- Comfortable and secure fit
- Water and sweat resistant
- Impressive battery life
- Solid Bluetooth stability and range
- Affordable price point
- Remote system is less than ideal
- EQ settings aren’t all that great
While we weren’t thrilled with the Epic Air (2017 model), we have been very pleased with the Epic Air Elite (2018 model). JLab made a number of meaningful improvements such that these are now seriously worth your consideration.
JLab is know for making affordable, yet quality audio products, including headphones and Bluetooth speakers. We were big fans of the JLab Epic Sport and JLab Rewind and are now adding the Epic Air Elite to that list.
JLab Epic Air Elite Price
The Epic Air Elite are moderately priced with an MSRP of $150. If you compare that to the price of other true wireless earbuds, including the Jaybird Run, Apple AirPods, and Jabra Elite 65T, the Epic Air Elite actually end up being the most affordable of the bunch.
JLab Epic Air Elite Review: Design
Year over year, not much has changed in terms of design with the Epic Air Elite, but we see that as a good thing. They still have the same around-the-ear design that ensures a solid, secure, and comfortable fit and that’s really what we care about most. They’re perfect for running, for the gym, and for everyday use.
They’re also IP55 certified meaning they’re both water and sweat resistant, but not submergible. Still, you should have zero trouble using them in the rain or during a sweaty workout.
What’s Included With the JLab Epic Air Elite
They Epic Air Elite now come with more ear tips, giving you more options to find the right fit for you ears. In addition to providing seven pairs of silicone ear tips, JLab includes foam ear tips that we quite like. We found the foam ear tips do the best job of sealing off your ear canal and isolating the noise around you. We recommend you give those a try. The silicone ear tips are nice as well, but the foam ones are on another level in terms of comfort and fit.
Also included in the box is the charging cradle, which is basically the same as last year’s only with a larger capacity (20% more). It has a 2600 mAh battery and not only will charge the Epic Air Elite about five times, but also your other electronics, since it doubles as a power bank. The charge case even comes with its own integrated charge cable that comes in handy big time as well as battery indicators, which you can see in the image above.
Remote System & Mic
This has been our big complaint with pretty much every pair of true wireless earbuds that we’ve reviewed. The remote system is just hard to get right. This year, JLab did make improvements to the remote, but it’s still not ideal. Both earbuds have a single button, only that button isn’t really a button. It’s more like a touch sensor and provides no feedback nor is it clicky, which makes it difficult to use the actual remote system.
As you can see in the picture above, there’s a lot that the remote system can do—which is great—but the buttons sort of hold you back. As an example, I frequently would decrease the volume when I was trying to pause my music since both of those tasks require the left earbud. Volume down is a single press, but pause/play is a double tap.
Because the buttons do not provide feedback, you don’t really know how much pressure to apply. Honestly, it was a little frustrating and I just found myself using the controls on my iPhone instead. Also, having to memorize the gestures for the remote system is a little cumbersome since the gestures themselves aren’t that natural.
While we don’t love the remote, we have actually been impressed with the microphone system. Both earbuds have microphones and do a surprisingly good job of picking up your voice when you’re on the phone, especially considering how far they are from your mouth.
JLab didn’t make any major changes to the audio components within the Epic Air Elite. They still have 8mm drivers and still sound pretty good. That said, they seem to have a little more oomph this go around; the bass has more punch and there’s more depth to the audio overall. They’re not going to win any awards for audio quality, but considering they’re fully wireless earbuds meant for working out, we think you’ll be pleased with how they perform.
One thing that is new, however, is that they now have three different sound profiles, which you can cycle through directly on the earbuds (i.e. no need for a separate app). By default, you’ll be listening to the Signature profile, which is our favorite, but they also have Balanced and Bass Boost.
Bluetooth & Pairing
Our chief complaints with the JLab Epic Air (2017 model) were related to the Bluetooth connection and pairing process, both of which have now been fixed with the Epic Air Elite. They now have Class 1 Bluetooth 4.2 as opposed to Bluetooth 4.1, which translates into a stable connection and an uninterrupted range of about 50 feet.
The pairing process has similarly been upgraded. They’re now as simple as any other Bluetooth headphones to pair. After the initial pairing, they also automatically pair after you remove them from the charge cradle. The whole system is a lot simpler and a lot more user friendly.
JLab Epic Air Elite Review: Final Thoughts
We like them. They’re not an absolute home run, but the Epic Air Elite are darn good true wireless earbuds. At $150, they’re affordable and they check a lot of boxes. They certainly belong in the discussion for best fully wireless earbuds.