As a runner who loves listening to podcasts, especially on long runs, I’m always questing for the perfect earbuds. Recently, I tested the JLab Epic Air Sport True Wireless Earbuds. The Epic Air Sport is a Powerbeats Pro competitor and JLab’s top of line wireless earbud. They retail for $149 and promise almost everything I look for in earbuds.
The JLab Epic Air Sport was tested over the course of three months. I used the earbuds on roads, in the office, and in rainstorms. I tried using the earbuds in all the ways a runner might as part of their everyday life or training.
Let’s see how they performed:
JLab Epic Air Sport Pros
- Battery life. JLab’s claims of 10+ hours and 60 additional hours in the charging case are accurate. I never even got close to running out of battery on my long runs. They can easily handle all day listening. And with the charging case, I only had to charge them every couple weeks.
- 7 tip choices. My favorites were the blue cloud foam and the 3-tiered gel cushion tips. Both were comfy in my ears. Noise blocking wasn’t noise cancellation level with either tip but was about what I expected. If you have smaller ear canals, JLab has several options for you included in the box.
- Secure tips. The tips all have a small plastic circle inside them that allows them to satisfyingly click into place on each earbud. I didn’t lose any earbuds over my 3 month test period.
- Bluetooth connectivity. My Apple Watch 5 never had any trouble finding and connecting to the JLab earbuds. I expect occasional bluetooth issues from most earbuds but the Epic Air Sport was a pleasant surprise. They don’t connect as fast as Apple AirPods, but once they connect they don’t lose connection and are reliable use after use.
- Sweat resistance. I sweat buckets in these running in hot and humid conditions. They had no problem handling sweat.
JLab Epic Air Sport Cons
- Charging case size. The Epic Air Sport’s charging case is pretty big at 4.5 x 1.5 inches. It’s not the type of wireless earbud case you can keep in your pocket all day. I’d recommend stowing it in your backpack or purse.
- Difficult controls. Volume is easy, it’s a single tap on one earbud for volume up and on the other earbud for volume down. Moving the track forward and backward is a different story. You have to press and hold your earbud for approximately one second to move the track. It was difficult to master the timing and even a couple months in I found myself upping the volume instead of moving the track forward. It’s easier to use your phone or watch to skip ahead.
- Volume with Apple Watch. For some reason, the Epic Air Sport just doesn’t get as loud streaming audio from the Apple Watch as it does with phones or other audio sources like the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music. Not sure why this happened but it’s something to consider if you listen from an Apple Watch.
- Earhooks. Due to Apple Air Pods and various other earbuds with earhooks, I’m spoiled. Earhooks no longer feel necessary. They also get in the way of comfortably wearing sunglasses.
- Sound. I’m not an audio expert but I think the sound from the Epic Air Sport is slightly tinny. The earbuds have 3 EQ settings but all of them had this issue for me.
- Be Aware mode. This mode is supposed to let more outside noises in for safety. All it did was make sure I had a constant wind sound in my ear. In my opinion, as long as you don’t turn it up too loud, the normal mode allows in enough outside noise for safety on busy roads.
- Long name. JLab Epic Air Sport True Wireless Earbuds. I don’t know who’s in charge of naming over there but hopefully they simplify their naming schema in the future.
While not the perfect earbuds (do they exist? hit us up on Twitter with suggestions), the JLab Epic Air Sport have some really good positives like battery life, connectivity, and earbud versatility. If those things are important to you, consider buying the Epic Air Sport. If sound quality is most important or if you use an Apple Watch, there’s better options.