JLab Epic 2: Better than Beats

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JLab Epic 2
Image: JLab

This is the story of the search for the perfect earbud headphones and the JLab Epic 2 Bluetooth Earbuds. I know, epic quest journeys get long. However, as a child of the 1980’s/90’s, headphones to me mean big, clunky things that cover your ears so that the sound get trapped and the rest of the world floats away.

Most of the headphones I’ve owned follow on either the gigantic, foam ear piece noise canceling headphones or the Mac free-with purchase earbuds. All were attached by a cord. I’m not so much a luddite or dinosaur as I am cheap. I never got around to upgrading my ear-gear.

Thus, when I was given a free pair of PowerBeats 2 with my iPhone purchase (one perk of teaching), I was ecstatic (there may have been jumping and fist pumping involved). You know what they say, however, about the free gift with purchase. Despite the $150 price tag that goes along with the PowerBeats 2, I found their lack of quality… Disturbing. Listening to an audiobook, the narrator sounded as though he was talking through a tunnel. The PowerBeats 2 kept skipping, which lost words and sometimes whole sentences of my book. If I moved even half a room away, the blue tooth dropped. Add into the fact that I very obviously have the world’s weirdest shaped ears which led to the earbuds falling out, I was disappointed and skeptical of any other form of bud.

When the offer to try a free pair of the JLab Epic 2 Bluetooth Earbuds, I went for it. How much worse could they be?

And here’s where the quest came to an end. They were awesome. Absolutely awesome. As anyone who reads my reviews knows, I’m always skeptical. When JLab told me that their earbuds were better than Beats, I nodded my head and rolled my eyes (sorry!). I will totally own my wrongness.

First of all, let’s address my weird ears. I have never had an earbud that stays in my ears comfortably. They always fall out as soon as I moved my head. Quickly, I took out all the different earpiece choices. I popped each of the different pairs on and plunked them in my ears. Now, please understand, I live in a noisy house. At night, I sleep with earplugs because of the noise in my house. I’m used to the tight, noise canceling fit of earplugs. To date, no earbud has managed that.

Until now. Fine, JLab. I reluctantly admit: Your website advertises itself appropriately. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it does because if I can trust the most difficult of products, then I can trust everything else.

See how on the website, the memory ear wire and the triple flange ear buds are listed as “proprietary” and “industry first”? Yeah, they were right. They’re totally amazing. It’s oddly refreshing to have a website for a tech product say something is new and have it be right. Once I attached the triple flange earbud covers and adjusted the memory ear wire, I could feel that same suction of ear plug. With an adjustment of the memory wire, I was able to silence all the noise around me as much as any other ear plug does. In fact, twice now? I’ve been happily dancing along to Book of Mormon while cooking (important to not be listening to that with a seven-year-old around), and my husband has walked up the stairs from the garage into the kitchen without my noticing.

In the interest of honesty, I’ll tell all of you that the first few phone calls I took with the JLab Epic 2 microphone sounded hollow. The listeners complained that I sounded far away or in a tunnel. However, over the course of the last week, I’ve been able to adjust the memory wire such that the microphone picks up my voice without being so far away that I sound like I’m in an echo chamber.

I’m a fussy earbudder. I also take on review products for two reasons: 1) personal need and 2) honest curiosity about the product’s claims. In this case, I’ve spent the last few years trying to keep sound in my ears, whether music or phone calls. JLab stood up to all the tests, much to my surprise. So, if you’re one of the people whose never been able to find a pair of earbuds that you find comfortable and that you feel give you a sense of total immersion? Try out the JLab. Let’s put it this way: If I hadn’t gotten these free? I’d still buy them. At the $99.99 price point compared to the Beats $200 price point? They’re not just better quality, but they’re also a good deal.

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