In the case of noise-canceling headphones which might be excellent for commutes, workplaces, and lengthy aircraft rides, it’s onerous to beat the Sony WH-1000xM3 and Bose QC35 II. However the truth of the matter is, you don’t have to pay practically $400 to get a fantastic pair of wi-fi noise-canceling headphones anymore.
Because of myriad technical developments, now you can get a strong pair of noise-canceling headphones like JBL’s Dwell 650BTNC for half that worth. With 20 hours of battery life, heat and dynamic sound, and sufficient noise-canceling horsepower to make even the longest flights comfortable, these are a fantastic alternative for many who refuse to faucet into their financial savings account for musical satisfaction.
Out of the field
Pop open the lid of the 650BTNC’s package deal and also you’ll discover the over-ear headphones sitting inside a molded plastic chamber alongside a micro-USB charging cable and a three.5mm cable for wired listening. Under the primary part is a drawstring-style smooth case.
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We want the headphones got here with some type of onerous case for journey, one thing you’ll discover with most flagship journey headphones, however given the worth, it’s not an enormous shock to seek out only a smooth case. Heavy vacationers will merely have to take care in packing the cans.
Options and design
The headphones are fairly good to have a look at, with a clear design that showcases JBL’s emblem on the skin of the rounded earcups. Plush leather-based padding adorns the earcups’ inside and headband for comfy listening, and you may select from three totally different colours, together with white, blue with gold accents, or black on black — relying on how flashy you wish to get.
Eye-catching in all the proper methods.
Our evaluate unit got here in white, and we now have to confess they’re eye-catching in all the proper methods, garnering quite a few compliments from associates and coworkers throughout testing. Whereas we additionally desire the look of this woven material headband to the plastic and leather-based designs supplied by Sony and Bose, there may be some concern that it would get soiled over time. Nonetheless, that’s not a significant difficulty for the darker colours.
The headphones are impressively mild, particularly vital when sporting them for longer classes. They by no means really feel heavy or aggravating throughout longer listening classes, as a substitute turning into one along with your cranium on these lengthy flights.
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We additionally love that you simply not often want to tug out your telephone. The onboard controls and ports are straightforward to entry, regardless of being well-hidden on the underside of the earcups. On the proper earcup you’ll discover buttons for energy, quantity, play/pause, Bluetooth pairing, and noise-canceling, all situated in cascading order down the skin of the cup. Tapping the skin of the left earcup accesses Google Assistant or Alexa, permitting you to skip songs or test the climate — although we do want there was a chosen contact management for tune skipping.
The underside left earcup is the place you’ll discover the micro-USB charging port, and the underside proper is the place you’ll discover that three.5mm jack for plugging within the headphones between fees or into airplanes or, say, a Nintendo Change (which inexplicably doesn’t assist Bluetooth audio).
Plush leather-based padding makes for comfy listening.
The noise-canceling itself doesn’t provide the identical type of discount you’ll discover within the aforementioned Sony and Bose fashions, however the 650BTNC do considerably cut back the cacophony of airplanes and public transit, making the listening expertise rather more fulfilling than it in any other case could be.
For individuals who journey continuously sufficient that noise-canceling is a should, it might be value it to avoid wasting up for a pair of the massive boys, however for many who do most of their listening at dwelling or within the workplace and journey just some instances a yr, they’re greater than satisfactory. The truth is, they do very effectively with the sounds of HVAC techniques, decreasing the annoying background noise inside buildings to almost inaudible ranges.
Sound high quality
When it comes to sound high quality, there’s little to complain about right here. The nice and cozy low-end is met by shiny treble, and a slight scoop within the midrange to supply musical readability. We listened to all kinds of music starting from Jazz and Hip-Hop to Radiohead, and maybe the most important praise we may give the headphones is that they don’t have any noticeable impression on the music we love.
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Every little thing we anticipate to listen to is there, with the noise canceling itself lending an enormous quantity of readability to the general soundstage, making all the pieces you take heed to sound prefer it’s current in a extra open musical house. This makes them implausible to be used in workplace settings, the place there’s nothing to distract you however the sounds of your favourite band or podcast.
The bass, particularly, may be very effectively managed — simply punchy sufficient to make low-fi hip-hop like MF Doom’s Potholders bounce into your eardrums, however not sufficient that it overwhelms the tones above it. That is unsurprising given JBL’s lengthy historical past of constructing merchandise with balanced sound signatures, but it surely’s nonetheless welcome within the post-Beats period, and we’ll commend them for the tuning.
Sufficient noise-canceling horsepower to make even the longest flights bearable.
One model of music that we wished had only a bit extra definition was classical, which tends to be a bit much less compressed than different types, and thus didn’t fairly leap out of the headphones with the identical power we’d anticipate from higher-end headphones just like the Sony WH-1000xM3, which function AptX and LDAC know-how for higher-quality Bluetooth transmission. Then once more, that’s to be anticipated in a pair of headphones that value practically half as a lot.
At $200, these are a fantastic sounding pair of headphones that make all the pieces you take heed to sound enjoyable and energetic, and that’s about all we will ask.
JBL affords a one-year guarantee on faulty components and workmanship.
Should you’re after a fantastic pair of noise-canceling headphones for journey, work, or dwelling, however don’t fairly have the price range for top-tier choices, the JBL 650BTNC inhabit a really strong center floor, offering consolation, usability, and nice sound for round half the worth of flagship choices.
Is there a greater various?
The closest competing pair we’ve frolicked with are the Panasonic RP-HD605N, which provide comparable options and battery life for a similar worth, and likewise include AptX and LDAC codecs to supply pristine Bluetooth transmission. It’s not a very honest comparability, provided that the Panasonic mannequin initially bought for $100 extra, however now that they’re the identical worth, they provide higher sound high quality, and a hardcase besides. Nonetheless, the JBL 650BTNC are strong contenders, and so they additionally look higher in your head. The Panasonic mannequin is actually a Sony WH-1000x clone, the place JBL’s pair flaunt extra model.
How lengthy will they final?
JBL has been a top quality producer of headphones for a few years, and these headphones are effectively put collectively. Whereas the dearth of a tough case does imply you may wish to pay particular consideration to them when touring — or go away them in your head — these headphones ought to final a number of years if handled effectively.
Do you have to purchase them?
Should you can’t splurge on the top-end fashions, sure. For these available in the market for excellent over-ear headphones at a really cheap worth, the JBL 650BTNC are completely value testing.