In an ideal world, we'd be at the IFA 2020 trade show in Berlin right now learning about Harman and subsidiary JBL's new products in person, but the new reality means we've had to settle for digital briefings this time around. Nevertheless, the company is launching a raft of new products, headlined by new true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation.
The JBL Club Pro+ are the most high-end TWE in the new lineup with adaptive noise cancellation, IPX4, wireless or USB-C charging, and independent L/R connection. Touch controls and Google Assistant are also on board. For sporty types, the JBL Endurance Peak II ups the water-resistance to IPX7 and includes wrap-around ear hooks for a more secure fit while exercising. They offer 30 hours of total playback time (6 for earbuds, 24 for case), while the Club Pro+ manage two hours more from the buds themselves.
Left: Club Pro+ Right, top: Endurance Peak II Right, bottom: 225TWS
In further true wireless earbud news, the JBL 225TWS are an incremental update to the 220TWS which promise bigger bass and improved 25-hour battery life. The UK is also getting two more models — the Live Free NC+ and Reflect Mini TWS, both of which also include ANC. If you're one of the last remaining wired headphone hold-outs, the JBL Quantum 50 are a $30 pair that could be worth your time. They're designed with mobile gamers in mind and have a microphone placed much closer to the mouth.
Now on to the speakers. Upgraded versions include the JBL Xtreme 3, a beefy and rugged speaker that goes 15 hours on a charge and is IP67 rated. There's also the smaller JBL Go 3 (with its 5-hour battery life and integrated loop) and Clip 4 (10 hours, upgraded carabiner). All three of these new speakers feature Bluetooth 5.1 and a USB-C charging port.
Left: Xtreme 3 Right, top: Go 3 Right, bottom: Clip 4
If you need a more robust speaker for party purposes, the new JBL PartyBox On-The-Go is a more portable variant in the series, but still outputs 100W sound and promises 6 hours battery life. Other features include a padded shoulder strap, wireless microphone, and IPX4 rating. At the same time, there's also an upgraded PartyBox 310 with 240W output, 18-hour battery life, and even more impressive array of lights.
PartyBox On-The-Go and PartyBox 310
JBL's sister company Harman Kardon is also finally launching the Citation 200 portable Google Assistant speaker it announced back at CES in January. Think of it as a cheaper Sonos Move with a nifty leather handle, IPX4 rating, and probably very good sound (if the Citation One I reviewed is anything to go by).
Pricing and availability
- Club Pro+ — $199.95 from JBL.com, available October 25
- Endurance Peak II — $99.95 from JBL.com, available October 25
- Live Free NC+ — £139.99 from uk.JBL.com, available October 2020
- Reflect Mini TWS — £129.99 from uk.JBL.com, available October 2020
- 225TWS — £89.99 from uk.JBL.com, available September 2020
- Quantum 50 — $29.95 from JBL.com, available September 4
- Xtreme 3 — $349.95 (£279.99) from JBL.com, available November
- Go 3 — $39.95 (£34.99) from JBL.com, available October
- Clip 4 — $69.95 (£49.99) from JBL.com, available December
- PartyBox On-The-Go — $299.95 (£279.99) from JBL.com, available October 25
- PartyBox 310 — $499.95 (£399.99) from JBL.com, available September
- Harman Kardon Citation 200 — £299.99 from HarmanKardon.co.uk, available October