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JBL Live 650BTNC review: Top-notch headphone audio that costs less than Bose and Sony

JBL has made some fairly respectable noise-canceling headphones over time, together with its line-topping Everest Elite 750NC, which I reviewed again in 2017. The one drawback with that mannequin was it value across the identical value ($300) as competing fashions from Bose and Sony that had been merely higher.

For 2019, JBL is attempting one thing totally different. Its new flagship noise-canceling Stay sequence headphone, the Stay 650BTNC, carries an inventory value of $200. And it isn’t solely each bit pretty much as good because the Everest Elite 750NC, however it’s even higher from a sound standpoint.

What you get within the field.

Sarah Tew/Proinertech

This mannequin may be very a lot the non secular successor to the E65BTNC, which additionally began out at $200 however can now be had for $130 on-line. It might look slightly plasticy, however it feels strong (learn: not low cost). Weighing in at 9.28 ounces or 263 grams in keeping with our scale, it has steel hinges that appear like they’re going to maintain up properly over time. Obtainable in a number of colour choices, together with black, darkish blue and white, the 650BTNC folds flat to slot in an included canvas carrying pouch.

Learn extra: One of the best noise-canceling headphones you should buy now

Whereas not fairly as comfy to put on as Bose’s QuietComfort 35 II or the Sony WH-1000XM3, it’s a comfy headphone, with thick reminiscence foam ear pads and a well-padded headband. Though that is an over-ear mannequin and will match round most ears with no drawback, the openings on the ear pads aren’t enormous so the pads would possibly relaxation on high of extra-large ears as an alternative of becoming over them.

The headphone makes use of Bluetooth four.2, helps connections to a number of units — known as “multi-point” connectivity. This connection could be tweaked utilizing the My JBL Headphone app for iOS or Android. It really works together with your cellphone’s voice assistant (Siri, Google Now, Bixby) however within the app you may elect whether or not to allow Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. There’s slightly arrange concerned for each, however they ended up working simply wonderful in my checks.

As soon as enabled, you faucet and maintain on the middle of the left earcup — it is contact delicate — and subject a voice command. When you launch your finger, Google Assistant or Alexa responds to your command via your smartphone.

Within the app, there’s an equalizer to regulate bass and treble settings with preset EQs “Jazz,” “Vocal” and “Bass.” If you happen to do not like several of these, you may create your personal customized setting. I largely simply left the EQ on the default setting: “Off”.

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JBL Live 650BTNC review: Top-notch headphone audio that costs less than Bose and Sony


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