JBL has recently announced its latest earbud collection, the JBL Live 3, debuting at CES 2024. The standout feature across the three designs—Buds, Beam, and Flex—is the inclusion of JBL’s touchscreen Smart Charging Case. This innovative case functions like a smartwatch screen, providing swift access to audio playback and various earbud features, making it a potential game-changer for audio enthusiasts.

The Smart Charging Case made its debut in the JBL Tour Pro 2, receiving praise for its convenience and efficiency in our previous review. While the initial novelty may wear off, users who frequently adjust settings for optimal sound will likely find the case to be a valuable addition to their audio experience.

The JBL Live 3 range offers three design options catering to different preferences. The Buds 3 resemble standard earbuds, while the Beam 3 feature a stick design similar to Apple’s AirPods Pro with an in-ear fit. The Flex 3, akin to regular AirPods, incorporate a stick design without a silicone tip reaching into the ear canal. All three variants share key features, including JBL’s True Adaptive Noise Cancelling, Bluetooth 5.3 with LE Audio, JBL Spatial Sound, LDAC Hi-Res Audio compatibility, multi-point connectivity, wireless charging, and six external microphones for noise cancellation and call enhancements.

While maintaining a common ground, the designs have distinct characteristics. The Buds and Beam are certified IP55 for water resistance, whereas the Flex holds an IP54 rating. Additionally, the Buds and Beam feature 10mm dynamic drivers, while the Flex boasts larger 12mm drivers. Battery life also varies, with the Buds offering up to 40 hours, the Beam up to 48 hours, and the Flex leading with 50 hours (including both buds and case).

An intriguing feature carried over from the JBL Tour Pro 2 is the ear canal test, enhancing personalization by analyzing users’ ears and adjusting the sound profile accordingly for a more accurate result. JBL’s noise-canceling capabilities encompass various options, including Ambient Aware, ensuring users remain aware of their surroundings while immersed in music.

The JBL Live 3 Earbuds are scheduled for release in summer 2024, available on JBL.com and through regular retailers at a price of $199.95 (approximately £156 / AU$296). The flexibility of offering the same innovative features across different fit types provides users with choices that suit their preferences. As JBL competes in a market with top-notch wireless earbuds, the performance and user experience of the Live 3 series will be closely scrutinized once they hit the market.

By Impact Lab