CES 2021 Preview: JBL to debut tons of new audio gear

JBL has a lot of new audio gear launching this year and is showing it off at CES 2021.
Image: Unsplash | Adison Ferreira

CES 2021 is just a few days away. Although many people are disappointed that the annual showcase won’t be held in-person, there are still plenty of things to be excited about. Gadget fans can learn about the newest products heading to the market as well as concept devices that offer a glimpse into the future.

Ahead of the virtual conference, JBL has announced several new audio products. The gear includes both headphones and speakers that are already turning heads.

JBL Tour One Headphones

One of the most noteworthy additions to JBL’s product lineup is the new Tour series. It contains both over-ear headphones and true wireless earbuds that will compete with similar offerings from competitors like Bose and Sony, Digital Trends notes.

The new Tour series is reportedly designed for business professionals. Of course, JBL’s new tour headphones will also work for casual consumers.

The Tour One headphones are the flagship product of the upcoming lineup. They have active noise canceling (ANC) and a lengthy battery life of 25 hours with the feature turned on. If the headphones are being used without ANC, they can last for up to 50 hours.

One of the Tour One’s more interesting features is a mode called SilentNow. This allows users to turn on ANC without connecting the headphones to a device via Bluetooth. Users can then enjoy the noise-canceling benefits of the headphones without draining the battery.

Another noteworthy feature of the new headphones is their audio capabilities when using a wired connection. The Tour One headphones are rated for hi-res music playback thanks to dual 40mm drivers. JBL’s newest over-ear headphones will go on sale in May 2021 at a price of $300.

JBL Tour Pro+ True Wireless Earbuds

The high-end Tour series also includes a new pair of true wireless earbuds dubbed the Tour Pro+. They also feature ANC. The buds last for up to six hours with ANC turned on, but that battery life is extended to eight hours when it is turned off. Like the over-ear model, the Tour Pro+ also support SilentNow.

Many true wireless earbud users find that ANC doesn’t always live up to their expectations. That’s mostly due to the fact that everyone has differently shaped ear canals. JBL is attempting to address that concern with its Tour Pro+ buds.

The companion JBL Headphones app lets users perform a fit check to determine which ear tip they should be using. It also allows consumers to customize the buds’ built-in touch controls.

While the earbuds themselves are great, the Tour Pro+ also come with a high-tech charging case. It supports both USB-C and Qi wireless charging. The Tour Pro+ will also debut in May 2021 but are slightly cheaper than the Tour One with a price tag of $200.

JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam

Those looking for a soundbar may find a worthy option in the new JBL Bar 5.0 MultiBeam. No, it won’t outperform models that cost thousands of dollars. However, for the price ($400), JBL’s newest soundbar certainly sounds good enough to stay competitive in the market.

The company claims that the Bar 5.0 can create room-filling sound thanks to a beamforming feature called MultiBeam. Digital Trends notes that this also lets the soundbar create a sense of 3D sound immersion despite the fact that the unit isn’t accompanied by rear speakers or a subwoofer.

It’s worth noting that the lack of a subwoofer is negated by four passive radiators that producing rumbling low-end bass. The Bar 5.0 also features support for virtualized Dolby Atmos. While that can’t outperform high-end Atmos setups, it delivers better sounding audio than a soundbar without any type of Atmos support.

What makes the Bar 5.0 shine is its multitude of connections. It supports both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, meaning that it is compatible with Apple’s AirPlay 2, Google’s Chromecast, and even Alexa. In terms of wired connections, the Bar 5.0 supports HDMI ARC/eARC output, HDMI input, and both 4K and Dolby Vision passthrough. Those who love using a virtual assistant can also control the Bar 5.0 with voice commands.

JBL says that its new soundbar will arrive sometime this spring at a price of $400.

JBL Reflect Mini TWS NC

While JBL’s new Tour series of headphones is stealing the spotlight, those aren’t the only models that the company will release in 2021. The Reflect Mini TWS NC is worth consideration—especially for exercise lovers.

The true wireless earbuds boast an IPX7 certification, meaning they are fully waterproof. That makes them perfect for a sweat-inducing gym session or a walk in the pouring rain. They feature an earfin design that keeps the buds locked in place during high-intensity workouts like running and sports.

The buds have some high-tech capabilities that users can look forward to. For instance, each earbud can be used individually and will pause your music when you take it out. The buds also feature reflective accents that are perfect for nighttime wear. For safety-conscious wearers, the Reflect Mini have a SmartAmbient feature that lets you hear your surroundings.

While the Tour Pro+ are designed for professional users, these buds are clearly for those that have a more active lifestyle. The Reflect Mini TWS NC will launch in the spring of this year for $150.

JBL Charge 5

While JBL’s latest product announcements include many other budget-friendly devices, one of the most noteworthy heavy hitters on the list is the JBL Charge 5. JBL has made a name for itself in the Bluetooth speaker space. Its latest model will uphold that strong reputation.

The Charge 5 is fully dustproof and waterproof and sports 20 hours of battery life. For those that don’t need 20 hours of music, the speaker can also charge other devices through a USB port.

While the JBL Charge 5 is a great speaker on its own, it is even better thanks to a feature called PartyBoost. Users can sync their speaker with up to 100 additional compatible speakers to create booming sound almost anywhere. One final note is that the Charge 5 features enhanced Bluetooth connectivity and has been upgraded to Bluetooth 5.1.

It will launch in April 2021 at a price of $180.


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