JBL Soundgear Sense bone conduction headphones review

Bone conduction headphones are presented as an innovative alternative to traditional headphones. Unlike conventional headphones, they are not inserted into the ear, but transmit sound through the bones of the skull, allowing for immersive listening without blocking the ear canal.

This time, we dive into the experience of using this type of headphone with the JBL Soundgear Sense, the company’s debut in this bone headphone format. They were unveiled at the end of August during the IFA event in Berlin, which we had the opportunity to attend.

We have been testing them since then, and we must admit that they have surprised us. As a preview of what we will see throughout the review, we can tell you that its ergonomic design fits comfortably around the ears, with several adjustment options to find the most comfortable for you.

Also, thanks to this format, in our particular case we did not feel the feeling of pressure that is often experienced with conventional headphones.

In this article, we will explore the features and usage experience I had with these interesting headphones.

9.2
Price on Amazon
JBL Soundgear Sense

JBL Soundgear Sense opinions

Bone conduction headphones are becoming increasingly popular due to the open sound concept that does not isolate you from your surroundings when using the bone vibration system.

The JBL Soundgear Sense has received rave reviews from users. What makes these headphones so special? That is what this review is all about.

POSITIVES
  • Very balanced sound across all frequencies
  • Consistent bass
  • Good definition in vocals
  • Advanced in-app equaliser lets you tailor the sound to your taste
  • Despite the open design, sound leakage is minimal, ensuring privacy of what you hear
  • Multiple placement options and neckband included
  • Perfect for sports thanks to its IP54 resistance and secure grip
  • Many configuration options on the mobile app
  • Great value for money
NEGATIVES
  • Somewhat large case
  • A bit bulky and unobtrusive case design
  • Voices on calls leave something to be desired in noisy environments
Main features JBL Soundgear Sense
  • Bone conduction technology
  • 16.2 mm dynamic drivers
  • Sensitivity: 112 dB SPL at 1 kHz
  • Maximum SPL: 90 dB
  • Microphone Sensitivity:-38 dB/Pa at 1 kHz
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz-20 kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Bluetooth 5.3
  • Up to 24 hours total battery life with case
  • Up to 6 hours headset battery life
  • Full charge in 2 hours
  • 15 minute quick charge provides up to 4 hours of playback time

Unboxing

When you open the box, you’ll find the headphones, a user’s manual, a USB-C charging cable, and a piece to which each of the headphones is attached so that you can place it behind your neck. The included pouch is a bit large and made of plastic, but it does protect the headset, although it can be easily scratched.

Design and usability

JBL Soundgear Sense features an ergonomic design that sits outside the ear canal, allowing you to enjoy your music without restricting your ears. This unique feature of bone conduction technology transmits sound through vibrations directly to the bones of the skull, eliminating the need for insertion into the ear and eliminating discomfort.

Despite their bulky appearance, each unit weighs only 13 grams. This makes them ideal for extended wear without discomfort.

They include adjustable hooks that provide a comfortable and secure fit for a variety of ear shapes, making them an excellent choice for on-the-go wear.

JBL Soundgear Sense earhooks designJBL Soundgear Sense Hooks Design

One of the things I liked the most is that they have three levels of adjustment. This gives you the ability to position them to your liking and with a simple movement up or down you can leave them where you are most comfortable. They also let you choose whether you want to let in more outside noise or focus more on the music.

You can also use the included detachable neckband, which comes in handy in some cases. If you plan to wear them while exercising, this band will give you extra security to prevent them from falling off. It also comes in handy when you want to take a break from them for a moment. You can leave the band around the base of your neck like a typical headband.

The housing is a bit larger than other earbuds due to the ear hooks. Still, it is quite light, weighing less than 70 grams. It has a battery indicator on the front and a USB-C port on the back for charging.

Soundgear Sense caseSoundgear Sense case

They are also water, sweat and dust-resistant, making them the perfect companion for your sports activities. JBL Soundgear Sense are available in black and white.

Touch controls and functionality

To control them, there are touch buttons on each earbud in the brand’s logo area that are very responsive when pressed. Depending on whether you press them once, several times, or leave them pressed for a few seconds, they will perform one action or another, such as increasing or decreasing the volume, playing or pausing the music, or activating the voice assistant.

You can also configure the headphones’ capacitive touch controls from the My JBL Headphones application.

From there, you also have an eight-band equalizer to customize the sound, audio balance adjustment, and the ability to program automatic shut-off to optimize battery life. You can also view the battery life and find your headphones if you can’t find them.

Connectivity and calls

When you take them out of the case, they connect to your phone or PC via Bluetooth. Just leave the lid open and once paired you can close it.

You can make them work in stereo and have one as the left channel and the other as the right channel, or just use one and have it play both channels in mono mode.

On the other hand, you can connect them to two devices at the same time. This would be useful, for example, to have them connected to your computer while you listen to music, and if you get a call on your cell phone, you can answer the call. When the call is over, you can resume listening to your music.

The four built-in microphones pick up voices clearly in quiet environments. However, in noisy places or where there is a lot of wind, the quality of the voice can be improved.

Battery

Battery life is a crucial aspect in this type of device. It integrates a 600 mAh battery that offers up to three full charges. The brand claims up to six hours of continuous playback on a single charge.

Case with USB-C charging portCase with USB-C charging port

In our tests, we have confirmed that this estimate is quite accurate at a volume of about 30%. At higher volumes, this figure drops significantly. With the charging case, additional hours of playback are obtained, bringing the total battery life to 24 hours.

In addition, a quick charge of just 15 minutes will give you up to 4 hours of playback at moderate volume. A full charge takes about 2 hours, which is very fast.

Audio performance

These headphones use bone conduction technology to transmit sound through your cheeks and skull bones instead of your ears. The result is a unique listening experience that keeps you aware of your surroundings.

JBL Soundgear Sense JBL Soundgear Sense features two 16.2 millimeter drivers that deliver a crisp and powerful audio experience. And with 32 ohms of impedance and a frequency response of 20 to 20,000 hertz, they offer a sound quality that we are confident will meet the needs of most users.

And the sound quality is really good, with an emphasis on bass tones that make them ideal for genres of music with presence of deep bass. But the highs are also clear and the mids are balanced.

For a model with bone conduction technology, which usually provides a flatter and duller sound, it surprised us with its quality and the perfect balance between powerful bass and crisp sounds.

We tested it with The Weeknd’s “The Hills” to see how well it works with songs that emphasize low frequencies. Subtle instrumental details like the subversive thump of the kick drum or haunting low notes come to life with these Soundgear Sense.

The midrange is surprisingly prominent, creating a rich and immersive listening experience as we explore each layer of this compelling song.

In another example, Cee Lo Green’s “Bright Lights Bigger City,” a vibrant R&B tune fused with pop-funk touches, deep, resonant lows are appreciated while crisp yet sweet highs highlight every note played by the stringed instruments.

Finally, we dive into the timeless “Everlong” by Foo Fighters, where we are surrounded by Dave Grohl’s powerful chords and intense drumming. The resonant bass present in the opening notes sets the tone for what follows: an emotional sonic journey full of explosive energy during the central chorus.

The finest details, including every cymbal crash and guitar strum, come through with the crystal clear sound quality of these JBL headphones.

Even without Active Noise Cancellation, the acoustic isolation is more effective than expected, allowing you to immerse yourself in the music without external distractions.

They also incorporate reverse phase technology in the drivers to effectively block sound leakage, providing auditory privacy even when you are in a crowded environment.

Final verdict: Are these JBL Soundgear Sense worth it?

JBL Soundgear Sense bone conduction headphones reviewsJBL Soundgear Sense bone conduction headphones reviews

All in all, after all this time testing them, we have found them to be an option to consider for those looking for a comfortable and stable alternative to traditional formats. With their innovative design, practical features and balanced sound quality, they offer an interesting listening experience for different user profiles.

In terms of sound quality, the JBL Soundgear Sense offer balanced performance with the ability to adjust midrange and treble via the app. In addition, their battery life and quick charge feature make them the perfect choice for everyday use. Likewise, their secure fit and IP54 sweat and dust resistance mean you can use them for sports.

If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional headphones that lets you enjoy your music and calls without being completely isolated, while still maintaining good sound quality, don’t hesitate to give them a try.

Why you should buy them

  • One of the outstanding advantages of Soundgear Sense is their comfort. By not inserting into the ear canal, they avoid the feeling of pressure in the ears and sweat associated with conventional headphones. In addition, their stability in the ears, thanks to the hooks ensure that they do not fall out when you do sports.
  • You want to maintain awareness of your surroundings while listening to music.
  • You are looking for headphones with this technology that have great audio quality.

Why you should not buy them

  • It’s important to note that, being open headphones, the JBL Soundgear Sense lacks active noise cancellation. This may mean you get less immersion in noisy environments.

    For quieter environments such as offices or coffee shops there are no problems, but for other situations such as public transport journeys or walking around the city center at rush hour, they may not be the most suitable.

See JBL Soundgear Sense Price

JBL SoundGear Sense - True Wireless Open-Ear Headphone

Splash and dust Resistant, Up to 24 Hours of Battery Life
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9.2 Total Score
Overall Rating JBL Soundgear Sense Headphones

JBL Soundgear Sense delivers an innovative audio experience through bone conduction technology. With simple setup, intuitive touch controls and exceptional sound quality, these headphones are ideal for those looking for a unique and effective alternative to conventional models. Despite the lack of an in-ear seal, JBL Soundgear Sense deliver surprisingly clear and powerful audio quality.

Design and comfort
9.5
Battery
8.5
Connectivity and extras
9.5
Sound quality
9
Price/performance ratio
9.5
PROS
  • All frequencies are well balanced.
  • Solid bass
  • Vocals sound clear and defined
  • Use the advanced equalizer in the app to tailor the audio to your personal taste.
  • Despite the open design, sound leakage is kept to a minimum, ensuring the privacy of what you are listening to.
  • Multiple options for placement and adjustment with the included neckband.
  • IP54 rated and secure grip makes it ideal for exercising.
  • A wide range of configuration options on the mobile application
  • Great price/performance ratio
CONS
  • Somewhat bulky enclosure
  • A little bulky and unobtrusive looking casing
  • The voice quality during calls leaves something to be desired in a noisy environment.

Alternatives to consider

Soundcore AeroFit Pro

The JBL Soundgear Sense headphones and Soundcore AeroFit Pro headphones are two options that use bone conduction technology. While both models have similar features, there are some key differences to keep in mind.

When it comes to sound, the JBL Soundgear Sense headphones offer superior audio quality compared to the Soundcore AeroFit Pro.

In terms of ruggedness, the JBL model also features an IP54 rating, which means it has greater protection against dust compared to the IPX5 rating of the Soundcore model.

Another area where they differ is in the variety of position settings available. The Soundgear Sense offers multiple settings in three positions and is lighter and more comfortable to wear.

However, when it comes to battery life, the Soundcore AeroFit Pro has the edge. They last longer, up to 46 hours in total, including charging with the case.

Soundcore by Anker AeroFit Pro Open-Ear Headphones

Rich Sound with LDAC, Bluetooth 5.3, IPX5 Water-Resistant, 46H Playtime
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