Signature JBL sound with a bit of a twist

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Amid the plethora of truly wireless earphones flooding the audio market in India, we now have a brand new pair of earphones from JBL, the Tune 125TWS, which are essentially a more feature-rich version of the JBL Tune 120TWS earphones. The earphones are quite basic and are aimed at the casual music listener, but they do have some impressive features to look out for. Priced at Rs 8,499 (available now for a discounted price of Rs 7,499) these earphones are mid-range offerings that compete with the Sony WF-XB700 and a few others. Let’s see how the JBL Tune 125TWS fared in our review.

Build and design

The JBL Tune 125TWS, like their predecessors, the Tune 120TWS, look like fairly straightforward true wireless earphones, with no extravagant design frills. Still, the earphones are quite compact and ergonomic, and the charging case is also sufficiently pocketable. We got to review the black-colored unit, which looks quite understated. The blue and white colored options, on the other hand, stand out a bit more. Nevertheless, the design is quite uninspired and the charging case looks quite dull in design compared to some other true wireless earphones on the market.

While the charging case doesn’t even come close to some of the smallest charging cases we’ve seen for true wireless earphones like the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus and the Jabra Elite 75t, the JBL Tune 125TWS’s charging case is still quite pocketable, as above. mention. The case is mainly made of plastic and has a smooth matte finish that doesn’t feel tacky or cheap. The USB Type-C port is located on the bottom of the housing and by design the housing does not stand upright but lies flat on a surface. The flip-up lid has snappy and strong magnets and there are also status indicator LEDs (three white LEDs) on the surface of the case. Overall, the case is quite robust and the magnets in the case hold the earbuds securely.

The earphones have a semi-matte, semi-gloss finish and feature the JBL logo on the back panel of each button. Below each logo is a physical control button that can be used to control music playback and calls. The earbuds are also equipped with magnetic tips that snap into the holders in the charging case. The mouthpiece of the earbuds has an angle of approximately 45 degrees, which ensures a secure and comfortable fit.

The earphones use a twist and lock mechanism to sit securely in the ear and are extremely comfortable and form-fitting in the ear. The company also offers 3 sizes of silicone earbuds for users to choose from. No stability gels or wings are included, but we never really missed them because of the already excellent fit. We listened to music with these buds for about 2-3 hours without feeling any undue fatigue. However, due to their shape, they stick out quite a bit from the ears.

Due to the snug and secure fit, the earphones are exceptionally good at passively isolating background noise. As soon as you put the earbuds on, background noises are attenuated quite a bit. They are great for reducing ambient noise in noisy offices and even significantly reduce deep rumbles such as a bus engine.

Functions

The JBL Tune 125TWS is pretty barebones when it comes to features. They clearly lack premium features like ANC, touch control and on-ear detection, which we don’t even expect on sub 10K true wireless earphones, but they also lack some pretty integral features like an IP rating and volume control.

The earphones look quite sporty, so we assumed the Tune 125TWS would have an IP rating, much like the Sony WF-XB700 earphones, which are IPX4 rated. However, we were surprised and disappointed to learn that the earphones don’t actually have an IP rating, making it unsafe to use these earphones at the gym and even during light rain.

The earphones come with physical controls that can be used to control music playback and calls. Pressing the right earbud once will pause/play music or answer an incoming call. Double-tap the right earbud to summon your device’s voice assistant. Pressing the left earbud once skips forward one track and pressing it twice skips to the previous track. There are no controls to adjust the volume levels, which is a shame as there’s nothing really assigned for a long press on either side, and it could have been easily mapped to adjust the volume levels.

One place where the JBL Tune 125TWS redeems itself when it comes to features is the battery life. According to the company, the earphones have about 8 hours of battery life on a single charge, while the charging case can suck up the earphones three times, bringing the total battery life to a whopping 32 hours! In our tests, the 100-percent battery drained in-ear headphones in about 7 hours and 45 minutes at about 65-percent volume, which is excellent. The only true wireless earphones that beat JBL’s battery life in the top end are the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, the Sony WF-XB700 and the Sony WF-SP800N

However, JBL beats all three of these earphones when it comes to battery life from the charging case, with 3 extra charges, while the others only offer one extra charge for the buds. In our testing, we were able to easily charge the Tune 125TWS buds three times, with some juice left over. It is safe to say that we are deeply impressed with the battery performance of the earphones.

Performance

Using the same 5.8mm dynamic drivers as the JBL Tune 120TWS, the Tune 125TWS delivers a frequency response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Unfortunately, there’s no app support to access a customizable EQ, so the sound you get out of the earbuds is the one to stick to (unless you’re using a third-party EQ). While the Tune 125TWS’ sound signature is unabashedly bass-boosted, which is usually how the JBL sound signature is, here it comes with a bit of a twist.

Despite the bass and lows getting a significant boost and being quite prominent in the mix, the mids are also boosted equally, meaning the possibility of heavy auditory masking in the mids is reduced. This produces a more balanced and lively sound signature accompanied by powerful bass and lively vocals and mid-range instruments. The bass is punchy and textured and doesn’t distort even at high volume levels, which is impressive.

Low baritone male vocals sound rich and clear in songs such as: The Poet and the Muse by means of Ancient Gods of Asgard while high-pitched voices are also quite clear, but can sometimes contain some extra hissing noise. Lead instruments are reproduced quite accurately and tracks such as Shorty by means of very suspicious bring out the lead guitar and lead vocals beautifully.

In some songs like Hysteria by means of Muse, the highs can become a bit harsh and tinny as this frequency seems to be dotted with sharp peaks in the frequency response. Nevertheless, since the highs are somewhat subdued and not as prominent as the bass and mids, the look won’t bother you much. Overall, you get a fairly balanced sound profile with punchy bass and clear mids.

As for the quality of the microphone, it was pretty decent. The receiver could hear everything we said during a call (tested over normal network and WhatsApp calling), but our voice sounded a bit distant. Also, ambient sounds are easily picked up and passed on to the listener. However, for conversations in a quiet environment, the microphone on the Tune 125TWS is pretty decent. However, the device exhibited some serious latency issues. When we watched Netflix and YouTube with the earphones, the lag between the audio and video was quite noticeable, which can be a little jarring to watch.

bottom line

Priced at Rs 8499, the JBL Tune 125TWS are a good pair of mid-range true wireless earphones that come with exceptional battery life, a reasonably balanced sound signature and a secure and comfortable in-ear fit. However, they lack some integral features such as an IP rating and volume control. Plus, if you watch a lot of videos with your earphones, there are quite noticeable latency issues. Overall, we would recommend these earphones to users looking for mid-range true wireless earphones with excellent battery life and a pleasing sound signature.

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