JBL launches headphones and earphones with a screen to take on Apple and Sony

JBL took advantage of the IFA in Berlin to unveil its new mobile audio products. On the program, noise reduction Bluetooth headphones, the JBL Tour One M2, and wireless headphones with a screen on the case, the JBL Tour Pro 2.

JBL Tour Pro 2 headphones // Source: Geoffroy Husson for Frandroid

As the IFA show opens its doors this Tuesday in Berlin, the Harman Kardon group took advantage of the event to unveil its new range of high-end headphones and earphones. Here are the JBL Tour One M2 and the JBL Tour Pro 2.

For those who closely follow the many announcements in the field of nomadic audio, these two names do not come out of nowhere. The JBL Tour range was launched in January 2021, already with two models at the time, the JBL Tour One headphones and the JBL Tour Pro+ headphones.

Logically, the two new models unveiled on Tuesday come to succeed this first test of JBL on the high-end segment. It must be said that, if the brand of the Harman Kardon group has multiplied the references of wireless headphones and Bluetooth headsets in recent years, it mainly addressed the entry and mid-range segments. Nevertheless, with these two new products, JBL has clear ambitions: come face to face with the leaders of the high-end segment such as Apple, Sony or Bose.

A JBL Tour One M2 to tackle the giants of noise reduction

This starts with a new high-end Bluetooth headset with active noise reduction, the JBL Tour One M2. Aware of the shortcomings of the first version, particularly in terms of insulation efficiency, JBL claims to have reviewed its copy and this time delivers headphones that are more effective in noise reduction. If the American manufacturer seeks to achieve the level of noise reduction of a Sony WH-1000XM5 or a Bose Headphones 700, it does not quite succeed – we have been able to try it and the voices are still struggling to be filtered – but comes close nonetheless. To do this, JBL has equipped its headphones with four microphones responsible for analyzing ambient sounds for adaptive noise reduction.

The JBL Tour One M2 headphones
The JBL Tour One M2 headphones // Source: Geoffroy Husson for Frandroid

For sound, the JBL Tour One M2 is no exception. It embeds 40 mm transducers with a spatial audio virtualization system independent of the application or the sound file. Useful for example if you want to listen to a track as if you were in a small room or a concert hall. However, there is no head movement tracking feature. The headset is also connected to the smartphone via Bluetooth 5.3 with management of the AAC and SBC codecs. JBL also indicates that its Tour One M2 is compatible with Bluetooth LE Audio. We can therefore expect more features to be offered when this version is deployed in the coming months. Note also that the headset is multipoint Bluetooth compatible.

Regarding the format and ergonomics, the JBL is highly customizable. If it weighs 286 grams – against around 250 grams for its main competitors – it is rather comfortable with a weight rather well distributed between the top of the skull and the ears. The headphones are also foldable, a good point when Sennheiser, Bose or Sony take turns to remove this ergonomic aspect. JBL also gives the user the choice between controlling music and volume with buttons or using the touchpad integrated into the left ear. A great point. For charging, the JBL Tour One M2 goes through USB-C – without audio transmission – and the firm has also integrated a headphone jack for wired listening.

JBL announces up to 50 hours of battery life on its Tour One M2 with noise reduction deactivated. It is not yet known what the autonomy offered by the helmet will be by activating this feature.

And for good reason, since the JBL Tour One M2 will not be released anytime soon. If it was presented on Tuesday, it will not be released until January 2023 with two colors – black and champagne – at a price of 299 euros.

JBL Tour Pro 2 with a screen on the case

If the JBL Tour One M2 takes a fairly classic approach, the JBL Tour Pro 2 headphones are more original. It must be said that they integrate a screen directly into the charging box.

The case of the JBL Tour Pro 2 earphones
The case of the JBL Tour Pro 2 headphones // Source: Geoffroy Husson for Frandroid

Concretely, this screen will allow you to directly access the listening parameters of your headphones. Using a swipe navigation, you can move from function to function to control the music, change noise reduction mode or change the equalizer of the headphones. If these functions can be found directly within the JBL smartphone application, integrating them into the box allows you to take advantage of them even if you are connected to a device other than a smartphone or tablet. So you can manage the equalizer even when you listen to music on your computer or on a TV.

The JBL Tour Pro 2 headphones
JBL Tour Pro 2 headphones // Source: Geoffroy Husson for Frandroid

Like the headphones, the JBL Tour Pro 2 are compatible with multipoint Bluetooth, take advantage of Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC and AAC codecs and are even ready for Bluetooth LE Audio. The case is also compatible with wireless charging.

Concerning the sound part and the functionalities, JBL adopted a format of earphones with rods with in-ear tips of oval shape accommodating a transducer of 10 mm in diameter. The headphones also benefit from an active noise reduction function thanks to six microphones, including two for ANC. They are, as a bonus, IP54 certified for protection against dust and splashes. JBL announces this time up to 10 hours of autonomy on the earphones alone and 30 additional hours using the charging case.

For availability, you will also have to wait until next January. The JBL Tour Pro 2 will be available at a price of 249 euros in two colors: black and champagne.

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