Do JBL’s earbuds really need a “smart” case?

JBL is one of the leaders when it comes to audio products. Its Flip 5 is still one of the best small speakers in my opinion. And, at its IFA event, JBL unveiled its new one-of-a-kind wireless earbuds aimed at disrupting the wireless audio market. The company launched its Tour Pro 2 wireless earbuds. While the earbuds themselves look like every other TWS in the market, it comes with a charging case that features a 1.45-inch LED touchscreen display.

That’s right: the case of the Tour Pro 2 comes with a full-fledged LED display that lets you perform a number of actions without picking up your smartphone. These include changing music, answering calls, sending messages, and even checking social media notifications and battery levels. When not in use, you can set it to show one of the preset wallpapers. JBL is advertising this as a productivity feature, especially for those who don’t already own a smartwatch or keep their phone in an easily accessible pocket.


While the idea seems interesting, I’m not sure how the extra screen adds value to the product. If I have to take a device to switch songs and check notifications, won’t I just use my smartphone in the first place? It seems we’ll have to wait and see how practical the screen actually is, though having the option to control stuff from your case is also nice.

Even though the display seems a little gimmicky at the moment, the earbuds are not short on audio features (its primary purpose). The earbuds use 10mm dynamic audio drivers to create ‘pro’ sound. The earbuds also offer true adaptive noise canceling. It features am ambient sound mode using which you can focus on what is going on around you. For those who make tons of calls using earbuds, there is a six-mic combination on the earbuds that should ensure a crisp and clear voice call. They’re also future-proof, thanks to Bluetooth 5.3 and LE Audio support.

What puts me off

With great power comes great responsibility, and with new features comes a great price tag. JBL says the Tour Pro 2 earbuds will retail for $249 in the US or €249 in Europe. This means that the Tour Pro 2 would cost customers ~25% (or $70) more than Apple’s AirPods Pro or the new Samsung Galaxy Buds.

Does paying a $70 premium for a smart case make sense? Although it’s too early to judge — the device won’t be available until January of next year — I still have reservations about the practicality of the display. And the fact that an extra display could lead to somewhat increased weight, size, and overall weaker battery life (though JBL claims should last 40 hours on a single charge) also make me a tad bit wary about the device.

Nonetheless, we are not going to make our judgment solely based on price and specs. We will be covering these earbuds extensively when they are available in the US next year, so make sure to check back! In the meantime, tell us about your thoughts on the new JBL Tour Pro 2 earbuds. Do drop a comment and let us know!

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