JBL launches new wireless earbuds for CES 2021 to compete with AirPods Pro

JBL introduced the Live Pro Plus and three other new active noise-canceling true-wireless earbuds ahead of CES. They will ship in the coming months.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
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David Carnoy
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In advance of CES 2021, JBL unveiled several new true-wireless earbuds, including the stylish Live Pro Plus ($180), which feature active noise canceling and are designed to compete with Apple's AirPods Pro, and the Live Free NC Plus ($150), a stem-free model with active noise canceling. It also introduced the JBL Tour Pro Plus ($200) as part of its new Tour series geared toward "business professionals" that also includes an over-ear noise-canceling headphone, and the $300 the Tour One. The new Live earbuds are scheduled to ship in March, while the Tour Pro Plus will ship in May. We're awaiting international pricing and release dates, but $150 is roughly £110 or AU$200.

Here's the quick skinny on all the new earbuds, all of which comes from JBL's press materials on the new products.


JBL Live Pro Plus

JBL says the Live Pro Plus will be available on JBL.com on March 14, for $180 in four color options -- black, white, pink and beige.

Key specs, according to JBL: 

  • JBL Signature Sound 
  • Adaptive Noise Canceling with Smart Ambient
  • Wireless charging
  • Echo canceling mic technology
  • Dual Connect + Sync
  • Auto play/pause
  • Up to seven hours of playback in the earbuds (six hours if using noise-canceling feature)
  • Charging case holds up to 21 hours of battery life
  • Speed Charge (10 minutes of charging gets you an hour of playback)
  • Touch controls
  • Customizable with My JBL Headphones app
  • IPX4 water-resistant
  • Fast Pair
  • USB-C fast charging
  • Hands-free voice capability with multiple voice services (Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant)
  • Hotword and Device Action support
  • Price: $180

JBL Live Free NC Plus

The Live Free NC Plus will also hit JBL.com on March 14 for $150. It has four color options: black, blue, white and rose. 

Key specs:

  • Active Noise Canceling with Smart Ambient
  • Wireless charging
  • Dual Connect + Sync
  • Auto play/pause
  • Fast Pair
  • USB-C fast charge
  • Up to seven hours of playback in the earbuds
  • Charging case that holds up to 14 hours of battery life
  • Touch controls
  • Touch and talk, with multiple voice services (Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant)
  • IPX7 waterproof and sweatproof
  • Price: $150

JBL Reflect Mini NC TWS

The new JBL Reflect Mini NC TWS, due out this spring, are JBL's new sportier true-wireless earbuds that are fully waterproof with an IPX7 rating and include sport fins to lock the buds in your ears. They also have active noise canceling.

Key specs, according to JBL:

  • Up to seven hours of music playback, with two extra charges from charging case
  • 6mm dynamic drivers
  • Active noise canceling with Smart Ambient feature (transparency mode)
  • Ear fins for a secure fit
  • Built-in voice capabilities with support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • IPX7 waterproof and sweatproof rating with reflective accents
  • Hands-free stereo calls with autopause
  • Independent earbud use (you can use a single bud)
  • Google Fast Pair
  • Compatible with My JBL Headphones App
  • Price: $150
  • Available in blue, white and black, starting this spring

JBL Tour Pro Plus

JBL's Tour Series headphones will hit the market later in the year, with the JBL Tour Pro Plus available in black at major retailers and on JBL.com on May 30 for $200.

Key specs, according to JBL: 

  • 6.8mm dynamic drivers
  • Adaptive Noise Canceling
  • Six hours of battery with active noise canceling on, eight hours with Bluetooth only
  • Speed Charge (10 minutes of charging gets you an hour of playback)
  • Adaptive Ambient Aware and TalkThru
  • Voice Clarity with three-mic beamforming array technology
  • Dual Connect + Sync and Fast Pair
  • Hands-free voice capability with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • IPX4 sweatproof
  • SilentNow and My Alarm
  • Smart Audio & Video, optimized for listening to music versus a movie
  • Customized tap panel control
  • Check My Best Fit feature lets you check your ear fit with the companion app
  • JBL Headphones App to customize EQ settings
  • Price: $200

JBL also introduced the Live 660NC, a new $200 over-ear noise-canceling model with multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can switch between two paired devices, such as smartphone and computer (it also ships on March 14 in black, blue and white colors), and the aforementioned Tour One ($300) that will ship in May. Additionally, new $130 on-ear noise-canceling headphones, the Live 460NC, will hit stores on March 14 in black, blue, white and rose colors.

As soon as I get my hands on review samples, I'll post my thoughts on fit, sound and call quality.