When it comes to quality earphones, JBL never gets its due – despite models like the wickedly wireless Reflect Contour 2 BT and the inexpensively-impressive T205. But today I’m testing the new JBL Tune 205 BT – a $39 earphone that sports JBL’s impressive wireless technology and the fantastic fit of the T205. But is the sound worth the simoleons?
JBL Tune 205 BT Review
When it comes to packaging, the Tune 205 BT keeps things light. Inside the box, you will find the earphones, a charging cable, and some literature about the earphones.
Design wise, the cable measures a bit on the longer side at a whopping 32 inches (that’s almost a whole meter to my mates using metric)! That being said, the larger cable does have its benefits; the longer cable allows the mic to sit comfortably-close to my right ear, but it’s also easy to move the mic closer to my mouth for better phone calls.
The cable sports two plastic housings – one holding the battery rated at 6 hours, and one sporting controls for playback (as well as a micro-USB charging port). Total charging time comes in at less than 2 hours, which is fairly standard for this kind of battery life.
Fit definitely stacks up to one of the most important design aspects of the JBL Tune 205, as the slim earpod-esque design takes a good idea and only makes it better. Much better.
Unlike those chintzy in-ear headphones Apple is hocking at a staggering $29, JBL’s design is slimmer, more comfortable, and better-sounding.
Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 32 ohms
Sound Pressure Level: 100 dB
As you can see from these specifications, the JBL Tune 205 BT sports a fairly standard frequency response and nominal impedance. As such, you should be able to get a decent sound when using this earphone with a smartphone or computer. Sound pressure is also rated at a not-too-shabby 100 dB, so volume shouldn’t be getting anyone down, either.
In the low end, the Tune 205 exhibits a decent amount of detail with an overall sound that is at once natural and charged with energy. The bass lands with impact and precision, punctuating the low end. That being said, there’s a tad bit of bleed here. Still, for the price, the lows remain fairly impressive.
Surprisingly good mids abound in the 205’s sound. Yeah, the vocals might seem a little squished, and the instrumentation not as lifelike as it would on a pair of wired ‘buds. But for a $40 Bluetooth earbuds, this sound is actually something worth noting: it remains relatively clean no matter what you throw at it. Like pop music? You’ll love these mids. Like hip hop mixtapes? You’ll love these mids. No-name rock covers on YouTube? Best believe you’re gonna love these mids.
Strong high end performance marks the JBL Tune 205. Not bright, but perhaps just a little rolled off, this part of the frequency range never becomes too uncomfortable or unbearable. Vocals tend to sound slightly relaxed, but still lifelike; instrumentation, on the other hand, struts a fine line between detail and too much detail, opting for approach showcasing competent design and sound engineering. Did I mention this thing costs a mere $40?
Surprise surprise, this earphone doesn’t boast much in the way of soundstage. However, there is still some depth and a sense of placement at play here, resulting in an immersive if slightly not-so-real listening experience. Still, you can’t expect as much from Apple’s schlock, or most other earphones at this price. So kudos to JBL.
JBL markets this model as having a bass-heavy sound, and at times this can weigh a little heavy on the overall sound. To be sure, on rock, electronic, and hip hop tracks, this is not altogether unwelcome, but other genres can seem a little mismatched in contrast.
If you’re in the market for a cheap Bluetooth earphone with good sound and some rocking good bass, you should set your sights on the JBL Tune 205 BT. Fans of genres like rock, hip-hop, pop, and electronica will love this sound.
Meanwhile, those folks who love classical and acoustic jams might opt for the FiiO FB1 earphones (also at $39).
For people who need a slim-fitting earpod-like design, the JBL supplies even more value at it’s low price, and it’s hard not to love these babies for what they do.
Retailing at an affordable $39, the JBL Tune 205 BT offers a rocking good sound, ample bass, and a comfortable fit. Factor in a 6 hour battery life and good cabling and you’ve got one hell of a deal, folks. MajorHiFi’s final analysis? This gorgeous gem of an earphone may not cost major greenbacks, but it definitely gets a gold star.
Get it for the best price here: