When JBL finally unveiled their first earbuds in the Quantum line in person (they were previously a novelty at CES 22), some current reporters looked at each other while raising their eyebrows. What do these little earbuds mean “for gaming”? The most enthusiastic and purist gamers want a complete headset, don’t they? Will they give them a louder design that includes some RGB lights and then charge $50? We were dead wrong.
I’ve been testing the JBL Quantum TWS for a month in many different situations and activities, including gaming on a variety of platforms of course, but I’ve also carried cases of traveling by train and plane, daily walks, phone calls, or going to the gym. In that sense, they just replaced another model with the manufacturer JBL Life Pro+ TWS that I always carry around. And, you know what? They’ve completely replaced them, which I didn’t expect at all.
The main difference between the JBL Quantum TWS and the Live Pro+ or the newer Live Pro 2 is that the first includes a tiny USB-C dongle, a pen drive that plugs into different devices to establish a low-latency 2.4 GHz connection, thereby minimizing possible delays or sound delays obtained via Bluetooth. That said, the same tech as other wireless gaming headsets like the JBL Quantum 610, but now to connect these little earbuds anyway.
Here is an ad:
We can’t ignore the elephant in the room until we see what this means on a gaming level. The dongle forces the suitcase to be larger and heavier, and the added tech makes the Quantum TWS’s rocker a little longer. This creates a bias in my mind: as a Live Pro+ user, I don’t believe its extra features make up for the extra weight and space. Still, over time, they totally won my heart.
First of all, since they produce a slightly better sound, that already says something. This could be due to improved ANC (Adaptive Noise Cancellation), extra microphones, or, maybe, the units are slightly thicker but not quite the size of the JBL Reflect Flow Pro (made for sports), which I still think heavier. The problem is that the Quantum gives me a better feel for everyday use, especially on bass notes and calls. Second, the Live Pro+ gave me some trouble: the right earbud itself muted or occasionally paused the music, perhaps due to dust blocking one of the microphones, no matter how much I cleaned. But I think even the grip feels better in my ears.
All of these benefits can be found in the updated JBL Live Pro 2, which also comes with a smaller, lighter case, but, when we played the game, here, Quantum won by a landslide.
Here is an ad:
The best headset for Nintendo Switch?
Not every device we can find in our home can emit Bluetooth 5.0 or higher, and if we want to play on the Nintendo Switch (ie, Bluetooth 4.1, or even recent OLED models), the difference is huge. Dead or Alive. Goal or concede. I didn’t expect a USB-C dongle to work on the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode, but it did: the console recognized it as “USB audio” right away. In my testing, the transition from Bluetooth audio to USB accessories was evident, and it was already evident when navigating the dashboard and function table. Not only is this a lag, but the volume over USB is noticeably louder, which improves sound quality.
During those flights, I played different types of games. Of course, in Al: Somnium Files: nirvanA Initiative, there’s no need to react quickly with a lynx’s reaction, but in Mario Strikers: Battle League Football. The thing is, once you’ve tried these earbuds via wireless USB on the Switch, and the response is less than 50ms, you’ll never want to connect them via Bluetooth, which is also pretty fiddly.
Since the sound quality and noise cancellation of the JBL Quantum TWS are excellent, they are also suitable for console and PC gaming. For example, I use them in analogy when the JBL Quantum ONE (or any other gaming headset) gets too hot. With the punchy bass they produce and the clarity of the remaining sound space, these tiny earbuds can stand next to more specialized equipment and can also be managed with JBL QuantumSURROUND software.
They can also be connected to Android phones via USB-C (Apple, you should have succumbed and joined the common standard), which is always a better quality, even if doing so seems more tedious for stylish mobiles with hanging pieces Choose, for example, travel by train. Regardless, for a bulky device like the Nintendo Switch, this becomes a natural and straight-forward better option.
Of course, the audio source can be switched from Bluetooth to the dongle with a touch, whether using an app or assigning a tap shortcut, this dual input also means a dual-source audio mode: you can go from playing or working on your PC to working on your phone answer the phone.
In the end, it turned out that the game design lessened my fears and wasn’t harsh at all. Instead, I’d say it gives them a touch of personality, both in the earbuds and in the case itself, with the shiny stripes on the matte plastic top sporting an Adidas look, and the metallic details on the capsule and stick. They stick out a little more than other stick earbuds – just a little – and they look good.
As you can see, I have very few objections. Granted, the case is a bit large and it’s hard to take the earbuds out and put them back in without looking, since they’re stored horizontally to save space rather than vertically (yes, I’ll admit, once I accidentally try to plug the USB dongle in ear…). The iPhone 12 in the JBL Headphones app also has some issues finding them (which I honestly hardly need after the initial configuration).
However, other than that, the JBL Quantum TWS is different from other gaming offerings and my previous daily TWS. They’re good-looking, smart, and different, they have 16 hours of battery life, they sound really, really good, and they offer cutting-edge noise cancellation. If you ever play a lot on handheld/mobile/laptop, or if you want to free yourself from the heat of your headphones every now and then, this is a must-have 2-in-1: great for lag-free and High-quality sound playback, perfect for taking them with you and listening to music on the go.