Named for their reflective, flat cabling, JBL’s Synchros Reflect In-Ear Sport Headphones ($60) offer many features that may appeal to people who use earbuds while working out. Based on the price level at which they’re being offered, they’re not designed to be super high-end audio equipment, but a replacement for standard EarPods in more demanding athletic situations. They’re sweatproof, and come with three different sizes of rubber eartips that help to hold them in place. The headphones are offered in blue, red, black, and green versions, each of which has the same silver reflective material on the cord and black tips.
In many ways, Synchros Reflect isn’t that different from sport headphones we’ve seen in the past. Along the left cord, there’s a remote/mic module, and where the two wires meet, a metal clip that can be used to secure the cable onto your clothing. One of the cooler features of this set is the inclusion of an extension cable. The standard cord length is 24”, which is better for an iPhone that’s strapped to an arm, but it can be lengthened by another 20” if you connect the extender. This is a smart choice that allows for greater control and comfort.
Each earbud houses an 8.5mm driver. The rubber tips that fit over them make the buds larger than those of the EarPods, but also much more secure. Thanks to the hooked design, we found that the headphones stayed in our ears even when we tugged at them with a fair amount of force. This means they’re not likely to fall out just from the vibrations of running, or a quick jerk of the arm. Thankfully, they’re comfortable, too. We could easily imagine wearing these for a full workout without getting irritated by them.
While the Synchros Reflect headphones beat EarPods in custom length, security in the ear, and sweatproofing, they’re about on par when it comes to audio quality. Across the sonic spectrum, we really weren’t able to pick out any differences between the two sets. The bass is pretty powerful, which may be particularly appreciated while working out, while the mids and highs are pretty good. Thanks to the shape of the eartips and the seal they form inside the ear canal, the audio is directed properly. Also kind of neat: the buds magnetically attach to each other when not in use.
JBL’s workout headphones aren’t going to make audiophiles swoon, but they’re pretty darn good. They match the audio quality of what all iPhone users start with out of the box, but then add several elements that make them a much better choice for working out. The price is something of a limiting factor though, and without blow-away sound, Synchros Reflect earns our strong general recommendation. They’re a very good choice for athletes looking to step into something more suited to their needs than EarPods, without breaking the bank.
Company and Price
Company: JBL/Harman Multimedia
Model: Synchros Reflect
Compatibility: All iPads, iPhones, iPods