We’ve reviewed a few pairs of JLab Audio headphones before — including the JLab Audio Omni’s and the JLab Audio Epic2’s — and each time we’ve been pleasantly surprised. Not because we thought that the headphones wouldn’t be so good, but more because of how great they are for the price. Well, JLab is at it again, this time with the JLab Audio Flex ANC wireless headphones.
But just how do the headphones compare to previous JLab Audio cans? We put them to the test to find out.
The first thing you’ll notice about the JLab Audio Flex ANC’s is how they look — and boy do they look awesome. There’s plenty of metal to give them that premium sheen, and even the plastic used doesn’t at all look or feel cheap.
In the box, you’ll get a very welcome hard case, a charging cable, and an aux cable — pretty standard for headphones in this price range, but the hard case is very welcome for those that want to take their cans on the road.
Another thing you’ll notice about these headphones is that the earcup is shaped more like a triangle than a circle, similar to how the Audeze Sine headphones look. In this case, the headphones fit perfectly around your ear, so not only do they look modern with their interesting shape, but the shape serves a purpose as well. That’s in stark contrast with the Omni’s, which looked fine, but didn’t blow us away by any means. JLab has obviously put a lot of effort into the design of these headphones, and that effort has seriously paid off.
Under the left earcup, you’ll find the aux port, the power button, a volume rocker, and a noise cancellation switch. It’s pretty easy to get used to the layout of these buttons, which we like. On the right ear, you’ll find the charging cable.
Perhaps the worst thing about the design is the location of the buttons. We feel like most people will find right ear-mounted buttons slightly more accessible than left ear-mounted. JLab Audio has opted to mount buttons on the left ear — in our ideal scenario, buttons would all be on the right ear, and ports on the left.
The Flex ANC wireless headphones don’t just look good, they feel pretty nice too. There’s plenty of padding around the ear, and a nice tuft of it under the headband too, ensuring that the top of your head doesn’t get too uncomfortable.
While there is plenty of padding, we can’t help but feel that the quality of that padding is a little low. We would have liked to see memory foam rather than the “Cloud Foam” used in these headphones. They most certainly don’t feel bad, but using a higher quality memory would not only feel better, but it would help deliver a better seal as well — which is handy when you’re trying to cancel outside noise.
The JLab Audio Omni’s sounded pretty great, but again, they didn’t blow us away. In fact, it was a similar case with the JLab Audio Flex ANC’s. That’s not to say they sound bad — they don’t sound bad at all, but they most certainly serve a specific purpose.
Let’s start with the bass — there’s plenty of it. In fact, the bass is really the high point of the JLab Audio Flex ANC’s, and it goes a long way in keeping those pounding kick drums and clear bass guitars without sounding muddy. The kick drum on Betty Who’s I Love You Always Forever clearly shone through the mix, while the bass on AC/DC’s Back In Black shone through more than we’ve ever heard it. For that reason, there’s are a great headphone choice for those who like a lot of bass or who are into hip-hop, for example.
The mids are also pretty good, but there’s clearly quite a dip in their volume, especially compared to the bass. That’s likely to appeal to the Beats crowd of people, who like a nice dip in their mid-range.
Of course, the Beats crowd also like a good amount of high-end, and that’s unfortunately where these headphones really fall flat. We would have liked to see a lot more high-end, especially in the ultra highs. That would help vocals shine through and cymbals to offer plenty of sheen. JLab Audio claims the “Crystal Clear Clarity” used on these headphones help them deliver vibrant highs, however we would argue that the highs could use a lot more vibrancy.
These headphones were able to handle plenty of volume without getting distorted, which is a nice addition. It wasn’t until they were at dangerously high volumes that we noticed any distortion at all, and at those volumes the headphones actually cut out, preserving both the headphones and your ears.
You may notice that these are also noise cancelling headphones, as shown by the “ANC” or “active noise cancelling” in the name. They do a pretty good job at cutting out most low-end rumble, making them a great choice for frequent flyers.
Another point in which the JLab Audio Flex ANC’s really shine is in performance. That’s to say, they offer a ton more battery life than most of the competition. If you use them in wired mode, with the aux cable, you’ll get a massive 60 hours of battery life. Even in Bluetooth mode, you’ll get a good 30 hours, which is more than most. With both noise cancelation and Bluetooth on, you’ll get 10 hours — that’s not bad at all, but you’ll probably want to bring a charger on those long-haul flights.
Bluetooth range is pretty standard on these. You’ll get around 30 feet of range without any obstacles, or a lot less with obstacles. If you’re reasonably close to the source, don’t expect any dropouts — we didn’t experience any without wondering seriously far away.
JLab Audio has come out with quite a pair of headphones in the JLab Audio Flex ANC’s. While they’re let down a little by a lack of high-end and slightly cheap foam, the value for money here is undeniable. Despite the lack of highs, they deliver a reasonably good sound in a beautiful package. If you’re looking for a pair of noise cancelling headphones and don’t want to break the bank, then these may be the headphones for you.
|Frequency response||Unknown||Active noise cancellation
|Driver size||40mm||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
||Unknown||Battery life||10 hours BT+ANC, 30 hours BT, 60 hours wired|
|Maximum input power
||Unknown||Wireless distance||10m (33ft)|
||Yes||Cable length||1.5m (5ft)|
||Yes||Case type||Hard case|
||Yes||In-the-box||Hard case, charging cable, 3.5mm cable|