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JLab Play Gaming Wireless Earbuds review: Affordable gaming earbuds

Overall, I thought JLab’s new gaming earbuds were pretty neat, although there are a few minor drawbacks.

Techaeris Rated 8.9/10

JLab is a company I never really thought that would get into offering gaming peripherals. We’ve reviewed JLab’s audio offerings before, but it’s been strictly that — music audio. Of course, that’s not a bad thing for a company to try something new and see if it sticks. JLab sent over their Play Gaming Wireless Earbuds for review. These wireless earbuds come with over 11 hours of battery life, a wrap around the neck style headset, Bluetooth 5.0, and more. Continue reading our review below.

Specifications

  • Audio
    • Speaker: Φ10mm Dynamic, Neodymium Magnet, 20Hz-20kHz, 16Ω ± 15%
    • Output: 110±3db
    • Microphone: MEMS, – 42dB±3dB
    • Latency: super low 60 m
  • Battery
    • Battery Life: 11+ Hours
    • Input Power: DC 5V, 100mA
    • Headphone Battery: 150mah lithium polymer rechargeable
    • Headphone Charge Time: 2 Hours
    • Rapid Charge: 10 min charging = 1+ hour playtime
    • Standby Time: 150 Hours
  • Bluetooth
    • Version: Bluetooth 5
    • Range: 30+ ft.
    • Support Protocols: HSP/HFP/A2DP/AVRCP
  • Weight: 26g
  • IP Rating: IP55
  • Warranty: 2-year warranty

What’s in the Box

  • Play Gaming Wireless Earbuds
  • Travel Bag
  • AUX Console Cord
  • Micro USB Charging Cable
  • JLab Two Year Warranty

Design

When you think of a gaming headset, you’re automatically thinking of an over the ear design. JLab went a different route with their Play Gaming Wireless Earbuds. They decided to go with an around the neck design and while it threw me off guard at first, it didn’t bother me the more I got used it.

JLab Play Gaming Earbuds
JLab Play Gaming Wireless Earbuds

The entire headset is black with some blue accents on the inside of the neck portion. The left side of the earbuds has a block piece (with JLab’s logo) that’s connected to the earbud itself. As for the other side, you’ll have the power on/off button that has JLab’s icon on it between two triangles that operate as the volume control, which I’ll go into more detail in the next section. There’s an LED light above the volume up button that will let you know when the headset is on or looking to pair or charging. There’s also a micro-USB port for charging behind a flap that will block out any sweat or rainfall when properly closed. Continuing on, there’s a mute control switcher if you do plan on talking to others in a party. The earbuds have the company’s famous Cloud Foam ear tips.

The earbuds do feel good around my neck and don’t add any extra weight when I do play games. One thing I didn’t like is that if I was smiling or laughing because someone said something, the earbuds would start to fall out of my ear. It didn’t matter on the size of the ear tips either.

Ease of Use

Connecting the gaming earbuds to your phone or tablet is pretty simple. While you have the Bluetooth settings open and turned on for the device of your choosing, hold down the JLab icon on the headset until you see the LED flash red/blue. Your device will show “JLab Play Earbuds” which you can then tap on. Both devices will pair within seconds allowing you to use them right then and there.

Controlling audio may look confusing at first if you’re looking at the instructions but after you try it out a few times, it’s all muscle memory after that. The JLab button in the middle has multiple functions including play, pause, answer calls, or hang up calls with one press. Pressing twice will activate either Google Assistant or Siri depending on the device you’re using. To reject a call, you’ll have to press and hold the center button for about a second.

JLab Play Gaming Earbuds Control Panel
Control panel with JLab logo on Play Gaming Wireless Earbuds

Pressing the triangle closest to your face will decrease the volume whereas the opposite side will be your volume up. The volume down button will also act as rewind or backtrack the last song by holding the button down for two seconds. It’s the same for volume up. Press and hold for two seconds and it’ll skip to the next track. You are also able to change the EQ by holding down the volume up and down at the same time for about a second and it’ll switch from gaming mode to music mode.

As for gaming, a Micro-USB to 3.5mm cable comes inside the box. It’s all plug and play, so the Micro-USB end goes into the earbuds while the 3.5mm jack goes into your phone or whatever console you’re using. You don’t need to do anything other than power on the headset and start gaming.

If you do want to use these with your PlayStation or PC, they will pair via Bluetooth, so that’s a plus.

Sound Quality

When playing games I was able to hear everything that was going on around me such as gunfire near me or across the map to bushes moving to an NPC talking to me while I was facing a different direction. There were no issues with gaming audio.

JLab Play Gaming Earbuds Ear Tips
Blue ear tips with JLab logo on the backplate

As for sound quality when it came to phone calls or other audio such as music, I was able to hear what everyone was saying or vocals clear enough during a song. There are no complaints when it came to talking on the phone but for music, it was ok at best. JLab’s audio is good, so I was expecting to hear the same audio experience as I did with the JLab JBuds Air Sport Wireless. I’m not being nit-picky with the sound but the music didn’t offer that much bass or mids and kept the highs or treble at a higher quality than the others.

Microphone Quality

Starting off with gaming for the microphone quality, I think it’s good but there were times when they would echo while I was talking to people in a party chat. It wasn’t a constant thing and only noticeable during the first few chats. Other than that, people could hear me perfectly.

When you’re using these earbuds for phone calls, be warned that someone on the other end will be able to hear everything that is going on around you to a certain extent. Any sound within a 10ft radius can be hear, including people talking or music playing.

With the ability to be used as a gaming headset and a normal headset, it’s great but does come with some drawbacks such as no noise cancellation. Other than that, the microphone quality met my standards of performance.

Battery Life

The battery on these earbuds was outstanding. JLab states that you’ll be able to get up to 11 hours of playback and that will, of course, depend on what you’re doing. When I switched back and forth between gaming, music, and phone calls, I was able to reach that 11-hour threshold.

Charging back up the earbuds took around on average an hour and a half each charge. It’s nothing drastic considering more other headsets or earbuds can take the same amount of time to fully charge to 100 percent.

Price

On the price side of things, JLab is selling the Play Gaming Wireless Earbuds for US$49. The price is very reasonable for what you’re getting. Another way to look at this is for the price, you’re getting up to 11-hour battery life, Bluetooth 5.0 for long-range use, and you can connect it to any gaming device of your choosing.

Wrap Up

Overall, I thought JLab’s new gaming earbuds were pretty neat. Sure, there were a few drawbacks such as them falling out of my ears easily or music playback was decent. Albeit, if you’re going to use these as nothing more than a gaming headset, then you likely won’t mind the issues I’ve had.

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JLab Play Gaming Wireless Earbuds

US$49.99

Design

8.5/10

Ease of Use

9.0/10

Sound Quality

8.5/10

Microphone Quality

8.5/10

Battery Life

9.0/10

Price

10.0/10

Nailed it

  • Adds no weight when gaming
  • Simple design
  • Easy to pair

Needs work

  • Earbuds fell out of ears at times
  • Music audio wasn't the greatest

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