- Pretty good audio quality
- Fairly comfortable
- Foldable design
- Solid battery life
- Fatigue ears over time since they aren’t entirely over-ear
- Noise cancellation sometimes has hiss sound
- Don’t get as loud as you’d expect
- Just average Bluetooth range and stability
- Button size and placement for volume, pause/play, etc. is annoying
For the price, the E65BTNC are pretty darn good wireless noise cancelling headphones.
The JBL E65BTNC are basically the upgraded version of the JBL E55BT [see on Amazon], just adding noise cancellation. The casing and design are pretty much the same. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just that these aren’t a completely different set of a headphones. As such, if you’ve read any E55 reviews, this will all sound familiar to you.
JBL E65 Review – Design
The headphones have a rigid design made of plastic and fabric. They look nice and are decently comfortable, however, after 30-45 minutes of of listening with them on they will fatigue your ears. And that’s because they don’t completely cover your ears—they sit a little bit on your ears. For me, that led to some discomfort eventually. The semi over-ear fit also means that the seal isn’t great and therefore the sound isolation isn’t fantastic.
On the left ear cup is the microUSB port for charging…and then nothing else. The right ear cup has all of the buttons. On top is the power switch. Then you have the volume controls and multi-function button, which allows you to pause/play, access Siri and Google Assistant, and manage calls. Next is the 2.5mm headphone jack, which allows you to use the E65s as wired headphones.
And one nice feature is that you can use them as passive headphones when the battery dies. Then you have the Bluetooth pairing button and the noise cancellation button, which allows you to turn NC on and off.
All of the buttons are tactile and work just fine, but they’re all about the same size and are close to each other such that I was constantly pressing the wrong button. I cannot tell you how many times I pressed pause hoping to hit volume up. Why didn’t they just add certain buttons to the left ear cup?
JBL E65BTNC Headphones Review – Noise Cancellation & Audio Quality
The noise cancellation is fairly subtle, but it does the job. You will, however, be able to hear when people speak to you—could be a positive or negative thing for you. I found that they efficiently tuned out loud rooms, traffic, etc., but they aren’t the most powerful noise cancelling headphones out there. Also, sometimes there’s an annoying hiss with the noise cancellation. It’s not always there, but it does go in and out.
RELATED: Beats Studio3 vs Bose QC35
One thing that I found interesting is that the audio quality is noticeably better when you have noise cancellation turned on. The music is louder and more rich. Without NC, these headphones are relatively quiet. I typically used them at around 70-80% volume, whereas I usually keep headphones 40-60% of full volume. The loudness (or lack thereof) was odd…
The sound quality was actually pretty good though, all things considered. The bass is good, the mids are a little soft, and the highs are a little muffled, but not bad at all, especially for the price, which by the way is $200, but you can check Amazon for current pricing. The audio is generally very clear with good range.
JBL E65 Headphones Review – Bluetooth & Battery Life
The E65s have very average Bluetooth range and stability. I could go about 30-40 feet before I encountered any interruptions. Nothing special there. I did also notice that walls, doors, and people could mess with the signal. It’s not a high point for the E65s.
As for battery life, we had them go around 12 hours on a single charge at 70-80% volume, which is pretty good, considering JBL says the battery life can be up to 15 hours. That’s in wireless mode with noise cancellation on. JBL also says that they’ll do 24 hours in wired ANC mode. The E65s charge entirely in just 2 hours, which is impressive.
JBL E65BTNC vs Bose QC35
Personally, I’d rather have the Bose QC35s because they’re more comfortable and have better battery life, noise cancellation, and Bluetooth connection. Those are the biggest things for me. I would rather spend the extra $130 to get more comfortable, better overall headphones, but I can see a serious case for opting for the E65s. After all, they’re still fairly comfortable with solid battery life and the audio/ANC is good as well.
JBL E65BTNC vs Beats Studio 3
This is tougher for me since the Beats Studio3 also fatigue my ears a bit. They do, however, have great sound quality, noise cancellation, and fantastic Bluetooth range and stability. Not to mention a quick charge feature. But, they’re $350 at retail [check current price on Amazon], which if you’re counting is 75% more expensive than the E65s. For the price, the E65s are hard to beat. This one is a toss up.