Hands on: JBL TUNE 700BT headphones

JBL TUNE 700BT (Image: JBL)

Budget, but balanced

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29 June 2020 | 0

The TUNE 700BT over ear, Bluetooth headphones from audio stalwarts JBL, are a balanced, budget set that provide a comfortable listening experience that is probably well beyond most people’s ability to discern.

Audio devices have gotten so good in recent years, that arguably only those who can hear the mosquito noise  have a dynamic enough audio range to tell the difference between good and great, but consequently, are less likely to have the experience or knowledge to do so, or care.

The point of that sweeping statement is that for most of us, even budget audio devices sound so good as to be indistinguishable from all but the highest of high-end devices. As one writes, Messrs Kruder and Dorfmeister are pushing the audio envelope of the 700BTs, with their unique Teutonic take on hip hop and house that at once tests the low and mid bass levels while also tickling the higher registers with some nice ornamentation.

 

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All of this is faithfully recreated though 40mm dynamic drivers, with frequency ranges of 20Hz-20KHz, sensitivities (passive mode) of 95dBSPL / 1mW and (active mode) 102 dBSPL / 1mW, and 32Ohm impedance.

Now, this hack must admit that all means very little beyond the fact that all the music sounds great from the 700BTs, irrespective of genre or source.

In keeping with the market segment, the 700BT’s wireless capability is Bluetooth 4.2, as opposed to 5, but there is also a wired option for passive mode. The draw back with this protocol is wireless range, but what is lost here is regained in battery life with an excellent 27 hours claimed for Bluetooth mode. While this was not rigorously tested, it was far more than any one sitting demanded and the short charge time for the 610mAh battery on USB is less than two hours, so quick top ups are fine.

There is still a quality feel to the 700BTs, with a solidity and finish that belies their price. One minor gripe is that there is no case or cover included. That said, they fold away neatly and will fit in a coat pocket as easily as a travel bag.

They are comfortable and relatively light, which allows one to use a good portion of that battery life before even becoming conscious of wearing them.

From an ergonomic perspective, the controls are nicely laid out and intuitive. The right can has power and volume controls, with the microphones well positioned for capture. One possibly questionable design element is the placement of the USB charging port. The right hand can must be canted outward on its hinge to reveal the port. While this is neat in terms of aesthetics, it is entirely possible to see how it might lead to unwanted guillotine-like incidents while charging.

Available in black or white, the JBL TUNE 700BT headphones retail for €89. As a basic, wireless headphone set, the 700BTs are well built and good quality, from a traditional audio company, so one cannot go far wrong. Minor gripes aside, the only real downside is that the 700BT’s stablemate, the 750BT NC with active noise cancellation is only a few euros more.

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