In past reviews, this author has absolutely loved JBL’s Synchros line of headphones. However, those aforementioned articles only dealt with over-ear and on-ear models. So, does the in-ear Synchros Reflect BT hold up to the high marks earned by others in this line?
One of the newest headphones from JBL, the Synchros Reflect BT ($99.95), are designed for the physically active and are available in three cheerful colors (blue, green, red) and the standard black. Aesthetically, these headphones resemble an average set of earbuds (with slightly larger earpieces than the “standard fare”); yet, amazingly, these are completely wireless via Bluetooth 4.0 (or low energy). Moreover, the Synchros Reflect BT are powerful enough to broadcast ~40 feet away as well as through at least one wall.
A small, adjustable strap interconnects the two earpieces and also houses a three-button remote (dedicated volume up/down buttons and then a central button for power on/off, answer/end-call, and play/pause) and, as an added safety feature, there is a silver-colored, reflective strip to improve perceptibility in low light conditions (night, dawn, and dusk). Another interesting design feature is built-in magnets on the back of the earbuds so when not in use, these headphones can be slung around one’s neck and clasp together.
The Synchros Reflect BT comes with three sizes of ear tips that fit inside the ear canal and also conform to the outer ear’s folds for a secure fit. Another must-have feature for exercising-enthusiasts is that these headphones are durable when it comes to sweat and do not “short out.”
Much like watching an episode of “Unsolved Mysteries,” this author is amazed and will never fully understand how JBL fit all of the following in such a small device: a Bluetooth antennae, microphone (for talking with Siri or conversing on the phone), battery that lasts up to 5 hours, and a USB port for recharging.
The most impressive pro (i.e., this product’s size) also creates some cons. Since these headphones are so diminutive, placement of components is limited. For example, the indicator light was initially difficult to locate and, ultimately, was discovered hidden on the underside of the right earbud. This author would suggest a more conspicuous place; yet, without knowing the anatomy of this device, there may not be another viable location. Moreover, the addition of skip and replay track buttons would be ideal, if there were space to place them.
Even though this device is tiny, each ear earbud contains a 8.5mm driver that can produce a frequency response from 10Hz to 22kHz. Obviously, such drivers are smaller than others in the Synchros lineup but those are significantly larger headphones that probably are not optimal for exercising. Regardless, the Synchros Reflect BT’s sound quality was good and significantly better than most earbuds with a wired connection. The Synchros Reflect BT are very different from the rest of the Synchros family, but they earn a place among these high-achieving headphones.
This product is recommend for purchase (designed for athletics, great battery life, compact design, solid sound quality) and this author cannot wait to see what JBL has in store for these headphones in the future. This author is left with several questions, such as, could the next version really be microscopic? Only time will tell.
Rating: 4 out of 5