We’ve known for a while that 2019 was the year that truly wireless earbuds would start to show off significantly improved battery life, but we are still mightily impressed by JLab Audio’s claim for its Epic Air Sport: These PowerBeats Pro competitors, which launched June 11, reportedly get 10 hours of playtime on a single charge, and the included charging case ramps that number up to a shockingly robust 70 hours. At only $149, they cost significantly less than the PowerBeats Pro too.
Price and battery life are not the only two features that give the Epic Air Sport an edge over the PowerBeats Pro. Going through the full list of specs for these sport-oriented truly wireless earbuds reads like an anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better schoolyard taunt to Beats. With an IP66 rating, they’re significantly more water- and dust-resistant (the PowerBeats Pro are only IPX4), making them ideal for beach-based activities where sand and showering are likely hazards. They also one-up the PowerBeats Pros in a crucial area for those who work out on busy sidewalks or near traffic: They pack an audio pass-through option that JLab calls Be Aware Audio, which lets in external sounds for when you need to be extra cognizant of what’s going on around you.
The Epic Air Sport’s touch controls are customizable, giving you access to play/pause, volume up/down, track skip forward/backward, and call answer/decline, as well as the ability to summon either Siri or Google Assistant. They come with a generous choice of seven sizes of silicone eartips, plus one set of foam tips, which ought to be enough to give most people a good fit. But let’s get back to that charging case for a moment. Not only does it pack an unheard of 60 hours of extra play time, but it can also share that abundance of energy with your other devices via a USB charging port. With a short, integrated USB cable of its own, you may not be able to wirelessly charge the case, but you’ll never forget the cable at home either.
If we were Beats, we’d be shaking in our basketball shoes just a little. While JLab Audio doesn’t have the brand recognition that Beats enjoys, it’s certainly making up for it by dominating the features race. Still, let’s not forget that these are earbuds we’re talking about, so unless they sound as good as they perform, they’re unlikely to unseat the PowerBeats Pro as a top pick. We’ve got a pair waiting to be reviewed, so hopefully, we won’t keep you in suspense for long.
JLab backs the Epic Air Sport with a rare 2-year warranty. You can pre-order the JLab Audio Epic Air Sport right now, with an expected ship date of mid-July 2019.