The JBL Live Pro 2 is ABSOLUTELY Daily Driver Material! Or is it?
Comfort & Build
You can have a lot of features missing for daily drivers, but one thing you ABSOLUTELY need is a comfortable fit. And the JBL Live Pro 2 is a shallow insertion type earbud – much like the Apple Airpods
Pro – and that makes it comfortable for longer periods of time. We’ve worn it for 4 hours at a stretch and although there was some discomfort, the fact that I made it that 4 says something! And while these may be comfortable, when it comes to a secure fit, we would use them for light workouts.But for anything more than air squats, these are probably not the most grippy set of earbuds.
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But if they do fit you, your sweat glands won’t be a problem because these are a splash friendly IPX5 – a bit better than the standard IPX4 you get on most popular buds. The design of these is pretty normal – nothing to write home about – your average stem shaped true wireless bud design.
What isn’t very average though is the battery situation here – it’s pretty good. You get a solid 8 hours on the buds with 22 hours from the case with ANC on. There’s fast charging on board with 5 minutes of charge giving you one hour of battery life and there’s a clear color-blind friendly battery indicator on the front. Wireless charging is also on board.
App, Multipoint and Connectivity
Going from the hardware to the software – the JBL Headphones app is simple, yet powerful to use.
You have options related to noise cancelling, sound and many more, but we’ll get to all that in a bit. The app worked perfectly on iPhone but weirdly we sometimes face an issue on the Google Pixel 7 where the app would not open any settings at all. It might have just been a temporary bug, but we’re just talking about the app – the connectivity in terms of audio never had any issues.
And the audio is just fine even if you use it with two devices at once. The multipoint implementation was pretty good – you have to pause on one device to play on the other though. There’s no device list in the app where we could see which devices were connected that would be great to have. There’s also no device name spoken out loud, but just a ‘connected’ voice prompt.
In terms of pairing, there’s a strange gesture to go into pairing mode that we haven’t seen on any other device so far. You have to tap once and then hold – but it worked once we understood what was going on. There’s also ‘Android Fast Pair’ on board, so if you have multiple devices, you just need to pair one of them and then it shows up automatically for pairing on your other Android devices. Pulling a connection from a previously paired device doesn’t work however, so to connect to more than two devices, you are going to have to go into pairing mode.
ANC and Transparency
Don’t like the world around you and the noises it makes? Well, JBL advertises many ways to be able to assist. You can go full manual and choose a noise cancelling slider, or leave it on adaptive ANC, which can change the level of noise cancelling based on the noise around you. And that ANC is EXTREMELY effective at low end sounds. It can almost completely eliminate them. This is like top tier stuff guys! But funnily enough because it was so great at low end noise cancelling, but not great at high end noise cancelling, noises still get in and sound more pronounced because there’s no other frequencies to drown them out.
But – at this price – the ANC is amazing! Noise cancelling also has very little white noise and it’s comfortable to use for long periods of time.
And there are the extras on ANC. Usually we don’t care about adaptive ANC, but JBL was confident enough to enable Adaptive ANC out of the box and we thought it worked really well, ramping up ANC in noisier places. The leakage compensation and ear canal compensation all seemed to work as advertised.
So again – at this price we’re pretty impressed at what JBL’s been able to pull off. You can also turn ANC off completely and there’s a talk-through mode, which basically limits your music’s volume, which we will never use.
The transparency mode or ambient-aware can be quite loud, but there’s considerable white noise when you push the slider above half. And even at max, you do lose a lot of sparkle due to a damping of the treble frequencies which leads to a slightly muffled sound. And if we’re being honest – the slider doesn’t do much, sure there’s a slight boost in volume, but nothing really crazy. At the top end of the slider, you get close to approaching something like having no buds in at all, so that’s good. But if it’s very noisy, we would not use transparency. We’d just take them out because it tends to amplify the lower end rumble a bit more. Speech can become unintelligible with too much background noise.
These are very solid buds when it comes to sound. You can use them with or without EQ. Without EQ it sounds quite good, but the sub bass lacks a little bit of oomph and there’sa treble spike that was a bit harsh. To see what these buds can do though – the VERY V-shaped jazz preset is a great place to start.
And there’s a very flexible 10 band EQ. Actually scratch that – it’s not a 10-band EQ, but a 10 point EQ, you can even move the band a bit to the left or to the right to tweak exactly what you want to hear.
Others may offer smart features, but I prefer well done manual features – and that’s a point for JBL in our books. Your EQ settings are carried over to other devices, but there was a little bug where the name of the EQ preset wasn’t.
These buds can get very bassy while still staying in control due to their 11mm drivers. However the decay isn’t quite as fast and accurate as some others we’ve tested. Having said that – this is absolutely recommended for bassheads. Overall timbres were good and in general these are very good sounding earbuds. There is quite a bit of a treble and I did a pretty aggressive treble scoop – and then these sounded good for me. It’s kinda an exaggerated version of the Vocal preset that JBL provides you.
Your mileage may vary in the treble region, but we’ve realised the bass scoop makes it a bit more of a balanced sound.
There’s also a ‘video mode’ to reduce latency, but it kinda takes about a good 20 seconds to change in the app, so not something you’d be doing often. For our purposes of watching YouTube videos and the like – the audio mode worked perfectly. Maybe the video mode is something you gamers will appreciate.
Probably the biggest knock on the JBL Live Pro 2’s sound is the codec selection – you’re stuck with SBC and AAC. But you know what – Apple has shown that these codecs are plenty good when paired with good hardware. So yes, you’ll miss a little bit of resolution, but otherwise we really like the JBL Live
Pro 2 for sound!
Calls and Microphone Quality
Now – when it comes to phone calls, JBL talks a big game – ‘perfect calls’ with 6 microphones. Were they perfect? Well – in our use they were very good – Rohan called me while in a busy bus with announcement
and also during a short walk outside with some wind. There is definitely some occlusion, since these don’t have a semi-open design or pressure relieving vents, so you might hear yourself through your skull like this. But on the bright side, the calls seemed to be pretty clear.
Why don’t you take a listen for yourself? Check out the call quality samples in the video above.
JBL is from the ‘eliminate all background noise’ school of thought and it does a fairly good job at it.
However, with great noise suppressions comes great muffledness. In the sample you heard, you can barely hear the cars, but you also miss some of Rohan’s voice.
JBL’s also doing some sort of adaptive thing with wind because if you notice at the beginning of the test phrase, you can hear the wind and after a couple of seconds, there’s a sudden ramp down of the wind and the buds are trying to zero in on Rohan’s voice.
So overall these are pretty good for calls! You also get a slider in the app to adjust how much you can hear your own voice, imaginatively called ‘Voiceaware’ and it works quite well. The vakman controls on board are also very good albeit not customizable. Double tap to answer or hang up and tap and hold to reject or mute and unmute. ANC is always disabled on calls. But unfortunately due to the fixed nature of the call controls, you cannot change volume controls or ANC mode. Vakman – semi-approved.
You’d think having a nice flat surface on the earbuds would give you a nice slide gesture for volume right?
Nope! The Live Pro 2 is only conducive to touching and not stroking. And this is probably one of the biggest weaknesses for us in day-to-day use. In fact, it reminds us a lot of the Sony control scheme.
You have to choose between ANC, playback and volume and there’s only a fixed set of schemes you can use. We ended up using volume control on the left earbud – one tap for volume up and two for
volume down. And then we realised we couldn’t play or pause our music. Frustrating! If anything – this is our biggest frustration with these buds, which are otherwise – pretty much near perfect for our use cases at this price.
On the subject of price – this comes in at a 150 Euros, but right now they’re down to 113 – which is a bizarre Black Friday price! For the price at the time you’re watching, check out THIS link. It will cost you nothing extra if you use that link, but will help support us.
We were happy to see a couple of sustainability things like ‘eco friendly packaging’ – what does that mean exactly? And the use of Soy ink on the package. We couldn’t find any other information about sustainability from JBL. And so far no answer to the question from them.
Making the decision
So guys – at this price. Sound, calls, ANC, battery life, comfort, portability – JBL is pretty much in the top
bracket for a lot of these things! And it doesn’t skimp on any of the extras either – an in-ear sensor to play or pause your music, multipoint, wireless charging. When it comes to the more premium brands – this is a no-brainer. The controls are about the only annoying things on these, but otherwise – these are daily driver material! Now let’s look at it against some competition.
vs 1More Evo and SoundCore Liberty 4
Sure the JBL Live Pro 2 doesn’t do LDAC like SoundCore’s Liberty 4 or 1More’s Evo, but it matches them for battery life, has a better IP rating and for us is a bit more comfortable than both of them. And, of course, all the benefits you hopefully should get with a bigger brand name. We like the bass thump a lot on these and they sound pretty good despite having just AAC. The 1More has a more compact and premium feeling case and buds and can let you use LDAC and multipoint at the same time. Liberty 4’s heart rate measurement is a unique feature here.
vs Jabra Elite 5
And what about the all-round vakman earbuds the Jabra Elite 5? Well it’s very neck-and-neck.
JBL takes the win for way better ANC, way more bass, slightly better battery life and marginally better comfort. But the Jabra Elite 5 ain’t no slouch either. The button controls and customizability are way better. It offers dust resistance in addition to the same water resistance as the JBL. There’s APTX connectivity, a more compact case and Jabra has better sustainability credentials too. And the Jabra Elite 5 does better in phone call quality and controls in our experience.
So what do you guys think? What are you daily driving? Let us know in the comments!