Following up on the success of its predecessor, the JBL Reflect Contour 2 claims to deliver impressive sound in a durable package. But at $99, is the sound really that impressive? And how does it hold up in terms of construction?
Packaged with an assortment of accessories, the Contour 2 comes with three pairs of eartips, three pairs of in-ear adjusters, a charging cable, and a rubber carrying pouch.
The earphone is startlingly slim, yet it still boasts a 10-hour battery life. Charging is accomplished with the supplied USB cable, and the wealth of eartips and adjusters ensure a comfortable, secure fit.
To be completely honest, putting these things in my giant ears was a bit of a chore at first. However, once situated, they weren’t coming loose – and they block a TON of sound.
The cabling and over-ear hooks feature reflective piping for added safety, and this, added to the durable IPX5 water-resistant build and excellent fit, do much to recommend the Contour 2 for anyone’s exercise regimen.
Frequency Response: 10-22,000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 14 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): NA
These specifications show a fairly standard frequency range with a little more low end. The low impedance of just 14 ohms provides perfect efficiency where smartphones and tablets are concerned. Sound pressure isn’t rated by JBL, but I’d place it somewhere around the 110 dB mark – providing plenty of volume for most listening environments.
Detailed and relatively clean, the low end on the Contour 2 strikes me as surprisingly good. There’s a great bass at play here, too – not overpowered or over-pronounced, but tight and on-point. While I was expecting a more intense low end, my surprise quickly turned to pleasure as I realized just how sweet this low end truly was.
The mids might best be described as full-ish. There’s some impressive definition here, even while a little compression mars the sound. For workout earphones, though, the sound is impressive. Vocals and instrumentation land with equal weight and sound almost true-to-life.
The Contour 2 also sports a decent high end – not bright, but slightly rolled off, the highs have just enough detail to remain capable while never skewing too piercing or uncomfortable. Some finer details might be missing, but unless you’re rocking some classical tunes, you’ll probably never notice it. If your workout playlist sports pop or electronic music (or even some dope female hip-hop like Missy Elliott), you’ll dig this smooth sound.
Some depth and a fledgling sense of placement result in a narrow soundstage. Sure, it’s not overly vast or impressive; these headphones would pale in comparison to a pair of open-back headphones. But for in-ear Bluetooth headphones, the sense of space is still damn fine. It’s good the battery life is ten hours; I could definitely see folks keeping these earphones on long after the workout session has ended.
The fit can seem awkward at first, but they do stay put in your ear once you get them in place. These aren’t the type of earbuds to go falling out on you when the beat drops and you start tearing it up. Plus they isolate – to a high degree. While one of my coworkers is blasting Maroon 5, I can get swept away on some Brit Hop.
Also, for a $99 earphone designed for exercise, the sound is pretty freaking sweet. You’ve got a little low end at play, along with good mids and smooth highs. Throw in that sense of space in the soundstage, and you’ve actually got a pretty banging sound.
If you need less balance, less wires, and less money in your wallet, I might recommend the PSB M4U TW1 wireless earphones. These babies run you a slightly-more-expensive $149 and offer IPX7 water resistance. However, the sound may still pale in comparison to this plucky little JBL.
Really, I cannot think of any compelling reason not to buy this headphone – unless you (a) just want to spend more money, or (b) don’t need a headphone because you don’t exercise, like This Guy.
For anyone in need of a detailed, smooth sound, the JBL Reflect Contour 2 offers one hell of a sound – and sounds great no matter what kind of music you listen to.
At a modest price of $99, the JBL Reflect Contour 2 packs a punch. With a detailed sound, immaculate bass, and good headroom, this one-of-a-kind earbud kicks the competition to the curb and keeps right on goin’. Don’t believe me? Stop on by our Manhattan store and check it out for yourself.