I've tested a whole host of different wireless earbuds recently and the JBL Quantum TWS are, for me, the pinnacle. They don't necessarily have the best sound, or the longest battery life, but they are the buds I choose to use on a daily basis out of all the ones I have on offer. And I have amassed quite the collection. The JBLs though are simple, effective and feature-packed. All in all, they just plain work.
That might seem like a given for any product put out by a reasonable company in 2022, but it's not a guarantee by any means.
The JBL Quantums are your classic wireless fare; aping the long-stemmed look of Apple's EarPods, but with a black finish. They come in a magnetic charging case, which helps extend the battery life of the buds themselves, and this case also holds the USB Type-C dongle which allows you to connect to other devices, such as a gaming laptop.
That's one of the features which propels the JBL Quantums ahead of the pack; the fact that it has both Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity and 2.4GHz wireless via a Type-C dongle. And the switching is fast and the connection robust.
Frequency response: 20Hz - 20,000Hz
Weight: 0.4oz | 11g
Connection: Bluetooth 5.2 | 2.4GHz wireless
Battery life: 5 (ANC on) | 16 from charging case
Price: $150 (opens in new tab) | £129 (opens in new tab)
Once you've paired your buds via Bluetooth, or plugged your dongle into your PC, laptop, or Steam Deck, then it's just a question of pulling the buds from the charging case to turn them on and jamming them into your ear holes. They swiftly power on and connect, and you're up and running in a trice.
Honestly, that's something many of the wireless buds I've tested recently will do, and I'm eternally grateful the bad old days of headset pairing has seemingly long gone. Many of the other wireless earbuds also have touch controls, too, but few as eminently usable as the Quantums.
I do have a soft spot for Creative's Outlier Pro buds—they sound great and the noise cancelling is excellent. But I found myself constantly infuriated by the controls, or rather the complete lack of control as I'm jabbing at the earbuds in order to double tap and get them to just damn well pause for a second so I can buy a bus ticket.
The JBL Quantums, on the other hand, are easy to use and have a basic single tap on the right bud to pause and play, and the same on the left bud to cycle through active noise cancelling, ambient aware, or sound control off. It's straightforward, easy to access, and doesn't frustrate the process.
That noise cancelling is decent, too, even if it does inevitably cut down the battery life from eight to five hours. Using the JBL phone app you can tune them to your ear canal, to further enhance the ANC as well. I would say, the Outlier Pro buds do have the edge when it comes to completely blocking the outside world, but the Quantum buds are still impressively effective.
But what about the audio quality? I've said they're not the best-sounding buds I've tested, but the sound quality is good. I would steer clear of the QuantumSURROUND feature if you're running them from the USB dongle on your desktop PC, though—I almost blew out my eardrums with the unreasonable bass thuds in Red Dead Redemption 2 from just a short gallop through the desert cacti.
With that off the bass tones are more subtle. And, in fact, I did bump the EQ to Bass over the Bluetooth connection in order to squeeze a little more feeling out of The War on Drugs, but in general they sound better with a flat EQ. The JBL app will also allow you to enable game mode, which helps sync game and video audio, but the fact you can jam the Type-C dongle into your laptop or Steam Deck and play without delay makes the Quantums incredibly versatile.
And they're affordable, too. Considering that the Audeze Euclids—easily the best-sounding earbuds I've ever used—are $1,200, that the JBLs are more usable on a day-to-day basis and a tenth of the price is pretty astounding.
I have options for better-sounding, longer-lasting earbuds, but I'm going to stick with the JBL Quantum TWS buds. The still sound good, last a decent amount of time, and are the most versatile and easy-to-use set around. I am most definitely sold.