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JBL Reflect Mini Review
Price: $100 List | $59.95 at Amazon
Pros: Good sound quality, good for working out, low profile design, relatively inexpensive
Cons: May not fit large ears well
Bottom line: A sleek package that offers high end performance at a mid range price
Jack of all trades may be an overused expression, but it applies perfectly to the JBL reflect Mini. These earbuds provide a number of earbud and ear fin sizes, allowing for a comfortable and secure fit in almost any ear. This, combined with their lightweight and minimalistic design, make them great for active pursuits like running and working out. That minimalistic design also allows them to be stuffed into small pockets and to not get in the way when you're trying to get comfortable in your cramped economy cabin seat. If your workout is really aggressive the Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats do provide slightly better stability, but the ear hooks give them a much more obtrusive profile than the Reflect Mini.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Whether you want Bluetooth earbuds for working out, traveling on a bus or plane, or just for walking around, the JBL Reflect Mini will fit the bill. Plus, they provide high end audio quality. This is the one pair of earbuds that we would unequivocally recommend to anybody.
As you can see in the table above the JBL Reflect Mini was just off the top overall score in our testing. Below we discuss all of the different tests we used to calculate those overall scores, and how the Reflect Mini performed in each.
The Reflect Mini scored a 7 out of 10 in our sound quality testing, putting it just behind the group of top scorers.
For comparison, this is the same score we would give to the standard wired Apple earbuds that come with every iPhone (which we feel sound pretty good). While the bass of the Reflect Mini is around average in terms of power and quality, the earbuds produce a fairly clear and crisp sound overall. This creates a full bodied overall sound with plenty of gravitas. We never felt like motivation was lacking when listening to music and working out with the Reflect Min. The three models that scored higher in this metric generally had deeper, more powerful bass that added a bit more depth to music. The exception was the Beats by Dr. Dre BeatsX, which have slightly weaker bass but exceptional clarity.
These earbuds were also serviceable for making phone calls. In our testing both the caller and the callee experienced some static, but the entire conversation as easily understood.
Here again the Reflect mini was just off the top scorers, earning a 7 out of 10.
The Reflect Mini comes with two different sizes of both earpieces and ear fins. We found that this combination provided a secure and comfortable fit for the vast majority of ears. The only exception were those with rather large ear canals, as the larger earpiece size seemed more medium than large. Still even those with larger ear canals could generally get a fairly secure fit via the use of the ear fins. Also, the light weight of these earbuds meant you barely had any tugging sensation when wearing them.
The Reflect Mini was one of the top scorers in our athletic performance testing, earning an 8 out of 10.
The combination of a secure fit and lightweight allow these earbuds to stay put through almost any athletic endeavor. After using them for a bit, we felt completely confident that these earbuds would stay in through long runs and sessions in the gym. They also stayed comfy, even we we had lots of sweat dripping down our brows. The lack of any sort of over the ear hook does lend less confidence than say the Powerbeats, but we didn't have a single instance of the Reflect Mini falling out during our testing.
The Reflect Mini was one of the longest lasting models in our battery life testing, chugging along for an impressive 11.5 hours. This will get you through all but the longest of plane rides, and will likely last you an entire week of working out before needing a recharge.
This is where the Reflect Mini has a serious advantage over our other Editors' Choice Award winner, the Powerbeats.
The lack of any over the ear hooks and a totally flexible cable allows these earbuds to be easily stuffed into any pocket, even that tiny pocket in your carpenter jeans that is meant to be used for nails but is never actually used for nails. It doesn't sound like those over the ear hooks would be too annoying to deal with, but the fact that these earbuds can fit in any pocket feels oddly liberating after you've used the Powerbeats for a while.
The JBL Reflect Mini provides top notch performance at an average price. This makes them such a good value that we were tempted to give them both an Editors' Choice Award and a Best Buy Award. For a list price of $70 you get nearly the same performance of models that cost twice as much. It's pretty hard to go wrong there.
The JBL Reflect Mini is a rare product that is at the top of the field in terms of performance and only mid range in terms of price. Anybody looking for great performance will be happy with these earbuds. They don't offer the best sound quality that earbuds can provide, but they're close, and to get the best you'll have to spend twice as much.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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