JBL’s E55BT wireless headphones are light, fold into some travel-friendly footprint, and set with multiple Bluetooth devices simultaneously. They also seem really good for the price.
JBL’s E-Series headphones are designed to deliver the organization’s signature sound in a variety of headset versions with a focus on style. At the peak of this E-series lineup sits the E55BT wireless headphones. If you’re looking to grab some signature JBL audio for under $150, these headphones might just be your ticket.
Like most E-Series models, the E55BT comes in five bold monochromatic alternatives: black, white, blue, red, teal, and white (my review set happened to be red).
The headband is wrapped in a gentle, two-tone cotton mesh, using the underside of the headband a darker color than the surface. Sizing is adjustable in normal click-stop increments. There were no problems getting a good, snug fit.
The two-tone headband is wrapped in a soft mesh. My ears came in contact wit the sides when I wore them, and I would guess that it’d be the same with most adults. While the cans were not uneasy, I raise the issue because some people tend to be more sensitive to this issue than many others.
When I first picked them up, I noted how light E55BT are. Even though my inspection pair appeared unscathed, the all-plastic casing did give me the impression that these headphones may crack if dropped on a hard surface or subjected to a significant amount of abuse.
When you put them on, you manage to forget you’re wearing headphones. Their light weight makes them great for toting along just about everywhere. However, their folding choices take portability even further.
You can fold those JBLs in two different ways–something that is extremely strange in an over-the-ear headphone. You may twist the ear cups flat to slide them in a backpack or sleeve; or, like the V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless, it is possible to fold the E55BT ear cups completely into the headband for an ultra-portable package.
The E55BT’s ear pads are made of a synthetic leather. It’s soft, but with extended listening, they will get hot.
The ear cups’ internal side tell you which one is left or right. The outside are boldly branded with the JBL emblem, while the rounded sides home traditional controls. The base of the left ear cup has a MicroUSB charging input signal. JBL says you can get up to 20 hours of playing time.
The right ear has a 3.5mm input, power switch, microphone, inline remote controls, and a Bluetooth pairing button. You can use the included 3.5millimeter cable if you want to use the cans passively. There is no lightning wire for iPhone 7 models, which means you will need to use a lightning-to-3.5mm adapter.
The remote controls are basic play/pause, and volume up/down. I found this operation to be awkward; if I did not hold the button down for long enough, I’d just adjust the volume.
The right ear cup has different controls and the power change.
If you touch the ear cup with your right hand by cupping the device, you will almost always land on the play/pause button. Apple users take note: using an iPhone 7, I couldn’t activate Siri remotely from the cans by depressing the play/pause button just like you can with a number of other headphones.
To me personally, the ear cup-situated controllers felt a bit cheap. From a design standpoint, I wish that there was better tactile distinction between both control buttons. Though the play/pause button is a smidge elevated to supply you with a point of view, I never had total confidence I was pressing the right button; and also on a few occasions, I increased or lowered the quantity when I just wanted to pause a tune.
Flawless Bluetooth functionality
Bluetooth pairing is simple and flawless. One thing worth noting is that the E55BT doesn’t support either the aptX or aptX HD codec. So, when streaming via Bluetooth, you need to expect less-than CD quality.
You can plug into a 3.5mm cable to conduct the headphones passively. A button for Bluetooth lets you pair multiple devices effortlessly.
While that is not necessarily exceptional, I did discover that switching between Bluetooth devices was lightning fast and pretty much flawless. For instance, I was able to pair the JBL E55BT using a MacBook Pro and iPhone 7 simultaneously. Choosing songs from the iPhone instantly played them on the JBL. If I paused the iPhone’s sound and played audio from the Mac, the audio would then play through the JBLs without any problem.
You don’t need to fret about one device trouncing another. If, for example, I was watching a movie on the Mac and then started playing music on the iPhone using the JBL paired to both, I would only get the audio of the Mac–even though the iPhone continued playing while paired with the E55BT. Once I stopped the application on the Mac, the iPhone audio would then kick right in precisely as I’d expect. Not only was that this feature perfect in my testing, however, the E55BT also reacted relatively fast when auto-switching involving resources.
The audio is all JBL
The E55BT tends towards a few acoustic hallmarks of JBL’s additional consumer-oriented products. To give you a hint, when you turn on the E55BT. They create exactly the exact feature chords as JBL’s additional Bluetooth speakers.
The E55BT’s frequently sound just like the have a euphonic bulge in the top bass that adds a little extra oomph to your music. It works really nicely with many songs, including Adele’s “Send My Love (For Your New Lover)” out of 25.
Unlike any other headphones I have reviewed, the bump is intelligently implemented and doesn’t extend across all bass frequencies, impacting the overall musical presentation. As an instance, a number of headphones I have reviewed will get littered with Alanis Morissette’s “Woman Down” out of Havoc and Bright Lights. Perhaps not the B55BT’s. I also fired up Sarah McLachlan’s “Perfect Girl” out of Afterglow Live, along with also the heavy synthesizer bass lines never rumbled out of hands. At the exact same time, the E55BT’s were not capable of replicating tight, visceral bass just how more expensive headphones can. If you think yourself a bass-head or like cans that over-emphasize bass, then the E55BTs will not be your cup of tea.
There’s no carrying case and some other extras.
The E55BT isn’t the final word in transparency or rendering fine sonic details in the top end but I do not think the average consumer will really mind. The headphones deliver a very clean, well-balanced noise.
Recently, I’ve reviewed several headphones costing twice or triple the JBL’s price. To say that these modestly priced JBL headphones amazed me could be an understatement. The form factor is ultra-compact (for a circumaural headphone) and lightweight, they are an ideal travel companion. The only downside is that you’ll need to provide a carrying case additional protection, so the all-plastic ear cups do not get ruined.
With superior wireless performance and battery lifetime and really good sound, JBL’s E55BT headphones are a true winner. If you have a tendency to like the sound of JBL’s other goods then I think you’ll adore the E55BT’s. Actually, irrespective of your listening preferences, if you are auditioning headphones under $200, you’d be silly to not add the E55BTs on your short list.