JBL has headphones for every type of ear and pocket. Now they are targeting Chinese models, which have gained more and more space and consumer attention. To compete with Xiaomi, Realme, Edifier and QCY, they presented the JBL Wave 100 TWS, a popular model that arrived in the country costing around R$ 300. The brand not only wants to conquer the sound and also tries to attract attention for its unusual look.
The Wave 100 TWS is a headset that promises to deliver deep bass, an ergonomic and comfortable fit design, and only five hours of playback or 20 hours with the case. Can he attract those Xiaomi and company customers? I spent a few days with the JBL Wave 100 TWS and share all the details in this review.
Review of JBL Wave 100 TWS on video
Notice of ethics
O Techblog is an independent news outlet that has been helping people make their next purchase decision since 2005. Our reviews are not intended for advertising, so they highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each product. No company has paid for, reviewed or had advance access to this content.
The JBL Wave 100 TWS was provided by JBL as a donation and will not be returned to the company. For more information, visit tecnoblog.net/etica.
Design, comfort and case
I start with the design of the case that doesn’t have a lid — it was designed that way. JBL justifies this by saying that the product is designed for everyday use, for people who are always on the go. Therefore, the removal would promote more practicality. The headphones, however, are exposed all the time and there’s a magnetic solution that keeps the gadgets snug inside the case. Indeed, the magnets present here can inhibit the fall and give a feeling of safety.
I confess that I found the strategy somewhat curious and even unnecessary. After all, you don’t waste so much time opening the lid, and what’s more, in a sudden drop, the top can protect the headphones from possible damage. Whether it’s the best solution? Only time and consumers will be able to tell, but I found this strange. This case has no pairing button and there is only an internal LED and USB-C connection for powering.
The headphones, on the other hand, are of the in-ear type and are well attached to the ear canal, promoting passive noise cancellation. In terms of construction, they are simple with a plastic finish. Like many Chinese models, the Wave 100 TWS is small, light, comfortable and discreet in the ear. JBL has already scored points with me for delivering these features that I highly value in a fully cordless headset.
However, it appears that the company did not care much for protection and resistance. Aside from the opening in the case, this model is only IPX2 rated, while many competitors offer at least IPX4. Will it withstand water splash and sweat? For sure. But heavy rain can damage the product.
Features and connectivity
The songs currently playing can be controlled directly by TWS. However, it is not touch sensitive and there are physical buttons on the device’s structure. It is not the most comfortable method, considering that the person needs to apply pressure, but around here it works without a hitch. A tap on either side pauses or plays the music; two taps jumps to the next track; three touches, go back. It is also possible to activate the connected device’s virtual assistant by pressing and holding.
As the product is not compatible with the official application of the brand, you cannot change these commands, but this is not negative considering its category. I just missed the option to control the music volume directly through the headphones. By the way, I really hope that companies will start offering this command in the entry-level wearables that will arrive in 2022.
The Wave 100 TWS has Bluetooth 5.0. It may choke at some point when the cell phone is far away, but it doesn’t easily lose the connection. I’ve tested it on some devices here on Techblog and the performance was satisfactory. The latency for videos and games is low and you’ll be able to use it without limitations during these actions mentioned.
Input headphones are evolving very fast in sound quality and the Wave 100 TWS is proof of that. JBL highlights a technology called JBL Deep Bass, whose mission is to accentuate low frequencies, promoting bass. In practice, that’s right, the Wave 100 has a full-bodied sound that is neither impactful nor aggressive, and sounds in harmony with the rest of the nuances. The brand did an excellent job.
In a comparison with the Redmi AirDots 3, it can be seen that the Xiaomi phone struggles to deliver details and the Wave 100 TWS does better and presents a superior definition. That’s because AirDots 3 works harder on bass, while JBL, even with a preference (also on bass), manages to be balanced. Analyzing the other frequencies, the mids sound clear and the trebles have an interesting stability.
However, like most headphones in this category, the Wave 100 TWS packs easily, always with more complex tracks, especially in rock. You’ll feel a jam in songs charged with energy, when vocals and instruments come together.
I really liked JBL’s work and, if you are that person who is always reproducing, dance pop, electronica, hip-hop and other similar genres, this model can easily conquer you. For a popular phone, it even manages to deliver a very honest and uplifting sound performance.
Microphone and battery
The JBL Wave 100 TWS microphone is good and it surprised me. I didn’t expect this quality and, after some tests, I was able to conclude that I would use it calmly on a daily basis. The component is not able to reduce the noise in the environment, but Bluetooth compression is minimal and your voice is even clear during communication. It’s really a very good performance for a model in this range.
And we come to the assessment of autonomy. JBL says they can play for up to 5 hours, which is a pretty shy number as the Redmi AirDots 3 can play for up to 7 hours and the Edifier X5 for 6 hours. At least it is above Realme Buds Q, which only offers 4 hours. When combined with the case, the Wave 100 TWS delivers 15 hours, thus totaling 20 hours.
Let’s get started: I connected them to an iPhone 13 to play via Spotify at about 50% volume. The right phone held for 5:05 am; the left one hung up two minutes later. As I said, it’s not an encouraging autonomy and JBL could deliver more here.
JBL Wave 100 TWS: is it worth it?
Even positioned in the popular category, the Wave 100 TWS is an outstanding product for JBL. Along with other headphones, it is considered a tribute to the 75 years that the company has just completed. And, working with an aggressive price, the proposal of the North American brand is clear: it has the mission to compete with other popular headphones, such as Redmi AirDots 3, Edifier X3 and with other cheap ones available in the national market.
Even though it has a peculiar design — with a case that I disapprove of — I believe the company managed to develop a product that could annoy the competition. The Wave 100 TWS, however, would not be my first purchase option, but I would definitely consider this model. The wearable has a very attractive cost-benefit ratio: JBL launched it in Brazil in October 2021 for R$300 and, today, it is already available in retail for around R$250.
Like any input phone, this TWS leaves something to be desired in some areas, I can mention the IP protection, autonomy and the absence of volume control. Still, I see it as a good product for those who don’t want anything too advanced. And, considering that the phone may depreciate in the coming months, this cost-benefit, which is already attractive, could become even more interesting.
Fone Bluetooth JBL Wave 100 TWS
- Interesting sound quality for an entry model
- Very attractive value for money
- Case without a lid is a confusing strategy
- There was no volume control on the headphones
- IPX2 protection only