JLab Audio offers a range of Bluetooth headphones and speakers. They’ve made a reputation for affordable wireless options for everyday use, and athletics where they’re the official audio partner of Major League Soccer. The Epic Air Sport is their high-end model for hitting the gym, the trail or even the tennis court.
- Secure fit
- Exceptional battery life
- Good functionality
- Bulky case
- Overly sensitive touch controls
The buds are constructed in an over-the-ear hook model, designed to give maximum security during activity and workouts. The silicone hooks bend easily, allowing them to cradle the earlobe while keeping the bud snugly in place. The IP66 rating makes the unit sweat, dust and splash resistant, but not intended for significant water submersion. The earbuds only come in an all-black colorway, keeping it as subdued as an earhook model can be.
Yet when unboxing the Epic Sport the most glaring feature is its home. Everything about the charging case is substantial—it’s big and weighty. Think of a very thick bar of soap. As such, it’s not the type of case that sits easy in a pants pocket; maybe the breast pocket of a baggy coat.
But the bulk has a silver lining. As the (non-existent) saying goes: big case, big battery. A full charge can yield about ten hours of playback with another 60 hours in the case. Another perk is the case doubles as a charger for other electronics. The unit comes with its own micro-USB cable that wraps around and attaches to itself like a belt.
There are seven sets of silicone ear tips to find a proper fit. There are two flanged options that reach farther inside the air if you’re after greater noise cancelation. There’s a pair of Cloud Foam tips as well which are intended do a better job of blocking out sound. However, they don’t handle sweat as well and probably aren’t the best for rigorous workouts. Regardless of the intent, there’s enough variety in thickness, shape and depth to satisfy most ears.
Being an over-the-ear hook model, it’s slightly heavier (10g) than a pure earbud variety.
In lieu of buttons, the earbuds have intuitive touch sensor controls. Each bud handles several assignments, making your phone a bystander. It can take several—sometimes frustrating—trials to get accustomed to the multiple responsibilities of each. But much more irritating is the sensitivity level of the sensors. If I needed to adjust the fit in my ear, just touching the bud frequently caused volume changes or song skips. The functionality was impressive, and I suppose during a run or bike when you don’t want to spend much time toggling controls a quick touch is preferable. However, they were much finickier than push buttons. Connectivity was mostly reliable.
There’s a lot to like about the Epic Air Sport. The earhook design provides great security, music quality is generally up to the task and battery life is best in class. The touch controls could use some sensitivity training, but it’s hard to argue with their functionality. And compared to other models in the category, it does all of this at a rather palatable price.