Gadget Enthusiast

These Wireless Earbuds Look So 2005, But They Still Have The Tech To Be Great In 2019

  • The Endurance Peak are a pair of in-ear sports earbuds by American speaker company JBL.
  • The Endurance Peaks are truly wireless, featuring Bluetooth connectivity, 28 hours of total battery life when used together with its charging case, and also an IPX7 water resistance rating.
  • They retail officially in Malaysia for RM569, and can be found online in Singapore from around SGD155.

For a while now, long-established audio equipment maker JBL have been attempting to solidify their status as a forerunner of wireless Bluetooth audio peripherals, with their line of portable speakers especially earning plaudits for sound quality, design, performance, and ruggedness.

As part of this push, the Samsung-owned company are also making a concerted effort to tackle the crowded sports earbud market, with a strong line-up of products priced attractively to capture consumer attention.

One solid example of this is their Endurance line of sports earbuds that all come with a degree of water resistance, and all but one with the ability to connect wirelessly via Bluetooth.

Initially releasing with four different choices starting from RM119, the Endurance line offered shoppers different options based on different sporting needs, ranging from running all the way to swimming.

Late last year, JBL introduced the most expensive addition yet to this family—the Endurance Peak.

Priced at RM569 or around SGD155, the Endurance Peak (I’ll be referring to them as the Peaks from now on) are the first truly wireless pair of sports earbuds in the same family, and is aimed towards individuals who want a truly freeing option to take on their runs, hikes, bicycling sessions, or even swims.

Featuring Bluetooth connectivity on up to 4 hours of continuous playback, touch controls, and an IPX7 waterproof rating, the features on the Peaks ostensibly measure up to many of other high-end wireless sports earbuds on the market, but at a price that is also quite manageable for those who don’t want to shell out a fortune.

A Complete, Rugged Package

Image Credit: Vulcan Post

The Peaks come packaged with a charger case that looks like a miniature cargo crate, with an aesthetic that’s akin to something you’d find in a video game. The case connects via a micro USB cable and is able to hold a power reserve of up to 24 hours. According to JBL, it only takes 10 minutes of charging to provide an hour of listening time, meaning an ample supply of power for those planning to go for extended outdoor sessions.

Image Credit: Vulcan Post

The earbuds themselves also follow in the aesthetic of the charging case, sporting a vibe that you’d call futuristic. On both sides, the buds are attached to rectangular blocks that end in hooks that wrap around the back of the wearer’s ear. JBL calls these PowerHooks, and they act as a smart toggle to turn the earbuds on and off.

Image Credit: Vulcan Post

But despite the clever design, the earbuds themselves unfortunately don’t look particularly enticing. Showing them around to my colleagues in the office, all of them unanimously agreed that they’d prefer not to be seen wearing the Peaks during daily use, citing the design as garish, and a throwback to the old Bluetooth headsets of 2005.

But still, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you might have an alternative opinion regarding the aesthetic of the Peaks.

When it came to actually wearing the Peaks, however, initial efforts to wear them were awkward due to the design of the PowerHooks, but after two to three tries, putting them on began to start feeling natural, with the manual helping me discover that I should use a twist-and-lock motion to secure the earbuds on tight.

Image Credit: Vulcan Post
Image Credit: Vulcan Post

In terms of comfort levels, the Peaks were just alright, with the accompanying ear tips fitting quite snug in the ear and therefore providing a good enough of sound isolation. Additionally, the lightness of the earbuds themselves meant that my ears didn’t fatigue too quickly, and allowed for longer wearing sessions if I so wanted.

Connectivity was a complete non-issue, with the Peaks easily pairing with different devices almost instantaneously sensing a Bluetooth connection, and the distance offered between devices went up to just over 10 metres without any audible problems.

In terms of audio quality, the Peaks provided satisfactory power in terms of amplitude, but interestingly enough the focus here was not on bass, but rather more towards the mids and highs. This decision to not pump up the bass here is a curious one by JBL, considering that users might prefer more of a pump in their music during a workout.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t enough bass however, as you’ll still be able to enjoy your EDM, rock, or other high energy genres without feeling like there’s something missing. The only way I’d see an issue here is if you’re looking for something extremely bass-heavy to help you hype up for a demanding workout or exercise session.

In terms of stereo width, the Peaks did suffer a little thanks to the deep positioning of the earbud tips inside the ear canals, causing the various frequencies to fight each other for my attention on more than one occasion. But as it turns out, this is also something common with most in-ear headphones, just to differing degrees of effect.

Verdict

Ultimately, the JBL Endurance Peaks are something I’d classify as a very good product for the money.

Considering how much they cost, the features that you get pretty much encompass all of what you’d want from a pair of truly wireless sports earbuds—they’re built extremely well, are able to suffer demanding conditions and submersion in water, connect to devices without problems

The only two issues that I do have with the Peaks are that they do not feature the option to charge the case using a USB-C, which has become a widespread standard these days, and that they’re also not exactly the prettiest things to look at.

But these two things definitely aren’t deal-breakers, and all things considered, the other features offered by the Peaks more than offset any of its peripheral shortcomings.

ProsCons
Built strong and ruggedDoesn’t look great
Decent pricingDoes not have USB-C charging
Quick Bluetooth connectivityBass levels a little low
Virtually waterproof
Decent battery life
  • You can find out more about the JBL Endurance peak earphones here.

VP Verdict is a series where we personally try and test out products, services, fads, and apps. Want to suggest something else for us to try? Leave a comment here or send the suggestion into our Facebook page.


 

Subscribe to Vulcan Post Newsletter

Stay updated with our weekly curated news and updates.