The JLab Go Air Pop are super-cheap buds – but they don’t sound cheap, instead offering seriously good value and features for the price.
- Bright, surprisingly versatile sound
- Built-in charging cable
- Useful onboard EQ modes
- Harsh-sounding at top volume
- Controls can be fiddly
- Not particularly stylish
- EQ3 SOUNDChoose between JLab Signature, Balanced and Bass Boost modes via button presses
- Dual ConnectUse earbuds independent of each other or together
The JLab Go Air Pop are true wireless earbuds for people who want to break free from the cables, but don’t want to spend big to do it.
The Go Air Pop cost just £19.99/$20, and for that they promise to deliver powerful sound with EQ support to better suit your audio, onboard controls, and generous battery life from their small-bud form factor.
While there might not exactly be a shortage of true wireless earbuds out there right now, if you really are on a budget, are the JLab Go Air Pop worth a look?
The JLab Go Air Pop are available now in the UK from retailers including Currys, Argos and John Lewis priced at £19.99. In the US, they’re priced at $20.
- Available in five colours
- Case includes built-in charging cable
- IPX4 sweat-resistant rating
The Go Air Pop certainly aren’t going to win any awards for stylish design. However, for a set of buds that sit snug and light in the ears and offer additional tips to improve fit, they tick the key boxes.
You can pick them up in five different shades for those who like a pop of colour. My black set didn’t feel all that exciting to look at, so you might well want to go for something brighter.
The Go Air Pop aren’t the smallest set of buds to drop into your ears; but, thankfully, neither do they protrude horribly. In the box you’ll also find a choice of small, medium and large gel tips included to help you achieve the optimal fit. The medium set were perfect for me, and note, too, that slipping off a set of tips to try out a different size proved nice and easy, so most should find something that works here.
I’ve used these buds throughout the day, at night in bed for short periods, and over 1–2-hour stints, and they haven’t caused discomfort at any point. They didn’t press or sit uncomfortably in the ear – while these buds are cheap, they certainly don’t feel like it.
They also held up well during exercise. The Go Air Pop come with an IPX4 sweat- and water-resistant rating, which means they’ll be fine to withstand some splashes of water. I’ve run, rowed and done HIIT workouts with them in, and they haven’t annoyingly slipped out around for me.
You do get a microphone here for handling calls, and some onboard controls, although this wouldn’t be obvious by simply looking at these buds. They’re the touch-enabled kind, allowing you to do such things as turn the volume up and down, play and pause audio, skip tracks, summon your smart assistant, answer calls and flick through the EQ modes.
Some of those controls are split between the two buds or available on both, such as dealing with calls or changing the EQ modes. Unfortunately, there isn’t a companion app to customise the controls that are assigned to each bud, or the number of taps to use them.
The controls certainly aren’t the Go Air Pop’s strength. Tapping once to turn up the volume can at times be mistaken for trying to skip a track. Triple-tapping to change EQ modes proved challenging at times, even more so if you’re planning to exercise with them on. They’re generally fine if you’re sitting at a desk, but be prepared to instruct them more than once on occasions.
When you’re not using the buds, which you can use together or independently, you can drop them into the plastic charging case, which is a pocket-friendly size. The most important feature is on its underside, where you’ll find the built-in USB charging cable – which is ideal if you’re terrible at keeping hold of cables.
- Good connectivity
- 32-hour battery
There’s no active noise cancellation here and while the isolation is generally fine indoors, getting the best experience from the Go Air Pop outdoors requires you to play around with the tips to achieve the optimum seal. Better outdoor isolation is available from pricier buds.
Neither are they particularly pleasing for handling calls – although that’s a gripe I could largely live with in my time with them. There’s a built-in MEMS microphone, which promises clear call quality. While performance was fine for video calls and Zoom meetings, they struggled to deliver clarity outdoors, when they’re up against more ambient noise.
For connectivity, the Go Air Pop are decent. I used them paired with an Android phone, iPhone and a MacBook. While there isn’t any multipoint support here, I didn’t experience any dropouts or connection issues with these buds – which is a major plus.
In terms of battery life, the Go Air Pop are solid performers. You get up to eight hours from a single charge, with a 60-hour standby time and total playtime of 32 hours when you factor in the charging case.
My experience suggest those numbers hold up, which puts these buds up there with much pricier models for staying power – and that includes Apple’s AirPods. You don’t have additional features such as ANC to drain that power, of course, but I found it took a couple of hours of listening time, at near to top volume before battery life started to drop.
Thee Go Air Pop are good for a week’s use before they’ll need a top-up, and while you don’t have quick-charging support at your disposal, the charging case makes these buds easy to charge with that built-in charging cable.
- Different EQ modes
- Warm bass response
- Sound harsh at high volumes
The instant fear of placing a pair of £20/$20 earbuds into your ears is that they’re going to sound a terrible, tinny mess. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case with the Go Air Pop. In fact, I was actually pleasantly surprised by how well-rounded the Air Pop sounded. They’re not perfect, but they actually sound better than some pricier buds I’ve tried.
Inside you’ll find 6mm drivers and a 20Hz – 20kHz frequency response range that promises some bass and power, with three different EQ modes to better cater that hardware to your audio. Choose from JLab Signature, Balanced and Bass Boost EQ modes.
JLab suggests Signature is the best EQ option for most music, with an emphasis on bass and vocals. Balanced is for podcasts, audiobooks and classical music, while Bass Boost is designed for use while working out.
I tried listening in all three of those EQ modes, and if you follow the advice, the Go Air Pop work pretty well.
The Signature mode delivers a pleasantly warm bass response, mids are smooth, and there wasn’t any harshness. That is, until you crank up the volume. At higher volumes the Go Air pop sound harsh on the treble front, although not to a point that the buds are unlistenable at those volumes.
Bass Boost does what it says on the tin. There’s a more noticeable thump of bass, alongside some muddiness too. If you want bass and power to be the overriding feeling, this mode does deliver it.
Last up is the Balanced mode, which is supposed to be for classical music, podcasts and audiobooks. It worked well here, highlighting instruments such as violins or vocal ranges with a decent level of detail and separation. This is really where the Go Air Pop surprised me tmost.
Should you buy it?
You want enjoyable sound on a real budget For £20/$20, the Go Air Pop deliver a punchy sound that even offers some versatility to better suit your audio.
You want super-slick controls It’s great that JLab makes room for controls, but they can be a little fussy to use. Particularly while exercising.
For the money, the JLab Go Air Pop really do impress. The sound is solid with some room to tweak, they feel comfortable to wear all day and even for exercise, and you get battery life and setup that won’t see you having to charge them on a regular basis. If you really don’t want to spend above £20/$20 on a set of true wireless earbuds, these are arguably some of the best – if not the best – you can buy right now.
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Tested for several days
Tested with real world use
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The JLab aren’t water-proof, but they are water-resistant with their IPX4 rating meaning they are protected from splashes of water.
The charging case has an integrated USB type-A cable that can be used to charge the headphones.