JBL debuts Tour One, ANC headphones built to rival Sony
The $300 cans are equipped with features to challenge the champs
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It’s no secret that many wireless headphones manufacturers are attempting to dethrone the Sony WH-1000XM4, which have masterfully set the bar in their price range (and well above). JBL's new Tour One headphones, priced at $300, are the latest to compete for the crown, and they look quite well equipped to make some waves.
JBL announced a massive lineup of products on the eve of CES 2021, with its JBL Tour One over-ear headphones slotted as the cleanup hitter. The $300 noise-canceling headphones come packed with up to 50 hours of playback time (25 hours with ANC) alongside some great features and Hi-Res Audio Certification, The headphones are slated to be available in black on May 30, 2021.
Should Sony be worried? It depends on how well the Tour One can live up to their specs sheet. JBL outfitted the headphones with its True Adaptive Noise Cancellation technology, which the company claims will monitor environmental sound and adjust the level of noise cancellation to match. Several features act as complements to the Tour One’s ANC capabilities, including Adaptive Ambient Aware and Talk Thru technologies to allow outside noise in when needed, and a SilentNow feature lets you activate noise cancellation mode even when plugged in.
With JBL’s noise-canceling technology turned on, the Tour One’s playback time drops to a claimed 25 hours of listening time—by comparison, the WH-1000XM4 are rated for up to 30 hours of battery life. JBL says the Tour One can provide two hours of playback after 10 minutes of charging, with the headphones offering USB-C connectivity for said charging.
In addition to Hi-Res Audio Certification, which highlights the Tour One’s ability to support frequencies up to 40kHz, JBL built its new headphones with 40mm dynamic drivers and a four-microphone setup to bolster call quality. The Tour One also come with a technology called Smart Audio Mode, which JBL claims will optimize the headphones’ Bluetooth connection depending on what content you’re listening to. For instance, JBL says you’ll be able to utilize Smart Audio Mode to boost fidelity with “music mode” or watch low latency videos with “video mode.”
It will be months before the Tour One arrive at retailers, so the head-to-head comparison between JBL's latest and other industry standouts may have to wait. But color us cautiously optimistic about JBL's new headphones. The Tour One appear to have several valuable features built in, and are priced to be competitive with other premium active noise-canceling headphones. But before we give them a stamp of approval, the Tour One will have to put them to the test when they arrive in late spring.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.