Harman’s JBL has been in the country for quite a while now and they’ve been known in the headphones scene to produce quality and affordable-for-its-kind products. What we have now is the JBL J33i in-ears that look simple yet promising. Will it be a good everyday companion to those looking for a pair of new earphones? We find out.
First of all, there are two models of the J33 series – the J33a for Android devices and the J33i for iOS products. The main difference of the two is that the Android only gets a standard inline mic with an answer button, while you get a volume control for the iOS variant with a button on the middle that can be used to activate Siri.
The J33i’s body doesn’t employ anything extravagant. In fact, it’s pretty basic-looking with a plain white housing that carries the innards along with the drivers. One interesting design that we like, though, is that it’s emblazoned with chrome trimmings at the base that extends to a tail-like support for the cable. Although the body looks clean and simple out of the box, we see the white body easily getting dirty with constant use.
The flat cable is 1.3 meters long and is tangle-free. At the end is a gold-plated 3.5mm audio jack that is compatible even to non-iOS devices (of course, doing so cancels the Siri function). The package comes with 3 different-sized buds that can be interchanged depending on the need of the user. There’s also memory tips, like the ones on the photos, which are soft and adjust to the shape of the ear canals.
After letting the speaker drivers stretch for a couple of hours, we played some tracks on the J33i. One thing very prominent for us was its bass levels. For an ordinary-looking pair of in-ears, it can deliver lows with confidence.
Although the powerful bass might be its selling point, It also delivers crisp highs and authoritative mids which we personally find more appealing. What we’re trying to say here is that despite the solid presence of the bass, mids and highs are still very distinct and one could easily separate the sound from each other – a very nice trait that audiophiles look for. One bit of a downer is the distortion of sound on maximum volume. This is just for testing purposes, though, as listening to music at extreme levels isn’t advisable.
Once plugged in, the J33i’s noise isolation separates you from the outside world. It’s not as quiet as when there’s active noise cancellation (ANC) on-board, but it’s effective for when you’re commuting while listening to your tunes. We also tried using the button to bring up Siri and it heard our command clearly thru the inline mic even while we were in a crowded area.
Overall, the JBL J33i is a pair of earphones that could deliver. Although not balanced, it has a distinctive quality in terms of lows, mids, and highs. The J33i has a very simple form factor, which in our opinion, could help make or break the deal for interested consumers as others prefer flashy packaging than basic ones.
If you’re out looking for good-sounding earphones that is very portable and could be used everyday commuting to work or anything similar, we recommend the J33i although it would set you back for Php4,190.
JBL J33i specs:
Type: In-ear headphones
Driver size: 9.2mm
Frequency response: 10Hz – 24KHz
Impedance: 16 ohms
Cable length: 1.3m (tangle-free)
What we liked about it:
*Flat, tangle-free cable
*Powerful bass with distinctive mids and highs
What we didn’t like:
*White body easily gets dirty
*Distorts at high volume