You Might Be Surprised

You’d Be Surprised How Solid a Pair of $29 Earbuds Can Be. We Were.


March 12, 2020 Reviews By Photo by Chandler Bondurant
Brand: JLab Audio
Product: Go Air Wireless Earbuds
Release Date: February 2020
Price: $29
From: jlabaudio.com

The Go Air is the newest pair of wireless earbuds by JLab Audio, a company known for its great bang-for-your-buck headphones and earbuds. The Go Air are particularly interesting because they have similar features to many other wireless earbuds on the market — IPX4 water-resistance (same as AirPods Pro), 5-hours of battery life per earbud, and charging case that adds 15 extra hours (total) — and yet they cost just $29. That’s cheaper than many AirPods knockoffs that you can buy on Amazon. Heck, that’s cheaper than it costs to replace a lost AirPods (with AppleCare+). But at such a low price, these wireless earbuds can’t be good, right?

Well, you might be surprised. At a $29 price point, of course the JLab Go Air do not deliver incredible sound quality. But they are listenable and astoundingly reliable which makes them a great buy.

The charging case is both interesting and frustrating.

Right out of the gate you can see some of the corners JLab cut to get to this rock bottom price point. The Go Air does not include a wall adapter, for instance. Instead, there is a cable attached to the charging case, with a USB-A male connector, so you have to plug the case directly int a wall adapter or charger you already own.

The case also has no lid, presumably because a single piece with no hinge is cheaper to manufacture. The earbuds are held in place by relatively strong magnets, but without an actual lid, they are do have the potential to pop right out at any time. I was still able to dislodge them with one fell smack, similar to how you might get the last pair of Tic Tacs unstuck from the bottom of the container. A fun way to get your earbuds out, but definitely a danger if you drop the case.

The defining feature of the JLab Go Air definitely is price: they cost $29. But they’re not as bad as you might think.

The sound quality is predictably mediocre, but far from unlistenable.

I’m not here to tell you that the sound quality is great. In fact, it’s not. The bass is not very prominent and there’s a slight crackling in the background at times, especially when listening to pump-up pop and R&B music at high volumes, and it just can sound harsh. But then again, that’s what you get with a lot of really affordable headphones. It’s not gonna blow you away, but if you’re not somebody who just wants to listen to music on your commute or during a workout — yes, these are IPX4 — the JLab Go Air are likely to be fine. In fact, you’ll probably be over the moon that you didn’t have to drop $159 on AirPods or another “high-end” pair of wireless earbuds. And if you primarily listen to audiobooks or podcasts, they’re more than sufficient.

They’re dependable, which is more than you can say about a lot of wireless earbuds.

In my week of testing the earbuds’ audio never cut out, I never had any issues with fit or having them fall out of my earbuds, and I had never had any problems with battery life. In fact I was pleasantly surprised with how long they could go between charges. What’s more, they actually have some modern conveniences that you’d find in higher-end earbuds, such has sweat resistance and capacitive touch controls for play/pause and initiating your smartphone’s voice assistant. There’s even touch controls for adjusting the music’s EQ, though I can’t say the different modes made much of a difference.

All in all, the JLab Go Air are impressively competent for how cheap they are, and as such make terrific back-up buds or even daily drivers for those who are far more concerned about pricetags than sound quality.

JLab Audio provided this product for review.

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Tucker Bowe

Tucker Bowe has been on Gear Patrol's editorial team since 2014. As a Tech Staff Writer, he tracks everything in the consumer tech space, from headphones to smartphones, wearables to home theater systems. If it lights up or makes noise, he probably covers it.

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