JLabs' premium ANC headphones are gunning for Sony and Bose

Can affordable ANC headphones really compete with the best noise cancelling headphones? JLabs says yes

JLabs JBuds Lux
(Image credit: JLabs)

When it comes to the best noise cancelling headphones, you know what to expect: a price tag between £200 and £300 and a big brand name on the side – Sony, maybe, or Bose. But JLabs hopes to shake things up a bit with a set of high-end ANC headphones that cost considerably less without sacrificing sound quality or ANC performance.

The new JLabs JBuds Lux cost just $80 and promise long battery life, excellent sound quality, multipoint Bluetooth, spatial audio and more. They might not have the cachet of the bigger audio brands, but at this price that's not going to deter would-be buyers: the spec is extremely impressive for the money.

JLabs JBuds Lux: key specifications

The drivers here are 40mm, the same size as you'll find in premium flagships from big names, and JLabs says the frequency response is 20Hz to 20KHz with very low distortion. That's the most common frequency range for Bluetooth headphones, although you'll often find that high-end models have a wider range with a wired connection: for example Sony's WH-1000XM5 go down to a subterranean 4Hz in that mode. The JBuds Lux also support spatial audio and Bluetooth LE audio; the Bluetooth here is 5.3 with multipoint and Google Fast Pair. 

With ANC enabled JLabs says noise is reduced by up to 25dB, and there's a Be Aware mode offering similar transparency to other ANC headphones. Battery life is a promised 70 hours with ANC off and 40 hours with it enabled.

If you prefer buds to over-ears, JLabs has something for you too. The new JBuds ANC 3 are $59.99 and promise 42 hours of battery life, Bluetooth multipoint and improved noise cancellation. They too have the Be Aware transparency mode, and they're rated IP55 for dust and sweat resistance.

Whether you go for the headphones or earbuds, both models connect to JLabs' smartphone app for control over the noise cancelling, touch control assignment (for the earbuds) and equalisation adjustments and presets. 

The new JLabs ANC 3 earbuds are available now and most models of the noise cancelling headphones will ship in February; the mauve option will ship in March. For now both models are US only but we'd expect a UK release in early 2024.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).