As convenient as true wireless earbuds are compared to standard Bluetooth earphones, you have to admit, the more expensive price does steer plenty of people towards more traditional headphone options. That may not be the case soon with an increasing number of options in the category retailing at a more affordable price point. Case in point: these $20 JLab Go Air Pop earbuds.
That’s right, it’s a $20 Airpods alternative, allowing you to listen to your favorite playlists completely wire-free without paying premium. That means, you’ll only be mildly irritated the next time you lose your tiny earbuds in a crowded coffee shop, a gym locker, or the office pantry, instead of absolutely infuriated and gut-wrenchingly heartbroken as you will be when you lose a $200 Bose Sport Open or a $350 Klipsch T5 II.
The JLab Go Air Pop uses an earbuds form factor that sits right outside your ear, with none of the dangling stems found in some of the models out there. There’s no hook that secures it around your ear like some sportier designs out there, so you’ll have to find a flush fit with one of the three sizes of ear tips included. Despite its low price, it’s got many of the features you will find in other true wireless earbuds, so you get a whole lot of the benefits while only paying a fraction of the price.
It’s equipped with a 6mm dynamic driver on each earbud, which is admittedly smaller than those found on higher-end models (the B&W P17, for instance, uses 9.2mm drivers while the Bose Sport Open uses massive 16mm ones). Given the quality of similar speakers on the outfit’s other releases, though, we imagine sound is reasonably decent, despite the smaller driver size.
The JLab Go Air Pop comes with a Bluetooth 5.1 radio on each of the earpieces, so both of them can connect independently, making it possible to use just one earbud if you feel like it. Each one has its own MEMS mic, too, for clear calls whether you’re wearing two ear buds or just one, along with touch controls, so you can adjust volume, control playback, answer calls, and activate your voice assistant of choice with simple gestures. It’s IPX4 rated, too, so it can shrug off sweat, splashes, and moisture exposure, so it should be safe to wear during runs and workouts.
Each earbud is equipped with a 43mAh battery that can keep it running for over eight hours of playback, so you can listen to music the entire workday without having to recharge. If you decide to extend your listening, the charging case comes with its own 350mAh battery, too, which, the outfit claims, houses another 24 hours’ worth of power. That means, you’ve got yourself 32 hours’ worth of power on tap. Do note, charging from the case requires you to place the ear buds inside for two hours, so you can’t quite listen to tunes for 32 hours straight.