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JLab Audio Studio ANC check: big-time battery

“JLab offers excellent battery life and ANC at a very attractive price.”

Incredibly good battery life

Serviceable ANC on a budget

Very affordable

Not the most convenient

Modest sound quality

As a rule of thumb, any product that offers an all-star range at a rock-bottom price initially has a twofold reaction: intrigue, then skepticism.

When the $ 59 Studio ANC headphones from JLab Audio arrived with the promise of more than 30 hours of battery life and active noise cancellation on the packaging on my doorstep, I was optimistic to find out if this new on-ear offering was actually available good – or too good to be true.

Out of the box

I will not waste time explaining the packaging of the Studio ANC to you, as it is a largely unforgettable case. It’s no small thing at JLab – it’s not a bad thing that they focused on the present rather than the wrapping paper.

JLab Studio ANC headphonesNick Woodard / Digital Trends

The headphones are supplied with a surprisingly padded travel bag, an additional cable, a USB charging cable and a user manual. You do not need the manual to connect the Studio ANC to your mobile device as this is standard if you ever have experience with Bluetooth pairing. However, I would recommend reading the manual to fully understand the controls distributed across the four buttons on the headphones.

JLab equips the Studio ANC with Bluetooth 5 technology, which is solid considering that much more expensive headphones still work with older versions of Bluetooth that lack the range and speed advantages of the newer technology.

After some time with these headphones, my connection was easy. The range was also exceptional, so I could move around my house without interruption while my phone was charging.

design

Studio ANC’s on-ear style makes it a kind of mediator between over-ear headphones and in-ear wearables, resulting in a mix of advantages and disadvantages.

At 141 grams, the Studio ANC are much lighter than many full over-ear cans. At the same time, they maintain the design of their bigger brothers and only underline the subtle aesthetic that has contributed to making in-ears so popular.

The Studio ANC have ear cups, which JLab calls “Cloud Foam”, and an adjustable headband made of synthetic leather. It is a comfortable combination at first, but I couldn’t help but notice that the feeling wears off over time. For most, it may not be a big deal, but the headphones created more pressure than necessary, and it has become a factor in longer listening sessions.

You will find four buttons on the right. There is a round on / off switch with which you can answer or end calls in the moonlight and activate the voice assistant of your choice. There are volume buttons that you can use to scroll through the tracks. And there is the button for active noise cancellation, which is camouflaged as well as the JLab logo on the right ear cup that I would have completely overlooked without the manual.

properties

I immediately feel compelled to address one of JLab’s greatest demands first: more than 34 hours of playback without ANC and more than 28 hours with the function activated. For comparison, the recently released Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 are 20 hours or less without ANC and cost $ 250.

JLab Studio ANC headphonesNick Woodard / Digital Trends

If the Studio ANC has a catch, the battery life is not sufficient. I have listened to them regularly over the past week and have not even unpacked the charging cable. This is remarkable for headphones at this price and one of the best aspects of Studio ANC for me.

There is not much to mention in terms of features. The integration of the voice assistant works well and I was able to use Amazon Alexa as my standard A.I. Do. although JLab only lists Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant as options. It was okay to go for walks, although I would warn against doing sports with them. There is no waterproof rating for Studio ANC on the JLab website. This gives cause for concern as to how they would withstand sweat or rain.

Audio quality

If you’ve been waiting for the moment when these headphones have inevitably returned to Earth, you’ve come to the right place. Despite the reasonable comfort and some great features for little money, the Studio ANC sounds exactly as it is – just another pair of headphones for $ 60.

JLab Studio ANCNick Woodard / Digital Trends

That doesn’t mean they’re bad. If you listen almost exclusively to podcasts these days (like yours really), I would recommend them without hesitation. You don’t need enough audio quality to enjoy Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, and Studio ANC fits that bill exactly.

However, if you’re hoping for solid cans to listen to music, you may want to keep shopping. Regardless of the genre, I couldn’t escape an apparently distant sound with a strangely hollow low-end. In this case, you get what you pay for, and I wouldn’t buy it if you expected excellent audio quality along the lines of Shure SE 112.

There is no equalizer with which you can tinker the audio of the Studio ANC. However, a JLab branding tool is available for download. They recommend a burn-in time of at least 40 hours – which in a nutshell means that different tones and frequencies are played through the headphones in order to achieve optimal performance.

In addition to the microphones designed for active noise cancellation, the Studio ANC has a third microphone that you can use to receive your voice for phone calls. I found the call quality admirable so that my conversations could break through the turbulence of a windy spring day while walking.

Active noise cancellation

Active noise cancellation in the Studio ANC is a no-frills feature. It only offers an ANC level and there is no ambient sound mode. You have a button to turn it on and off, and that’s it.

JLab Studio ANC headphonesNick Woodard / Digital Trends

The ANC function is effective at least in connection with budget headphones. If you activate the ANC function, you will not have an uninterrupted listening room, but you will hear hard noises such as lawn mowers or power tools that are dampened to a certain extent. If you want more effective noise cancellation, you have to pay for it. Otherwise the Studio ANC can be serviced in this department for its price.

JLab isn’t the only company that makes extremely cheap ANC headphones. Anker makes a pair with hybrid ANC at similar prices, and companies like Cowin and TaoTronics are also on the market. However, we have not yet had a chance to test these other products. Therefore, I cannot currently judge how well the Studio ANC is stacking up.

Our opinion

While JLab missed the brand in terms of audio quality, the company still delivered incredibly affordable headphones with excellent battery life and adequate active noise cancellation.

Are there any better alternatives?

The $ 70 Shure SE 112 are currently our most popular, affordable headphones, and offer great sound quality at a price that won’t burden your finances. If you don’t mind spending more on a product with similar battery life and improved audio, the Sony WH-CH710N for $ 199 is a good option.

How long will they last?

The Studio ANC feels sturdy enough, though I wouldn’t back up my bets on cheap headphones that are build quality to withstand the test of time.

Should you buy them

Yes. They are not for audio enthusiasts. For less than $ 60, you get headphones that last for almost an entire week without a fee. These are useful for people who are looking for a simple, affordable, and reliable set of cans.

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