JLab Epic Lab Edition review: lab tested and fresh

JLab's most expensive earbuds are out to match the competition

JLab Epic Lab Edition review 1
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

JLab makes a creditable stab at premium stylings with its Epic Lab Edition earbuds, with mixed results that come close to matching the competition on sound quality. There's also plenty to like in the feature department, plus they're well-built.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Solid case design

  • +

    Impressively small

  • +

    Great sound quality

  • +

    Terrific battery life

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Active noise-cancelling (ANC) is middling

  • -

    Call quality isn't great

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For a while now, JLab has been pumping out extremely creditable affordable earbuds, specialising in the lower end of the market and creeping up into mid-range fare at times.

With the JLab Epic Lab Edition, though, it's making an all-out play for a more premium slice of the pie, with a far more solid build quality and fancier features. Can the Epic Lab Edition stack up to the fierce competition?

JLab Epic Lab Edition: Price & Availability

These earbuds come in at £200 ($200 in the US), a price that puts them into direct competition with some pretty excellent options, not least in the form of slightly older flagship earbuds from the likes of Sony and Bose. 

The JLab are available to buy from a wide range of retailers, so you don't have a wait on your hands if you think they'll float your boat. 

JLab Epic Lab Edition review: Features

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(Image credit: Future)

The biggest strong suit of the JLab Epic Lab Edition is its lovely, mature design - it's impressive how JLab has stuck to its roots, while impressively upgrading the materials used.

The earbuds come in a case that I've been really taken with: it's moderately heavy and metallic, with a rubberised base that makes it easy to stand on a surface. There's a JLab logo on its top, but it's subtle and so easy to miss.

There are some status lights on the front of the case to let you know connectivity and charging statuses depending on the situation, and a USB-C port on the back for charging up (it also has wireless charging). 

Flipping open the sturdy lid, the earbuds are nestled inside with some of the stronger magnets that I've found in an earbuds' case, along with a tiny USB-C dongle for faster Wi-Fi connections for those who want it.

This is great for phones and tablets alike, and also opens up some compatibility with the likes of the Nintendo Switch if you're travelling, which is handy. 

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(Image credit: Future)

The earbuds themselves are impressively small, with a large JLab logo embossed on the outside, and a surprisingly classy use of clear plastic on their inner section, exposing some of the internals in a way that Nothing Ear fans might appreciate. 

They come with a welcome array of both silicone and foam eartips to choose from, making a variety of seals easy to try out. I found them really comfortable, as a result, and was happy enough to wear them for hours at a time. 

If that sounds like a relatively glowing outlook, it basically is - I've been really impressed by how JLab has put these earbuds together from a design and quality standpoint. They feel solid and premium, just as the price tag demands, and IP55 water-resistance is reassuring on this front too. 

For actual software and features, JLab's app offers full EQ control for those who want it and is solid enough to use. 

The earbuds have active noise-cancelling with a few modes to switch between, while you also get a really impressive 13 hours of listening with ANC off or 9 hours with it on, with another three full charges in the case before you have to plug it in. 

JLab Epic Lab Edition review: Performance

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(Image credit: Future)

Slipping the JLab Epic Lab Edition in for an actual listen, in a variety of situations, brings largely solid results. The key here is obviously sound quality, and JLab has indeed packaged up a massive upgrade over its more affordable options. 

Funk and disco sounds poppy and fun, and there's enough bass to keep your heart pumping when you swap to electronica (even if this won't rival the very best earbuds in this category). Trying out some classical music confirmed that it'll do a bang-up job even for more traditional genres, too. 

There are plenty of codecs represented here, too, including both AAC and LDAC, so you can access hi-res audio on both Android and Apple devices if you have the right streaming membership

Where things get a little more mixed is where the Epic Lab Edition's ANC comes into play. It's nothing dramatic, to be clear, but this is distinctly middle-of-the-road noise cancelling, theoretically adaptive but often not all that noticeable. 

You'll certainly notice a dulling of the world around you, without any doubt, but persistent noises and travel sounds still make it through pretty regularly, especially if you're a fan of quieter genres or podcasts.

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(Image credit: Future)

This isn't a dealbreaker in my book - especially as JLab's pricing undercuts some major rivals, so it's fine to have less striking ANC, but it's worth knowing about. 

Plus, if you're really into using earbuds all day, that incredible battery performance might cancel this downside out entirely - I managed lengthy listening sessions without ever dropping into the red zone or having an earbud fail. This has happened with my AirPods Pro from time to time, so it's a genuinely great boast. 

As is often the case with earbuds lacking a stem, call quality and microphone pickup are both extremely mediocre, so expect complaints if you use the JLab to conduct any sort of lengthy conversation on the phone. 

JLab Epic Lab Edition review: Verdict

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(Image credit: Future)

There's a lot to like about these earbuds from JLab - they're an extremely solid entry into a pricing bracket that can be hard to conquer.

The challenge they'll face is standing out from the competition, but the Epic Lab Edition are extremely well-made, feel great in both the hand and ear, and sound very solid, some middling ANC aside. 

If you've used JLab's cheaper 'buds and liked them, these are a really solid upgrade, and the incredible battery life shouldn't be downplayed. 

Also consider

As we mentioned in the introduction, JLab's pricing is canny, in that it undercuts the newest flagships from Sony and Bose among others.

However, you can currently pick up a pair of Sony WF-1000XM4 for a similar price, making that option very hard to ignore. 

If you're thinking that you'd like to slice prices even further, meanwhile, Nothing's Ear (2) is a really great way to get very good sound and comparably fine ANC for a decent chunk less again. 

Max Freeman-Mills

Max is a freelance writer with years of experience in tech and entertainment. He's also a gaming expert, both with the games themselves and in testing accessories and consoles, having flexed that expertise at Pocket-lint as a features editor. He has tested all manner of tech too, from headphones and speakers to apps and software.