The wireless headphone market is booming today, and features such as noise cancellation and built-in artificial intelligence are becoming common features for devices at a certain price point.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the price range are earbuds like the JLab Wireless Go Air, which are part of an expanding offshoot of very budget true wireless earbuds that save on smart features to bring customers below $ 50.
We’ve spent some time researching the Go Air True Wireless Earbuds and have come to the conclusion that you do get what you’re willing to pay for when it comes to buying headphones, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
JLab Go Air price
The JLab Go Air wireless earbuds are priced at $ 30, and while pricing outside the US and UK will have to be officially confirmed, we’re confident the price won’t be much different.
You probably noticed right away that this is very cheap for a pair of true wireless earbuds. In comparison, the new Go Airs are $ 20 cheaper than the brand’s previous budget model, the JBuds Air, which received a ton of accolades at the time.
The new JLab Go Air will arrive in March.
JLab Go design
Available in white, green, black, and navy, the JLab Go Air Wireless Headphones feature a functional design very similar to that of the JBuds Air. The first thing that catches your eye when you open the Go Air’s packaging is the open case of the charging case. There is no cover here, so the charging case looks more like a storage tray. However, you don’t need to worry about the earbud slipping out of the bag as both earbuds are secured to magnetic stands.
While the JLab Go Air feels secure in its case, the lack of a lid means the earbuds are exposed to dust or any other debris in your bag or pocket – as a result, you may have to clean both the headphones themselves and case.
The materials are also a subtle hint of the budget of these headphones, while everything seems to be pretty neat and of high quality. All things considered, the Go Air will definitely not win any design awards.
Like previous models from the manufacturer JLab, the charging case has a built-in USB charging cable that fits into a groove at the bottom of the structure. It’s an incredibly handy feature that saves you the hassle of carrying a cable with you anytime, anywhere and looking for it every time your headphones run out of power, but keep in mind that if this built-in cable breaks, you will no longer be able to charge the case or liners.
The Go Air itself is much smaller than the JBuds Air (20% lighter to be precise) and comes with three sizes of silicone ear tips so you can get a snug fit. We found them to fit very well in the ear, so you can play sports with ease, although it would be nice to add silicone fenders for an extra layer of safety.
The JLab logo is featured on the outside of the earbuds, and in addition to a pretty symbol, you’ll also find a touch control you can use to play and pause music, skip tracks, change the volume, and adjust the sound profile (more on that later).
You can also double-tap the left earbud to bring up the voice assistant, whether you’re using Siri or Google Assistant.
We tested a pre-release pair of Go Airs for this review, and JLab is now claiming that the touch controls still need some work through a software update due ahead of their March release.
Be that as it may, we found that the controls worked well most of the time, although sometimes they tried in vain to tell the difference between two or three clicks – we will not focus on this shortcoming as it should be fixed soon.
JLab Go Air battery and connectivity
Again, when it comes to battery life, you get a $ 30 kit, so don’t expect killer performance from it. You get 15 hours of battery life from the charging case and up to five hours of playback from the headphones alone.
This is the lower end of the range for true wireless earbuds, although it’s not too different from Apple’s AirPods, which add up to around 24 hours of playtime. We found the claimed battery life to be true when listening to music and podcasts at medium volume.
However, when it comes to connectivity, we have no complaints about these budget earbuds. With Bluetooth 5.0 support, pairing is quick and efficient, and after the initial pairing of the Go Airs with your device, the earbuds will connect automatically every time you take them out of the case.
One interesting feature that belies the JLab Go Airs’ low price tag is the ability to connect two earbuds independently of each other. This means that you can listen to any content with one earbud while the other stays in the charging case, which can practically double your battery life (if you don’t mind having sound played in only one ear).
JLab Go sound quality
The sound quality of the JLab Go Air True Wireless earbuds, as you’d expect from a cheap model, didn’t impress us. While we don’t expect professional studio headphone reproduction from devices at this price point, it might be worth spending a little more if you want to enjoy listening to your favorite recordings.
Like other JLab headphones, these headphones support three different EQ presets: JLab Signature, Balanced and Bass Boost. JLab Signature boosts highs and lows, while Bass Boost adds depth and punch to the lowest frequencies. As you might have guessed, the Balanced is designed to provide a smooth and natural sound without boosting any particular frequency spectrum and making them stand out from the rest.
Of the three possible EQ modes, we usually preferred to use the Balanced preset, as the vocals in JLab Signature felt too loud and the low frequencies in the Bass Boost mode were muddy and washed out.
While listening to the 2019 track Old Town Road, we noticed that the rap vocalist’s solo had the most credibility in the entire mix, with the bass feeling extremely muddy, bleeding into the mids and making it sound fuzzy.
The beat, which usually goes well with warm backing vocals, sounded muffled and harsh, while the transition to the chorus was extremely lackluster.
You will find almost immediately that the bass overpowers almost everything else. On all the recordings that we played, there was a noticeable hiss that obscured the music itself – this hiss is present even when the music is not playing at all. Unfortunately, this flaw plagues us in almost all budget Bluetooth headphones.
Haven’t It Be Nice sounds more colorful than some of the more bass tracks we’ve listened to – and while JLab Go Airs doesn’t convey the beauty of this recording as well in terms of listening quality as the low-profile earbuds do, it captures the character of the song well. , with bright brass and bold vocal harmonies.
There is a noticeable lag when watching videos with these headphones, which can be quite annoying, especially if you want to use the Go Air for mobile gaming. There is no support for codecs such as aptX Low Latency, which is to be expected from devices in this price range. But even at the $ 30 price point, these headphones are too slow to recommend for video.
The impression we got after a few days with the JLab Go Air True Wireless Earbuds is that, as we said, you get the functionality and performance you’re willing to pay for. They are by no means suitable for audiophiles looking for fantastic sound or gamers looking for low latency Bluetooth connectivity, but we cannot ignore the advantage of this extremely low price.
The arrival of true wireless earbuds for under $ 50 means the once-expensive form factor is suddenly available to more people than ever before. Looking for a cheap pair of true wireless earbuds? JLab Go Air may be the best option.
They can even be a good choice if you just want a spare pair of wireless earbuds in your bag, in case your best earbuds run out of battery while you’re on the go, or just close at hand.