JBL Reflect Flow Pro full review

JBL’s Reflect Flow Pro earbuds are an upgrade to its running-focused Reflect Flow, offering key upgrades including bigger drivers for better-sounding audio, dedicated wingtips to keep the buds secure when exercising, adaptive noise cancellation tech to quieten the outside world and improved IP68 dust and water resistance, all for an additional £30/$30. 

However, at £159.99/$179.99, the JBL Reflect Flow Pro are comfortably in premium wireless earbud territory, so the question is, do they offer enough to tempt consumers from established buds like the AirPods or Samsung Galaxy Buds? Keep reading to find out. 

Design and fit

  • Small, comfortable design
  • Secure fit with Powerfins
  • IP68 dust and water resistance

The JBL Reflect Flow Pro are fairly compact true wireless earbuds with a stylish design and an even better fit.

The buds themselves are circular, sporting a JBL branded touch-sensitive central button, and the metallic accents help elevate the look of the Reflect Flow Pro above that of the standard Reflect Flow earbuds. The buds are lightweight enough to be forgotten about, and unlike some fitness-focused buds, they don’t protrude too far from the ear either. 

JBL has bundled a few extra accessories with the Reflect Flow Pro to make sure they stay snug in your ears during workouts - a key feature for a fitness-focused pair of buds.

First up, you’ll get three sets of silicone ear tips in the box to make sure you find the right size to create a seal in your ears - it not only improves overall audio quality, but it helps improve the ANC capabilities of the buds, and it’ll help the buds stay secure in your ears too. There’s even a Check My Best Fit feature in the JBL Headphones app to make sure you’ve got the best seal possible. 

Of course, there are plenty of earbuds with silicon eartips, so JBL has gone a step further and included four sets of ‘Powerfins’ in the box.

The silicon fins fit into the natural fold of your ears to keep the bud even more secure, especially helpful during impact sports and fast-paced exercise, and they work as advertised once you find the right size for your ears - I’ve gone on several runs with the Reflect Flow Pro buds and not felt the need to readjust the fit mid-run like I usually do with my AirPods Pro. 

One of the big bonuses of the JBL Reflect Flow Pro earbuds is the IP68 water and dust resistance, meaning the buds won’t only survive a particularly sweaty gym workout, but a run in a full-blown thunderstorm, and you can wear them to the beach without worry too.

In fact, JBL encourages you to rinse the earbuds after a sweaty workout to keep them clean - and you won’t see that from many wireless earbud manufacturers. Considering the latest AirPods 3 just got basic water resistance, it’s a great feature to see from JBL’s buds.  

When not sitting comfortably in your ears, the earbuds live in a matte-finish carry case, complete with a front-facing LED strip to display battery life - an interesting, if not less-accurate way to display battery compared to standard LED lights - and a small wrist strap to keep the case safe.

The high-end wireless earbuds are also available in a range of colours to suit your style, with Black, Pink, Navy Blue and White finishes all available. 

And, before you ask; no, the JBL Reflect Flow Pro earbuds don’t reflect light.

Smart features and battery life

  • Support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Customisable touch controls on each earbud
  • 10-hour battery life, additional 20 hours via charging case

While headphones were once simple devices for listening to music, that’s not the case in 2021 - these days, headphones and wireless earbuds have to do more.

In the case of the JBL Reflect Flow Pro, it has gone all-in on smarts, with built-in support not only for Google Assistant but Amazon Alexa too, allowing you to access the popular virtual assistants either with a wake word or a tap of the buds.

It works on both iOS and Android, and you can still access Siri on iPhone, giving you hybrid virtual assistant access - perfect if, like me, you go between Siri and Alexa/Google Assistant for smart home control. Hopefully Matter can fix that soon… 

The JBL Reflect Flow Pro buds sport touch controls on each earbud, with single-tap, double-tap and tap-and-hold functions on offer, and separate controls for each earbud. By default you’ll be able to perform tasks like summon your virtual assistant, toggle between ANC and Smart Ambient Mode, control music playback and answer calls, but you can customise them via the JBL Headphones app for iOS and Android.

The touch functionality works well, without much force required to activate, and the snug fit of the buds mean they stay securely in place while you’re tapping away. 

The JBL Headphones app also offers the ability to customise the sound on offer from the buds, with preset options to choose from as well as the ability to create your own custom EQ - perfect for audio wizards that want to squeeze the best performance possible out of the wireless earbuds. 

When it comes to connectivity, the JBL Reflect Flow Pro offer Bluetooth 5, with the company’s Dual Connect + Sync tech initiating the sync process as soon as the case is opened, making sure the buds are connected and ready to go by the time they’re in your ears. 

One area where the JBL buds outperform many rivals is in the battery life department. The buds themselves will last around 10 hours on a single charge (or 8 hours if you have ANC enabled) with the case holding an additional 20 hours of charge for a total of 30 hours. That should be more than enough for even the most intense workouts and sporting events, making them the ideal buds for long-distance runners. 

The charging case takes a while to top up at around two hours via the USB-C port on the rear, but it’s not necessarily a dealbreaker. 

Audio performance

  • Balanced audio with great bass
  • Customisable EQ via JBL Headphones app
  • Middling ANC and Ambient Aware performance

Of course, a pair of wireless earbuds can have all the bells and whistles it likes, but if the audio quality is rubbish, the buds won’t sell. Thankfully, that’s not the case with the JBL Reflect Flow Pro buds, whose 6.8mm drivers deliver a wonderfully rounded experience with surprising clarity.

The bass performance is punchy and deep when listening to tracks like AWOLNATION’s Sail, ideal for a pair of exercise-focused buds to keep you going during those tough moments. That’s not to say it’s overpowering though; the balance is just right as to not overtake the prominent mids or detailed highs, which stand out in their own right. 

The experience is best described as balanced, but if the sound isn’t to your preference, you can always tweak the output using the companion app on your smartphone - a handy plus that isn’t a given among wireless earbuds. 

You’ve also got Adaptive Noise Cancellation on offer, which aims to adjust the ANC based on the sounds in your environment, picked up by the six-mic array on the buds. As you might expect, the ANC isn’t quite as all-encompassing as a pair of over-ear headphones, but it certainly takes the edge off.

Enabling the ANC with a tap of the left earbud immediately quietens the environment around me, though it does a better job at cancelling out high-pitched hums and hisses (like the sound of my fan) than it does with the tooting horns of cars outside. It’ll suffice for flights and long-distance travel, but don’t expect it to quieten an environment like a loud Central London coffee shop. 

The buds can also do the opposite, filtering in outside sounds to make you more aware of the environment. It’s called Smart Ambient, and while it does filter in some sound, it’s not as prominent or detailed as the likes of the AirPods Pro, and at above mid-volume, it’s nearly unnoticeable, so there are certainly better implementations of the tech if that’s high up on your must-have list. 

Price

The JBL Reflect Flow Pro wireless earbuds come in at £159.99/$179.95, putting it up against some of the most popular wireless earbuds on the market like the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and Apple’s new AirPods 3. They aren’t the cheapest wireless earbuds on the market, and there are cheaper options that offer similar audio quality, but you’ll struggle to find IP68 protection and such a well-built companion app at the budget end of the market.

The JBL Reflect Flow Pro earbuds are available to buy directly from JBL in the UK and US, with third-party retailers expected to stock the wireless earbuds soon. Take a look at our selection of the best true wireless earbuds to see how the Reflect Flow Pro compares to the competition, and we’ve got the best budget wireless earbuds for those on the market for something more affordable. 

Verdict

The JBL Reflect Flow Pro wireless earbuds are the ideal companion if you’re a runner or regularly partake in outdoor events, boasting not only fins that help keep the buds snug in your ears but IP68 water and dust resistance too, surviving not only sweat but a full-blown storm without missing a beat. 

There’s even hands-free access to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for extra smarts. 

That’s all backed up by a balanced audio experience with great bass and detailed highs, customisable via the JBL Headphones app for iOS and Android. The ANC and Ambient Aware modes do the job too, though there are better performers on the market at a similar price.

Specs

JBL Reflect Flow Pro: Specs

  • IP68 Dust and Water Resistance
  • 4x Wing-tips
  • 3x ear tips
  • 6.8mm drivers
  • Frequency range: 20Hz - 20kHz
  • Impedance: 16ohms
  • 14.4g (each bud)
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Smart Assistant support
  • Touch controls
  • Adaptive Noise Cancellation
  • Ambient Aware
  • Customisable EQ via JBL Headphones app
  • 10-hour battery life, additional 20 hours via charging case

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