JBL 56BT Bluetooth wireless headphones review

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Audiophiles might stay away from wireless sound systems, but the market at large certainly seems to be receptive to Bluetooth audio devices. The JBL 56BT Bluetooth wireless on-ear stereo headphones with rechargeable battery is one of the latest Bluetooth headsets on the market. Available now for Rs. 9,990, let’s see is the headphones are worth your money.

Look and feel
The JBL 56BT is a good looking piece of kit, though the plastic band and casing for the cups feels a little tacky. This is offset with a slightly recessed chrome strip in the middle of the band with the JBL logo embossed on it. The back of the ear-cups has a metallic veneer which looks good, while the cups themselves are soft and fit nicely.

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Wearing the headset felt very comfortable – it’s an on-ear set so it does press tightly against your head, but the light-weight design means that it didn’t feel uncomfortable when used to watch an entire movie.

The controls are built into the left ear-cup. There’s a round button in the center which can be pressed to answer calls, or double-tapped to reject. You can also press above and below the button to adjust the volume, or double-tap to skip to the next track or rewind when playing music on your mobile. The up/ down buttons aren’t marked on the headset though, so most people will only realise this functionality if they read the user manual, or accidentally stumble upon it.

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The base of the same ear-cup has a slot for a wired connection, and also the power button for Bluetooth and battery indicator. The battery indicator is not very intuitive, and reading the manual is really mandatory with this headset.

Audio performance
Most Bluetooth headsets we’ve tried don’t measure up to the wired ones in terms of pure audio quality and the JBL 56BT is no exception. They sound loud, but slightly muffled, and at maximum volume you will notice distortion in the lower registers.

Bass performance was one of the weaker points for the headset – the sound profile was definitely higher than is ideal. This was particularly apparent when watching Star Wars with the headset connected to the iPad on Bluetooth. Darth Vader lacked his ominous rumble, and sounded like an ordinary guy instead!

Most pop music sounded good, but listening to Blood on the Leaves by Kanye West also seemed to lack impact compared to what you get from some of the other similarly priced (but wired) headphones on the market.

Price: Rs. 9,990

In the box
JBL J56BT Bluetooth wireless on-ear stereo headphones with rechargeable battery
USB-rechargeable cable
Accessory audio cable
Carry case
Quick start guide

Specifications
Dynamic frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
Maximum SPL: 115dB @ 30mW
Microphone sensitivity: -42dBPa/v @ 1KHz
Supported connectivity: Bluetooth and 3.5mm wired
Battery life: 10 hours, USB rechargeable

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