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Audio = Ground Zero - JBL Reflect Flow Pro and Charge 5.1

Due to recent extensive international travel , the range of environments one finds oneself in and a penchant to get a daily run in, over the last couple of years I have grown to appreciate the advancements that have been made in the realm of earbuds, not merely in terms of ergonomic design but fit, playtime, adaptive noise cancelling and voice clarity when it comes to taking calls and attending meetings.

JBL as a company has proved to be a reliable provider of quality gear in the mid-price segment and with its iterations of product improvements, never ceases to improve the status quo, with the recently JBL Reflect Flow Pro not being an exception.

Geared at serving the needs of an active lifestyle with its lightweight built, the Reflect Flow Pro earbuds offer not only IP68 protection against sweat, rain or dust but a decent battery life and most importantly the ability to convey a lively, detailed sound, including the option to switch to ambient mode to not completely block out noises so you keep aware of your surroundings as you zip through traffic.

While compared to earlier incarnations of the Reflect Flow series, they are not exactly on the small side, I specifically like the fit of Reflect Flow Pros as they come with stabilising ear tip fins and an app to test the most suitable sound settings, accommodating different shapes with the focus being firmly set on function over form, which also goes for the oval carry case where the focus is on sturdy - instead of fanciness.

The aforementioned app also serves the purpose of providing different pre-sets and customised EQ adjustments, with a focus not only on bass but also other subtle frequencies, as well as enabling an easy switch between different modes while on the go.

Things are rounded out with a tracking function, which works in tandem with your mobile device and hands-free enabled control through voice assistance.

Battery life is on the generous side of ten hours plus in addition to the case offering an additional twenty hours of charging if needed. Summa summarum, the JBL’s Bluetooth backed Reflect Flow Pros with their customizable all-access touch control are one of the more robust, dynamic yet comfortable companions for life on the go with six microphones ensuring that your voice is not dropping out and an overall nuanced sound.

On the mobile speaker front, JBL has recently launched its fifth generation of the portable Charge 5.1 and upon the first test drive, the verdict is that the sound emitting qualities have been vastly improved compared to previous incarnations, while not sacrificing any of the sturdy and durable qualities the series has become known for.

With updated dustproofing features and the claim that it can be submerged in water up until a depth of 150 centimetres, which I have yet to test, the 5.1 still has the same silhouette yet comes with improved rubber lines for traction and easily accessible USB ports and a new Party Boost button to significantly beef up the sound when needed, which can also be activated via the proven JBL Connect app.

Sound-wise, things seem to be crisper than with its predecessor yet with a bit more of oomph as far as impact is concerned with clearer treble frequencies, and with its design it proves to be one of the top portable speakers in the mid-price segment.


images from company website

T • May 31, 2022


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