JLab Epic Air Sport
“The JLab Epic Air Sport are our favorite workout headphones you can buy right now.”
- Excellent battery life
- Immersive sound
- Very comfortable
- IP66 Sweatproof and dust resistant
- Adjustable EQ
- Large charging case
- Not very discreet
Wireless earbuds are fantastic for any mobile listening scenario, but there is one place where they can absolutely blow the competition away: At the gym. Or the mountain, the track – wherever you get your workouts. If you’re looking to break a sweat alongside your favorite tunes, podcasts, or audiobooks, there is no better way to do so than with no strings attached.
JLab’s new Epic Air Sport model are the latest pair to pluck at our heartstrings during our sweatiest moments, and for good reason. The latest JLab buds – the company’s third generation — offer beefed up battery life, water-and-dust resistance that outdoes the pricier Jabra and Beats alternatives, and they sound great to boot.
Out of the box
If you’ve ever seen a pair of JLab’s older true wireless earbuds — or the new Powerbeats Pro — you’ll be familiar with the earhook design employed by Epic Air Sport. A rounded center section that holds the batteries and various other techy bits is surrounded by a silicone earband that wraps around your ears to keep the headphones super stable during intense workouts.
It’s not a particularly sleek design, but it does mean that the Epic Air Sport are very comfortable and secure when you’re active. Most of us aren’t looking to win a fashion contest when working out, and the headphones generally grab less attention than golf tee-style models like the AirPods for better or worse, depending on who you ask.
The headphones come inside a large, clamshell charging case, with a firm clasp that means you’ll never have to worry about it flying open. The case is a bit too cumbersome to fit in pants pockets (one of our few gripes with the headphones), but one thing we like is its built-in USB charging cable that sits flush with the very bottom of the case, so you’ll never have to worry about packing one along.
A distinctive feature of the Epic Air Sport is just how many eartip options are included. Inside a flip-out section of the box are seven different choices: Four sizes of silicone eartips, a pair of double-layered eartips, triple-layered eartips, and foam eartips. We preferred the standard silicone in most instances, but the foam was nice in particularly noisy settings. Given the options, you’ll probably have no trouble finding a great fit.
You can easily trust them to last all day and beyond.
Another cool feature is that both earbuds have power buttons on the inside, so you can power them off after using them without having to return them to the charging case — a nice touch for those who don’t plan on always toting the bulky case around.
Not that you’ll really need that charging case with you: The headphones have a Powerbeats-beating 10 hours of listening time, which also doubles the Jabra Elite Active 65t’s (and the AirPods’) 5 hours, so you can easily trust them to last all day on outdoor adventures. If you do bring the case along, it expands total listening time to 70 hours — well over double what top contenders like the Powerbeats Pro offer — so you can potentially listen to the headphones for weeks at a time without needing to find a USB port.
Setup is quick and painless. Just open the case and remove the headphones, find one of them on your device’s pairing menu, and connect. It’s not quite as easy as AirPods or Powerbeats Pro, which immediately connect to iOS devices, but these are quick and simple to pair, and you’ll only have to do it once for them to remember your device forever.
Instead of buttons, the Epic Air Sport offer newer, better versions of the touchpad controls utilized on previous models. They’re very easy to use, and we like that single taps — unlike on other models — don’t play and pause music, which means you’ll never accidentally pause your tunes while adjusting your headphones.
Instead, a single tap of the right or left earpads turns the volume up or down, respectively. Skipping a track requires a long press of either headphone — left for back, right for forward — and a double tap on the right plays or pauses music. A double-tap of the left pad brings up your voice assistant. But wait, there’s more!
The Epic Air Sport earn a solid spot among the best-sounding true wireless headphones you can buy.
Three taps of either earbud is how you’ll adjust the Epic Air Sport’s more advanced accessomg three different EQ settings from the left side (“Signature”, “Balanced”, and “Bass Boost”) and the “Be Aware” mode on the right, which pipes in sound from the outside world. That’s a useful feature for outdoor workouts, where you might need to hear a car horn or person yelling at you over your tunes, and again, something the much pricier Powerbeats Pro don’t offer.
The Epic Air Sport also have an IP66 rating, which means they’re dustproof and can even withstand up to powerful water jets (meaning you can take them in the shower, but not swim in them). That’s better than the IPX4 and IP56 ratings of (you guessed it) the Powerbeats Pro and Jabra Elite Active 65t, respectively, not that we wouldn’t feel confident taking any one of these pairs to the gym or out in the rain.
JLab clearly put a lot of time into making sure these headphones fit perfectly, and that’s probably because they’ve put a good amount of energy into making sure the headphones sound great, too.
The Balanced sound mode provides a wide sound signature with authoritative — but not overpowering — bass, good definition of guitar strings and vocals in the midrange, and some pleasant high-end sparkle in cymbals and horns.
Flipping to the Bass Boost preset does just what you’d expect, adding in a hefty amount of boom down low, at the expense of some upper register definition. Still, even this EQ setting, which is by far the most drastic on the headphones is enjoyable, bringing big, bold energy to our favorite hip-hop and dance tracks.
The Signature sound mode is where the headphones shine the most, as the sound engineers at the company have scooped out a bit of mud in the midrange to bring big, punchy bass alongside a crisp and bright high register. That said, it’s not the perfect EQ for all kinds of music: If you’re listening to traditional jazz, blues — or anything else that might tend towards brightness — you may want to swap to the balanced sound signature.
Compared to the Jabra and Powerbeats Pro options, we’d put these above the Jabra Elite Active 65t but slightly below the Powerbeats Pro in terms of fidelity, with the Beats still narrowly edging out the Epic Air Sport in terms of bass response and stereo imaging. Seeing as both of those pairs are more expensive than JLab’s new buds — the Powerbeats Pro by $100 — we feel confident in saying the Epic Air Sport earn a solid spot among the best-sounding true wireless headphones you can buy.
JLab offers a two-year warranty on Bluetooth devices and speakers that covers materials and workmanship.
The JLab Epic Air Sport are a fantastic pair of true wireless headphones and are easily the best workout headphones we’ve tested yet.
Is there a better alternative?
No. Both the Jabra and Beats models that compete against the JLab Epic Air Sport in terms of features and performance are more expensive than the $150 JLab model, with worse battery life and water resistance.
How long will they last?
JLab is a great manufacturer with a history of making great products, and we expect the Epic Air Sport to be no different. They should still be fully functional well after the 2-year warranty expires.
Should you buy them?
Yes. If you are looking for a fantastic pair of workout headphones for a truly great price, the JLab Epic Air Sport are the best you’ll find right now.
- The best earbuds for 2021
- The best headphones for 2021
- Headphone buying guide
- The best true wireless earbuds for 2021
- Best cheap Powerbeats Pro deals for April 2021