JBL Quantum TWS Air review: combining quality and convenience
The JBL Quantum Airs are stuffed with quality-of-life features.
The Quantum TWS Airs prioritize convenience and flexibility, which are must-haves for gamers on the go, but are they worth the price?
JBL prides itself on providing high-quality audio to gamers across a range of budgets, and they’ve carved a respectable niche in the market as a result. We’ve previously taken a look at their stunning Quantum 910s, but if you’re looking for something smaller and lighter, then earbuds might be your best bet.
We’ve been testing the Quantum TWS Air earbuds for a couple of weeks now, and after testing them across a variety of devices and purposes, we’re ready to tell you why you should pick up a pair for yourself.
- Connectivity: Wireless
- Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
- Compatibility: Bluetooth connection or a USB-C port
- Features: Ambient Aware mode, TalkThru mode, QuantumSURROUND on PC, JBL DualSOURCE
- Price: $99.95
What’s in the box: JBL Quantum TWS Air, charging case, USB-C dongle, three different sizes of ear tips, USB-C charging cable.
Opening up the packaging reveals a solid design in stylish black, retaining JBL’s minimalist design. Interestingly, the charging case is horizontal rather than the industry-norm vertical, which makes it easier to leave and open on desks.
A satisfyingly symmetrical interior has places for the buds and a slot for the dongle, and the port on the back below the hinges means the case can be opened while the battery is charging.
The charging cable is a decent length, and it’s easily long enough to reach anywhere on a desk from a plug socket below- another nod towards making gaming easier for users.
The three sizes of ear tips are easy to slip on and off, and the buds sit comfortably inside your ear. We frequently used them for several hours at a time before they became uncomfortable.
Another feature that made life easier was a prompt to download the JBL app that came up when we first connected them to a mobile phone, which brings us to the TWS Airs’ greatest strength: flexibility and convenience.
The app allows you to fully customize your earbuds to how you want them to work. You can switch between audio mode and gaming mode, adjust an equalizer and sidetone, and even change the prompts for commands. There’s also a Find My Buds feature, though thankfully we haven’t had to use it yet.
The buds also use the 1-2-3 tap system for pausing, skipping, and replaying audio. However, we did notice that the TWS Airs sometimes struggled to pick up on multiple taps, leading to awkward pauses and repeats when listening to music.
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The sound quality on the JBL Quantum TWS Airs is what you’d expect for $100 earbuds: They provide crisp sound and the base is satisfyingly strong. Quality remains consistent through highs and doesn’t change whether you’re gaming or listening to music.
We were particularly impressed with the Airs’ ability to convey subtler ambient sounds, most notably the footsteps in Overwatch and Valorant which often mean the difference between life and death.
However, the star of the show for us was the noise cancellation and Ambient Aware modes, which can be switched between easily with a tap on the left bud (this can be changed in the app). The instant change between natural-sounding ambient audio and surprisingly effective noise cancellation turned the TWS airs from a gaming tool to a great all-rounder, perfect for going about daily tasks and even taking trips on noisy public transport.
The pairing dongle is similarly impressive, connecting to device audio near-instantly, and allowing you to connect to multiple devices at once. Again, quality of life is the name of the game here; setting up effective audio while on the go has never been so quick. We even found ourselves not bothering to turn on more advanced at-home audio setups because of how convenient the dongle was.
While the TWS Airs can’t match the audio quality that purpose-built microphones or larger headsets provide, they do great for their size. A test in Discord and on Zoom gave clear and crisp audio, with little background audio messing things up.
Best of all, using the dongle automatically makes the buds the default input device for your computer, meaning you don’t need to go into settings to fiddle around before meetings.
Should you buy it?
If you’re working or playing from several locations and have a laptop with a USB-C port, the JBL Quantum TWS Airs should be on your list. The convenience provided by the dongle and the instant Ambient Aware mode changes is a game changer. Its additional gaming features just cement JBL as one of the best gaming audio brands out there right now.
The verdict: 4/5
If you are looking for flexibility on the go, the JBL Quantum TWS Air is an excellent option. While we’ve seen others like the ROG Cetra TWS and Razer Hammerhead falter, JBL offers a premium gaming earbud that you can easily take with you on the go, all the while still offering killer audio while out and about. `
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