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JBL's traditional fall product portfolio includes three hot new AirPods alternatives

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JBL's traditional fall product portfolio includes three hot new AirPods alternatives
Owned by Harman International, which is in turn a Samsung subsidiary, JBL has made a habit of essentially throwing everything at the wall twice a year to see what sticks in terms of AirPods, AirPods Pro, and yes, Galaxy Buds alternatives.

Judging from the 2020 true wireless earbuds market report published by Strategy Analytics back in January 2021, the American brand's strategy does yield fairly positive results, garnering global sales numbers surpassed only by Apple, Xiaomi, Samsung, Huawei, and Realme.

January 2021 just so happens to be the last time we've seen an extensive lineup of JBL-branded audio products unveiled, so naturally, the traditional fall upgrade is now here... to remind us this is when the IFA trade show in Berlin was supposed to take place.

One high-end PRO model to undercut the AirPods Pro and Galaxy Buds Pro


No, the brand-new JBL Reflect Flow Pro (or PRO) are certainly not the world's cheapest wireless earbuds equipped with active noise cancellation. But at $179.95, they're considerably more affordable than both Samsung's Galaxy Buds Pro and Apple's AirPods Pro, which typically go for $200 and $250 a pair respectively.

Of course, substantial discounts on both those bestsellers are pretty common nowadays, and unfortunately for JBL, the noise-cancelling non-Pro AirPods 3 could well beat the November 14 commercial debut of the Reflect Flow Pro following an announcement rumored for September.


In addition to Adaptive Noise Cancelling and Smart Ambient technology, JBL's latest true wireless high-enders also have top-notch IP68 water and dust resistance, powerful 6.8mm drivers delivering "Signature Sound", a grand total of 6 microphones guaranteeing "perfect" voice clarity in all settings, up to 30 hours of playtime, and wireless charging support going for them.

In other words, the "PRO" moniker seems fully justified, making the newest member of the Reflect family look like a very solid contender for the title of overall best true wireless earbuds money can buy in 2021, with or without the AirPods 3 around the corner.

Two affordable mid-rangers with ANC


Priced at $99.95 each and slated for a joint October 17 release, the JBL Tune 230NC and Tune 130NC are obviously not here to give the AirPods Pro or Sony WF-1000XM4 a run for their money, instead going after the likes of Amazon's second-gen Echo Buds or the upcoming OnePlus Buds Pro "Lite."


Given their identical MSRP, you shouldn't be surprised to see these two share a lot of their key specs and features as well, starting with the state-of-the-art active noise cancellation functionality and also including everything from a stellar combined battery endurance rating of 40 hours to IPX4 water and sweat resistance, 4-mic technology, speed charge support, and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity.

Of those 40 hours, 10 hours is how long the earbuds themselves can keep your tunes going (with ANC switched off) before needing to recharge, which is also exactly what the Reflect Flow Pro are capable of when not taking their bundled case into consideration.


Apart from their obvious design distinction, the Tune 130NC and Tune 230NC also differ in terms of driver size, which sits at 5.8mm on the latter variant and a whopping 10mm on the former. That being said, both models promise to deliver powerful Pure Bass sound, with the silicone tips on the JBL Tune 230NC guaranteeing a more secure fit and thus claiming to offset their significant driver disadvantage.

Active noise cancellation for small ears


As the name suggests, the over-ear JBL JR 460NC headphones are designed with children in mind, which is not an entirely new or groundbreaking concept. 

But there are also not a lot of kid-friendly options from top brands available right now, and there are even fewer we can think of that offer ANC, "high-quality" sound (at least in theory), up to 20 hours of battery life, and built-in volume limitations aimed at protecting the hearing of these bad boys' very young users.


Curiously enough, the JR 460NC cans seem to have been available in certain markets for a little while already before expanding to the US later this month at a very reasonable recommended price of $79.95 in several eye-catching colors.

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