The JBL Tune headphone line has grown again with the addition of the sleek, light and slim JBL Tune 220 TWS (“TWS” stands for True Wireless), with sturdy Bluetooth 5.0 and a clear aim for those with busy, mobile lifestyles. The biggest question surrounding these: how light is too light?
Design and Build
Inspired by a river stone, the charging case is softly rounded and comfortable to hold. Feeling its smooth curves and design in your hand with a smooth pop of the lid that seemed sturdy and strong is a great first impression. Inside, you’ll find two earbuds on either side of three small lights that display the charging level of the case.
Designed for all-day wear, the buds are extremely light; too light. Their lack of weight and completely smooth and plastic body feels cheap despite their affordable A$179.95 price point. Although this more than likely is to make them as comfortable as possible, considering they aren’t placed within the ear canal. They instead line and sit in the auricle with a stem that hangs outside of your ear, a bit like Apple’s AirPods.
They’re comfortable to wear for an entire battery charge and did not come close to falling out when running up and down stairs. A change in texture and material from the smooth plastic around the tip of the earpiece could have added more grip in the ear for vigorous head movements/workouts, where the earbuds did fall out, as well as decreasing the overall plastic feel.
Both earbuds feature convenient tactile buttons for skipping tracks, picking up calls or starting the native voice assistant on your device. A single or double tap of the button on the left earbud controls skipping and restarting tracks whereas the right earbud button controls calls and your voice assistant. The button was responsive and not sensitive to adjusting to moving the earpiece.
JBL promises a battery life of 3 hours on the buds along, and I experienced this to be true. The case charges them every time you place them back inside, and it’s billed as having 16 hours of battery life, that’s close to 6 recharge which totals 19 hours of listening time.
I depleted the battery on the earbuds before placing them back in the case and managed just over four recharges – around 13 hours. I also found the case lost its 50% charge in three days of no use and without removing the earbuds once. The JBL Tune 220 TWS features a lithium-ion 22mA/3.85V battery in both earbuds and a lithium-ion 410mA/3.85V in the charging case, which reaches from 0 to 100$ in roughly 100 minutes.
A guide to connecting your device to the earbuds isn’t even needed because of how straight forward it was initially and every time after that. Just charge, remove them from the case and pair with your device. The strong connection is consistent and stable.
I was surprised by how crisp and rich the sound signature is, considering the lack of weight to each bud. A 12mm dynamic driver with a 20Hz – 20kHz frequency response in each piece complemented by JBL’s Pure Bass Sound creates standout audio at this price. The earbuds really shine when it comes to listening to the denser sounds of rock, with a lot of instruments clanging off each other at once. I found podcasts and voices could be airy and distant at times, although adjusting the output sound profile is a quick fix. Bluetooth range will depend on your device, but I managed to get 15m away before any interruption in signal occurred.
THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Highlights: Solid, rich sound when listening to dynamic music and recordings; comfortable, ergonomic case
Lowlights: The lightness and overall plastic feel of the earbuds borders on feeling too cheap; charging case loses charge in a few days.
Review based on a unit supplied by JBL.