As often happens with JBL at CES, the company introduced a number of new products at the show, all of which you can expect to see in 2023. There’s a mix here, from portable speakers, on to headphones and earbuds, sound bars, and even a cool turntable.
New JBL earbuds and headphones
Want a touchscreen on your earbuds’ case? JBL will give it to you by way of the Tour Pro 2, where a small 1.45-inch LED looks back at you. The cool thing about it is it offers many of the features the JBL One app does, letting you control things like active noise cancellation, ambient sound, equalizer, volume, and skipping/repeating tracks. You also see battery info for each earbud and the case, so you know where you stand.
With new components inside, everything from sound to noise cancellation is supposed to be better here. We’ll see once I get a pair to test. The case is larger to accommodate the screen and keep overall battery life at a very respectable (up to) eight hours of playback, with another three charges in the case.
Next up are the JBL Tour One M2 over-ear headphones. JBL told me it re-engineered the headphones (the original Tour One was reviewed here on the Best Buy blog) in several ways, including delivering noise cancellation on par with Sony and Bose. That’s a bold claim that adds intrigue to the headphones, as they are. Then there’s the new spatial sound feature to give you virtual surround sound. Battery life gets a boost to 30 hours from 25.
There are also new affordable and gaming earbuds and headphones coming. The Endurance Peak 3 will have an IP68 rating (including saltwater) and wrap around your ear to stay in place. New pairs in the Tune and Vibe lineup are also coming, bearing strong similarities to their respective predecessors.
As for gaming, JBL will roll out a bunch under its Quantum line. That includes Quantum P (PlayStation) and Quantum X (Xbox) headphones tailored to those specific consoles. Meanwhile, the Quantum TWS Air gaming earbuds will work with PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Windows PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and just about anything else. The only one missing is Xbox, so it’s not clear if they’ll be compatible.
All of these earbuds and headphones will be coming to market starting as early as February and into the spring.
JBL’s latest speakers
There isn’t as much that’s new here, but the one standout may be the Pulse 5. A portable speaker built with an LED lamp inside, it can give you a light show while playing tunes. The light is soft and pleasing, adding ambience while listening, both of which JBL says it made better. The speaker gets a slimmer body and beefier sound all at once. It works with the JBL Portable app to both customize the audio and control the lights, including the PartyBoost feature to pair two of them together or link it with other compatible JBL speakers.
It also went small again with the JBL Go 3 Eco and Clip 4 Eco, both of which are made with 90% post-consumer recycled plastics and 100% recycled fabric. They are expansions of the non-eco versions, except the eco ones will come in blue, green and white for the Clip 4. The whole Go 3 line will be eco.
Sound bars that break apart
Imagine snapping off two ends of your sound bar and taking them to another room. That’s what the Bar 1300X purports to do, allowing you to take one or both detachable speakers with you and play audio on them elsewhere. They run on batteries and connect via Bluetooth for easy setup. With both, you have stereo for left and right channels, enabling you to connect to a short throw projector, computer or mobile device.
JBL packed the sound bar with an array of features. It’s an 11.1.4-channel sound bar that can pump out up to 1,170 watts of power. It has both Dolby Atmos and DTX:X driven by six upward-firing drivers, plus Harman’s MultiBeam to push the spatial surround effect. It also comes with a 12-inch subwoofer to give the bass a real rumble.
Here’s the best part: the two detachable speakers can also act as rear speakers for a true surround setup when you put them behind you. You won’t be able to do that with the other Bar sound bars, but you do get most of the other features. The whole lineup supports JBL’s PureVoice for clearer dialogue in all scenes, including those with loud ambience around them. They connect through both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, have built-in Chromecast, AirPlay 2, Alexa Multiroom Music, Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri, and work with the JBL One app for extra customization.
All five new sound bars, ranging from the Bar 1300X to the Bar 300, will come out before the spring, so look out for them. You can use them with any TV, and will surely perform as a big upgrade over existing TV speakers.
A slick turntable
The Spinner BT is a more affordable turntable that also happens to offer Bluetooth. That’s a first for JBL, who has never made a Bluetooth turntable before. It’s hard not to notice it, given the vibrant colour accents, and it’s got some cool integrations. Basically, you can play vinyl records and stream them to speakers, headphones, sound bars, including at hi-res quality. Pair it with speakers that can do true stereo left and right channels and you have an old school setup with modern tech involved. The Spinner BT is coming later in 2023, and looks to be an interesting entry into this category.
Lots from JBL in 2023
Between all the various audio categories, there are no less than a dozen new products coming in 2023. That’s a lot to keep track of, and there will likely be more. In the meantime, take a look at JBL’s current lineup, and see the latest tech coming out of CES 2023.
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