Sound specialists JBL have released the Reflect AERO True Wireless Stereo (TWS) Bluetooth earbuds. The ultra-versatile addition to JBL’s personal sound line is an evolution of their stellar Reflect PRO that is geared towards those of us with active lifestyles. Read on for our World Exclusive review of the Reflect Aero along with up-close imagery of a great new tool for anyone’s training arsenal.
The JBL Reflect Aero brings the latest and greatest developments in earbud technology into the mix. This includes the unit’s hardware along with a well-designed supporting app. Here are the Reflect Aero’s key features via JBL.
- JBL Signature Sound
- Up to 24 hours of playback (8 hours in the earbud; 16 hours from charging case)
- 6.8mm dynamic drivers
- 6 microphones with noise and wind isolation technology
- True Adaptive Noise Cancelling with Smart Ambient
- Adjustable ear-fin for a secure fit
- Hands-Free Voice Control with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
- IP68 waterproof and dustproof rating with reflective accents
- Customizable all-access touch control through the JBL Headphones App
What’s in the Box?
The JBL Reflect Aero is delivered in a premium package that is sturdy enough to serve as a storage unit for the earbuds and its accompanying components when not in use. An inventory of what you get in the box is below.
- 1 x JBL Reflect Aero earbuds
- 1 x 3 sizes of ear tips
- 1 x 3 sizes of POWERFINS enhancers
- 1 x Type-C USB charging cable
- 1 x Charging case
- 1 x Warranty / Warning
- 1 x product Quick Start Guide / Safety Sheet
The JBL Reflect Aero and its charging case arrive fully charged so they’re ready to use out of the box. They are equipped with medium sized POWERFINS and ear tips that should fit your average ear. As with all earbuds, we do recommend trying out other sizes of both in order to get your preferred fit and sound lock-in.
The JBL Reflect Aero features the latest in wired connectivity and charging technology via USB-C. An easy to see bright orange USB-C charging cable is provided with the earbuds for connecting its charging case to an outlet, computer, or fast charger. We used all of these power sources for charging the case without issue.
JBL says that they created the Reflect Aero with sustainability and a reduced impact on the planet in mind. We were thrilled to see this in play through the earbuds’ charging place being half the size as that of their predecessor, the JBL Reflect Flow Pro. The earbuds themselves are also slightly smaller than the Flow Pro to contribute to less plastic and metal use.
The amount of material used for the JBL Reflect Aero’s packaging is also reduced compared to the Flow Pro and other JBL earbuds that we’ve tried out.
The JBL Reflect Aero earbuds use the familiar cylindrical design of the brand’s statement truly wireless series. They continue to follow an evolution path that has seen Reflect earbuds carry smaller silhouettes with each iteration. They’ve also been streamlined so that their edges are now more rounded than their predecessors.
The classy metallic JBL logo and trim remain in place to give the earbuds a branded and high-end look. However, a wealth of touch functionality lies beneath these aesthetically pleasing effects. This includes environmental sound controls on the left and music controls (song pausing, stopping, and skipping ahead) on the right.
Flip the JBL Reflect Aero earbuds to their other sides and their rounded in-ear portions are on show. The unit’s the POWERFINS and ear tips readily slide on and off with little force from these sections.
The JBL Reflect Aero’s charging case is made of heavy-duty plastic that has withstood many drops during our time using it. It is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand comfortably but can also be toted via a looped carrying strap. The strap in question is sky blue so that the charging case can be readily spotted.
The Aero’s case is more aerodynamic that that of the Reflect Flow Pro but retains its magnetization that locks the earbuds into place during charging. The magnetized locking is also back along with the white LED charging / charge level light at the front of the case.
The JBL Reflect Aero dropped in black, dark blue, white, and mint. Each is eye-catching in its own right. We rocked the dark blue version shown in our pictures.
Setting up the JBL Reflect Aero
The setup process for the JBL Reflect Aero is as elementary as one can be for a pair of out of the box earbuds. They automatically power up once you take them out of the case and will show up as a device on your phone’s or laptop’s Bluetooth connections screen. Select “JBL REFLECT AERO” from the list to pair and connect with notifications from a voice prompt that says “Pairing” and “Connected” along the way. A JBL Reflect Aero screen with a “Connect” button pops up along the way. You can also use it to set up your voice assistant for use with the Aero.
We recommend using the JBL Headphones app along with the Reflect Aero. It’s a well-designed, very intuitive piece of software with a wealth of functionality including an earbud fit checker, an equalizer with several presets, touch interface settings along with Noise Canceling, Ambient Sound Control, and Talk Thru customization.
The JBL Reflect Aero’s out of the box medium POWERFIN and ear tip combination worked well for all our testers. They slipped into the ear without needing any adjustment, stayed in place during movement, and supported the delivery of excellent quality sound.
We did try out different configurations with the smaller and larger POWERFINS and ear tips as well. Most of our team members opted for the medium-sized POWERFINS but switched to the large-sized ear tips. This was in the name of more bass in the music that piped through the earbuds and to get a better lockout of ambient noise in noisy gym settings.
The JBL Reflect Aero earbuds weigh a mere 0.5 oz per side. This light weight helps with them sitting comfortably in the ears for extended periods of time. We wore the Aero for up to two hours while working out without ever needing to remove them due to weight-related discomfort. They maintained a secure fit the whole time regardless of activity (including box jumps and sled pushes).
The JBL Reflect Aero delivers the high audio quality that we’ve become used to form JBL. The caliber of the sound delivered is on par with the hardcore audiophile grade earphones that cost hundreds more.
The key Reflect Aero feature pumping jams to you is a 6.8 mm dynamic driver in each earbud. Throw in great driver sensitivity, dynamic frequency response range, and active frequency response and you’re on the receiving end of crisp and clear sounds. The result is a truly immersive experience that will have you enjoying your choice of music throughout any activity.
We played music across genres ranging from rock to hip hop to EDM using a host of music apps that included SiriusXM, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stingray, and YouTube music. While the sound quality varied by app with SiriusXM and Spotify providing the best quality, the JBL Reflect Aero worked admirably well to each and did not miss a beat regardless of the intricacies of the music provider. We also listened to 320 kbps mp3 and mp4 files stored on our phones with the earbuds. Once again, they rocked the jams without issue.
We touched upon changing to the largest ear tips when discussing the JBL Reflect Aero’s fit. If genres of music that are heavy on mass are your preference, then we think this is a must. The sound immersion will be amplified to keep you moving through your workouts at higher BPMs.
The JBL Reflect Aero provided distortion-free sound even at its loudest volume level. The maximum volume provided may be a little too loud for even the most ardent audiophile and possibly not the best for your long-term hearing. We recommended a volume level of about 80% of the maximum when using the Reflect Aero. You’ll get everything you’re looking for at this level including a full treble and bass experience.
Active Noise Canceling (ANC), Ambient Aware, and Talk Thru remain core features of the JBL Reflect range via the Aero. They are all available immediately via single and double taps of the left earbud. ANC remains an essential in noisy gym environments while Ambient Aware is a must have for safety purposes if you’re running outdoors among bicycles, scooters, and motor vehicles. Talk Thru continues to work well when you want to reduce the volume of the music that you’re playing on the earbuds to have a quick chat with someone in-person.
The six-microphone configuration of the JBL REFLECT FLOW is back in the Reflect Aero. The cutting-edge voice capture setup once again features noise and wind isolation technology. The result are earbuds that preserve voice quality and while reducing background noise during calls and when using assistants such as Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa.
Voice calls made and received with the JBL Reflect Aero worked well indoors or outdoors via 5G cellular and Wi-Fi Calling. Our team members on the receiving end of our calls said that they did not hear any of the noises in the backgrounds from which we were speaking. These include environments music, vehicles driving by, the din of a crowded gym and the wind.
Google Assistant and Alexa had no problems understanding us via the JBL Reflect Aero in any of the environments that used the earbuds in.
The JBL Reflect Aero earbuds provide a solid eight hours of music enjoyment on a full charge. Their carrying case can be charged to store another sixteen hours of battery life for two full charges of the earbuds. This nets to an amazing twenty-four hours of battery life in a small unit!
The charging time for the Aero’s case is a mere two hours from 0% to 100%. Uncharged earbuds placed in the charging case take just thirty minutes to charge from 0% to 100%. Ten minutes in the case will give you enough to get through an hour-long workout in the JBL Reflect Aero.
The handy JBL Headphones app displays the charge percentage of the case and both earbuds as long as the JBL Reflect Aero is paired with the phone it is on. Spoken notifications are heard on the earbuds when the charge on either side dips below 10%. These side(s) with the low charge will usually power off in fifteen to twenty minutes of the first warning being heard.
The JBL Reflect Aero keeps streaming unbroken and undistorted sound at well over one hundred feet from the phone with which it is paired. This applies to Android and iOS devices (we tested with the Samsung S22+5G and Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max) and whether you are streaming using a cellular or Wi-Fi connection.
Our range test location was the weight training floor at our local LA Fitness gym. The Aero maintained its connection and perfect stream quality even with a plethora of metal weight benches and plates in between it and the phone. The stream finally started dropping at about 125 feet away from the phone. No re-pairing or reconnecting with the phone was needed when we went out of its range.
The JBL’s Reflect Aero has an IP68 rating from the International Electrotechnical Commission. High end consumer devices such as Apple iPhone and iPads have this designation. It means that they have “Protection from contact with harmful dust” and are “Protected from immersion in water with a depth of more than 1 meter” for at least 30 minutes based on testing conducted.
Although we never conducted the thorough testing that the IEC does, we did see our Reflect Aero earbuds get wet in a drizzle, pick up some sweat while working out, and fall on the floor a few times. They continued to function as well as they did out of the box afterwards as we used them on a daily basis for well over a month. Our conclusion is that the Aero is well-constructed and built to endure the rigors of indoor and outdoor athletes.
The JBL Reflect Aero should definitely be on your list if you are considering an upgrade to the latest generation of truly wireless earbuds. It offers all of the current technological innovations for such devices in a brilliant package. It also has a relatively low price point of just $150 which is $100 to $150 less than comparable offerings from Apple and Bose.