“With pounding bass and an enormous listing of options, the JBL Mirror Mini NC dial up any exercise.”

Huge, highly effective bass

Wonderful name high quality

Alternative of Alexa or Google Assistant

Good noise canceling

Awkward management customization

No wi-fi charging

JBL sells a variety of completely different true wi-fi earbuds aimed toward health fiends. Between the corporate’s personal JBL-branded merchandise and its partnerships with Underneath Armor and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, you possibly can decide from eight completely different fashions, ranging in worth from $100 to $200. Introduced at CES 2021, the latest addition to this lineup are the $150 Mirror Mini NC, JBL’s first exercise buds to characteristic energetic noise cancellation (ANC).

With a powerful listing of options, wonderful water-resistance, and a worth that’s surprisingly accessible, it makes you surprise: What’s the catch? Let’s have a look.

What’s within the field?

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The Mirror Mini NC, like most JBL headphones, come packaged in a field that’s superbly designed, however a recycling nightmare, with a lot of plastic, foam, and embedded magnets. Inside, you’ll discover the earbuds, their charging case, a USB-C charging cable, a complete of three sizes of silicone eartips and wing-tips, and paper documentation together with a quick-start information.


Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Most different charging circumstances really feel flimsy by comparability.

Accessible in black, white, inexperienced, or blue, the Mirror Mini NC and their compact charging case exude ruggedness. Regardless of its mild weight, the charging case could be very stable, due to a troublesome plastic shell and a hinge that’s impressively strong. The lid opens simply and stays within the open place till you flip it closed, which occurs with a really satisfying magnetic snap. Most different charging circumstances, even JBL’s personal Mirror Movement, really feel flimsy by comparability. A built-in lanyard loop is helpful for toting the headphones alongside when you haven’t any pockets, or securing it to a gymnasium bag or backpack.

I’m additionally type of obsessive about the charging indicator on the entrance of the case. Most circumstances characteristic a tiny LED dot, or possibly a sequence of dots when you’re fortunate. However on the Mirror Mini NC, you get a giant, daring LED bar to point the charging standing of every earbud and the case itself. The one factor lacking right here is wi-fi charging.

The earbuds are additionally solidly constructed, and true to their title, they’re slightly smaller than the Mirror Flows — although not by quite a bit. As a perk for nighttime runners and walkers, the JBL logos on the contact surfaces have had reflective paint utilized.

No exercise buds can be full with out some type of water resistance, and the Mirror Mini NC don’t disappoint, with an IPX7 score meaning they’re successfully waterproof. They received’t work when you go swimming with them, however they received’t be broken by it both.

Consolation, controls, and connections

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True wi-fi earbuds designed for exercises usually use an ear-hook design to make sure a safe match. The Powerbeats Professional are the poster little one for this characteristic. But when you may get the identical degree of safety with out an earhook, I believe that’s a plus, and the Mirror Mini NC undoubtedly ship. The compromise — when you think about it a compromise — is that these earbuds make your ears really feel actually full.

You’ll have zero considerations about an unintentionally dislodged bud.

The silicone eartips and wing-tips are denser than those JBL makes use of on the Mirror Movement, presumably to enhance stability, but it surely means they’re not fairly as comfortable. You’ll have zero considerations about an unintentionally dislodged bud, however you’ll additionally always remember you’re carrying them, so that they’re most likely not the only option for prolonged put on in an workplace or on an airplane.

The contact controls reply rapidly, so long as you make contact with the emblem’s floor and never simply the sides. Every earbud comes with preset features from the manufacturing facility. The left bud helps you to change between ANC modes, or activate Discuss-thru mode (extra on that later). The correct earbud is about to manage play/pause and observe skip ahead/again. Each earbuds can entry your telephone’s built-in assistant and each allow you to reply/finish telephone calls and mute/unmute the microphones. Thus far, so good. There’s no quantity management by default, however that’s commonplace — many true wi-fi earbuds lack this operate.

The issue comes whenever you use the free JBL headphones app to customise the controls. As an alternative of letting you decide which features go along with which gestures, you’re compelled to select from presets. So, the left earbud can management noise canceling, for instance, or playback features, however not a mixture of these features. If quantity management is vital to you, you possibly can set both earbud to manage it, however you then’ll be compelled to select only one different characteristic to manage with the opposite earbud. What is going to or not it’s? And when you don’t just like the gesture assigned to a particular operate (like a single faucet for switching ANC mode), you possibly can’t change it.

You’ll be able to configure the Mirror Mini NC to entry Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa as a substitute of your telephone’s built-in assistant, however when you use this very cool characteristic, it takes over a complete earbud. This leaves you with Alexa (for instance) and quantity. Or Alexa, and ANC. You get the image. I requested JBL why the controls appear to be arrange like a bundle of channels on cable TV, however I by no means obtained a satisfying reply.

Like increasingly more earbuds nowadays, the Mirror Mini NC have an auto play/pause characteristic that halts your tunes whenever you take away an earbud. It’s very responsive and you may disable it inside the app if you want.

You should use the earbuds individually (each can reply/finish calls) and their wi-fi vary is superb. Pairing can be very fast and straightforward for each iPhone and Android telephones.

There’s a bass-forward sound signature which you could really feel by your complete physique.

Within the JBL app, you possibly can decide from three completely different Good Audio modes which might be claimed to change the parameters of the wi-fi connection: Regular for probably the most secure connection, Audio for the perfect sound high quality, and Video for the bottom latency (additionally best for gaming). I didn’t discover a variety of distinction between these modes, however I like that they’re included when you want them.

JBL additionally features a “discover my earbuds” operate, which causes every earbud to emit a high-pitched beeping sound. It’s loud sufficient that you simply’ll hear it even when a bud turns into wedged between couch cushions.

Sound high quality

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With regards to a set of exercise earbuds, massive, daring bass is arguably one crucial components. In spite of everything, it’s the beat that retains most of us going, whether or not we’re out for a severe stroll or attempting to set a brand new private greatest on the gymnasium. Thanks partly to their super-tight seal, the Mirror Mini NC nail this requirement, with a bass-forward sound signature which you could really feel by your complete physique.

Spin up Submit Malone’s Wow. or Ariana Grande’s 7 rings and await these ultra-low bass notes to hit — it’s highly effective stuff. That very same low-end rumble is ideal for motion motion pictures, too.

You’ll be able to tweak EQ to your coronary heart’s content material contained in the JBL app, with just a few presets but additionally your personal assortment of customized settings. These are price exploring — you possibly can drastically change the Mirror Mini NC’s signature.

They’re not probably the most nuanced set of earbuds I’ve ever heard. The midranges can get slightly overpowered by the sturdy lows and highs,and their soundstage isn’t as extensive or as open as you’ll get on fashions just like the Jabra Elite Lively 75t. Nonetheless, as a exercise companion, they couldn’t be extra on level soundwise.

Noise cancellation and transparency

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After a lukewarm expertise with JBL’s ANC know-how on its Membership One wi-fi headphones, I used to be ready for an underwhelming efficiency from the Mirror Mini NC as nicely. Surprisingly, the other was true. As soon as once more, their tight ear-canal seal is the important thing: These earbuds do such a superb job of passive noise isolation that the ANC circuitry doesn’t have quite a bit left to cancel, and it does a really efficient job.

It’s so good, in reality, that even with out music enjoying, members of the family have been capable of sneak up on me completely undetected whereas I had the earbuds in.

You’ll be able to dial within the particular set of frequencies you need to cancel utilizing a slider adjustment inside the JBL app — it’s not fairly as handy because the presets you’ll discover from Sony, Jabra, or Soundcore, but it surely’s nonetheless very helpful for fine-tuning ANC efficiency to your particular surroundings.

The Mirror Mini NC have wonderful name high quality.

Transparency mode is nice too, however with two minor drawbacks: In contrast to ANC, you possibly can’t modify how a lot sound transparency mode allows, and there’s no approach to flip forwards and backwards between ANC and transparency modes with out passing by an ANC off mode — two extra customizations JBL ought to think about including.

Discuss-thru mode, a helpful approach to quickly have interaction transparency whereas concurrently decreasing the quantity of your tunes, additionally works very nicely.

Battery life

JBL claims six hours of use between expenses for the Mirror Mini NC when ANC is turned on, and 7 hours when it’s off. That’s much like what you’ll discover within the Jabra Elite 75t and Elite Lively 75t, however not fairly as spectacular because the Powerbeats Professional’s 9 hours. The charging case holds two full recharges, including one other 12 or 14 hours. From what I can inform, these numbers are fairly correct.

A 10-minute fast cost nabs you an additional hour of playback time, although that is on the very low finish for true wi-fi earbuds.

Name high quality

As soon as once more, JBL has managed to shock me — the Mirror Mini NC have wonderful name high quality. To place it in perspective, when utilizing them outdoors, close to visitors, you merely couldn’t inform that I wasn’t indoors. There was an occasional wobble because the noise suppression handled automotive and wind sounds, however total, these earbuds are impressively clear.

Whereas on a name, you possibly can nonetheless change the ANC to Ambient mode, which is ideal for listening to your personal voice with out the muffling results of the earbuds.

Our take

Boasting huge bass, the JBL Mirror Mini NC are additionally well-priced and feature-heavy, making them a super set of exercise companions. If JBL might repair the awkward and limiting management schemes, they’d be nearly good.

Is there a greater different?

I believe JBL has nailed the candy spot for exercise earbuds with the Mirror Mini NC’s worth, sound, and options, however listed below are two alternate options price contemplating:

The $200 Jabra Elite Lively 75t provide higher sound high quality (although not as a lot bass) and controls, in addition to longer battery life, whereas nonetheless providing wonderful water and mud safety.

The $150 JLab Epic Air Sport are certainly one of our favourite Powerbeats Professional rivals. They don’t have ANC, and their earhook design makes them much less versatile, however they’ve nice sound and massive battery life.

How lengthy will they final?

Backed with a one-year guarantee from JBL, the Mirror Mini NC are very ruggedly constructed and I count on them to final a very long time. The silicone eartips and wing-tips will most likely must be changed after a 12 months of steady use, however that’s regular for these components.

Must you purchase them?

Completely. So long as you’re OK with a really snug-fitting in-ear design and don’t thoughts spending a while determining which controls you need to use, the JBL Mirror Mini NC are superior exercise earbuds.

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