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JBL Tune 230NC TWS in the test: Are these wireless in-ears an insider tip?


Wireless in-ears with noise canceling are usually an expensive affair. The top dogs Bose, Apple and Sony easily exceed the 250 euro mark with their models. But is it cheap? Yes – at least that’s what JBL shows. With the Tune 230NC TWS, the audio specialist is launching a true wireless pair with active noise suppression for just 80 euros (price at the time of testing). COMPUTER BILD reveals in the test whether there is a real price tip behind the wireless in-ears.

The best true wireless in-ear headphones



LG Electronics

TONE Free FP9


LG Electronics

WF-1000XM4


Sony

Mu3


KEF

Galaxy Buds 2 SM-R177


Samsung

Galaxy Buds Pro SM-R190


Samsung




JBL audio

Elite 7 Active


jabra

Quiet Comfort Earbuds


Angry

Complete list: The best true wireless earphones

JBL Tune 230NC TWS in the test: attachments

JBL supplies three rubber attachments of different sizes.

The plug shape of the Tune 230NC TWS is reminiscent of the design of the LG Tone Free DFP9 and the Apple AirPods Pro: They have a rod that ends in a wide head with a rubber attachment. The JBL headphones seal the ear completely, the manufacturer supplies attachments in three sizes (S, M and L). This is sufficient for most ear canals, but a little more variance would have been desirable. Nevertheless, the in-ears sit comfortably and firmly in the ears. They have a waterproof and sweatproof housing (IPX4). This makes them ideal for sports activities such as jogging.
JBL Tune 230NC TWS in the test: JBL Headphones App

The JBL app offers an equalizer (left) and lets music fans set the connection mode (middle) and button assignment (right).

There is a touch surface on each of the outsides of the headphones. With various tap gestures, music fans can, for example, jump to the next track, increase the volume or control noise suppression. The controls work well, if not perfectly. Users have to hit a certain point on the earphones. But after you get used to it, it’s no longer a problem. Unfortunately, not all functions can be controlled at the same time. Users have to use the “JBL Headphones” app (for iOS and Android) to decide which commands should be sent to the headphones. In addition, the smartphone application shows the charge level of the plugs and the case. Also included is an earbud finder – handy. It comes with an equalizer that music fans can use to adjust the sound to suit their preferences.

This is how the Tune 230NC TWS sound

However, the JBL in-ears do not need a lot of sound tuning. They play music beautifully lively and clearly. The true wireless headphones deliver a better result than their 130NC TWS siblings, but the bass is also more restrained. The highs, on the other hand, are a bit louder. As a result, the overall sound is more balanced and fresher, but the high frequencies lack a bit of brilliance. The wireless plugs reproduce singing voices pleasantly and clearly.

The Tune 230NC TWS not only deliver good sound, but also effectively block out noise. Inside the in-ears are microphones that capture ambient noise. At the same time, they send an opposing sound to the music fan’s ear canal. The superimposition of the waves ensures peace in the ear. The JBL effectively filters out the sound of trains, passing cars and the sound of the wind. They are not at the level of the Apple AirPods or the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. Still, they do a surprisingly good job for their price. On the other hand, if users want to see everything from their surroundings, they switch to transparency mode. The plugs amplify the outside backdrop and train announcements, for example, can be heard well.

Another plus point is the good battery life. With the noise canceling turned on, the JBL headphones played for a full eight hours and 20 minutes. They are on par with the Tune 130NC TWS and deliver a decent result in the true wireless area. If the battery is empty, the plugs go into the supplied transport case. The plastic box is nice and small and has a high-quality finish. The case also quickly recharges the earphones: after just ten minutes in the case, the 230NC TWS played music for two hours and 40 minutes.

JBL Tune 230NC TWS in the test: conclusion

  • good sound
  • Effective noise cancellation
  • Treble a little messy
  • Only three attachment sizes (S, M, L)

The JBL don’t quite come close to the expensive competition from Apple and Bose. But for their price, they deliver a good result. They sound pleasant and unobtrusive, but they lack a bit of detail. The battery life is great at more than eight hours and the noise canceling effectively blocks out annoying ambient noise. They sit well in the ear and the touch controls work as they should. If you are looking for inexpensive true wireless headphones with active noise cancellation, you will find the right pair in the JBL Tune 230NC TWS.



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