Awesome and Affordable – JBL Tune 120TWS Review

JBL Tune 120TWS true wireless earbuds

JBL recently released the most affordable true wireless earphones in their lineup! Lucky me! I got to try them out this week, and I was incredibly impressed! For $99, you might have some questions about connectivity and sound quality. So how did they perform? Let’s take a closer look with the JBL Tune 120TWS review!

Awesome and Affordable – JBL Tune 120TWS Review

In the Box

-JBL Tune 120TWS earphones

-charging case

-silicone eartips

-micro USB charging cable

-documentation

Design

Look and Feel

JBL Tune 120TWS earphones driver housing

The JBL Tune 120TWS has a neat, sleek look! With a glossy black finish, its plastic driver housings have an oval shape. It’s body is angled and extended slightly with a teardrop-like shape. Then, the eartip sits on a truncated nozzle.

The back of the true wireless Tune 120TWS has a matte grey plastic finish with rounded edges. Despite being made of plastic, it feels well made and strong in the hand, with no obvious weak points.

Comfort and Fit

JBL Tune 120TWS earphones true wireless

The JBL Tune 120TWS true wireless earphones don’t take on a fin or hook design to keep them in the ears. As a result, they rely fully on the seal of the eartip in the ear. For my relatively smallish ear size, the Tune 120TWS fit decently. I found a good seal, although it felt slightly insecure if I moved my head around a lot. Something tells me these earphones would fit better for those with smaller or weirder shaped ear canals with foam tips, so they could conform to the inside of the ear.

That said, for folks with more normal ear shapes and sizes who have no issues with other earphones, the JBL Tune 120TWS will fit well for you! Because they have such a lightweight housing, they don’t feel adverse to gravity. Rather, their seal along will keep them in place.

Wireless Connection

The JBL Tune 120TWS fit connected to my phone quickly and easily. They connected to my phone via Bluetooth 4.2 and stayed connected well. I was also impressed because they seemed to have a little bit less latency with its touch controls than other true wireless I’ve tried.

The JBL Tune 120TWS has four hours of battery life on the earphones with an extra 12 hours of life with the charging case. With 16 hours of charge total, they’ll last you all day!

Phone Calls

Phone calls sounded crisp and clear on my end. On the other end, my voice sounded clean, but slightly far away according to my friend. I liked the phone controls on the earphones, so I could answer and end calls without needed to touch my phone.

Sound

Low Frequencies

JBL Tune 120TWS with charging case
The JBL Tune 120TWS earbuds have 4 hours of battery and an additional 12 hours with its charging case.

The low frequencies of the JBL Tune 120TWS have punch, with emphasis around what sounded like 60 Hz and 100 Hz. As a result, kick drums, bass guitars, low synths, and deep keys have a feeling of solidity and punch.

For example, when I was listening to the song Los Ageless by St. Vincent, the kick and 808 had punch and energy. Additionally, there is a heavy sounding bass synth (or guitar?) that comes in during the chorus which has a wonderful sense of weight, sturdiness, and groove.

Middle Frequencies

JBL Tune 120TWS inside charging case
The LEDs let you know how much charge is left on the charging case.

The midrange of the JBL Tune 120TWS feels even in the low-mids. As a result, bass guitars feel full, but not overly emphasized in the mix. The middle part of the midrange feels even for the most part but has a little bit of a dip at the top part of the range around what sounded like 1 kHz. This dip makes some mid range instruments feel slightly smaller. However, it also provides a nice sense of separation between purely midrangey instruments and those with high-mid information like vocals. Lastly, the high-mids have a big ol’ boost across the entire high-mid spectrum. As a result, vocals and other high-mid rich instruments sit loudly and intimately in the mix. As a result, these earphones will be great for not only music that needs a little extra presence, but also for listening to vocal centric recordings like podcasts and audio books.

For example, when I was listening to the song No Dad by Taylor Hollingsworth, Taylor’s vocal sat presently in the mix along with the crunchiness of the electric guitar. The bass and drums still remained full feeling, but they along with the electric guitar sounded a little bit less thick than usual.

High Frequencies

JBL Tune 120TWS Earphones True Wireless

The high frequencies of the JBL Tune 120TWS emphasis in the lower treble around what sounded like 6 kHz and at the foot of the upper octave around what sounded like 10 kHz. As a result, vocals and transients had a forward feeling of enunciation. Additionally, vocals had an audible breathiness. Likewise, cymbals had a sense of lift to them. However, due to a bit of a dip in the upper treble, cymbals felt a little bit thinner than usual.

For example, when I was listening to the song Cleva by Erykah Badu, the vocals, piano, snare and vibraphone had an added sense of presence and articulation in the high frequencies. As a result, their attacks felt louder in the mix. Additionally, the highs of the high-hats felt a bit less chunky than usual, and leaned toward the highs, giving them a substantial feeling of lift than usual.  

Soundstage

JBL Tune 120TWS charging case and earbuds

The soundstage of the JBL Tune 120TWS was actually quite impressive considering it is a Bluetooth true wireless earphone. Their even midrange gave room mics and reverbs a feeling of space. That roominess contrasted wonderfully from the intensity of the presence of the high-mid boost. Additionally, the sense of height has a nice feeling of contrast between the accented highs and lows. The lows actually feel a little bit light compared to the highs, but the vertical soundstage still represents both extremes and those instruments which sit in between them. Finally, the sense of width felt a little bit skewed to me because of the semi-insecure fit. However, once I found a good, balanced seal in both ears, the feeling of width actually felt quite nice and wide because of the emphasis in the high end compared to the slightly quieter low-mid response.

For example, when I was listening to the song Mercy Now by Mary Gauthier, the Mary’s intimate and forward vocal contrasted wonderfully with the far-off snare drum. In between those two extremes, the slide guitar and strings, and roomy mandolin during the solo filled the middle. Additionally, the highs of the breathy vocal and sparkly main rhythm acoustic contrast in height beautifully from the roomy kick drum and bass guitar. In between those two extremes, the strings and slide guitar filled the middle well. However, because of the shape of the midrange, the placement of instruments in the vertical domain was skewed a little bit. Finally, the feeling of phantom center, due to the high-mid boost, centered around the vocal more than the bass guitar and kick. As a result, the wide guitar felt wider than it might otherwise feel. These two facts gave a nice sense of dimensionality in the width for this song. However, I found the tightness of the width a little bit difficult to maintain because of the fit of the earphones in my ear. It would probably be better for others with more average ears.

Overview

Overall, for $99, the JBL Tune 120TWS are a truly incredible option of true wireless on a budget! They have a nice, vocal centric sound signature, which still provides a good bass response. I liked these earphones best for folk music, singer-songwriter, and hip-hop. That said, they won’t be for all folks because they aren’t the best for those with smaller ears.

The JBL Tune 120TWS is available for the best price here:

JBL Tune 120TWS at Audio46 (use “majorhifi” discount code to get 10% off)

JBL Tune 120TWS earphones and charging case
The JBL Tune 120TWS has 4 hours of battery life on the earphones and 12 hours on the charging case

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