JBL Tour Pro 2 review
When it comes to earbud innovation, these days’ breakthroughs often come in the form of smaller size, better battery life, and greater audio. Rarely does a business provide something truly unique. However, JBL appears to believe that there is potential for development in the charging case. JBL has included a touch screen display in the Tour Pro 2, allowing you to access settings and tools without having to open its app. Furthermore, these are a feature-rich pair of true wireless earbuds with a plethora of options for sound personalization, hearing help, and more. However, with everything the $250 set has to offer, JBL may have been overly ambitious.
JBL offers a variety of “traditional” earbuds, stick buds, and sport models with an over-the-ear loop. The Tour Pro 2 falls into the middle ground, with a design reminiscent of Apple’s AirPods. These, on the other hand, have a more sophisticated appearance, with a blend of matte and gloss black plastic. The inside half of the earbud has an ovular shape, which is identical to the AirPods Pro.
Curves merge with lesser weight to create a comfortable fit. The Tour Pro 2 are one of the few pairs of genuine wireless earphones that I can use for hours on end without tiring. A touch panel on the outside of both buds accepts single, double, and triple taps, as well as lengthy pushes, to access a variety of on-board functions. Furthermore, you can customise those inside the JBL Headphones app.
The main feature, on the other hand, is undeniably true. Most earbuds come with a charging case, and the feature set is essentially limited to charging. Some firms have incorporated wireless transmission for use on aeroplanes, but nothing out of the ordinary. The Tour Pro 2 comes with a “smart case,” which includes an exterior touch screen. As you might think, it’s larger than we’re used to seeing, but it’s far from massive. It supports wireless charging and has a USB-C connection on the button for wired charging.
Software and features
The Tour Pro 2 has a plethora of audio setup, convenience, and customization capabilities. All of which are accessible through the JBL Headphones app, and some through the charging case display. When you first connect the earphones to the app, the software will invite you to complete a few steps for initial setup. An ear tip fit and ear canal checks for ANC performance, voice assistant setup, and a short feature tour are among them. The app’s main part displays battery status for both earbuds individually as well as the case right up top.
Everything else is on that primary screen, and can be accessed with a simple scroll. The Ambient Sound Control button at the top lets you choose between active noise cancellation, Ambient Aware (transparent mode), TalkThru for in-person discussions, and off. You can further customise ANC by selecting Adaptive, automated adjustments or enabling leakage and/or ear canal compensation. With Ambient Aware, you may change the degree of environmental sound picked up by the earphones using a slider.
Personi-Fi is next on the list. JBL’s approach to individualised audio profiles. Following a hearing test, the app generates a sound profile that takes your listening preferences into consideration. Personi-Fi creates custom presets based on gender, age, and other factors. The audio on the Tour Pro 2 was fine before we started the process. My sound profile enhanced bass response from the earphones and what seemed like a little broader soundstage after the five-minute combat with tones at varied levels and frequencies. The personalised option did, however, lose some information in areas such as softer background vocals, guitar distortion, and subtle noise.
Personi-Fi is followed by sound selections. JBL provides a number of audio presets as well as the opportunity to manually change the EQ curve. Any changes you make can be stored for later use. On the Tour Pro 2, you can also enable Spatial Sound, JBL’s take on spatial audio. When you switch it on, you’ll be presented with three alternatives based on what you’re listening to: movie, music, and game.
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Sound quality and noise cancellation
The Tour Pro 2’s default tune is fairly ordinary. There’s some fair clarity and detail, but the soundstage feels cramped despite a good amount of bass and a smidgeon of treble punch. Overall, things converge on the midrange, with tracks like Better Lovers’ “30 Under 13” and boygenius’ “$20” providing added oomph. Personi-fi helps to open things up a bit, but as previously stated, it comes at the expense of lost detail. In that boygenius song, for example, you lose part of the richness of the vocals and guitars.
Celebrants by Nickel Creek is another good example of a lack of room in the sound profile. That CD was captured in such a way that it seems like you’re sitting in on a private concert. Guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and bass surround you, with vocals thrown in for good measure. Because the Tour Pro 2 lacks a feeling of the virtual space, the songs just become sound in your headphones rather than capturing the ambiance and excitement of the tracking session. Personi-fi makes no discernible effect in this case.
While JBL’s app includes a variety of audio tweaking options, they don’t do much to enhance things. In fact, some amplify the sound. The usefulness of Spatial Sound varies depending on the genre. The immersive nature of the audio occasionally improves noticeably. However, with some music, such as the Nickel Creek CD, location appears to be shifted up somewhat, as if it’s attempting to replicate up-firing speakers in a soundbar. In other circumstances, the sound is simply relocated rather than improved. I find it best to turn off Spatial Sound.
JBL claims that with ANC enabled, you can expect up to eight hours of battery life, plus three additional full charges in the case. Turn off noise cancelling and you’ll have two more hours on both the buds and per charge in the case. During “normal” use tests, which included ANC, transparency mode, calls, and leaving the buds to power off automatically, I got seven hours before needing to dock the Tour Pro 2 in the case.
Surprisingly, I began receiving low battery notifications while the case was still showing 25% battery life on both earbuds. Power swiftly dropped from there, and the pair died in less than 30 minutes. I mention this to emphasise that the battery estimates on the cover do not appear to be totally accurate, especially when you reach 25%. If you have an unusually fast drain, there is a 15-minute quick-charge gadget that will offer you up to four hours of use.
JBL crammed every feature possible into the Tour Pro 2. And that’s before we even get into the smart case. The big draw is the touch-screen-enabled attachment, but I’m not sold on the notion just yet. Sure, there’s something to be said for quick access to settings, but only if you leave the case on your desk. Otherwise, you’ll probably be able to get your phone out just as quickly. JBL isn’t the only manufacturer putting a display on a charging case, so who knows, it might become the norm. Tour Pro 2 does include useful technologies such as VoiceAware, SilentNow, and Personal Sound Amplification.However, they are an average set of earbuds with adequate quality, adequate ANC, and so many functions that you may not use some of them more than once.