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Earbuds are now commonplace when out in public bringing a lovely convenience to listening to music as well as looking like you are talking to yourself, whilst otherwise engaged on a phone call or work meeting.
JBL have recently added a set of earbuds to their range, which have for the first time, infiltrated the gaming market. Enter the JBL Quantum TWS gaming earbuds!
So here we have earbuds that are said to be designed for gaming and have monstrous compatibility across the board. Show me more I say!
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Design and Control
The JBL Quantum TWS earbuds come in a small and vibrant box that is adorned with the JBL tagline “Dare to Listen” down the side. I always tend to read that in a Del Boy off Only Fools & Horses voice for some reason. As you slide the black box out of its sleeve, the earbuds are revealed in all their naked glory.
The contents that you see before you include a USB-C dongle, charging case, 3 sizes of ear tips, a type C USB charging cable, and the standard paperwork. I find that there is always a good use of space within JBL’s packaging with the contents packed inside in such a manner to keep the box as large as it needs to be. Definitely, a thumbs up for the Eco side.
The buds themselves weigh a mere 11g each and have a 10mm driver. They have been designed to be splash proof and are rated as IPX4. I will confess that, due to my stupidity, they have been in the washing machine, thankfully they survived! Each of the earbuds has one touch-sensitive button on them which can be configured via either the JBL mobile app or the Quantum Engine if on a PC. This makes them very easy to use. From changing tracks and accepting calls to commanding your chosen virtual assistant, the JBL app has you covered.
At the bottom of each earbud there is an array of 3 microphones, to help pick you up as well as monitor external noise. Once more, JBL has included the options of noise cancellation (ANC) as well as ambient awareness and talk thru.
When it comes to the battery there is up to 8 hours of playback with ANC off and then a further 16 hours of charge via the earbud case.
The JBL Quantum TWS gaming earbuds offer two ways of connecting. Firstly you have the USB C 2.4GHz low latency dongle that brings connectivity to PC, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and Mac. Secondly, there is Bluetooth (version 5.2) for devices that have those capabilities.
One feature that I really like is the fact that you can connect both via dongle and Bluetooth at the same time and then switch between sources. Perfect for taking a phone call or dare I say, a work meeting while gaming. No names are mentioned here, you know who you are drummer boy 😉
Sound and Performance
QuantumSURROUND can only be activated via the included dongle when the earbuds are used on your PC and I must say that it sounds fantastic. On PlayStation and Nintendo Switch the sound will only be in stereo, as will Mac. I seriously do not know any Mac gamers but I guess they do exist. When using Bluetooth both PC and Mac will only output in stereo to the earbuds.
I have been extensively testing the JBL Quantum TWS earbuds across a range of platforms and I must say that they have performed exceedingly well. The sound quality for mere earbuds is very good and features very deep bass tones where you so desire along with a crisp high-end treble at the other end of the scale. The EQ is thankfully customisable to your liking.
The built-in microphones ensured that my voice was clear, although it was fairly telling that I had the mic slightly further away from my mouth than usual. I usually use a headset with a boom mic when gaming. That difference aside there were no issues throughout both gaming and using them to take calls on my phone.
The adaptive noise cancelling along with ambient awareness is simply superb. When you first set up the earbuds, the app runs through tests as it configures them for your ears and checks the ear tips for fitment. All very clever and it gives you an assurance that you have the correct size for your ears.
Used in practice, the noise cancelling filters out everything around you, allowing you to concentrate on your game, or ignore others at your pleasure. You can switch in and out of the mode by lightly pressing the left earbud. The ambient awareness allows you to define a level of sound that you would like to hear in the background. Again this is altered via the JBL app. I found this feature most useful if I was listening out for the door for example or didn’t want the sound experience to be too isolating given the environment.
While gaming is my main reason for using headphones and earbuds, I do also like to practice my bass. I found that by using the JBL Quantum TWS earbuds with ambient aware to a high level, I could play music through them while having my over-ear headphones over the top with my bass guitar playing through. It made for a delightful experience, both for myself and my neighbours!
When it comes to performance, one problem I have always had is the pain that is sometimes present when using earbuds for a long time. I found that with this design and the light weight of them, I hardly noticed them in my ears. The fit was perfect and secure.
The JBL Quantum TWS earbuds are an amazing allrounder that for the price of £129.99 allow you to bounce between console, PC, handheld and mobile phone as much as you like. The quality of the build, sound, and overall performance is quite frankly, superb.
If I would want to add one feature to the earbuds, it would be for the addition of a wireless charging case as I did find it convenient to plonk them down onto the multitude of wireless charging pads that are springing up both at work and at home rather than to plug a cable in. But hey, it’s not a deal breaker.
The JBL Quantum TWS gaming earbuds receive the Thumb Culture Platinum award.
Disclaimer: A sample was received in order to write this review.