This article compares JBL Live Pro+, JBL 230NC TWS and JBL 130NC TWS is pumping out and flooding the market with low-to-mid price noise cancelling earbuds with attractive specifications that make you wonder if the other “premium” earbuds are overpriced. The JBL230 and 130 are upgrades of earlier models with the NC (noise cancellation) feature included.
The competition is heating up among the brands, and wireless charging and ANC are becoming a norm for mid-high range earbuds. Such features are no longer “delicacies” or luxurious, but are becoming the essentials for mid-tier earphones.
And without these features, they should cost less than USD 100 unless they have other new features such as a bone conduction sensor, full IP68 ratings or spatial audio.
Similar Features of JBL Live Pro+, JBL 230NC TWS and JBL 130NC TWS
The following are similar key features:
- IP Ratings: IPX4 rating for water-resistant against sweat, rain and water splash. This is the minimum durability requirement for most earbuds for general or daily use, including gym workouts and outdoor.
- Long Battery Life: All three models have long battery life, especially the JBL 130NC TWS and JBL 230NC TWS is 8 hours with ANC on, which is very good and on par with the best earbuds in the market that cost more.
- Transparency: All three models have a transparency mode that allows listening to ambient sound without removing the earbuds.
- Mono mode: All three models support mono mode, which means using either earbud while the other is in the charging case.
- Bluetooth with 10m range: All three earbuds come with Bluetooth and up to 10m connection range.
- Battery charging: All three models charging time is 2 hours, and fast charging for 10 mins gives 2 hours of music time.
- Weight: All three models are lightweight between 5 to 6 grams.
Key Differences between JBL Live Pro+ vs JBL 230NC TWS vs JBL 130NC TWS
All three models come in black, white and blue colour. However, JBL Live Pro+ has unique pink, and beige colours, and recently added JBL Live Pro+ limited edition metallic colours including rose gold, chrome and blue. JBL 230NC TWS also has other colours but is currently not available.
JBL Live Pro+ and JBL 230NC TWS look similar because of the mini boom mic, while the JBL 130NC TWS used a hidden mic without a visible boom. Besides the difference in “look”, charging case, and sound driver, we could not find any significant differences between JBL 130NC TWS and JBL 230NC TWS, which also cost the same at $99.95.
JBL Live Pro+ has several significantly better features than the JBL 130NC TWS and JBL 230NC TWS for an extra $30:
Adaptive hybrid ANC
Adaptive hybrid ANC using 4 microphones, which is an advanced feature normally found in high-end earbuds. Users can select the standard modes such as Everyday, Travel and Active mode, or customise the effect based on existing activity. We know that ANC with 4 microphones is the best because it includes feed-forward and also feedback ANC which covers the entire spectrum.
The ear Sensor with auto-play or pause feature on JBL Live Pro+ activates depending on whether the earbud is inserted or removed from the ear. This has been a common feature that we take for granted in older earbud models, such as the Jabra Elite Active 65t. We find it surprising that they exclude this feature in the JBL 130NC TWS and JBL 230NC TWS, but included the more “advanced” noise cancellation(NC) instead.
The wireless charging feature on the JBL Live Pro+ charging case makes it very convenient to charge the earbuds without ever needing to plug in the USB connector. What we normally do is leave the charging case on the wireless charger and keep it juiced 24/7. After using the earbuds, we just put them back into the charging case and never have to waste time plugging in.
Based on the above three features, we feel JBL Live Pro+ has a better value for money when compared to the other two earbuds, JBL 230NC TWS and JBL 130NC TWS. The only disadvantage if the JBL Life Pro+ is the shorter battery life of 6 hours with ANC on.
Table showing the differences between JBL Live Pro+, JBL 230NC TWS and JBL 130NC TWS
|Tech Specs||JBL Live PRO+||JBL 230NC TWS||JBL 130NC TWS|
|Weight (each earbud)||5g||5.1g||5.7g|
|Colour||Black, white, pink, blue, chrome, rose gold, beige||Black, white, blue||Black, white, blue|
|Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)||Adaptive, hybrid||Yes||Yes|
|Features||Custom equaliser set|
JBL Signature Sound
|3 preset equaliser only|
JBL Pure Bass
|3 preset equaliser only|
JBL Pure Bass
|Microphone per earbud||3||2||2|
|Wind Noise Reduction||Yes||No||No|
|Microphone Sensitivity||-38 dBV@1kHz/Pa||TBC||-10 dBV@1kHz/Pa|
|Fit and Comfort|
|Ear Gel||5 sizes||3 sizes||3 sizes|
|Music Time (ANC Off)||7h||10h||10h|
|Music Time (ANC On)||6h||8h||8h|
|Total Time + Charge Case (ANC On)||28h (no ANC)||24h||24h|
|Earbud Battery||Lithium Polymer|
|Charging Case Battery||Lithium Polymer|
For everyday use, the JBL 130NC and JBL 230NC are very capable earbuds with fixed noise cancellation, hear-through and long battery life. Another 30% or $30 more will get wireless charging, adaptive hybrid ANC and ear sensors.