JBL On Air Wireless review: JBL On Air Wireless

Features
In addition to standard features like FM radio and presets, the JBL On Air Wireless features customizable alarms that can wake you using the FM radio, the buzzer, or an iPod as a source.

You can also bring your own source via the Aux input, located just behind the iPod dock.

The full-color LED screen really does pop, and we especially liked the large digital clock display that broadcasts when the system is idle.

There's also a USB port around back, but unfortunately it's only used for updating the system's firmware. We think this is a huge missed opportunity, because of the pervasiveness of USB drives and devices. We would have loved an option to bring your own storage.


Around back is a USB port, but it can be used only to update the system.

Performance
Getting AirPlay to sync was an overall painless experience. Since iTunes 10 has AirPlay built into the software, any PC, Mac, iPhone, or iPad on the same local network running it can stream audio wirelessly to the JBL.

Once the AirPlay mode is selected on the JBL On Air Wireless, it shows up listed when you click the AirPlay mode button on any of the aforementioned platforms. It certainly adds a new dimension to music listening, since it provides a mostly mobile (within range) atmosphere. We really enjoyed moving around the apartment using the iPad 2 as a virtual DJ.

Overall, we were impressed with the range of sound the JBL On Air Wireless was able to pump out. While there aren't any specific bass or treble controls, the speaker does a great job in terms of audible range. Bass output was rich and powerful and only rarely did any distortion emanate from the speaker. Stereo separation is difficult to achieve (and some similar items on the market can't do so and still have a sleek aesthetic), but the JBL's unique speaker design actually helps with accomplishing separation.


The On Air Wireless from the side.

Conclusion
At the end of the day, it'd be easier to recommend the JBL On Air Wireless were it at least $100 cheaper. But given its current $350 price tag, the only people we could advise to even entertain the idea of purchasing one would be those who absolutely must have the latest and greatest AirPlay-compatible hardware.

It's unfortunate that a detail like price is what has us thinking twice about the JBL On Air Wireless, but in such a budget-conscious society as we currently occupy, items like the On Air Wireless simply aren't practical.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy See all prices

JBL On Air Wireless (white)

Part Number: CNETJBLONAIRWWHTAM
MSRP: $349.95 Low Price: $99.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Color white
  • Speaker System Type Wireless speaker system with digital player dock
  • Nominal (RMS) Output Power 14 Watt
  • Speaker Type Wireless speaker system
  • Nominal Impedance 10 Ohm
  • Wireless Technology AirPlay
    Wi-Fi
  • Amplification Type active
  • Connectivity Technology wired
    wireless