For a while now, long-established audio equipment maker JBL have been attempting to solidify their status as a forerunner of wireless Bluetooth audio peripherals, with their line of portable speakers especially earning plaudits for sound quality, design, performance, and ruggedness.
As part of this push, the Samsung-owned company are also making a concerted effort to tackle the crowded sports earbud market, with a strong line-up of products priced attractively to capture consumer attention.
One solid example ofthis is their Endurance line of sports earbuds that all come with adegree of water resistance, and all but one with the ability toconnect wirelessly via Bluetooth.
Initially releasingwith four different choices starting from RM119, the Endurance lineoffered shoppers different options based on different sporting needs,ranging from running all the way to swimming.
Late last year, JBLintroduced the most expensive addition yet to this family—theEndurance Peak.
Priced at RM569 or around SGD155, the Endurance Peak (I’ll be referring to them as the Peaks from now on) are the first truly wireless pair of sports earbuds in the same family, and is aimed towards individuals who want a truly freeing option to take on their runs, hikes, bicycling sessions, or even swims.
Featuring Bluetoothconnectivity on up to 4 hours of continuous playback, touch controls,and an IPX7 waterproof rating, the features on the Peaks ostensiblymeasure up to many of other high-end wireless sports earbuds on themarket, but at a price that is also quite manageable for those whodon’t want to shell out a fortune.
A Complete, Rugged Package
The Peaks come packaged with a charger case that looks like a miniature cargo crate, with an aesthetic that’s akin to something you’d find in a video game. The case connects via a micro USB cable and is able to hold a power reserve of up to 24 hours. According to JBL, it only takes 10 minutes of charging to provide an hour of listening time, meaning an ample supply of power for those planning to go for extended outdoor sessions.
The earbudsthemselves also follow in the aesthetic of the charging case,sporting a vibe that you’d call futuristic. On both sides, the budsare attached to rectangular blocks that end in hooks that wrap aroundthe back of the wearer’s ear. JBL calls these PowerHooks, and theyact as a smart toggle to turn the earbuds on and off.
But despite the clever design, the earbuds themselves unfortunately don’t look particularly enticing. Showing them around to my colleagues in the office, all of them unanimously agreed that they’d prefer not to be seen wearing the Peaks during daily use, citing the design as garish, and a throwback to the old Bluetooth headsets of 2005.
But still, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you might have an alternative opinion regarding the aesthetic of the Peaks.
When it came toactually wearing the Peaks, however, initial efforts to wear themwere awkward due to the design of the PowerHooks, but after two tothree tries, putting them on began to start feeling natural, with themanual helping me discover that I should use a twist-and-lock motionto secure the earbuds on tight.
In terms of comfortlevels, the Peaks were just alright, with the accompanying ear tipsfitting quite snug in the ear and therefore providing a good enoughof sound isolation. Additionally, the lightness of the earbudsthemselves meant that my ears didn’t fatigue too quickly, andallowed for longer wearing sessions if I so wanted.
Connectivity was acomplete non-issue, with the Peaks easily pairing with differentdevices almost instantaneously sensing a Bluetooth connection, andthe distance offered between devices went up to just over 10 metreswithout any audible problems.
In terms of audio quality, the Peaks provided satisfactory power in terms of amplitude, but interestingly enough the focus here was not on bass, but rather more towards the mids and highs. This decision to not pump up the bass here is a curious one by JBL, considering that users might prefer more of a pump in their music during a workout.
This isn’t to say that there isn’t enough bass however, as you’ll still be able to enjoy your EDM, rock, or other high energy genres without feeling like there’s something missing. The only way I’d see an issue here is if you’re looking for something extremely bass-heavy to help you hype up for a demanding workout or exercise session.
In terms of stereo width, the Peaks did suffer a little thanks to the deep positioning of the earbud tips inside the ear canals, causing the various frequencies to fight each other for my attention on more than one occasion. But as it turns out, this is also something common with most in-ear headphones, just to differing degrees of effect.
Ultimately, the JBL Endurance Peaks are something I’d classify as a very good product for the money.
Considering how much they cost, the features that you get pretty much encompass all of what you’d want from a pair of truly wireless sports earbuds—they’re built extremely well, are able to suffer demanding conditions and submersion in water, connect to devices without problems
The only two issues that I do have with the Peaks are that they do not feature the option to charge the case using a USB-C, which has become a widespread standard these days, and that they’re also not exactly the prettiest things to look at.
But these two things definitely aren’t deal-breakers, and all things considered, the other features offered by the Peaks more than offset any of its peripheral shortcomings.
|Built strong and rugged||Doesn’t look great|
|Decent pricing||Does not have USB-C charging|
|Quick Bluetooth connectivity||Bass levels a little low|
|Decent battery life|
You can find out more about the JBL Endurance peak earphones here.
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