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JBL Tune 220TWS wireless headphones test: better than AirPods clones? – Tech

marzo 12, 2020

JBL offers AirPods with a dated design at a price below 100 euros. Without the connection concerns that they lurk, we could have recommended them.

When we think of truly wireless headphones, the philosophy close to that of AirPods, we necessarily think of very expensive products. And while 2019 has rather come with the addition of features (example: active noise reduction) rather than affordability, JBL offers, with its Tune 220TWS, homemade AirPods for less than 100 euros.

What should costers do less than 100 euros? The bare minimum, of course. That is to say: simple use, acceptable comfort and audible rendering. In short, it is necessary that the product works and does not sparp in functions which it would hardly take on.

Slightly rude AirPods

The photos speak for themselves: the Tune 220TWS look like AirPods, for better and for worse. Or, at the very least, they're trying to get as close as possible to Apple's wireless headphones, whose design is starting to date (the Pro version launched in 2019 is much more modern, by the way). We therefore end up with long, thick and coarse stem fitted ear cups. Quite frankly, the Tune 220TWS are reminiscent of a toy so the finishes are not treated (on our white model, the markings of plastic are very pronounced).

We still appreciate the matt finish, which more readily dodges fingerprints, and the few colors available (black, blue, white and pink). For a touch of elegance, JBL adds a dyed silver hoop, regardless of the version chosen. Veil that breaks the monotony a little.

The Tune 220TWS are supplied with a relatively compact charging case, although a little thick when slipped into a pocket. Once again, JBL has taken up the Apple philosophy and it is by including the cutters that we understand the importance of the long rod: this makes it easier to relocate them, without even looking at what we are doing. It is not very pretty to wear, but, at least, it is practical.

when we arrive, we may be more likely to advise these Tune 220TWS if the public is not careful, as they seem more robust than the AirPods. There is however no indication of protection against water (beware of rain).

A JBL Tune 220TWS cutter // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

Simplicity then complications

To connect the Tune 220TWS to your smartphone, you don't even need an application. We open the case, we take out the headphones and we go to the Bluetooth parameters to pair. Admittedly, this is less direct than AirPods within the iOS ecosystem, but the process takes a few minutes. It is after that things get complicated During our few days of use, we have several times to deal with a very capricious connection, requiring to go back through the Bluetooth settings to make it operational. T here is the great strength of AirPods: limiting gestures as much as possible to enjoy the product without thinking about it. It was stupidly thought that the JBL Connect application could rectify this in vain.

As they are sold under the 100 euros mark, the JBL costers are limited in terms of functionality:

  • No multiple device connection;
  • No automatic shutdown / resume playback when removing / replacing a headset;
  • No wireless charging.

The two headsets each have a button that can be used for switching on / off, but also for accessing some shortcuts. As is often the case in this category of products, it is the number of clicks that governs the order. On the left, a click allows you to skip the next song while two in a row makes you go back. On the right, a click manages the playback (pause / resume) and calls where both activate a voice assistant. A long press for 3 seconds can mute the microphone.

JBL Tune 220TWS wireless headphones // Source: JBL

Close to universality

On the box, it is written, in the description, universal ergonomics. In terms of headphones, it can undoubtedly be said that universality is a myth, if not a fantasy since there are far too many different ear morphologies to satisfy everyone. Never mind, it is possible to approach it and, this little game, it is clear that the Tune 220TWS are doing well. Not only do they hold very well in the ears (even when running), but, in addition, you never really feel them either during use or afterwards. On this point, we can thank the very unintrusive design of the AirPods.

However, we are obliged to address a red card to the ergonomics of the physical keys. In addition to their riquiqui size, we can put big doubts on their placement at the ear canal, that is to say at the top of the rod. This choice causes discomfort when you press it as long as you push the earphones a little more.

JBL Tune 220TWS versus AirPods Pro // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

Basses save furniture

Between the erratic connection and the almost impeccable comfort, we can say that the Tune 220TWS blow hot and cold. There is therefore only the sound record to act as a justice of the peace. On this criterion, of choice when we speak of accessories thought for music, the solution proposed by JBL does not lack arguments. Without being the most balanced costmakers on the market, far from it, the Tune 220TWS ensure good overall consistency and claim a surprising quality in terms of price (less than 100 euros, remember).

To convince, the costumers have found their workhorse: the bass, which provides a good overall dynamic (without doing too much either) while the mediums, by comparison, are a little less excavated. In short, JBL knows how to bluff the ratings when the demand is not prompted. We know why we pay so little, but at the same time, there is nothing to shout at in the air.

Be careful however, the acoustic insulation is in the order of the laughable, so that everyone around you will enjoy your favorite playlists without the need to listen. For those who would not assume listening to Evanescence in the metro, this is a point to take into account.

JBL Tune 220TWS case versus AirPods Pro case // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

Minimum autonomy

JBL promises 3 hours of autonomy for its Tune 220TWS, which corresponds to the strict minimum in the segment (even the first generation AirPods went a little further). The case adds 16 for a total autonomy of just under 20 hours, which is enough to last a week with moderate use (2-3 hours per day).

The battery of the case takes two hours to fully charge via a micro-USB port. In 2020. We say that JBL must have old cables to recycle.

Indicative note: 2/5

In itself, the idea of ??offering AirPods wireless headphones under the 100 euro mark is excellent. She quickly had to go through Chinese copies sold on Wish for a misery. But still it is necessary that the execution is correct on the essential points, in particular on the general ergonomics and the connection.

Unfortunately, the Tune 220TWS relies on a disastrous user experience due to the many connection issues we experienced during our test. It is a shame as JBL had more or less taken care of the rest, the comfort and the sound reproduction in mind.

top

  • Comfortable
  • Amazing rendering
  • Cheap wireless

Blah

  • Lots of rats with Bluetooth connection
  • Necessarily limited
  • Cheap design

Crdit photo from the front page: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

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