JLab JBuds ANC 3 Review: Compact design, comfortable fit and excellent noise reduction

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JLab JBuds ANC 3 Review: Compact design, comfortable fit and excellent noise reduction

Today we take a look at JB’s newest offering, the JLab JBuds ANC 3. Admittedly, my allegiance had been with the Epic Lab Edition earbuds, a pair that unexpectedly captured my auditory senses. The latest ANC 3, however, brings JLab back to its roots – a budget-friendly earbud boasting powerful noise-canceling capabilities at a modest $59 price tag.

A significant departure from the Epic Edition lies in the use of 10 mm dynamic drivers. While the Epic Lab Edition embraced multiple drivers, the ANC 3 opts for a different audio architecture. This shift demonstrates JLab’s commitment to delivering a unique sound profile with larger dynamic drivers.

The JBuds ANC 3 earbuds boasts Bluetooth 5.2 technology, ensuring a seamless and robust connection. The ability to connect to multiple devices simultaneously enhances the practicality of these earbuds, making it a versatile choice for users juggling between various gadgets.

Despite its budget-friendly nature, the ANC 3 impresses with its promise of effective noise cancellation. Retailing at $59, it positions itself as an attractive option for users seeking quality without breaking the bank. 

JLab JBuds ANC 3 True Wireless Earbuds with Charging Case, 42+ Hours of...
  • SMART ACTIVE NOISE CANCELING: Smart Active Noise Cancelation adjusts to the environment and continually learns how...
  • JLAB APP: With the new JLab app, you’ll have control to customize the Noise Control settings, touch controls, and...
  • SERIOUS PLAYTIME: JBuds ANC 3 features 9+ hours of wireless playtime in each earbud and 33+ additional hours from...
  • CONNECT TO MULTIPLE DEVICES: With Bluetooth Multipoint you enjoy the versatility of transitioning seamlessly from...
  • SAFE LISTENING: Hear your surroundings while you run or walk for safe listening with Be Aware Audio. Turn on when...

JLab JBuds ANC 3: Video Review

SpecsJLab JBuds ANC 3
Form FactorIn Ear
Connectivity TechnologyWireless
Bluetooth VersionBluetooth 5.2
CodecsSBC
ProtocolsHSP / HFP / A2DP /AVRCP
Speakers10 mm dynamic driver
Output105 +/-3 dB
Freq Response20–20 kHz
Impedance32Ω
Microphone3 MEMS -42dB+/-3dB
IP RatingIP55 (earbuds only)
Battery500 mAh lithium polymer
Earbud Battery43 mAh lithium polymer
Earbud Charge Time1.5 hours (in case)
Case Charge Time2 hours
Charge PlugUSB-C
Battery Life9+ hours in each earbud
Total Playtime42+ hours total
Weight Case29.5 g
Weight Earbuds4.8 g ea

What is in the box

Straight out of the box, the JBuds ANC 3 keeps it minimalistic. Absent of a charging cable, the essentials include the earbuds themselves and the trio of small, medium, and large silicone ear tips.

JLab JBuds ANC 3 Review: Compact design, comfortable fit and excellent noise reduction

Noteworthy is the thoughtful provision in the manual – an option to request a set of foam ear tips directly from JLab. This personalization caters to the diverse preferences of users, a commendable touch in a world where comfort is key.

JLab JBuds ANC 3 Review: Compact design, comfortable fit and excellent noise reduction

JLab JBuds ANC 3: Design

For those acquainted with JLab’s headphone lineup, the JBuds ANC 3 offers a sense of déjà vu. The design seamlessly aligns with the typical JLab style, creating a cohesive theme across their product range. This consistency is likely to resonate with fans of the brand, providing a reassuring familiarity.

 

A standout feature of the JBuds ANC 3 is the integrated charging cable within the case. Opinions on this design choice are divided; some users appreciate the convenience of not dealing with an external cable, while others find it contentious. Notably, JLab introduces a modern twist by opting for a USB-C cable, departing from the conventional USB-A seen in previous models.

JLab JBuds ANC 3 Review: Compact design, comfortable fit and excellent noise reduction

Weighing less than 40 grams, the JBuds ANC 3 case is impressively compact, measuring 2.45 inches in length, 1 inch in width, and 1.64 inches in height. The earbuds themselves are equally lightweight, with each earbud tipping the scales at just 4.8 grams. This feather-light construction ensures unparalleled portability, making them an ideal everyday companion.

JLab JBuds ANC 3 Review: Compact design, comfortable fit and excellent noise reduction

The JBuds ANC 3 may feel lightweight to some users, potentially bordering on a perception of cheapness. However, it’s crucial to consider the price point – at $59, these noise-canceling headphones are not expected to rival their pricier counterparts in terms of weight and build. Instead, JLab focuses on providing an accessible option without compromising essential features.

JLab JBuds ANC 3 Review: Compact design, comfortable fit and excellent noise reduction

Surpassing the standard expectations for budget earbuds, the JBuds ANC 3 boasts an IP55 rating. This not only shields against water exposure but also provides a layer of dust protection. Whether in a dusty environment, a dirty outdoor setting, or even a day at the beach with sand blowing around, these earbuds offer a level of protection uncommon in their price range.

APP

JLab JBuds ANC 3 headphones work with the JB app. They have three different equalizer modes: JLab Signature Sound, Balanced Sound, and Bass Boost. The beauty of these modes is that they are readily accessible on the earbuds themselves, eliminating the need to constantly dive into the app for adjustments.

JLab JBuds ANC 3 Review: Compact design, comfortable fit and excellent noise reduction

However, for those who crave even more customization, the JB’s app steps in to offer a deeper level of control. Users can fine-tune their audio experience by creating and applying their own EQ settings within the app.

JLab JBuds ANC 3 Review: Compact design, comfortable fit and excellent noise reduction

Beyond audio customization, the app serves as a hub for keeping the earbuds up-to-date with the latest firmware. Additionally, the app introduces a movie mode, catering to those who seek an optimized audio experience for their cinematic adventures.

JLab JBuds ANC 3 Review: Compact design, comfortable fit and excellent noise reduction

The app also proves to be invaluable when it comes to controlling various functions of the earbuds. Out of the box, the default controls may not cover all user preferences. However, the app empowers users to redefine their controls, granting them the ability to manage play/pause, skip tracks, go backward, adjust volume, and toggle between EQ settings, all with ease.

ANC 

The JLab JBuds ANC 3 introduces a versatile noise-canceling experience with its three distinct modes: Smart ANC, ANC off, and Be Aware mode, the latter resembling a transparency mode. While it may not compete with the noise-canceling powerhouses like Sony or Bose, it stands out in its price range, particularly excelling at blocking out lower-frequency disturbances such as engine noises and the hum of AC units. However, it’s crucial to set realistic expectations, as it might not perform as adeptly in drowning out higher-frequency sounds, such as conversations or ambient noise from a television.

JLab JBuds ANC 3 Review: Compact design, comfortable fit and excellent noise reduction

Where the JBuds ANC 3 truly shines is in its Be Aware mode. This transparency mode impressively preserves the natural sound of your surroundings. This is particularly useful when you want to remain aware of your environment without having to remove the earbuds.

It’s worth noting that the JBuds ANC 3 lacks smart sensors for automatic pausing or resuming playback when the earbuds are removed or reinserted. Despite this absence, the inclusion of the Be Aware mode compensates for the inconvenience, offering users the ability to stay connected to their surroundings without sacrificing audio quality.

JLab JBuds ANC 3: Sound quality

The standout feature of the JLab JBuds ANC 3 headphones is undoubtedly the signature JLab sound, which adheres to the classic Harmon curve. This tuning philosophy accentuates the lows and highs, resulting in a dynamic and lively auditory experience.

On the other hand, the balance mode, while intended to provide a more neutral sound, might not appeal to everyone. Some may find it a little “boring” as it lacks the vibrancy and energy of the signature sound. The attempt to strip away excessive coloration might have inadvertently muted the overall sound, potentially leaving users seeking a more lively audio experience dissatisfied.

JLab JBuds ANC 3 Review: Compact design, comfortable fit and excellent noise reduction

The bass boost mode, while bringing a pronounced boom to the low end, may risk overshadowing the mids and trebles. This shift in emphasis could result in a less balanced and immersive experience, particularly for those who appreciate a well-rounded sonic profile.

However, the real star of the show is the JLab signature sound. The tuning prioritizes tight and impactful bass with a subtle boost in the sub-bass, striking a harmonious balance that prevents overwhelming the listener. The mids are skillfully preserved, maintaining their sonic integrity without getting lost in the complexity of genres like rock or metal. This is a testament to JLab’s efforts in ensuring a versatile performance across various musical genres.

JLab JBuds ANC 3 Review: Compact design, comfortable fit and excellent noise reduction

The treble boost, while not overpowering, adds a layer of detail and clarity without veering into harsh or bright territory. The equilibrium achieved between the bass and treble creates a well-rounded sonic landscape that allows each element to shine without overshadowing the others.

In terms of soundstage and imaging, the JBuds ANC 3 excels by maintaining an open and spacious feel. The balance struck in the tuning prevents the sound from becoming overly congested or excessively bright, contributing to a sense of immersion that transcends the confines of the earbuds.

Microphone quality

When it comes to using the JLab JBuds ANC 3 for phone calls, this pair proves to be a reliable companion for communication. While it may not boast the absolute best microphone performance in the headphone market, it certainly gets the job done effectively. The microphone demonstrates a commendable ability to capture your voice, ensuring clear and discernible communication during phone calls.

JLab JBuds ANC 3 Review: Compact design, comfortable fit and excellent noise reduction

Battery life

The JLab JBuds ANC 3 not only impresses with its audio performance but also showcases a thoughtful approach to battery efficiency. The earbuds themselves are equipped with a 43 mAh battery, offering users a swift charge time of 1.5 hours.

The accompanying charging case boasts a larger 500 mAh capacity, requiring a slightly longer charge time of 2 hours.

JLab JBuds ANC 3 Review: Compact design, comfortable fit and excellent noise reduction

On a single charge, the earbuds deliver an impressive 9 hours of use, providing a substantial listening window without the need for frequent recharging. The case further extends this capability, offering around 42 hours of total usage when factoring in additional charges from the charging case.

It’s crucial to note that engaging the noise-canceling mode will impact the overall battery life. As is often the case with active noise canceling features, the power-hungry nature of this technology results in a reduction in battery performance.

JLab JBuds ANC 3: Conclusion

The JLab JBuds ANC 3 emerges as a compelling and well-rounded option, especially for individuals seeking a versatile pair of earbuds. If you prioritize effective noise cancellation, extended battery life that can easily last throughout the day, and commendable sound quality, JLab has succeeded in delivering a compelling product. While there are indeed competitors in this price range, the JBuds ANC 3’s performance in these key areas, positions it as a strong contender in the market for in-ear headphones around $50. This recommendation is based on its overall experience feature set and the positive user it offers across various use cases.

JLab JBuds ANC 3 True Wireless Earbuds with Charging Case, 42+ Hours of...
  • SMART ACTIVE NOISE CANCELING: Smart Active Noise Cancelation adjusts to the environment and continually learns how...
  • JLAB APP: With the new JLab app, you’ll have control to customize the Noise Control settings, touch controls, and...
  • SERIOUS PLAYTIME: JBuds ANC 3 features 9+ hours of wireless playtime in each earbud and 33+ additional hours from...
  • CONNECT TO MULTIPLE DEVICES: With Bluetooth Multipoint you enjoy the versatility of transitioning seamlessly from...
  • SAFE LISTENING: Hear your surroundings while you run or walk for safe listening with Be Aware Audio. Turn on when...

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