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JLab Go Air earphone overview: Small however highly effective reasonably priced

“The Go Air are a valuable pair of real wireless commuter buds”

IP44 waterproof

Comfortable design

Affordable

Short charging cable

Mediocre sound quality

Granted, it’s a little unusual to rate an audio product that is as conservative as the new JLab earphones. The circumstances must be just right to justify this. This means that the product must come from a reputable brand, be filled with interesting functions and be in demand.

Allow JLab to tick off all three boxes with the real go air wireless earbuds for $ 30. The incredibly affordable buds offer a total lifespan of 20 hours with the included charging case, waterproof IP44 protection and excellent customer reviews on Amazon. Sure these buds are too good to be true, right?

Out of the box

The packaging of the Go Air is as compact as the buds itself and in JLabs standard light blue. The box opens like a book and shows a quick guide to the controls on the inside of the lid and the earphones, which are located on the right under a plastic housing.

JLab Go Air earphonesNick Woodard / Digital Trends

Aside from the buds and casing, JLab throws in two additional pairs of gel pad tips. There is no separate charging cable here, since the housing has its own weird short cable. It’s one that doesn’t do much else than turn the case into an uncomfortable dongle for the USB port to which it is connected.

There is a pull tab on the charging case, which I have not seen since activating the remote control for my old car stereo. Beyond that, it is easy to connect to Go Air. JLab even offers a five-minute video that will take you through the entire process.

The connection of these buds was a delightful surprise. It is common not to expect much from cheap buds, but I have had no significant dropouts. The weather was a little too bad for extensive testing, but when I moved around my garden with my phone in the house, there was also a solid Bluetooth range.

design

The structure of the Go Air seems to be one of their biggest selling points. In a few words, they are light, small and comfortable.

Nick Woodard / Digital Trends

To give a little bit more context, each bud weighs about 5 grams, which corresponds to the Samsung Galaxy Buds + and is only one gram heavier than the Apple AirPods. At 50 grams, JLab’s charging case is significantly bulkier than Apple’s 38-gram featherweight, but that’s hardly a problem worth holding against the Go Air.

They are available in four different colors: black, white, green and navy blue. My test device was the green, which was not remarkable in terms of aesthetics but was helpful in preventing dust and dirt from becoming visible.

The included case has an open-air design, meaning there is no lid to protect the buds when you travel with them. The buds themselves are secure inside the case, but the open structure of the case makes me careful if they get worn or damaged in transit.

The Go Air have a design that reminds me of a bargain basket from Google Pixel Buds 2 – that is, although they are a bit bulky, these buds still fit flush in your ear. I don’t think they’re completely impermeable to the classic hoodie test, but I appreciate their relative slenderness.

There are no buttons on the Go Air, just touchpads on the JLab logo of each bud – more on that below.

properties

Most of the features built into Go Air aren’t stand-alone in themselves, but when you put it all together, the overall picture becomes a bit more impressive, especially for such inexpensive buds.

JLab Go Air earphonesNick Woodard / Digital Trends

Let’s start with the battery life, which according to JLab is five hours of playback per charge, with three additional charges included in the Go Air case. According to JLab, you get an hour of playback after 15 minutes of charging. During my tests, I found that JLab’s battery statistics are correct.

While these numbers are by no means incredible, they can still lead to much more expensive products like the AirPods (five hours) or Amazon Echo Buds (five hours). Apple gives you a bit more listening time overall at 24 hours, but the Echo Buds, like JLab, type at 20 for around $ 100 more.

The Go Air is waterproof to IP44 and protects the buds from splashing water at every angle. This is important for buds at this price because the Echo Buds have an IPX4 rating and the AirPods have no waterproof rating at all.

The Go Air touch controls aren’t as intuitive as I would have liked. There were a handful of cases where I touched the buds just to be greeted by them in return. For the most part, however, you can skip or pause tracks, adjust volume, call up a voice assistant, or switch between one of JLab’s three EQ modes. They work, but the experience has been inconsistent.

Audio quality

The Achilles’ heel of most headphones and earphones in this price range is sound. For whatever reason, audio companies seemed to have cracked the code for affordable functionality, but left a lot of room for improvement in audio quality.

JLab-go-air-5Nick Woodard / Digital Trends

Unfortunately, I have to report that the Go Air fits into this mediocre shape. On a positive note, these buds are good for easy listening to content such as podcasts or occasional TikTok videos. In addition, they have a usable call quality that made it possible to hear and be heard well enough while braving the windy conditions to take my dogs for a walk. They just lack the clarity and range that can often be found with higher-priced counterparts to be suitable for high-quality music listening sessions. On the other hand, this is associated with the territory of $ 30 buds.

There are three different EQ settings that you can use to set the 8mm drivers in the Go Air. With three finger taps on both buds you can switch between the sound modes JLab Signature, Balanced and Bass Boost. I found the JLab Signature mode to be the tastiest, but even this mode had no low end and generally sounded distant. Bass Boost has helped this low end, but the deficit has not been fully addressed. The symmetrical mode has attenuated the entire frequency range, which is not always a bad thing. Unfortunately, if you don’t start with great sound at the beginning, flattening the EQ won’t magically improve things.

If you can accept that $ 30 earphones with great sound aren’t realistic, this can mitigate the sting with the Go Air. You just can’t compete with the sound of buds with better components, but the only way that should stop you from considering them is if you somehow expected it.

Our opinion

The JLab Go Air has the features and price tag to be a valuable pair of real wireless commuter buds. Unfortunately, they only lack the sound quality to be your main hearing aid for music.

Are there any better alternatives?

There aren’t many buds in the Go Air weight class with such features, but there are options that are worth spending a little more on. The $ 120 Edifier TWS NB are our cheapest true wireless earbuds due to their active noise cancellation and solid battery life. If you can handle a cable, the $ 100 1More Triple Drivers are our favorite affordable earbuds.

How long will they last?

At this price, longevity is not a problem for most customers. However, JLab offers a two-year warranty on Go Air.

Should you buy them

Yes. They may not sound like a winner, but the JLab Go Air costs $ 30 and has a similar battery life and better water resistance than the Apple AirPods. Essentially, it’s the low risk, high reward bud pair that you should take a risk.

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