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JBL Synchros E50BT Headphones Review

by Paul Strauss

JBL’s recently released Synchros E series is designed to offer high quality sound, substance and build quality with reasonable prices. At the top of the line is the E50BT, a wireless Bluetooth model with large over-the-ear drivers.

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The Synchros E50BT certainly look substantial right out of the box, with large, comfortable earcups which do a great job blocking out ambient sound. The headband offers good adjustability with the ability to retract and the earcups swivel to fit just about any head. While there are a handful of components made from metal, most of the metallic finishes are either thin veneers or plastic.

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Using Bluetooth connectivity, the E50BT headphones are great for those who want to go fully wireless, and they support both music and phone calls thanks to a tiny built-in microphone. Charging is achieved with a special USB-to-3.5mm cable which plugs into the only jack on the headphones. It takes about three hours to juice up the headphones, and you’ll get a more than reasonable 18 hours per charge. Connecting is easy, with a simple push of the Bluetooth pairing button, I was up and running in just a few seconds. One thing that really impressed me was the extraordinary Bluetooth range of these headphones. I was able to walk up to 35 feet away from my iPhone – on a different floor of my house without dropping the signal. I’m not sure how often this scenario will pop up, but it’s nice to know you could leave your phone docked on the other side of the room and continue to listen to music without risk of interruption.

The headphones also offer a feature called “ShareMe” which allows you to pair with another set of compatible headphones to share music. However, I didn’t have a second set to test this feature with. You can also control media playback, including track skip, volume, and handling phone calls from a push of the metallic part of the left earcup, though it takes a little getting used to using multiple clicks of the same button to perform different tasks.

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Of course the most critical component of any set of headphones is how they sound, and the E50BTs are quite good in this department. Sound is well balanced with more volume than I expected from wireless headphones with their own onboard amplification. I found the large 50mm drivers more than up to the task of enveloping my ears with rich, well separated sound. Bass response has a good punch to it, without being overpowering, highs are clean, if a just a tiny bit on the harsh side, but overall, sound is very natural. Distortion is minimal, and only perceptible at volume levels well beyond the range of listening comfort.

As for phone call quality, receiving calls is just fine, but the microphone did seem to muffle my voice a bit when speaking. It’s perfectly usable in a pinch – like when you need to take a quick call in the middle of listening to music, but I wouldn’t rely on the microphone as my primary method of making mobile calls.

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Overall, the JBL Synchros E50BT headphones offer a good balance of performance and features, with very good sound quality, wireless connectivity and solid battery life. If you’re in the market for Bluetooth wireless headphones, and you want bigger sound than you can get from earbuds, you should definitely consider them on your short list.

The JBL Synchros E50BT headphones are available now for $149.95(USD), and are available in black with silver, blue, red, purple metallic finishes, or in white with silver.

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