UNBOXED: Reviewing the JLab Epic Air Wireless Earbuds
True wireless earbuds have kind of carved out a special place in my heart at this point. It’s a market segment that I’ve grown to thoroughly enjoy, especially given the variety of options available on the market. True wireless earbuds come in a variety of shapes and sizes and with numerous different features and functions as brands look for ways to set themselves apart from the clear leader in this space—Apple with their AirPods.
One of the better takes I’ve seen on this type of product comes from JLab, a company we’ve covered closely over the past year or so. The JLab Epic Air true wireless earbuds are the most unique looking true wireless earbuds you’ll come across, but the way in which the company developed this product was very intentional, and each detail—while aesthetically pleasing—has a real impact on the way the product functions.
The most notable feature of the Epic Air earbuds is their shape. Traditional wireless earbuds look like large earplugs. They’re a no frills kind of product that you shove into your ear canal and hope that they stay secure and don’t fall out. JLab completely changed the game here with their over-ear hook design, which resembles the same style of old wired headphones that I grew up wearing. Though slightly awkward to put on (I found it easiest to put the earbud in first and then bend my ear so the hook could fit behind it), the JLab Epic Air earbuds are by far the most comfortable and secure wireless earbud I’ve ever put on. There was never a sense of concern that one was going to fall out of my ear, and the various ear tip options ensure that any user can find the perfect fit.
But those hooks play a bigger role than just the secure fit they provide. JLab actually built their Bluetooth antenna into the hooks, which provides a more secure Bluetooth connection as well. Rather than trying to use sensors to connect the Bluetooth signal by going through the user’s head, JLab actually allows the Epic Air to send the Bluetooth signal around the back of the user’s head—the shortest distance between the two hooks—for what they say is a more secure and consistent connection.
Designed as a sport pair of earbuds, the IP55 rating means users won’t have to worry about damaging the Epic Air with sweat or if they go for a run and get caught in the rain. Though the rating is slightly lower than some other models on the market (Jabra’s Sport Elite are IP67, and The Dash Pro by Bragi are IPX7), the Epic Air are rugged enough to take a pretty normal beating. The six-hour battery life that the Epic Air get on a single charge (up to 30 hours with the charging case) are by far the best in the game. And though a little large for my taste, the charging case for the Epic Air earbuds doubles as an power pack, so the user can charge their phone on the go.
JLab performs really well in the sound spectrum as well. There was a very faint humming noise that was noticeable when the volume was turned down to the lowest possible setting, but I’m noticing that that’s an issue a few different wireless earbud makers are having. Aside from that, the Epic Air performed really well. The 8mm drivers provide massive sound, and the quality at any volume was among the most crisp I’ve had the opportunity to listen to. The touch controls, admittedly, were a little awkward to get used to, but after a few times wearing them it became second nature. And, as I’ve come to learn, it’s not easy for brands to bake normal control functions into these things—and it’s even harder as a user to remember all of the different gestures or controls from one pair to the next.
All of that, combined with the $149.99 price tag, makes the JLab Epic Air earbuds an easy pitch for someone looking to get into the true wireless earbud space.