JBL‘s new Reflect Aware is an in-ear headphone aimed at the sports crowd who love chewing crunchy Apples while working out at either Muscle beach or the track. While expensive, they do deliver most of the goods promised.
The JBL Reflect Aware is one of those truly multipurpose gizmos you can’t help but keep around the house, or rather in your pocket. Take it for your morning jog and flex with its sweat-resistant, durable composition. In case you failed to notice, they are additionally one of the first Lightning headphones for iOS devices presently on the market. Meaning dear Apple iPhone 7 junkies, that you definitely do not require a headphone dongle to rock it. No 3.5mm jack though means the usefulness is limited to Apple fanboys only, with the rest of us left in the lurch. The price of progress eh. A USB Type C version of the headphone suitable for the Android crowd is, however, due to roll out soon and we can barely sit still for it.
Since it lacks an internal battery, it does drain your device battery life a little when plugged in. But that’s to be expected, and you can’t really get something for nothing these days anyway. They do come with active noise cancellation, which can be turned on or off as per your environment or mood. As for the rather odd product name, it comes from the fact that it enables you to let in more or less of ambient noise as desired. With this in-ear headphone, therefore, you choose exactly how much -or less- to be Aware while interacting with the world around you. The fit is ultra-secure, cool and comfortable via incorporated ear fins, while the cord is reflective and lights you up like an irradiated alien at night. Available colors for the headset include black, green, blue and red. On the wire sits the remote control buttons for fielding incoming calls and manipulating the volume controls. A central and multi-functional button additionally present there also lets you control playback, track navigation, and call management. While besides it lies the control button for turning on or off the active noise cancellation and the Aware microphones.
With the JBL Reflect Aware in-ear headphone, default sound settings are pretty extensively customizable via the free JBL app. Which is called -you guessed it- My JBL Headphones. A nice relief cos on first use they sounded rather bass-filled, with the highs however as crisp as French fries. Which you can readily tweak to your more discriminating taste, as did I. Sound clarity is good enough but not particularly top-notch. Firmware is upgradeable, guaranteeing some future-proofing and eventual product improvement as devised and rolled out.
Price is $200, which is rather expensive. While multi-purpose, they are more a workout companion, with sound fidelity and performance that fails to really wow. Need an ear-secure, bassy and cute-looking companion to your properly sweaty workout, and you can’t do better than this. For a true audiophile, though, the performance limitations are just too disappointing, especially at that price point.