Reviewed by Claire Giles
As a person who walks to work and back I use headphones daily. Currently I use over ear headphones but was looking at purchasing some smaller headphones that were easier to store in my pocket or bag when not in use. I had previously looked at some similar earbuds to these online but honestly wasn’t sure if they were worth the price tag. After using these earbuds for just a few days I can definitely say they are worth every penny.
The JBL Live Pro+ Earbuds arrived quickly and were well packaged. They came in a funky JBL logo box and even included a JBL gift bag which was a nice added extra. Once you remove the outer earbud box sleeve there is a plain black box inside and in that smaller black boxes containing the earbuds and all the extras. This made it all look expensive and sophisticated. Included in the box were the earbuds charging case, earbuds, charging wire, ear tips and quick start guides.
On first removing the earbuds from the box I was surprised with how light and compact the earbuds and charging case were. On top of the box was a guide on how to pair the earbuds with your device. I paired them with my mobile phone as I would be mainly using them to listen to music on my daily commute. To pair them was a quick and easy three stage process outlined clearly in the guide. Simply place both earbuds in the case, download and open the My JBL Headphones app to connect, open the charging case lid to power on and enter blue tooth pairing mode and the pair the earbuds and the device. This literally took a few minutes.
I have tried earbuds before (though a much cheaper wired pair) and found that they hurt my ears so wasn’t sure if I would like these. After placing the earbuds in my ears using the smallest ear tips provided I used a clever feature on the My JBL Headphones app called “check my best fit”. It shows you how to best wear the earbuds and then sends a testing notification and ring tone to the earbuds and the mic on the earbuds measures if leakage occurs and then notifies you accordingly. On doing this the app notified me to try a different size ear tip which I did and actually the next size up fitted a lot better. I then did the best fit check again and this time no issues were found. The earbuds are extremely comfortable even after wearing them for long periods of time and they fit securely. There is a “find my buds” feature on the app if you did manage to lose or misplace one. To use this you enable the function and they start beeping. This works within 8 metres and is run by blue tooth connectivity (not GPS).
There is a set up guide included on how to set up either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant as a voice assistant for the earbuds. These guides are small and concise yet contain all the guidance needed. A lot of products nowadays do not come with paper guides and instead expect you to go online to their websites for help and guidance. I found the guides really helpful in getting the earbuds set up super quick without any further guidance needed.
As we already have a monthly music subscription with Amazon music I set up Amazon Alexa as my preferred voice assistant. Alexa is already built into the earbuds. I already had the Amazon Alexa app set up on the phone so I simply went into the Alexa app and used the add device option and selected the earbuds from the available devices and followed the instructions given to complete set up. Then I enabled Alexa as the preferred voice assistant in the My JBL Headphones app. Now I simply tap and hold on the earbud to connect to Alexa and then can ask her to play whatever music/playlist I want or ask her a question. This is a really useful hands free feature as I don’t have to get my phone out of my pocket to change music/playlists.
Nearly every function can be used by button command on the earbuds by tap, double tap, triple-tap or tap and hold. This can be a bit tricky at first. I tended to over tap or not tap enough but soon got the hang of it and now just tap them the necessary amount of times for function I want without even thinking about it. You can play, pause, skip, answer calls, end calls, mute/unmute calls and adjust volume using this feature. The tap sequence for each function is included in the quick start guide and really simple like tap once to play, tap once again to pause, tap twice to skip forward, tap three times to skip backwards. In the My JBL headphones app you can even personalise which earbud left or right controls each function.
If you receive a call whilst using the earbuds with your mobile phone this overrides the button commands and you simply tap once on earbuds to answer, tap twice to end call and tap and hold to mute/unmute. On call the sound is clear and crisp and the person I was on call to commented how much better they could hear me with these earbuds compared to my old headphones and couldn’t hear any background noise so my voice was so much clearer.
There are various functions you can personalise to suit your needs on the My JBL Headphones app. These include ANC on/off to activate or deactivate the noise cancelling in the earbuds, Ambient aware which increases ambient sounds to safely hear your surroundings whilst still listening to your earbuds, Talk thru where music is lowered and speech amplified so you can have a normal conversation with earbuds in and smart audio/video options. The noise cancelling literally blocked out all outside noises and the ambient aware was great when out and about with them in. You could still hear noises around you but more faintly than normal. The play and pause function can be selected so that sound pauses automatically when removing your earbuds and resumes automatically when you put them back in again. Can apply auto off function to turn off earbuds if they are left idle for a selected amount of time.
The earbuds magnetically hold in the charger case so can’t fall out. The front of the charging box has lights to show amount of charge left. The My JBL headphones app also shows how much charge is left in each earbud and the case. There is a charging cable included. The earbuds and charging case once fully charged last 7 hours for the earbuds and then can be charged again in the charging case (without it being plugged in) and will last a further 21 hours. It takes 2 hours to charge from empty. To power off simple place the earbuds in the case and close the lid.
Overall these are an excellent pair of earbuds yet do so much more than you would expect. All the features seem a bit complicated at first but after a quick read of the included quick start guides they were soon set up and operational set to my personal preferences. I have used them everyday since and wouldn’t go back to using any others. They are more expensive then simple wireless earbuds but with all the features and functions they do they are worth the extra expense. I would definitely recommend them to others and may even purchase another pair myself for my oldest daughter they are that good
RRP: £119 (editor’s note – currently on sale for £99.99 at the time of putting the review online)
This product can be purchased from JBL here.