With robust design, active noise cancellation and rich connectivity features, the JBL Reflect Mini NC is the new bet of the North American brand for those who practice sports. Officialized in 2021 for R$ 899, this is not a cheap headset, but it could be an alternative to Jaybird Vista, Jabra Elite 75t and Sony WF-1000XM3, which cost more than R$ 1 thousand.
In the specifications, the JBL Reflect Mini NC delivers protection against water, has a battery for up to 21 hours of playback with the case, promises good integration with Android devices, as well as Google Assistant and Alexa. And the sound? Does it please? That’s what we’ll find out in the next few minutes.
Analysis of JBL Reflect Mini NC in video
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The JBL Reflect Mini NC was provided by JBL on loan and will be returned to the company after testing. For more information, visit tecnoblog.net/etica.
Design, comfort and case
On first impressions, the design of the JBL Reflect Mini NC made my eyes go wide — literally. As soon as I opened the product for the first time, two things caught my attention: the stout structure and the very well done finish. It’s all plastic and rubber coated, and the materials appear to be of good quality, which is really great for anyone who needs a durable, heavy-duty headset.
In addition to the traditional silicone tips, JBL sends these tips with “fin” that help throughout the exercises, leaving the headphones firmly in the ear. I remember that same Jaybird Vista accessory hurt me and the JBL one, on the other hand, is very comfortable. Also, the devices don’t weigh on the ear, even if full-bodied.
When running, I could see that they are stuck in the ear canal and the pressure is even there, but it doesn’t spoil the experience, it’s minimal. On the resistance side, Reflect Mini NC received IPX7 certification, which means that it is resistant to water and sweat, so you can use it worry-free in the gym or outdoors.
The case is very simple, contrasting with the competitors, but I liked that JBL put a string to facilitate the transport of the wearable. On the front it has an LED that helps charging, while on the back it has a pairing button and the USB-C port for powering. Without a matte or rubberized material, it’s good to point out that the case can easily scratch.
Features and connectivity
To control the handset, you just need to tap the JBL logo. And the My JBL Headphones app can be used to configure actions. For example, you can set a wearable to control playing tracks, or activate ambient sound, virtual assistant or even music volume. All of these settings worked very well in my tests, with the exception of the volume adjustment which seemed confusing to me, and when I tapped it down, it went up (or vice versa). In my opinion, the control of the intensity of the sound could be done by long taps instead of fast taps.
Setting up Reflect Mini NC on My JBL Headphones was very easy and the application has a simple interface, displaying the battery percentage of the headphones and case, I can adjust noise cancellation, update the product, among other things. The equalizer only delivers three preset modes (Jazz, Vocal and Bass). Either way, you have the freedom to adjust the frequencies as you wish.
In connectivity, JBL highlights the integration of the phones with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Both on iPhone (iOS) and Android, I managed to activate both assistants, but JBL doesn’t allow both to be activated, in other words, you only need to define one to work with the phone. I also noticed that, for obvious reasons, communication between Reflect Mini NC and Google Assistant is more efficient on Android. After pairing, a pop-up appears suggesting the integration.
These JBL devices work with Bluetooth 5.1 and communication is fast, stable and there are no signs of vulnerability. Even with the cell phone away and changing rooms at various times, the wearables managed to play without any cuts. The latency for videos is very low, almost imperceptible, which is great.
Sound Quality and Microphone
On sound, JBL did a good job. The Reflect Mini NC delivers a sound I don’t find in some cheap branded headphones. In addition to the dense bass, everything here sounds alive, impactful and with definition. Initially, without any adjustments, the company delivers a device that tends to please consumers who appreciate the bass. The mids and highs are respected and you can feel both without too much conflict or congestion.
With dialogues, effects, backing vocals and very active instruments, Clouds Across the Moon, by The Rah Band, reverberates in this headset with an excellent level of detail. I could hear each instrument, and even at that most powerful moment in the track, with mids and highs mingling, there’s no jumble or shrill. The sub-bass are very pronounced and not bothersome.
In Shot In The Dark, while the Jabra Elite 75t reproduces AC/DC music with a certain stability, I’ve noticed that the Reflect Mini NC makes the sound thick — which isn’t a problem for my ears — but some people might notice the bump in the low frequencies. Still, the presentation is not radically impaired and I managed to resolve this in the equalizer. This model is not for the audiophile audience, but I realize that the sound quality can please different ears; JBL managed to deliver energy and detail that should captivate many people.
Microphone pickup is slightly lower due to distance and Bluetooth compression. JBL headset components keep your voice a little away, so in noisy places you will have to raise your voice during a phone call. Furthermore, it cannot filter out external noise and captures the sound of the wind, which is a negative point, since this model was produced for athletes who train outdoors.
Noise and battery cancellation
JBL noise canceling headphones are identified by the letters “NC”; this is the case with this tested model. The ANC of Reflect Mini NC did not win me over, as the performance is much lower and, at times, I even had doubts whether the technology was on or not. In my tests, it couldn’t efficiently cut out everyday noises (cars, motorcycles and trucks), while the Jabra Elite 75t does it very well.
Also in this area, the company provides two technologies. TalkThru can be activated so you can chat with people nearby without having to remove your headphones. In practice, the feature only lowers the volume of the music being played. Ambient Aware is another available mode and lets you hear what’s happening around you. For example, you can activate it on the street to avoid the risk of being run over.
Speaking now of drums, the JBL Reflect Mini NC has an excellent performance. The brand says they can play for up to 6 hours with the ANC turned on (or 7 hours with the feature turned off). Connected to a Realme 8 Pro and playing via Spotify at 50% volume, I was able to listen to songs for 7:42 min with active noise cancellation, exceeding expectations. With the case, the autonomy can advance to 21 hours and the gadget has a fast charging system: 10 minutes in the socket guarantees another hour of sound.
JBL Reflect Mini NC: is it worth it?
The JBL Reflect Mini NC is a headset that has everything to suit those looking for a device to use while exercising. It’s comfortable, has water protection and accessories that make life easier for those who are always on the go. The finish also caught my eye; JBL did an excellent job on the entire structure, designing a lightweight gadget with quality materials.
However, if you came across this model and intend to purchase it because it has active noise canceling, you better change your mind. It’s important to make it clear that the Reflect Mini NC’s noise reduction technology is not as efficient and lags far behind when compared to other dedicated sports headphones. Also, the microphone could be better, again thinking of those people who intend to use this model outdoors.
In sound, JBL even won me over, due to the energy, a signature that I missed in rivals. However, if you like something more neutral, it’s good to remember that the equalizer is available in the app. In summary, for those who don’t care about noise cancellation, the JBL Reflect Mini NC is a good headphone and can be an interesting option during promotions.
JBL Reflect Mini NC Bluetooth Headset
- Beautiful and comfortable design
- Sound is very energetic and with definition
- Excellent integration with Android devices
- Simple and easy to use app
- Active noise cancellation is inferior to competitors
- Microphone could be better for reducing noise