JBL’s first-ever air conduction earbuds promise comfort without sacrificing sound quality

JBL Soundgear Sense earbuds worn outside by a woman next to a field
(Image credit: JBL)

Traditional wireless earbuds aren’t for everyone. Having a silicone or memory foam tip lodged in your ear canal can be uncomfortable for some, especially during marathon listening sessions.

Also, if you’re using buds for running, you might also prefer to have a bit more noise from the outdoor world allowed through. And this is where the new JBL Soundgear Sense fit in.

They’re the company’s first-ever true wireless open-ear earbuds and use air conduction technology to deliver sound into your lugholes without intruding on your ear canal. They actually rest on the curve of your ears with the 16.2mm drivers and a bass-enhancing algorithm combining to deliver “punchy bass and clear vocals from playlists and calls”. JBL also offers a neckband in the box for extra stability.

JBL claims the design and shape of the buds help minimise sound leakage so you don’t impact your fellow gym-goers, and supplied ear hooks offer both rotation size adjustments to help get the perfect fit. If you are planning on using them outside you’ll be pleased to know the JBLs boast an IP54 rating which means they’re resistant to dust, rain and sweat.

The earbuds support Bluetooth 5.3 and offer multipoint Bluetooth, although JBL hasn’t confirmed exactly how many devices can be connected simultaneously. The JBL Headphones App is your route to all customisation options and EQ adjustments.

Battery life is a claimed six hours from a single charge with the charging case supplying another 18 hours, which should be long enough to see you through any bout of exercise. Speed charging should provide an extra four hours of playback in just 15 minutes.

The JBL Soundgear Sense earbuds come in black or white and will go on sale from 31st August, priced at £129.99 / €149.99. We’ve asked JBL for US and AUS pricing, which we'll add to this story as soon as we have them.


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Andy Madden

Andy is Deputy Editor of What Hi-Fi? and a consumer electronics journalist with nearly 20 years of experience writing news, reviews and features. Over the years he's also contributed to a number of other outlets, including The Sunday Times, the BBC, Stuff, and BA High Life Magazine. Premium wireless earbuds are his passion but he's also keen on car tech and in-car audio systems and can often be found cruising the countryside testing the latest set-ups. In his spare time Andy is a keen golfer and gamer.