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JBL Reflect Aware review: A Lightning headphone that's ready for your new iPhone 7

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The Good The JBL Reflect Aware in-ear sports headphones offer a secure, comfortable fit, are sweat-resistant, and have an integrated Lightning connector and reflective cord. They also feature active noise cancellation, and a companion app allows you to adjust ambient noise levels and customize EQ settings.

The Bad Noise canceling isn't strong enough; Lightning connection draws a small amount of power from your phone and reduces battery life; no adapter included to plug the headphone into a standard headphone jack.

The Bottom Line There's a lot to like about the JBL Reflect, particularly the fit, but some performance drawbacks hurt its value.

6.9 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Sound 7
  • Value 6

JBL's Reflect Aware sports earphones are being marketed as noise-canceling, which makes them fairly unique -- but on top of that they're one of the first Lightning headphones. That means they have a Lightning connector on the bottom and plug directly into the Lighting port of iOS devices. So, for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus owners, that means no headphone dongle required.

They cost $200 (£150, $AU300), which is pretty pricey, but they do seem well built, with a sturdy reflective cord and a nicely designed inline remote, and they're sweat resistant. They fit me really well, too, and have silicone tips and wings that lock the buds securely in place. They reminded me of little Bose's ear tips, which are really comfortable.

What you get in the box.

Sarah Tew/CNET

On the remote there's a button for turning the noise canceling on and off. The noise canceling isn't all that strong, and it's certainly not as good as the noise cancelling on Bose's QuietComfort 20 headphones, which cost $250.

The headphones are called the Aware because they have a feature where you can choose to let more ambient sound in, which is good if you're a runner or biker and want to be able to hear the world around you -- traffic in particular. (Note: JBL also makes a USB-C version of these headphones called the Reflect Aware C for USB-C phones such as the Moto Z. Those also cost $200.)

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