This is the JBL Tune 125BT, considered an evolution of the Tune 115BT. According to JBL, the new generation of 2021 arrives with advances in connectivity and autonomy: Bluetooth 4.2 leaves the scene to enter version 5.0 and the battery, which previously offered 8 hours of playback, now provides 16 hours of music and podcats. In sound, however, it seems that there have been no significant upgrades.
In the year of its launch, JBL asks for R$199 for the Tune 125BT, that is, R$80 more than its predecessor, which was still on sale while I was producing this review. To find out if it’s worth the investment, I’ve tested JBL’s new product and share my impressions below.
JBL Tune 125BT Review on Video
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The JBL Tune 125BT was provided by JBL on loan and will be returned to the company after testing. For more information, visit tecnoblog.net/etica.
Design and comfort
Made to be on the back of the neck, the JBL Tune 125BT is a wireless headset, but not entirely. This type of design, style “glasses cord”, also found in Beats Flex and Sony WI-C200, makes life a lot easier for those who are always on the move and need the wearable to be very firm so it doesn’t crash on the floor. Like its competitors, the 125BT has magnets that help prevent entanglement. The system here doesn’t seem to be as tight as the Beats Flex, even so, JBL gets points for ensuring protection.
This is an entry-level product and the finish accompanies this proposal. The rubberized handle feels great and durable, but the controls there are plain plastic, which isn’t a problem since we’re talking about a basic device. Although it has a sporty design, the gadget has not received any IP certification and I analyze that JBL missed the opportunity to offer minimal protection against water and sweat to stand out among rivals.
In terms of comfort, the company did a great job. The ear tips are well-finished and comfortable, creating a very positive wearing experience, both while working in the office and during exercise. In all, three pairs are shipped in the box for different types of ears.
Features and connectivity
The headphone controls were also very well developed, as they allow the user to easily command what is played. The right control brings the on/off button, which can also be used to pause and play, and to trigger the virtual assistant by pressing twice. There are also the volume buttons, which are hybrid, and also serve to skip and rewind tracks. I really liked this system adopted by JBL and, throughout the tests, I had the feeling of having all the music control by the gadget itself, without the need to pick up the cell phone all the time.
The Tune 115BT, released last year, hit stores with Bluetooth 4.2, but its successor arrives with version 5.0. I always like to test the range and stability of headphones and, over here, the 125BT result is ok. It was possible to walk around the house with the cell phone far away, passing through some walls, however, at times, the audio was cut off. It’s not the end of the world and the experience isn’t entirely compromised, but JBL could well invest in a Bluetooth 5.2 to avoid this problem. The multipoint connection, which is always a highlight on the brand’s headphones, works very well and I was able, for example, to switch the 125BT connection between the cell phone and the tablet without any difficulty.
Sound Quality and Microphone
Lets go to what matters. While it promises “powerful and precise bass” with the JBL PureBass signature, I’ve noticed that the Tune 125BT is a neutral-sounding headset with a profile that should please anyone who likes something less powerful and more open. All this is not a negative point, but I must emphasize that the intensity left me a little intrigued. The volume on this phone isn’t that loud and, at times, I had to turn the volume on all the way to hear it better.
There’s plenty of room for the highs, mids, and mid-highs. This is a headphone that allows you to clearly hear the vocals, effects and instruments that produce high sounds, it is also “natural” to notice a little shrillness in some tracks. A hip-hop with an excess of beats, like Family Affair, by Mary J. Blige, sounds brighter, emphasizing the high frequencies, while the bass reverberates dull and bashful. at the other extreme, with On My Sleeve, by Creed, in playback, the song starts off with a certain balance, but soon rolls up in the strongest part, when vocals, drums and guitar gain strength, which is normal for a headphone in this category.
The microphone positively surprised me. In their communication, JBL does not highlight any noise reduction technology, but I was impressed how the Tune 125BT managed to reduce the loud noise of a motorcycle during my tests. The person on the other end can hear you clearly, the audio isn’t as metallic, and Bluetooth compression seems to be minimal.
On battery, the company promises up to 16 hours of uninterrupted sound and a 15-minute quick charge guarantees another hour of playback. In my tests, with the volume at 50%, I managed to leave the JBL device turned on for up to two days, a much better result than the Beats Flex, which offers about 12 hours. For comparison, the Sony WI-C200 delivers 15 hours and the Edifier W280BT just 6 hours.
Power is via the USB-C connection which is on the right control of the device. And I liked that JBL put a cape to protect the entrance, something I missed in Beats Flex.
JBL 125BT: is it worth it?
In my view, it doesn’t make much sense to migrate from JBL Tune 115BT to 125BT, as there aren’t that many upgrades to justify the switch. Still, for those looking for a first headphone in this style and affordable, betting on the 125BT can be a wise decision. As usual, JBL focused on strategic points to deliver a device with an aggressive proposal: the advance in autonomy marks this generation, the multipoint connection remains as a differential and is cost-effective, which is interesting.
As for the sound, in my opinion it’s just ok. JBL always highlights the legendary sound with “deep and powerful bass”, but it just lacked the strong and energetic bass. It’s not a problem, as this model’s subscription will please many people who don’t want power, but pointing out what it doesn’t deliver doesn’t seem like a good idea, does it? Also, I missed a certification against water and sweat, and a Bluetooth 5.2 would be very welcome.
Currently, the JBL Tune 125BT is a product that makes sense during retail promotions and it already appears for well under R$200, which makes the investment even more interesting. But I would keep an eye on the 115BT, which still seems to do a good job and is cost-effective.
JBL Tune 125BT Bluetooth Handset
- Neutral sound will please those looking for less power
- Lots of battery, outperforming competitors
- great controls
- The company could emphasize the bass a little more
- Could have more features (configuration application, for example)
- No protection against water