JBL Soundgear Sense Review

Open-ear design headphones have gained significant popularity in the audio market. Leading audio companies, like Bose and Huawei, have recently introduced models such as the Bose Ultra Open Earbuds and Huawei FreeClip (REVIEW). These headphones are particularly suitable for sports and jogging, as they allow individuals to enjoy their favorite music while exercising and improving their health. In this JBL Soundgear Sense review, we will focus on these specific needs.

JBL Soundgear Sense Review

The Soundgear Sense represents JBL’s entry into the open-ear design headphone market. Sports enthusiasts favor these headphones because they provide a comfortable and secure fit, even during intense exercise and sweating. Additionally, they enable users to easily stay aware of their surrounding environment while enjoying their music.

JBL Soundgear Sense Review

Ear Hook Design

JBL chose an ear hook design for their Soundgear Sense headphones, popular for sports. Unlike clip-on designs like Huawei or Bose earbuds, the ear hook design offers a secure fit even during vigorous activities such as jumping rope or jogging.

However, there are a few drawbacks to consider with the ear hook design. Wearing the headphones for long periods, especially when stationary, can cause some discomfort and fatigue to the ears. In such cases, we recommend removing the headphones, giving your ears a rest, and perhaps even massaging them. Additionally, the ear-hook design takes up more space, resulting in a larger charging box for the Soundgear Sense. Carrying this charging box can be a bit cumbersome, even when using a spacious crossbody bag.

Fortunately, the ear-hook design is still comfortable to wear with a ¾ helmet or when lying down, without any issues commonly experienced with open earbuds.

Comfortable and Secure Fit

I jogged for an hour during the JBL Soundgear Sense review and was pleasantly surprised by its secure fit. It hardly moved at all, providing a comfortable experience throughout the activity. You can adjust the ear hook to fit different ear sizes, ensuring a personalized and snug fit.

The Soundgear Sense is perfect for jogging and remains stable during exercises like push-ups, planks, and sit-ups. Unlike traditional in-ear buds or over-the-ear headphones, you don’t need to insert these headphones too deeply into the ear, resulting in a breathable experience without any itchiness or discomfort.

When it comes to durability, the Soundgear Sense doesn’t disappoint. It is water and dust-resistant, meeting IP54 standards. This feature provides peace of mind, allowing me to confidently use the headphones even when my ears sweat excessively or in light rain.

JBL Soundgear Sense Review

JBL has considered user convenience with the Soundgear Sense. It comes with an easily removable neckband accessory, adding an extra layer of security for intense workouts. The neckband also serves as a practical resting place for the headset, allowing you to take it off and hang it around your neck temporarily, eliminating the need to carry a bulky charging box.

Surprising sound quality

The sound quality of the JBL Soundgear Sense, a new generation of Open-ear headphones, is surprisingly good. Unlike Bone Conduction technology, which transmits sound through bones, the Soundgear Sense uses Air Conduction technology, which transmits sound through the air. This technology allows for better sound quality by reproducing the full range of sounds, from bass to treble.

JBL Soundgear Sense Review

One advantage of Air Conduction technology is that these headphones are placed outside the ear canal, providing better ventilation and comfort, even during long periods of use and intense physical activity. Even when I sweat a lot during exercise or jogging, the headphones remain comfortable to wear.

Additionally, the Soundgear Sense is equipped with a 16.2 mm audio driver, which is significantly larger than the typical 11 mm drivers found in other TWS headsets. Although it is not noise-canceling and is an open headphone, JBL’s OpenSound technology ensures that sound is transmitted directly to the ear canal, while reducing sound dispersion. This means that even at 50% volume in a quiet room, there is no sound leakage.

JBL Soundgear Sense Review

The sound quality of the Soundgear Sense is truly impressive for an open-design headset. The bass is strong and impactful, creating an exciting experience, especially when listening to bass-heavy EDM music during workouts. It reproduces deep and powerful bass that allows you to feel the pounding kicks and drums in fast-paced songs by artists like Dua Lipa or Black Pink. The treble and mid ranges exhibit a well-balanced sound, with clear vocals and a relatively spacious soundstage.

Overall, the Soundgear Sense performs well across different music genres and is suitable for watching movies or playing games, offering a comparable experience to in-ear or earbud headphones.

User-friendly app

The design of the headphones ensures ease of use, with compatibility offered through the JBL Headphone app. This app allows you to personalize your listening experience by adjusting EQ settings for different music genres.

You can also customize touch controls, select the ideal sound mode for music or video playback, balance the sound between both ears and set a maximum volume level to protect your hearing. Additionally, the app includes a headphone search feature and an auto-off function to conserve battery life.

Compromised noise canceling

The JBL Soundgear Sense has an open design, but this has a drawback when it comes to noise cancelation. There is no noise protection at all, and environmental sounds blend with the music. It is still fine to wear the headset in a quiet environment like your room or a park, but it is not suitable for wearing while driving on the street due to traffic noise and wind noise. In such situations, turning up the volume to 70-80% or higher is necessary to hear the sound. When stopped at a red light, reducing the volume to 50-60% can help avoid it being too loud. Overall, it is not recommended to use the Soundgear Sense while driving.

JBL Soundgear Sense Review

The Soundgear Sense has four microphones, one for each side of the headset, providing good conversation quality. Despite lacking AI noise filtering technology, the Soundgear Sense still offers clear voice call sound, even on the street. However, the other end of the call may still hear background noise in noisy environments. If you only need to make a voice call, you can wear just one headset thanks to the Dual Connect technology, which allows each headset to operate independently.

Additionally, it supports connecting to two devices simultaneously through the Multi-point feature. You can connect it to both your phone and laptop. When listening to music on your laptop an d receiving an incoming call on your phone, the headset will automatically switch. However, there may be some issues with smooth connectivity, especially when connecting to a laptop. Sometimes, stopping the music on the laptop and playing it on the phone doesn’t work seamlessly.

The headset can be controlled through touch operations, has a large command receiving area, and is easy to use. It allows for volume adjustment, song skipping, music playback stoppage, virtual assistant calling, and direct call answering or rejecting.

Moderate battery life

According to JBL’s announcement, the Soundgear Sense headset has a maximum battery life of approximately 6 hours on its own. When paired with the charging box, the battery life extends to 24 hours, or about 3 full charges. During this JBL Soundgear Sense review test, I found that the earphone’s battery life closely matched JBL’s claim. I was able to listen to music continuously at 50% volume for nearly 5 hours and 55 minutes.

JBL Soundgear Sense Review

Individuals who need to wear headphones throughout the workday will find the battery life moderate but sufficient, allowing them to enjoy music and be available for incoming calls. For sports activities, the Soundgear Sense’s 6-hour duration is more than sufficient, as most workout sessions last no more than 1-2 hours.

One drawback, however, is that the charging box is relatively large and bulky. It would be preferable if it could charge the headphones 4-5 times, but currently, it only provides 3 full charges. The box supports fast charging, giving you 4 hours of music playback with just 15 minutes of charging. However, it’s important to note that the headset does not support wireless charging.

Final line

JBL showcased its expertise in the open-design headphone market with a new product that effectively addresses many of the typical drawbacks associated with this type of headphone, especially in terms of bass performance. These headphones offer a comfortable and sturdy fit, along with a versatile management app and convenient touch controls.

JBL Soundgear Sense Review

But there are a couple of areas where JBL Soundgear Sense can improve. First, the size of the charging box and headphones themselves is quite large, resulting in a bulky and tangled experience. Furthermore, the battery life should be extended to meet the demands of an 8-hour workday or long exercise sessions like trail running and marathons.

If you enjoy listening to music while working out, JBL Soundgear Sense provides an excellent option. It is available for $149.95 on Amazon.com and offers a compelling package of features.

About Ankeet Solanki

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