Need reliable workout buds? This JBL Reflect Aero review is here to help. They’re some of the best true wireless earbuds for exercise because they’re designed for all sorts of activities be that running, weight-lifting, walking or commuting.
JBL’s ever-growing range of earbuds are just getting better and better with more and more handy features that make listening to music easier and more hassle-free. Whether you want something affordable, something cool or something with incredible sound quality, there’s bound to be something that’s a perfect fit for you in their portfolio of products.
The JBL Reflect Aero are a pair of super secure earbuds with full waterproofing that have been built for an active lifestyle. In this review, you can find out everything you need to know about them from their design and fit to their performance and more on their array of features.
JBL Reflect Aero review: price and availability
You can pick up a pair of the JBL Reflect Aero now for $150 in the US and £120 in the UK, they aren't currently available in Australia. Find out which retailers you can buy them from in the widgets on this page.
JBL Reflect Aero review: design and fit
Circular-shaped earbuds that come in a pill-shaped charging case, the JBL Reflect Aero were carefully designed for movement. They feel well made and you can buy them in a few different colours including blue, white, black and mint.
Each bud comes with three sizes of ear wings and three sizes of silicone ear tips included as well to help them stay secure, while the case has a handy strap so you can attach it to your bag or belt loop, or carry it with you much more easily than you would be able to otherwise. I found I could easily work out in these, whether for weight lifting, mat exercise or more high-energy activities like skipping - my routine wasn’t interrupted by an earbud coming out of place.
What’s more, is that they’re completely waterproof and dustproof with an IP68 rating, which not only means they’ll handle a bit of sweat but they’ll be fine to use in the pouring rain or at places like the beach as well.
You can easily control the earbuds on the fly using the touch controls on the outside. They’re quite wide in comparison to others which makes them a lot less finicky to use.
By default, you tap once on the right earbud to pause or play the music, twice to skip forwards and three times to skip backwards. On the left earbud, one tap will switch between the noise cancelling and ambient modes, while two taps will enable the talk-through mode. A long press on either side will call your voice assistant, whether that’s Siri, Bixby, the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
If these gestures don’t make sense to you then you can actually adjust them through the adjoining JBL Headphones smartphone app.
The battery life lets these down slightly, with 8 hours of playtime but only an extra 16 hours provided by the case, and that drops if you keep the noise cancelling turned on, down to 7 hours of music and 14 hours with the case.
It’ll take about 2 hours to get them fully recharged again, although a quick 15 minutes plugged in will give you about 4 hours of music which is pretty good. Unfortunately, there’s no wireless charging to speak of here.
JBL Reflect Aero review: performance and features
As you’d want from a pair of workout headphones, the JBL Reflect Aero are punchy and powerful. Each song I played was dynamic and energetic which is sure to get the blood pumping.
I listened to tunes from as many genres as I could bear, from rock music to soul and R&B, my overriding conclusion outside of these being backed with loads of bass, was that every track sounded really crisp and detailed. There’s no muddying and the soundstage is wide, pushing each frequency through with plenty of precision.
You can actually adjust the sound to better suit you. If you’re less keen on punch, there’s a detailed equaliser in the app to dial it down as well as 5 preset settings to pick from depending on what you’re listening to. There’s the choice of jazz, vocal, bass, club and studio.
The noise cancelling was actually very effective at blocking out distracting sounds while the music was playing. I could barely hear the rattle of a noisy train passing by nor could I hear people's chatter as I was walking around London, even my own taps on the keyboard got drowned out by the ANC. Again, this lends itself well to exercise because it means you’ll be able to focus entirely on the music, and not the conversation people are having next to you in the gym.
As well as the noise cancelling mode, there’s an Ambient Aware sound mode and a TalkThru mode. The Ambient Aware mode can be adjusted along a scale and serves to let in some external sounds so you’re more aware of your surroundings. For example, if you want to hear traffic noise on a run. The TalkThru mode, however, boosts the sounds of voices and dials down the music so you can have a conversation without taking the earbuds out.
The JBL Headphones smartphone app, which is available for both iOS and Android, offers a decent amount of extra functionality. When you first set the earbuds up, it’ll be useful to run the Earbud Fit Test which will let you know whether you’ve picked the right size of silicone ear tip or not. For particularly noisy environments the Ear Canal Test will run a couple of tests and adjust the ANC based on your ear canal shape as well.
There's a lot of good to say about these earbuds but admittedly it's not all good - the call quality was a little disappointing, despite having 3 microphones in each earbud. During some phone calls, I could barely hear the person on the other end and they could barely hear me either. There wasn’t a problem with background noise but the microphones do need to be improved.
Keeping you connected is Bluetooth 5.2. I was up and running with my Android phone within seconds but I did find if I wandered away into another room the music would temporarily cut out. It’s not a huge problem but it could be a little annoying.
JBL Reflect Aero review: verdict
The JBL Reflect Aero hit a sweet spot, in my opinion, the price is just right and the quality of the earbuds goes above and beyond.
Well made, waterproof and comfortable the design has been very well thought out. The sound quality is sure to get you workout ready, the touch controls are super easy to use and there are plenty of extra features to improve the experience as well.
When it comes to downfalls, there are really just two I can think of: the battery life is underwhelming and the call quality is really subpar. But if you can get past those points then I still think these are a superb pair of earphones that are perfect for exercise.
JBL Reflect Aero review: also consider
Whatever you’re buying true wireless earbuds for, the best ones you can get are still the Sony WF-1000XM4. They’re a lot more expensive than these but they’re so worth it with their exceptional sound quality, snug fit and advanced array of features.
For a tighter budget, another pair that will be good for exercise are the Jabra Elite 7 Active. They have tailored noise cancelling, great sound and a comfortable fit even if they’re maybe not as secure as a pair with ear wings or hooks.