JBL has been one of the most under-rated audio brands. Over the years, the company has launched one good audio product after the other and in the process garnering a large loyal consumer base. The company has excelled in offering good audio quality at relatively affordable price points.
The latest from the company is the JBL LIVE series, a contemporary series of personal audio devices.
JBL LIVE 500BT price in India: Rs 9,999
The JBL LIVE 500BT is an over the ear headset with Bluetooth connectivity and smart features. The earband has a soft cushion that makes it comfortable to wear for long hours. The ear cups to come with soft foam cushioning and a faux leather finish making it ideal for long flights, like the ones I took while testing the headphones. The headphones can fold flat to fit easily into any bag.
The Bluetooth connectivity is simple and initiated by a dedicated button on the right earcup. I also liked the fact that there is a toggle just for powering the headphones on/off. Some models now don’t have power buttons and end up eating power as they stay connected even if you are not wearing them. Just next to the Bluetooth button is another button that gives access to the unique TalkThru and Ambient Aware functions of the headphones.
Also read: Jabra Elite 85h review: Very elite indeed
The JBL LIVE 500BT does not have active noise cancellation. But the earcups offer enough pressure and cover to keep most of the noise out when you are listening to music. However, the TalkThru mode lets you have a quick conversation with a single tap of the button — the audio playback becomes softer and open to allow this to happen. Then there is the Ambient Aware Mode, which I was expecting to be like the aware modes in other headphones. This one is different and lets you hear more than you would otherwise. So at the airport gate, I could hear the boarding announcements sharper than I did when I took the headphones off. Along with the switch on the right earcup, you can also use the JBL Headphone app to control these two modes.
A tap on the left earcup connects you to the smart assistant of your choice. I used Siri as the headphone was paired to an iPhone and iPad. But using the JBL app you can configure it to use Google Assistant or Alexa also.
The audio quality is rich and packs a punch. It is both soulful and sharp, offering a coziness that makes this great to listen to melodies. For instance, I was playing Sona Mohapatra on a loop during most of one of the flights I took and I just wanted to go back to hear more. The headphone offers a right mix with well-rounded mids and highs that don’t pierce your ears. Also, while watching movies, the JBL LIVE 500BT offers the immersive experience that transports you to the scene, away from the bumpy flight you are actually on.
Another good aspect of the headphone is its long battery life. My 10-day vacation went through without charging the JBL LIVE 500BT even once and this included two 5-hour flights where I had the headphones on all the time. I think the company’s claim of 30-hours of battery life is justified here.
I recommend the JBL LIVE 500BT for those who are on the move always and would like to listen to their music or consume their entertainment wherever they are. The headphones offer a good listening experience and are convenient in terms of design and battery life. The smart features are an added advantage. At under Rs 10,000, the JBL LIVE 500BT offers a good option for music lovers.