence to the vocals, guitars, synths, and some drums.
When it comes to the high-end, the sound is quite good. There’s a good amount of higher frequencies to help things like cymbals sound nice and crisp, though perhaps some of the higher high frequencies could be boosted just a touch.
The soundstage on offer by these headphones is quite good, but not quite as good as the larger JBL E55BT headphones. The headphones also didn’t distort that easily — though again, the E55BT’s were slightly better in that regard. The noise isolation of these headphones is fine, but if you’re looking for something to really block out the outside noise, you may want to look elsewhere.
In general, the JBL E45BT headphones sounded really quite good. Sure, they weren’t as open as their more expensive sibling, and we would have liked slightly deeper bass — but for the price these sound great.
The battery life of these headphones is pretty good. While you would expect most over-ear headphones to extend well into the 20-hour region, on-ear headphones you get a little less — simply because there’s less room for batteries. These last 16 hours, which is pretty good for this form-factor. Sure, it’s nothing to write home about, but it’s still quite good.
The headphones use Bluetooth 4.0, and you’ll get a standard range of 10 meters, or 33 feet. That will, of course, depend on obstacles, but in general we didn’t have any issues with the connectivity of these headphones.
The JBL E45BT headphones are really quite nice headphones. They’re well-designed, comfortable, and they sound quite good. Sure, they’re not perfect — not much is. But At this price point, JBL has once again delivered an excellent pair of headphones.
In fact, there aren’t many headphones that can compete at this price — especially headphones that have the same features, like wireless connectivity.
Because of their excellent value for money, and the fact that they deliver great sound quality, these headphones get the Headphone Review Bronze Medal.
|Frequency response||20Hz – 20kHz||Active noise cancellation
|Driver size||40mm||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
||Unknown||Battery life||60 hours|
|Maximum input power
||Unknown||Wireless distance||10m (33ft)|
||Bluetooth 4.0||Cable length||1.2m (4ft)|
|Weight||Unknown||Colors||Black, blue, red, green, white|