Home Tech JLab’s $60 noise-cancelling headphones are better than they have any right to be

JLab’s $60 noise-cancelling headphones are better than they have any right to be

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JLab's $60 noise-cancelling headphones are better than they have any right to be

sometimes I’m convinced JLab conjures up its prices in a corporate time machine. How else can they make completely decent wireless earbuds for less than you’d pay for a meal for two at Olive Garden? Or the new ANC 3 earbuds, which have almost all of the same features as the AirPods Pro (8/10, WIRED recommended) and cost $59.99?

There is simply no other pair of headphones at this price that has excellent dust and water resistance, decent noise cancellation, and quality sound. If you need a little more silence than other cheap headphones can offer, whether you’re working out or working at home on Zoom, these are a great, easy-to-use pair that you won’t be afraid to miss.

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The plastic pillbox charging case that comes with the JBuds ANC 3 is probably the biggest indication that these earbuds cost significantly less than AirPods, Jabras, or any other much more expensive earbuds. That said, one of the things that sets JLab apart from the competition is that it often includes the charging cable in the charging case design. On the ANC 3, a small, slim USB-C cable sits neatly at the bottom of the case, so you’ll never have to remember a cable when you’re in a pinch.

Open the cover and you’ll find two black earbuds ergonomically designed to fit in your ears without the elephant nose design of AirPods and others. These aren’t as small as the Jbuds Mini, which we recommend even to people who often struggle to fit even the smallest earbuds into their canals, but they’re not too far away. I have incredibly average ears and the earbuds fit perfectly in my ears with the medium-sized silicone tips on (they also come with smaller and larger tips, depending on your ears).

They’re light, comfortable, and stable enough that they don’t come off when I’m running at the gym or doing my bi-weekly weight lifting sessions (when the earbuds often come off when I’m lying on my back on the bench).

The ANC 3 are IP55 rated for dust and water resistance, and that gave me a lot of confidence carrying them with me. I’ve worn them in the shower, taken them down muddy trails with my dog, and rinsed them off when my hands got yucky. It’s nice to be able to treat a digital device like this, especially one so affordable.

Sound on

Inside the headphones are 10mm dynamic drivers that compete well with the vast majority of headphones on the market, providing powerful bass and relatively crisp and clear mid- and high-range response. If you’ve heard other cheaper JLab headphones, these are a bit clearer and sound better.

They sound good in a wide variety of environments and with a wide variety of materials. I liked using the headphones to listen to Netflix episodes and my classic rock workout playlist. They have a really nice balance at lower volumes, meaning you don’t need to turn them up too much to get good bass during reps.

Even classics like Eddy Arnold’s cowboy It sounds fantastic through these headphones, with the acoustic guitar tucked away on the left side and the vocal harmonies on the right, and Arnold’s rich baritone tone in the middle of the mix. Everything fits perfectly into the mix, as if you were listening to it with a pair of headphones that, in truth, would have cost hundreds of dollars just a few years ago.

JLab also offers features that would have cost you so much, with an app that lets you control equalizer settings, noise cancellation, and transparency mode (pumping out sound from the outside world so you don’t have to wear headphones). out for a quick chat).

Battery life is a solid nine hours with ANC off and around six with it on in my testing (depending on volume and what you’re listening to). Call (and Zoom) quality is also good. Controlling the buttons on the go is easy: by pressing the outside of each button, you can play or pause music, change songs, and toggle noise cancellation settings.

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