Price (RRP): $249.95
I don’t think I’ve look at any of JBL’s “CLUB” range of headphones before. Well, there’s no better time to start than when a new model is released. The JBL CLUB 700BT Bluetooth headphones are the entry level of the three CLUB models.
Review: JBL CLUB 700BT Bluetooth headphones
- Australian Website here.
- Manual or Support pages here. (Manuals & Downloads tab – quick start guides only.)
- Price: A$249.95
- From: Legitimate retailers and a direct from JBL.
- Warranty: 12 months
- Country of Manufacture: China
- About: JBL was originally a company established by James B Lansing in the late 1940s in the US. (Yes, he was the Lansing in Altec Lansing as well.) Now it’s part of the Harman group of companies, itself owned by Samsung.
About the JBL CLUB 700BT Bluetooth headphones
The JBL CLUB 700BT headphones are straightforward on-ear models. Perhaps their biggest selling point is the enormous battery life: 50 hours. They use a USB Type-C for charging and fully charge in less than two hours.
Inside are 40mm dynamic drivers. JBL rates their frequency response at 16 hertz to 40,000 hertz – that’s using the headphones passively via a wired connection. The cable is included (as is a charge cable).
It’s worth pausing on this passive operation for a moment. “Passive” means “switched off”. The amplifier in the connected device drives the headphones like they were old-fashioned wired models. When I did plug them in, the internal amplifier switched off and stayed off. Use a wired connection and you aren’t using their own amplifier.
I don’t normally pay much attention to this mode in Bluetooth headphones, but some figures intrigued me. JBL rates the maximum output of the headphones at 93dB, which I presume means using its internal amplifier.
And it rates the sensitivity of the headphones at 100dB for 1mW input. And the maximum power handling in passive mode at 1,000mW. Assuming linearity (not a safe assumption at these levels!), that would equate to a 130-decibel output!
So, of course, I had a comparative listen: internal power vs external. We’ll get back to that.
More on the JBL CLUB 700BT headphones
The right earcup has volume up and down buttons with a play/pause/answer/hang up/reject call/invoke Siri or Bixby button between them.
Only Siri and Bixby (Samsung’s smart system)? No, there’s also Google Assistant and Alexa, but they (you choose which) are invoked by pressing on the face of the left earcup. At least, that’s what’s supposed to happen. I spent twenty minutes fiddling with settings, and the Google Assistant control panel indicated that all was hunky dory, but I could not get Google Assistant to work with these headphones. Every time I pressed the button, the headphones said that Google Assistant was not connected … well I’ll be. I just pressed the button as I was writing that sentence in order to get the exact message, and now it is connected! Along the way, I checked out Alexa connectivity, and that worked fine.
Anyway, further down on the right earcup is a button to pump up the bass.
The left earcup carries a power on/off button – you have to hold it for a too-long three seconds to do either – a Bluetooth button and a final button for switching between “Talk Through” and “Ambient Aware” mode. Note, there is no active noise cancelling function.
Also provided with the JBL CLUB 700BT headphones is a soft carry case. The earcups can swivel a little, but not into a flat posture. But they can fold inwards to reduce the headphones’ size, making a fairly compact package to carry.
Bluetooth 5.0 is used, but apparently no codecs other than vanilla SBC.
Fit and comfort
One worry I always have with on-ear headphones is whether they will become uncomfortable over time, since they’re pressing down on my ears, rather than surrounding them and are thus supported by my skull.
JBL seems to have settled a good tightness. They were firm enough not to dislodge in normal use, but not so tight as to cause discomfort.