JBL Tune 120 TWS Review: A True Wireless In-Ear Headphones

Hello / Greetings to Everyone, So Today I am going to put my true views on JBL Tune 120 TWS.

The JBL Bluetooth headphones surprise you first of all with deep, bright bass and high level of sound detail. However, for a mobile user, they will be interesting both for their design and battery life. And the ability to receive calls makes the new product a universal tool that can be used both for business and for entertainment.

JBL Tune 120

 

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The American company HARMAN needs no special introduction. Thanks to the active promotion of its JBL brand , it is well known both to lovers of listening to loud music on the street through a wireless speaker, and to real music lovers who need much more serious equipment. JBL branded audio devices include wireless headphones. One of the new products came to our test laboratory. I am talking about the JBL TUNE 120TWS model – completely wireless headphones with a charging case , which I m now going to introduce.

Equipment With JBL Tune 120 Tws

Inside the box are hidden:

  • Headphones;
  • Charging case;
  • Instructions in Russian;
  • Micro-USB cable;
  • 3 pairs of silicone ear pads.

Packaging : JBL Tune 120 TWS

JBL Tune 120 TWS are delivered in a rectangular cardboard box with a cutout in protected plastic, in which the headphones are visible. The packaging is made in the usual JBL style – bright but neat.

Design: JBL Tune 120 TWS

The JBL Tune 120 TWS are fully wireless earbuds with physical buttons on each for music and voice call control. The batteries are charged inside the case, the own battery of which is capable of fully charging the headphones 3 times.

Headphone Design 

The body is made of high-quality plastic, the soldering points of the parts can be distinguished only by color, there are no material processing flaws or connection defects. They feel solid, reliable.

JBL Tune 120 TWS

 

One earphone weighs 7 grams, you hardly feel it in your ears, after ten minutes of listening, provided you have properly selected ear pads, you forget about them.

The fit in the ear canal is deep, secure, making it possible to train in the gym in the JBL 120 without falling out of the ears.

The model does not have protection against water , but due to the structural features of the sound guide structure and fit, it is suitable for use during intense training.

The peculiarity lies in the fact that with a proper fit, the headphone case does not come into contact with the auricle, it is held by the sound guide with an ear pad inserted into the ear canal, therefore it is difficult to damage it even if the buttons are pressed frequently, which lead to the headphone being pressed deep into the ear.

Each of the headphones has a button that performs a certain action: on the right earphone, the button is responsible for accepting and rejecting a voice call, for starting / stopping music playback and for calling a voice assistant, on the left earphone, the button switches music tracks forward and backward.

The microphone for talking on the phone is located on the right earpiece.

Case Design

The charging case is relatively compact, although larger than Apple’s standard AirPods box. All edges are rounded, this will allow you to carry it in a jacket or jeans pocket without discomfort.

On the outside, under the edge of the hinged cover, there are three white LEDs that light up when the earbuds are charging and indicate the battery level of the case.

The hinged lid is securely fixed with a magnet, flips open with a pleasant elastic feeling, which makes the case a great toy while you wait in line or think about a difficult problem.

On the underside there is a Micro-USB connector covered with a silicone plug for charging the battery.

For each of the earphones there is a molded hole, under the plastic of which there are two additional magnets for fixing the earphones on the contacts for continuous charging.

It will not work to put the left earphone into the hole for the right one, this will be prevented by the same polarity of the magnet in the earphone and in the case, if you try to do this, the earphone will be pushed out, and not attracted to the seat.

Comfort: JBL Tune 120 TWS

In terms of Comfort (ergonomics), fully wireless headphones always outperform wired models; the absence of a wire is a great advantage, especially when it comes to listening to music on the go or while playing sports.

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At first glance, the JBL Tune 120 TWS looks large, but as soon as you insert them into your ears, size ceases to matter. One feels that the ergonomics have been seriously worked on, this becomes obvious at the moment when you forget that the headphones are inserted into your ears a few minutes after you start listening.

Even with the JBL 120 hat, it feels comfortable, although it protrudes beyond the ear in a normal fit.

The main thing is to choose the right ear cushions, after which the JBL 120 become natural companions that do not require special attention.

The only drawback, in terms of ergonomics, is the physical buttons. When pressed, the earbuds are pushed into the ear, which can cause discomfort. On the other hand, physical buttons are more reliable than touch controls; they can be pressed with dirty and damp hands with complete confidence that the expected action will take place.

I tested the headphones in the gym during a two-hour workout, and I also listened to them outdoors while walking the city streets. The ergonomics are well thought out, and if it were not for the physical buttons, I would give them the highest score. With a certain skill, the negative effect of pressing the button can be minimized so that you hardly feel it, this will come with experience.

During intense exercise, the headphones stay securely in the ear, do not fall out, and noise isolation is not disturbed.

Microphone : JBL Tune 120 TWS

The microphone built into the JBL Tune 120 TWS is of good quality, it was comfortable for the interlocutors to talk on the phone with me, they did not notice any serious interference, as well as distortion of my voice.

During test calls, the interlocutors noted that it is better to talk in a quiet or medium-noise environment. If there was a lot of noise around me, it became difficult to make out my speech.

The main thing is that the microphone does not greatly underestimate the volume of the voice, which means that you do not have to speak loudly for the interlocutor to hear you well.

Bluetooth Connection

The JBL Tune 120 TWS is equipped with Bluetooth 4.2, which seems like an outdated solution in 2019, but don’t jump to conclusions. Only one codec is supported – SBC .

Usually, when I test fully wireless headphones for the stability of receiving a signal from a phone or computer, it is enough to move 8-10 meters away from the source to get interference or completely stop broadcasting. I expected the same from the JBL Tune 120 TWS, but I was greatly mistaken. Not believing my ears, I moved 30 meters away from the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE phone to which they were connected, so that the first timid interference in the transmission of music appeared, and only at around 36 meters they became significant.

I will add that I conducted the test in the gym in the evening, when there were many people in it with working gadgets that interfere with the operation of wireless headphones, and even in these difficult conditions the signal was transmitted stably up to 30 meters. Not all full-size wireless earbuds boast a stable transmission of data at a distance of 15 meters, and in the case of the JBL Tune 120 TWS, this is an absolute record among those models that I listened to.

During normal use, when the phone was in the jeans pocket, there were no problems with the stability of the connection.

The result suggests that it is not the version of the technology that is important, in our case Bluetooth 4.2, but how competently it is used and configured by the engineers.

Also, during testing, I never encountered an out-of-sync signal between the right and left earphones, the connection was stable, as if they were wired.

The only drawback is the SBC codec, it does not provide a sufficient data transfer rate, so when watching a video, there is a slight lag between sound and image. Watching a short video does not cause discomfort, but the pleasure of watching a movie or an episode of your favorite TV series can be ruined.

Battery

The manufacturer claims 4 hours of operation of the headphones from its own battery and up to 12 hours if the battery is used inside the charging case. I took measurements several times and each time I got a work time of a little more than four hours, the first time it was 4 hours 12 minutes, the second 4 hours 3 minutes.

JBL Tune 120

Yes, the result is not a record, there are models on the market that work for more than 6 hours without recharging, but the main thing, in my opinion, is to justify the customer’s expectations. When the battery life is on par or even slightly higher than that indicated on the packaging, it builds trust in the earbuds, confidence in their reliability, and increases trust in the brand.

Sound Quality

I evaluated the sound quality when connected to a Xiaomi Mi 9 SE phone and to a Sennheiser BT T100 Bluetooth transmitter.

When evaluating, it should be remembered that the simplest SBC codec is used, which is not able to provide true Hi-Fi quality. According to my subjective assessment, the quality of SBC playback for clarity can be compared with mp3 320kb / sec. This means that for listening on the go, or during training, the quality will be sufficient, you will not notice the flaws in the compression of audio material. But for evening listening to your favorite music in a quiet home environment, SBC is not the best candidate.

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In addition to the limitation imposed by the codec, the JBL Tune 120 TWS headphones are tuned to sound with an emphasis on low frequencies with muted high-frequency range – the way most people enjoy listening to music occasionally.

Let me emphasize that this is not bad, people listen to music for pleasure, and if such a sound tuning gives emotions, then the goal has been achieved.

JBL Tune 120 TWS sound soft, even velvety, with noticeably accentuated bass, but not excessively, but neat. Low frequencies do not obscure the entire sound picture, they emphasize it and create an elastic substrate for solo instruments or performer’s vocals.

One of the main advantages of the JBL Tune 120 TWS sound is that it is possible to listen to them for many hours in a row and the ears do not get tired of the sound. This means that although the sound is far from the standard, nevertheless, it is tuned correctly and therefore does not cause irritation. There are no excessively sparkling high frequencies, artificially sharpened mids or excessively puffing bass. The sound is soft, elastic, moderately clear and balanced.

To my surprise, JBL Tune 120 TWS provided a noticeable imaginary soundstage, the music does not seem to sound in the center of the head, it sounds somewhere nearby. Typically, wireless headphones, targeting young active people, have a different, simpler sound set up with less attention to detail. It’s nice that JBL 120 tried to give a sense of a serious sound, to convey its character, albeit with a limitation in the form of an SBC codec.

Low frequencies sound elastic, soft, deep, albeit with almost no layering and with a modest speed characteristic. The bass lacks bitingness, audacity and pressure, however, it pleasantly envelops and does not draw away all the listener’s attention.

The sound detail is sufficient so as not to experience an acute hunger for the desire to hear the smallest details of the recording, although, of course, it is insufficient when comparing the JBL Tune 120 TWS by this parameter with competitors using the aptX or LDAC codec .

Summing up, I will say that I liked the sound quality of the JBL Tune 120, they were not created as a standard, they were created in order to give the buyer the maximum possible for the minimum money in the current market situation: pleasant powerful bass, flat mids and slightly shifted to the second high frequency plan. This creates a pleasantly mellow sound character that will appeal to most people for whom JBL will be the first fully wireless headphones.

How JBL TUNE 120 TWS headphones work

The JBL Tune 120 TWS, like all other JBL TWS headphones, works on a slave-masterprinciple . That is, only the right earpiece is connected via Bluetooth to the smartphone, after which the left earphone is connected to the right one.

This imposes certain restrictions. First, you cannot use the left earbud by yourself. He simply will not connect to the phone, as it is programmed to connect only to the right earpiece.

Hence the second limitation arises – only the right earpiece (or two earphones at the same time) can be used as a headset. The left doesn’t even have a microphone.

Main functions Of JBL Tune 120 TWS 

The headphones do not have their own smartphone app. This means that updating the firmware or changing some parameters of the device is impossible. In this regard, JBL Tune 120 lags far behind more expensive competitors like Samsung or Sennheiser.

Accordingly, there is no built-in equalizer here (since there is nothing to adjust it with). Therefore, you will have to use the equalizer in the music player, and in other applications, be content with the factory sound setting.

Also, the headphones are not equipped with a proximity sensor, which means they cannot pause music when you take them out of your ears.

Management is as simple and clear as possible:

The left earbud supports the following commands:

  • Single press – turn on the next track
  • Double click – turn on the previous track

The right earphone has a little more options due to the presence of a microphone:

  • Single press – play / pause
  • A single press during an incoming call – pick up the phone (or hang up during a call, and if you hold the button for 3 seconds, the microphone will turn off)
  • Double tap – call the voice assistant

That is, in fact, all the functions.

CONCLUSION

If you are looking for completely wireless earbuds for a reasonable price and at the same time with decent technical characteristics, I advise you to take a closer look at the purchase of the JBL Tune 120 TWS. Yes, they have drawbacks: it is impossible to adjust the volume with the buttons on the headphones, there is no support for high-quality music transmission codecs and the lack of water protection.

Nevertheless, the advantages more than cover the disadvantages: pleasant sound, stylish appearance, reliability of the design and stereo mode of talking on the phone.

And if you find the JBL Tune 120 TWS at a discount, then this is a clear candidate for purchase.

Pros:

  1. Nice sound;
  2. Stylish appearance;
  3. Stereo mode while talking on the phone;
  4. Secure fit (with properly selected ear pads);
  5. Surprisingly reliable wireless connectivity.

Minuses:

  1. No water resistance;
  2. You cannot adjust the volume with the headphone buttons;
  3. No support for high quality music streaming codecs.

 

Thank You!!!

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