A hardworking set of true wireless earphones that prove a good fit for workouts and other activities. They’re not the most remarkable fitness buds, but the overall breadth of their features and audio performance makes the Reflect Flow Pro one of the better-value options in their price bracket.
- Dynamic sound performance
- Good fit and comfort levels
- Strong IP rating
- Wide range of features
- Unremarkable looks
- Not the strongest noise cancellation
- UKRRP: £159.99
- USARRP: $179.95
- EuropeRRP: €179
- CanadaRRP: CA$269.98
- ResistanceIP68 protection against dust, sweat, and water
- Voice AssistantsAlexa and Google are built-in
- Adaptive noise cancellingAutomatically adjusts the strength of the JBL’s noise cancelling
If you’re someone for whom fitness is a part of everyday life, you’re well stocked for true wireless options.
There’s been a glut of wireless earbuds with a health bent making their way to the market, all aiming to provide that perfect fit, convenience and sound quality to help you power through workouts. But much like the Highlander series, there can be only one – so which should it be?
Why not the JBL Reflect Flow Pro? Coming with noise cancellation and ambient sound modes, a high water-resistance rating, access to voice assistants and more; for those who live active lifestyles, they certainly tick the right boxes. But are they the pair to opt for? Let’s find out whether these JBLs are quick out of the block – or suffer a false start.
- Small, compact looks
- Comfortable to wear
- Strong seal
These earbuds build on from the Reflect Flow (not a model Trusted Reviews has reviewed), sporting a similar size and appearance to their predecessors. They’re circular in shape, with an attached wing-tip (this can be swapped out for different sizes or one that has no tip), and are very compact in size.
The shape, size and wing-tip of the Reflect Flow Pro combine to produce a rock-solid fit and seal. The earphones stayed put during workouts, and although the fit would slightly loosen, the emphasis here is very much on “slightly”. Thankfully, these buds offer excellent comfort, too. I didn’t feel any discomfort during runs or wearing them in the gym, and the ear- and wing-tip options offer scope for finding something that, well, fits.
Available in four colours (black, white, blue and pink), the Reflect Flow Pro come with a matching-coloured case with a hang loop that, like the earbuds themselves, delivers function over style. There’s a hard-to-miss LED indicator on its front that shows the current charge of the case whenever it’s opened and closed, while around the back you’ll find an USB-C input for charging and a button to put the earbuds into their Bluetooth pairing mode.
- Noise-cancelling and two Transparency modes
- Strong water/sweat-resistance
- Google or Alexa voice assistants
Every brand seems to have a set of earphones with the ‘pro’ moniker, so what makes the Reflect Flow Pro deserving of their name? It’s the addition of adaptive noise cancellation, Ambient Aware and TalkThru modes over their predecessors.
So the Reflect Flow Pro join an increasing number of fitness buds with ANC as part of the feature set, and for some the question remains of whether it’s necessarily merited on a set of headphones where it’s helpful to have awareness of your surroundings. But that’s what the passthrough mode is there for.
And the JBL’s noise-cancellation performance is simply fine. Judged on its own merits it’s rather slight; it’s the seal and fit of the earbuds that does much of the work, with volume control lending a hand, too. The noise-cancelling blots out ambient noise and removes sufficient splutter from engines that might distract outside. Viewed as a whole then, rather than the sum of its parts, the Reflect Flow Pro’s noise-isolating prowess is robust – as long as that seal is maintained, of course.
Noise-cancellation of the adaptive kind is still something I’m yet to make up my mind about. It’s difficult to measure how well the earphones perform for altering the strength of the cancellation based on what the earphones’ microphones sense; but, it may offer gains with battery life.
The Ambient mode works well enough, allowing the surrounding environment to poke through for added awareness. However, it does slightly affect the quality of the audio, which becomes a little smaller and less weighty compared to the ANC mode. As with JBL’s headphones, there’s a choice of two listening experiences via Ambient Sound Control, with TalkThru reducing the volume of music, if you want to have a conversation (this mode sounds noisier, though).
Endurance with ANC on is eight hours – more than the Beats Fit Pro at six hours and the same as the Jabra Elite 7 Active. You don’t get fast-charging, but there is support for wireless charging. Without ANC on its 10 hours – and JBL states 30 hours in total with the case, so I’d imagine it’s 24 hours with ANC. Filling the tank up from empty takes two hours.
The earbuds are rated at IP68, a slight jump from the Reflect Flow’s IP67. This guards them against dust, sweat and dirt, as well as delivering protection from being immersed into a body of water 1.5m deep for 30 minutes – don’t take that as a reason to use them in the swimming pool, however. Bluetooth is version 5.0, and while there’s no mention of which codecs are supported, Android settings shows AAC.
I haven’t mentioned the JBL Headphones app yet, so here it is. All of the usual stuff – from toggling noise-cancelling and Ambient modes, to downloading firmware updates is present. In addition, you can check battery life status, customise touch control functions (a choice of playback, ambient sound, volume, voice assistant or none at all) and complete an Ear Fit test, too.
There’s an EQ section for creating your own sound profile, or choosing from one of the presets available (Jazz, Vocal, Bass, Club and Studio). The effects of these vary (Vocal emphasises voices in the most unnatural way) and enabling them takes a few seconds to take effect.
Both Google and Alexa voice assistants are supported (activated through their own apps) and you can switch between them in the JBL app. It’s nice to have the choice if you rely on voice assistants – and if you prefer not to use them, they can be disabled altogether.
Automatic play/pause when the earbuds are taken out of the ears is supported (that can also be toggled on or off), and there’s the Find My Buds functionality if they go missing. Smart Audio & Video mode prioritises the Bluetooth connection for stability, and the Voice Aware function controls how much of your voice you can hear with the Ambient modes (low, mid and high settings). This is a very comprehensive and rigorous list of features, whether you like your smarts or prefer to customise.
- Good detail levels and sense of dynamism
- Wide, open sound
- Good balance
There’s nothing particularly remarkable about the JBL Reflect Flow Pro’s sound signature – no flashiness or extravagance, these buds knuckle down and get the basics right, in-keeping with their low-profile looks.
I’d make the argument that the Adidas Z.N.E. 01 ANC deliver more explosiveness and rumble to low frequencies, as well as more refinement to treble. However, the JBL lay on more detail and dynamism – both in describing the difference between quiet and loud moments, as well as the lower-level dynamics of vocals and instruments that give tracks more of a fluidity and expression than the Adidas appear capable of.
Where the Adidas could sound rather one-note with Anakin’s Betrayal from John Williams’ Revenge of the Sith, the JBL make the rise in tone of the string orchestration more evident, which adds to the sweeping, flowing nature of that sad and operatic track. You hear, as well as feel, how the instruments soar and retreat, with that bit of dynamism and expression elevating the music.
The Reflect Flow Pro are also capable of delivering a big, open sound, allowing instruments plenty of space to exist within the soundstage. Unlike the Adidas, they don’t seem to falter as much when the volume is pushed up, with enough separation between instruments and voices so they don’t come across as if they’re completely meshed as one broad sound. The counter is that the Z.N.E. 01 ANC can go louder, with a bit more energy to their playback too.
Nonetheless, the JBL Reflect Flow Pro come across well-judged over the frequency range, offering clarity with vocals – I can hear what’s being said in the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage (with not a hint of sibilance), and there’s detail both broad and minute, with a nice crispness to the cymbal crashes in En Vogue’s classic Don’t Let Go. When the vocal part of that song hits, the JBL give the harmonies a lively rendition that gets your head nodding.
Listen to them for a little while and you may, as I initially did, find them somewhat unremarkable. Stick with them and the JBL’s qualities become clearer and more convincing. They’re an all-round pair of earphones with a robust and engaging sound.
Should you buy it?
If you want a robust gym-ready pair With a high IP rating, strong fit and good comfort levels, the JBL are ready to tackle whatever your throw at them.
If you favour some more style If style is a consideration, consider the Beats Fit Pro, which deliver stronger ANC but not as many features.
Good fit? Check. Good sound? Check. Impressive array of features? Very much so. The noise cancellation isn’t the strongest, but I don’t think that’s a huge issue here since the noise-isolating characteristics of the design do most of the work. Get the fit and seal right and the ANC attempts to mop up what else is left.
There’s nothing that’s extravagant about the JBL Reflect Flow Pro, but I see that as part of their appeal. They quietly get on with things in a manner I very much came to appreciate over the course of testing. There’s more here than initially meets the eye.
How we test
We test every headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Tested over several weeks
Tested in comparison to other true wireless
Tested with real world use
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Despite being rated up to IP68, you cannot use the Reflect Flow Pro for swimming.
No, the Reflect Flow Pro can only be paired with one device at a time.