This JLab Go Air review isn't about game-changing cheap wireless earbuds. They aren't anything special, but these surprisingly effective headphones cost the same amount as a takeaway pizza which is why they deserve their place in T3’s guide to the best budget wireless earbuds.
If you’re willing to spend a little bit more then buy the Nokia BH-205 Lite Earbuds instead. They have better sound, longer battery life and they’re waterproof, which these ones aren’t. Nokia's buds will be more practical for workouts, and they’re more comfortable to wear as well.
You may not be completely set on buying a pair of true wireless earbuds, but if you want compact headphones on a tight budget or if you're looking for a cheap gift then you should keep reading. I’ll go through everything you need to know in this JLab Go Air review.
JLab Go Air review: price and availability
Available now from Amazon, the JLab Go Air only cost $30 in the US, £20 in the UK and AU$80 in Australia - these are about as cheap as decent true wireless earbuds get. Take a look at the widgets on this page to see where else you can buy them.
JLab Go Air review: design and fit
You can buy the JLab Go Air in a few different colours: black, green, blue and white. The small rounded plastic buds have the JLab logo on the outside.
Included in the box, you get three sizes of silicone ear tips, I thought they were actually quite secure. Although they felt a little tight and after a long period of use my ears did start to ache. You could get away with using them for workouts though. It’s also worth knowing that although these aren’t waterproof, they are water-resistant.
The buds come in a matching charging case that has a USB cable integrated into the bottom so you won’t lose it. I think that's a really handy feature because you can get the case on charge as soon as you realise you need to.
To store the earbuds, you just slip them into the open-top case, there’s no lid covering them. I found that was quite a major problem with the design of the because there’s nothing keeping the buds in place other than the magnets, that meant they came loose in my bag so when I went to use them, they were out of charge or they’d fallen out of the case completely.
Each bud has touch controls to control the music or to answer calls. There are quite a few different ones to remember on each side though which may take some getting used to. On the left earbud, you tap once to decrease the volume, twice to summon your phone’s smart assistant, press and hold to skip backwards, three times to switch between the equaliser settings or hold down for three seconds to power the buds on or off. Then, on the right side, you single tap to increase the volume, double-tap to pause or play and hold for a second to reject a call. Switching between EQ modes and powering the buds is the same on both sides.
Not only is there so much to remember that I personally wouldn’t bother, but they also didn’t always respond to each action, so to be honest I would just use my phone instead.
For such cheap earbuds, you actually get quite a lot of playtime. The JLab Go Air last 5 hours from a single charge, with an extra 15 hours from the case so you’ll get about 20 hours of music in total. Then to fully recharge them it’ll take the buds about 90 minutes, while the case takes about 2 hours. If you do get caught short, you can put the buds in the case for a quick 15-minute charge, which will give you about an hour of music.
JLab Go Air review: performance
The sound from the JLab Go Air’s 8mm drivers is okay. It hardly matches up to the best true wireless earbuds you can buy but realistically, you can’t expect exceptional sound quality from a pair of earbuds that are this cheap.
I listened to a few different genres of music and a podcast, most of the time the buds did a good enough job at delivering punchy bass-heavy sound and they were definitely loud enough. At times they did lack definition though, and occasionally I would even call it tinny. On the flip side, because of how securely they fit, they do isolate noise well so you will be able to fully immerse yourself in the music.
Unlike the majority of headphones at this price, there are three different EQ modes: Signature, Balanced and Bass Boost. The Bass Boost mode makes a noticeable difference to the low-end, in fact, it emphasised it a little too much where vocals started to get drowned out beneath it. The best EQ mode for most types of music was the Signature mode which was loud and clear for the most part.
There’s a microphone on each bud, but I wouldn’t consider these particularly good for making calls as voices don’t come through completely clear to the person on the other end. You sound very quiet and muffled.
Connecting the buds via Bluetooth was simple once you’ve got them up and running, they automatically switch on and pair with one another when you take them out of the case. Most of the time they’ll connect to your phone just as easily but sometimes you will have to manually select them from your phone. One thing that is far from ideal is the fact that they don’t always snap back properly in the case so they sometimes stay connected and keep playing music when you put them in to charge.
JLab Go Air review: verdict
The JLab Go Air aren’t amazing, they’re cheap wireless earbuds through and through with basic sound and a flawed design. However, they are still surprisingly good for this price, and the fact that they have three different sound modes is a massive bonus.
If you are upgrading from an old pair of cheap wired headphones, these will definitely do the job.
JLab Go Air review: also consider
The Skullcandy Dime earbuds are also worth looking at if you’re on a very tight budget. They’re tiny little headphones at a similar price to the JLab Go Air and they come in a very compact charging case, you can even attach them to your keys. Considering how cheap they are, the sound is actually alright but you won’t get much in the way of battery life.
Not everyone likes the feeling of in-ear headphones, so if you’d prefer something with a one-size-fits-all approach more like the original Apple AirPods then you could consider the Urbanears Luma. Without the ear tips sealing the sound in, they don’t isolate noise very well but they do have decent audio quality. They even have ear detection which pauses the music when one falls out.
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