Wireless headphones have been on the rise in the last few years, with people rushing to enjoy the convenience of a cord-free setup. But many wireless models suffer from issues like distortion, iffy battery life, and drop in and out constantly.
If you’re looking for a good pair of wireless headphones at a good price, it’s hard to top the JLab Audio Omni Wireless Headphones (MSRP: $99.99). We’re big fans of these headphones for a few reasons: They’re comfortable to wear, provide very good sound quality both wired and wireless, and don’t cost nearly as much as the competition. The plastic build leaves a little to be desired, but that’s a small concession to make for features that usually cost at least twice this much.
At first glance, there isn’t much that’s very eye-catching about these JLabs. They have a simple, nondescript design that doesn’t shout for attention. They’re just good, simple headphones.
Each earcup has thick “cloud foam cushions” that are covered in eco-friendly leather. Unfortunately, they aren’t very large, which means they might clamp a little too tightly on anyone with bigger ears—like myself. Meanwhile, there’s just enough padding on the headband for the headphones to rest gently on your head without causing problems.
As you’d expect given the low price point, the Omnis don’t come with many accessories. The only notable extra here is a travel case. It’s plush and should provide a fair amount of protection while you’re traveling, but it’s also fairly bulky.
Unlike some wireless headphones, the JLab Omni can be used wired as well. But whether you’re planning to go wired or wireless, the most important thing is that your music sounds great. While switching to wireless will result in an unavoidable loss in quality—which you may or may not be able to actually hear—the Omni Wireless have a rich, balanced sound that doesn’t play favorites when it comes to genres.
One issue we did have is that the Omnis don’t block much ambient sound from getting in. The deep sounds on your commute won’t be blocked at all and even the general hubbub of the street will only get the slightest reduction. You’ll have much better luck at your desk, where the Omnis will easily overpower normal office chatter.
The Omni Wireless use Bluetooth 4.0 to connect to your phone, laptop, speaker, or other device and will beam your music about 30 feet before you start to notice connection issues. That distance will be cut down if you move between walls, but otherwise you’ll be living the cordless life.
The wireless functionality does use up battery life, but the JLab Audio expects users to get up to 15 hours of playback before they’ll need to recharge the onboard battery. That lined up with our experience well, as we only had to charge them once or twice.
For $100—less if you can find them on sale—the Omni Wireless are great for anyone that doesn’t want to sacrifice comfort or performance for that lower price tag. Throw in the ability to detach the cord and go wireless for 15-hours per full charge and you’ve got a compelling case for treating yourself and picking them up.
If you want to step up the quality a bit and don’t mind losing wireless, then we’d recommend taking a look at the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Plus (MSRP: $199.99). Even on sale they’ll cost almost twice as much as the Omnis, but if you’re an audiophile that likes to micromanage, these are the headphones for you.
If you want similarly priced over-ears but want a more flat, studio-friendly response, there’s one old—yet supremely reliable—choice: the Sony MDR-7506 (MSRP: $130.00). These are frequently found for under $100, and are trusted by professionals all over the world.
Still, as long as you’re okay with a slightly lower build quality, it’s hard to look past the tremendous value afforded by the Omni Wireless. They’re comfortable, sound fantastic, and the ability to go wireless is simply not something we typically see in headphones at this price. If you don’t want to spend a lot, but still want to go cordless, the JLab Audio Omnis are the way to go.
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