I can’t live without headphones and JLab make some of the best.
A few years ago I got my first pair of true wireless headphones and I can’t go back. The cord to your phone or even just in between the headphones gets caught on things and flaps around when running. First world problems I know, but once you try true wireless headphones you can’t go back.
JLab have put everything they know into the Epic Sport ANC True Wireless Earbuds: Touch controls. Active Noise Cancellation. 70+ hours battery life. Wireless charging. Good sound. Secure fit. They come with premium features without a premium price.
First all the details:
- Active Noise Cancellation
- 70+ hours playtime (15 in earbuds, 55 in the case)
- Wireless charging
- JLab ANC app
- Low Latency movie mode
- Dual connect
- Wear detect
- IP66 water and dust resistance
- 8mm driver
- IP66 sweat resistance
- $129.95 CAD ($99 USD)
- Buy on Amazon
What’s in the box?
The 2 headphones obviously come in the box. The fit is easy to customize with the 6 different sets of ear tips. Small, medium, and large Gel tips plus medium and large extra-long tips and 1 medium Cloud Foam set of tips.
The headphones themselves are a bit bigger than many tiny earbuds these days with a large hook that goes around the back of your ear. Combined with the ear tips, the hook keeps them in very snug when running or working out. Even the best earbuds without hooks work themselves out of your ears eventually but the hooks on these Epic Airs never come off.
The earbuds can both connect indepently to your phone with Dual Connect. You can listen to just the left or the right without the other. I like doing this out on the trails to be hear animals or other people but still get music. It’s nice at home as well to hear a book or music but still hear the kids. If you are just using one at a time, you’re essentially getting 15 hours more battery life using one headphone and then the other.
The IP66 water and dust resistance rating means you can sweat all over them or wear them in the rain no problem. The 6 rating for water protects up to powerful jets of water so you could probably wear them in the shower without damaging them, but I wouldn’t try that myself. The IP66 rating only covers the headphones and not the case.
Next up is the charging case. It holds 55 hours of charge so any time you throw the earbuds back into the case, they turn off and immediately start charging. The case has a built-in USB cord that always stays attached so you never need to look for one. Or just set the whole case on a wireless charger and charge future-like.
Sound and EQ
The sound on the Epic Air Sports is good. It’s not the best sound I’ve heard out of headphones for but $100 it’s quite good.
The 3 different sound profiles are Balanced, JLab Signature and Bass Boost and it’s easy to switch between them with the touch controls on the side. A triple tap on either side changes to the next EQ mode.
Balanced mode is equal low, mids and highs and works well for audiobooks and podcasts. I prefer much more bass in my music.
Bass Boost increases the bass and decreases the others. There’s not a huge amount of bass but it gets the job done. I found them enjoyable to listen too. Too much bass can be hard to listen to for long periods of time. A better seal with the different ear tips will give you more bass.
JLab Signature is my favourite. It’s got solid bass but the vocals are clear and loud. Mids are decreased but I found it a nice mix and don’t miss much in my metal, pop and rap music that I tend to listen to.
Active Noise Cancellation and Be Aware
There are 3 different listening modes: Be Aware, ANC On and ANC Off.
ANC stands for Active Noise Cancellation. ANC-off is just like a regular headphone. When your ears are plugged with the earbuds, there is some isolation that happens because the eartips block your ear. Everything is quieter than not having the headphones in.
Turning ANC on, the headphones try to cancel outside noises that are coming through. It definitely makes a difference. Voices are tough to cancel out and are quieter but still come through. The major difference is with car, plane or air conditioner noises that are static and don’t change much. It does a good job at blocking those out.
Keep in mind the noise cancellation isn’t going to be as good as a big pair of noise cancelling over-ear headphones that cover your entire ears. If you’re a regular flyer or working with big headphones then the Jabra 85h headphones are awesome. I wouldn’t run or work out in them though. The Epic Sports are far better at that.
Having ANC on will drop the battery life a bit. The headphones are listening and calculating when it’s on so the battery drops to about 50 hours with it on instead of 70. I try to leave it off to save the battery. 50 hours is still nothing to balk at.
Be Aware mode picks up outside noises and plays them through the headphones. It is great when you need to hear outside noises like traffic or kids but want some music. Voices and car noises can still come through. The only issue with the Be Aware is wind noise. When you’re moving quickly or there’s a breeze going over the headphones, it comes through as a bit of static noise. If I’m riding my bike in traffic I have hear through on so I get music but I usually leave it off so I don’t get the wind noise.
Both earbuds have touch controls to adjust a bunch of different settings and the volume.
On the left headphone:
- single tap is volume down
- double tap is voice assistant
- press and hold 1 second is ANC on/off/be aware
- triple tap is EQ change
On the right headphone:
- single tap is volume up
- double tap is play/pause
- press and hold 1 second is track forward
- triple tap is EQ change again
The touch controls work well for the most part. I can get the right number of taps most of the time. On occasion it will read 1 tap instead of 2, or 2 taps instead of 3. I can usually get the right function 90% of the time.
For call controls, answering is a single tap on either side, and hanging up is a double.
With Dual Connect and sometimes listening with only one earbud, some headphones change their controls when they’re in solo mode. The Epic Sports stay the same controls when using 1 or both.
Battery life and Charging
The battery life might be the most impressive thing about the Epic Air Sport headphones. Between the case and the headphones, they have over 70 hours of juice, with 55 in the case and 15 in each earbud. With that kind of charge, you’ll forget to charge them.
With how much I use devices these days for video and music, it’s really, really nice to have a long battery life. You just don’t have to charge them much. It’s always a hassle when I’m heading out for a run and my headphones die. The first 15 minutes on the charger is a quick-charge and will give you 1 hour of battery life if you do totally run out. They fully charge in 3 hours.
With Dual Connect the headphones can be worn on their own as well, the left can be worn for 15 hours and then the right for 15. If you like to wear them like this, it’s like having another 15 hours of charge.
Battery drops when Active Noise Cancellation is one, since the electronics inside are running on overdrive cancelling out noise. JLab says about battery drops to about 50 hours total with ANC. Even this battery time is more than most headphones.
To charge, just plug in the USB cord that’s built into the bottom of the case. It makes the case less smooth but it snaps in well and is super handy. When out travelling, or even just at home, it can be a pain to go find the right USB cord to charge something. It’s already attached to the case on the Epic Air Sports. The case supports wireless charging too if you already have a base for something else.
JLab ANC App
JLab have an app specific for the Epic Air Sport headphones. It’s basic but works well. There are 5 options in the app: Noise Cancelling/Be Aware, Equalizer, Customize Controls, Updates and Auto Play/Pause Sensors.
Noise Cancelling turns the Noise Cancelling on and adjusts the amount. You can have it enabled a small amount or slide the control up to max. Like most noise cancelling it doesn’t do as much for voices but makes them sound farther away. It helps more for white noise like traffic or plane noise. There’s a slider for Be Aware as well so you can let more or less outside noise in.
The Equalizer adjusts your sound profile. It comes stock with JLab Signature, Bass Boost and Balanced and one custom slot. You can tweak them and save them or reset the profile if you’d like to go back to defaults.
Customize Controls lets you change the tap controls. I found 1 tap, 2 taps and press and hold easier to do consistently than the 3 taps so I mapped those things to the actions I wanted.
The last options are to do firmware updates which come out occasionally to fix problems and to enable/disable the play sensors. This will pause your music if you take a headphone out. I really like this feature and leave it enabled all the time.
The call quality has been great. I can easily hear the person on the other end and they can hear me with no problem. I had seen some issues with wind noise around online in other reviews but I couldn’t replicate the issue. I had a conversation with someone with my ear pointed to a fan on high with no issues. With my iPhone not able to go very loud I use headphones for phone calls all the time now and these work very well.
Verdict: Highly Recommended
If you want a secure fit and insane battery life, the JLab Epic Air Sport ANC headphones will be perfect for you. The app isn’t really necessary but it’s a nice touch if you want to adjust the controls. Everything else can be done right on the headphones themselves.
I had trouble using the touch controls sometimes, registering 2 taps instead of 3 but I rarely have to do 3 as that’s changing EQ and I like the Signature profile.
I often wear hats and sunglasses which can interfere with over the ear headphones but I had no issues with these. They sat in place well, didn’t come off and didn’t bump my sunglasses out of place either.
The behind-the-ear style isn’t for everyone but the insanely high battery life and noise cancellation all for $100 USD to makes the Epic Air Sport a very nice option for working out, travelling and wearing around the house.