JBL Live 650BTNC

JBL Live 650BTNC: Great ANC headphones on a budget

JBL is a subsidiary of Harman which is primarily into audio products, mainly concentrated on headphones, earphones, etc. They have released Live 650BTNC which has Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) feature.

Design & build quality

Live 650BTNC is not too heavy (250 grams) or bulky in comparison. The middle portion of the headphone is sturdy with some leather-like material wrapped around the metal frame. This headphone has a good grip over your head. The design is neat and there are no wires visible. The headphone has an adequate amount of tension which helps keep the headphone in place comfortably.

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Comfort & controls

The cushions on the earcups are soft and are comfortable on the ears. On the right ear cup, you have the power switch, next and back buttons with a button for music/call control between them, a 2.5 mm port (for wired listening, with JBL’s own cable), mic, Bluetooth, and ANC buttons. And a LED indicator. On the left ear cup, you have a micro-USB port for charging with a LED indicator for charging state.

Even after keeping these headphones on your ears for extended periods of time, it feels comfortable, even if you wear spectacles/glasses. The wire that you get with the headphones also has a mic with a button on it. So, you can use the mic for calls if you run out of battery to use Bluetooth.

If you tap on the left ear cup on the surface, it activates the voice assistants on the phone. It currently supports Google Now and Alexa on Android. According to JBL, it should also work with Siri on iPhones, which we were not able to test due to the lack of iPhones with us. The voice assistant configuration should be done using JBL’s app which can be downloaded from the play store here.

You can also tinker with the equalizer in this app to change the sound. You can choose between Google Now and Alexa, one at a time. You cannot set it for both at the same time. There is also multi-point connectivity which allows you to connect to 2 devices simultaneously. This feature works as expected and allows you to listen to music from one device and take calls from the other.

Sound quality

Being a consumer product like this, Live 650BTNC does have a warm sound signature. What this means is that the lows are a bit emphasized, but only by a little bit. It still retains the other aspects of the sound. These are designed to sound pleasing to the ears. So, it won’t 100% accurately reproduce the sounds, but most people will be pleased with how these headphones sound.

The music reproduction through the 40 mm drivers is quite good and the vocals are good too. The audio quality seems much better when listening through the wire instead of Bluetooth. Audio quality is a bit better with ANC enabled, especially bass. ANC is just about average, but easily one of the best at this price point.

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Battery

Live 650BTNC ANC has a 700 mAh capacity battery, which easily lasts a couple of days, which is good. Officially rated run time for the headphones is 30 hours with ANC off and 20 hours with ANC on. Either way, a full charge will ensure that the headphone can carry through for at least a couple of days. With an average daily usage time of 4-5 hours, we were able to get through the week with a single charge. There is also quick charging wherein you can charge for 15 minutes from 0 and get a runtime of 2 hours.

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Price & verdict

Live 650BTNC is available at around ₹9,500 on some of the online shopping websites. At the time of writing this, it is also available at ₹10,999. These headphones are good if you can get them for less than ₹10,000. At this price point, it offers a lot, and there is not a lot you can find to complain about, maybe except for the lack of Bluetooth 5 and HD audio codecs. At this point, we are just nit-picking. It is a great value for money product, and you cannot go wrong with this.

Pros

  • Good battery life
  • Good audio reproduction
  • Option for wired audio, wired mic
  • Multi-point Bluetooth connectivity
  • Good ANC for the price

Cons

  • Bluetooth 4.2 / No Bluetooth 5
  • Slight latency when watching video on android phones
  • Outdated micro-USB Connector for charging
  • Proprietary wired cable with mic

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