JLab Audio has been making some of the best true wireless earbuds for the money for some time now. From its ear hook-style workout buds to its fashion-forward models, JLab earbuds may not be the most feature-packed, but they generally offer great value. Now, the company is pushing that boundary further. How? Well, its latest buds — the JLab Go Air Pop — come in at $20.
Of course, with such a low price you might assume that the buds cut lots of corners — in which case, it might be worth avoiding them altogether. But do the JLab Go Air Pop earbuds perform? I’ve been using them for a while now to find out.
JLab Go Air Pop design
The JLab Go Air Pop earbuds offer a straight earbud-style design, without stems. The buds themselves are pretty compact, and they’re available in a hefty six colors. We’re reviewing the Teal model.
Each earbud offers a touch surface to control playback, pairing, and volume. You’ll need to learn the series of taps for each command, but ultimately you’ll get used to it. Generally, I found the commands to be pretty intuitive. That said, controlling the volume can be a little finnicky. If you want to quickly turn volume way up or way down, you’re better off doing so from your listening source. That’s because a single tap controls volume, but a double-tap and triple-tap controls other things. You cannot change the controls.
It’s also important to note the design of the charging case, and it’s generally good. Like the earbuds, the case is built from plastic, and it’s very small. That means that you can easily fit it in your pocket or bag. Unlike some other charging cases, however, this case has the charging cable built right into it, instead of a charging port. I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, it means you don’t have to worry about carrying the case around. On the other hand, it means you have to use a USB-A port, or get an adapter.
Generally, for the price that these earbuds come at, I quite like the overall design. Sure, it’s plastic, and arguably a little cheap feeling at times. But things never felt like they would break or fail, which is handy. In the box, apart from the earbuds and the charging case, you’ll get a total of three pairs of ear tips.
JLab Go Air Pop features and battery
The JLab Go Air Pop earbuds don’t really come with a range of features, like noise-cancelation, multi-point connectivity, and other things. But in this price range, you wouldn’t really expect them to. These are built to be solid earbuds that you can rely on for day-to-day use.
The battery life on these earbuds sits in at 8 hours on a single charge, which is excellent, especially for a pair of earbuds in this price range. The charging case will get you an extra 24 hours, so in total you should get around 32 hours of use. Not bad at all.
The earbuds connect to your listening device through Bluetooth 5.1. I found that they retained a decent connection throughout listening. Every now and then, the two buds would go out of sync, but they quickly fixed the issue on their own.
JLab Go Air Pop comfort
As mentioned the JLab Go Air Pop earbuds are relatively small and compact, and that does play into how comfortable they are. Generally speaking, I found it easy to use these buds for longer periods of time without them getting uncomfortable. That’s impressive — often earbuds in this price range are bulky and badly designed, but JLab is clearly leveraging its experience in the space here to deliver a decent fit.
The headphones were pretty good at staying in my ears too. Now, they’re not for running or working out, and if you try and use them for that purpose, they’re likely to fall out. But in day-to-day use, I rarely had to adjust the buds.
JLab Go Air Pop sound
So these $20 earbuds offer a decent design, a good battery life, and a good fit. But how do they sound? Well, they sound a whole lot more expensive than $20. That’s not to say they’re on the same level as the likes of the Sony WF-1000XM4 or AirPods Pro earbuds. But I was definitely pleasantly surprised. The headphones also offer three different EQ modes: “JLab Signature,” “Balanced,” and “Bass Boost.” Ultimately, the Balanced profile didn’t sound very balanced, while the Bass Boost mode was a little over the top. I preferred the JLab Signature mode.
The headphones generally offer good bass response, allowing kick drums to punch through a mix, and bass guitars to offer a generally smooth tone. Better bass extension would have helped, but overall, the bass response was pretty good.
That extended into the mids and highs. The mid frequencies allow things like guitars and vocals to have some meat to them, and while those frequencies were a bit too much in “Balanced” mode, in JLab Signature they sounded good. The highs were a little tucked away, and as a result detail wasn’t spectacular. But again, the headphones were far more detailed than I would expect for a pair of headphones in this price range.
The call quality on these headphones, unfortunately, is pretty sub-par. You should be able to hear who you’re talking to just fine. But they may not be able to hear you very well back.
The JLab Go Air Pop earbuds offer a lot more than you would expect for a pair of $20 headphones. They look decent, are generally comfortable, and actually sound pretty good. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a pair of true wireless buds on a budget, these are definitely the way to go.
The competition in the ultra-budget true wireless headphones world is a little limited. If you want a pair of true wireless headphones in this price range, it’s not really worth considering anyone else at this point in time.
Should I buy the JLab Go Air Pop earbuds?
Yes. If you’re in a strict budget, these are the true wireless buds to get.