JBL E45BT review: Balanced audio and comfortable design

Kul Bhushan

JBL launched on-ear wireless headphones ‘E45BT’ in India. Priced at `6,499, the JBL E45BT is not among the most affordable on-ear wireless headphones in the market, but it’s not the most expensive either. For a premium brand like JBL, the E45BT is among more reasonably priced devices, especially considering the JBL Synchros E40BT wireless on-ear headphones come with a similar price tag.

Call it an occupation hazard or a luxury, I have used a variety of headphones over the years. For last few months, I have stuck to economical on-ear wired JBL C300SI headphones for simply two reasons - comfort and clarity in the sound. The transition to a pricier E45BT was a big change for me in spite of a few design familiarity between the two devices.

Before we hold forth about the performance of the JBL E45BT, let’s talk about other important aspects of the device – design and comfort. As I mentioned earlier, comfort is a key element I look forward to in headphones, especially when it’s on-ear. The JBL E45BT fortunately scores high on this parameter.

While it retains a compact look and feel, the ear cups come with good amount of padding. The headband (adjustable) fits easily. You’ll notice a bit of padding on the headband as well, which makes the headphones more comfortable to put on. The padding quality, especially on the ear cups, is much better than the JBL C300SI.

The JBL E45BT doesn’t cause any irritation after long sessions of audio streaming. Nonetheless, you get accustomed to the cups in a couple of days of usage.

Speaking of the design, the E45BT has the typical JBL design with branding on the back of both the ear cups, which look to circular discs attached to each other. The left ear cup has the microUSB port for charging whereas the right ear cup has most of the functionalities –Power On/Off, volume/music controller, Blutooth and 3.5mm audio jack. (the box comes with a 3.5mm aux cable as well).

All the function buttons are well within the reach and seem to be strategically placed. For instance, the Bluetooth pairing button is slightly lower than the rest since it is not a function that is used frequently. Overall, the JBL E45BT has a premium feel to it. It’s comfy and suitable for longer sessions.

To test performance, I used the iPhone 8 Plus for wireless music streaming. The headphones handled a few songs pretty well with an appropriate depth in the audio. The headphones deliver a good punch and scores high on clarity for sub bass-centric songs. If you are more into acoustics, you will not be disappointed by the JBL E45BT.

JBL claims the E45BT delivers up to 16 hours of battery back up. I could achieve somewhat close to the claimed battery life. The active noise cancellation zones out ambient noise effectively.

Verdict

There’s barely anything to complain about the JBL E45BT. It’s simple, comfortable and does a fine job at delivering a balanced audio. Of course, the experience could have been richer, but that’s the thing with headphones. More money you spend, finer the quality gets. For both casual listeners and audiophiles, the JBL E45BT is a pretty good deal at `6,499.

(HT Media)