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JBL Reflect Mini BT review: Super sporty in-ear 'phones

Cliff Joseph
28 Nov 2016
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Our Rating 

Compact, sporty in-ear headphones that partner good sound with decent battery life

Pros 
Light, compact and comfy
Water-resistant design
Good sound quality
Cons 
Nothing at this price
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JBL’s Reflect Mini BT headphones are very much designed for sport, but their lightweight design, strong sound and competitive price make them a good choice for less sweaty activities too.

READ NEXT: The best wireless headphones you can buy, from £30

Design

Like many sports headphones, the Reflect Mini BT consists of two small in-ear headphones linked by a short cable that sits around the back of your neck, so that it doesn’t wave in your face while you’re pounding the pavement, or get snagged on equipment at the gym. The three-button remote control sits just below the left earpiece, so it’s easily within reach, and that also keeps the microphone close to your mouth so you can take voice calls if you need to.

The cable itself is nice and sturdy, and as the Reflect Minis are also water-resistant, you can really work up a sweat while you’re exercising and then just wipe them clean when you get back home again. And, as the name suggests, the cable is made of a reflective material that will help keep you visible and safe when you’re running at night.

The earpieces are available in several different colours, and are extremely light and compact – so light, in fact, that they didn’t even register on the scales that we normally use for weighing headphones. That ensures that they feel comfortable, and also helps to keep them in place when you’re on the move. A firm fit is needed to provide good sound quality with in-ear headphones, so JBL provides four different sets of ear tips with the Reflect Mini BT. There are two sets of the regular little tips that go straight into the ear canal, and two others that have an additional rubber ‘horn’ that fits into the folds of your outer ear to help keep them in place during exercise.

Sound quality

Even with a good fit, many cheaper in-ear headphones tend to suffer from weak bass output, while more expensive 'sporty' models will often exaggerate the bass to help get you motivated for your workout. The Reflect Mini BT treads a more measured path, with a good frequency range (10Hz-22kHz) ensuring that the headphones provide a full, firm bass sound without going completely over-the-top. The mid- and high frequencies are strong too, maintaining the detail in the manic guitar thrash of My Chemical Romance even at high volumes. If your workout playlists tend to be a non-stop dance marathon then you might prefer headphones that pump up the bass a bit more, but the more balanced sound of the Reflect Mini BT ensures that they work well with a wide range of musical genres, regardless of the calories being burnt.

The finishing touch is surprisingly good battery life. The small earpieces of the Reflect Mini BT suggested that they’d have very modest battery life, but JBL claims they’ll last for up to eight hours when fully charged. If you like to really pump up the volume during exercise then that will probably drop to five or six hours, but that’ll still see you through your workout, as well as providing good battery life for more sedate activities such as commuting to work on the train every day.

Verdict

It's possible to spend a small fortune on Bluetooth headphones, but JBL is onto a winner with the Reflect Mini BT. These £80 in-ear 'phones sound great, and the tough, water-resistant design means that they're as suitable for the daily commute as your local parkrun. Add in the convenience of wireless operation, and there's lots to like. 

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