JBL's new wireless earbuds come with a touchscreen-equipped charging case

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,454   +171
Staff member
In a nutshell: JBL has introduced a new set of earbuds that come with what it is calling the world's first smart charging case. The JBL Tour Pro 2 buds ship with a charging case packing a 1.45-inch LED touchscreen display. The small panel showcases the remaining battery life for each earbud as well as the case itself and affords simplified music navigation. Users can also view messages and social media notifications without having to reach for their phone, and check the time.

The buds feature 10mm dynamic drivers and connect wirelessly via Bluetooth 5.3. They further boast adaptive noise canceling, six microphones for voice calls and come with multiple ear tip sizes to optimize fit.

Battery life is rated at up to 10 hours, and the touchscreen case can supply an additional 30 hours of listening time for a combined 40 hours. That's respectable but nowhere near what Adidas' recently announced solar-power headphones are capable of.

The obvious selling point here is the touchscreen-equipped charging case and at first glance, it seems like a decent idea. The issues start to compound when you take a closer look, however.

JBL bills the buds as advantageous because you don't need to interact with your phone to control the action as everything can be accomplished using the touchscreen on the charging case. To that, I'd argue that you already have your phone nearby to stream music to the buds. Is adding yet another device to the equation really accomplishing much?

Baking a screen into the charging case is going to suck down even more power which translates to less listening time. It might be negligible, but it's a drain nevertheless. Furthermore, adding a screen to the mix makes the case bulkier than it would be otherwise. Did I mention your phone already has a far superior display?

The JBL Tour Pro 2 earbuds are scheduled to arrive in January 2023 in your choice of black or champagne priced at $250 in Europe. No word yet on whether or not JBL is planning to bring them to other markets.

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Fearghast

Posts: 579   +496
Well, if you can't really make good sounding headphones, you make up other stuff around it to get the attention.
On TWS market, it's fairly easy, as no one expects TWS to sound good in a first place.
 

gnite

Posts: 8   +17
Displaying the remaining battery seems like a useful feature, better than a vague colored LED. The rest though? Seems rather unnecessary.
 

ruid84

Posts: 10   +3
You don't need to interact with your phone, though you do have to have your phone on hand. Seems cumbersome to me. Not to mention the additional battery drain caused by maintenance of two connections. How about creating an app for interacting with the headphones? Just to have one controlling device.
 

poltevo

Posts: 45   +27
Well, if you can't really make good sounding headphones, you make up other stuff around it to get the attention.
On TWS market, it's fairly easy, as no one expects TWS to sound good in a first place.

That was true years ago, but nowadays TWS are comparable to decent IEMs. Cheap TWS will probably sound bad, but with good components and tuning a sub $100 TWS should be fine.
 
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Fearghast

Posts: 579   +496
That was true years ago, but nowadays TWS are comparable to decent IEMs. Cheap TWS will probably sound bad, but with good components and tuning a sub $100 TWS should be fine.
Depends on your definition of comparable - if you mean $35 IEM (KZ X) vs. $400 TWS ... it's still a point for Gryffindor when it comes to sound quality.
But the worst thing that destroys sound quality of almost every TWS is tuning.
 

poltevo

Posts: 45   +27
Depends on your definition of comparable - if you mean $35 IEM (KZ X) vs. $400 TWS ... it's still a point for Gryffindor when it comes to sound quality.
But the worst thing that destroys sound quality of almost every TWS is tuning.
crinacle rates the Samsung buds, plus a few other TWS highly. You could probably get the Samsung buds on sale for $60. I’m not sure how those compare to the KZ X because I couldn’t find a rating for KZ products on his site, but I doubt they would be higher than a B+. Maybe other reviewers have different views on this and rate most TWS much worse then crinacle?
 

Fearghast

Posts: 579   +496
crinacle rates the Samsung buds, plus a few other TWS highly. You could probably get the Samsung buds on sale for $60. I’m not sure how those compare to the KZ X because I couldn’t find a rating for KZ products on his site, but I doubt they would be higher than a B+. Maybe other reviewers have different views on this and rate most TWS much worse then crinacle?
If you, for some reason, praise Crinacle, they did the tuning for the KZ X ...
Crinacle rate TWS headphones in a vacuum, didn't they? Against other TWS and not IEMs (I am too lazy to check).
Not to mention, it's really lovely to give a rating to sound ... I bet B+ certainly sounds better than A :-D what a joke. I know it's certainly done for people that do not read and simply look for higher number.
 

poltevo

Posts: 45   +27
I don’t think it was in a vacuum, but that doesn’t really matter if you don’t take his rankings seriously:) Personally, I prefer rankings to the alternatives.

Of course, sound quality is a very subjective thing so I try not to take reviewers too seriously and trust my own ears. However, we all need to rely on them to a certain extent. Anyway, fun chat.