JBL Tour Pro 2 review

JBL’s Tour Pro 2 earbuds tick all the right boxes. They produce good-sounding audio, have effective active noise cancellation (ANC), have market-leading battery life, and are comfortable and easy to use. 

But putting those functions aside, the most eye-catching feature here is the 1.24-inch touchscreen on the case. This allows you to control your earbuds without having to go into the JBL Headphones app on your phone. It’s innovative and makes the Tour Pro 2’s standout; however, in practice, it isn’t as useful as it looks.

That said, JBL has managed to keep the Tour Pro 2’s at a reasonable price of $350. This makes the touchscreen feel less like a gimmick used to push up the price and more like an additional feature that you may or may not use.

Other than the lacklustre customisation options for touch inputs and the ANC occasionally struggling with high-frequency sounds, there’s a lot to like here. Boasting advanced features like the new Personi-Fi hearing test, AmbientAware, TalkThru, and Auto-Pause, the Tour Pro 2’s are a very good pair of premium earbuds. 

Pros

  • Good sounding audio
  • Very good battery life
  • Full of advanced features
  • Fair price

Cons

  • Touch input customisation is poor
  • ANC not as good as some competitors

Price

JBL’s Tour Pro 2 earbuds cost $350. This puts them in the same price range as the best wireless earbuds, like the $355 Sony WF-1000XM4 and the $399 Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. They’re a bit cheaper than the $450 Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen).

JBL Tour Pro 2 review

Design

The Tour Pro 2’s sport a bud and stem design similar to other earbuds like the AirPods Pro or the OPPO Enco X2. These are quite large, though, weighing 12.2g each and aren’t as inconspicuous as these other earbuds.

With that said, I found them very comfortable. They come with three different size tips, small, medium and large and should fit most ears nicely. There’s also an included fit test in the JBL Headphones app to assist with finding the size that’s right for you.

They support all the touch inputs – “gestures” – you would expect from a premium set of earbuds. You can skip songs, pause audio, go to the previous track, turn ANC on/off, turn the volume up/down, initiate your chosen smart assistant, answer calls and a few more. Frustratingly though, the customisation options here are limited.

As I said in my review of the JBL Live Pro 2 TWS, “Instead of customising each input individually, you set each earbud to one of three groups of inputs. These are Ambient Sound Control, Volume Control and Playback & Voice Assistant Control.” It’s the same story with the Tour Pro 2s. 

Usually, I want three touch inputs on my earbuds, volume control, skip/pause tracks and turn ANC on/off. With this system, I had to sacrifice one. I couldn’t do all of these things without going into the app and changing one of the input groups. It’s annoying and is behind the competition, which lets you set touch controls to whatever input you want.

The main attraction here is the case. It’s relatively large, weighing 73g, and it has a 1.45-inch touchscreen on the front. This allows for several controls like skipping and pausing tracks, changing the volume, changing between ANC, AmbientAware and TalkThru, equalising the audio, setting a timer, turning spatial sound on or off, initiating find my earbuds and a few less essential features. It works well and means you don’t have to go into the app on your phone whenever you want to change something. 

But while I applaud JBL for its innovation here, I’m not convinced this is a feature that will push the industry forward. The only time it came in handy was when I connected my earbuds to a device other than my phone. But like most people, 99% of the time, I used the earbuds with my phone and ended up barely using the case. I didn’t encounter a circumstance where using it was easier than simply going into my phone and opening the app or controlling the earbuds with the touch inputs. While it works well, it feels more gimmicky than genuinely useful.

JBL Tour Pro 2 review

Audio

The earbuds boast 10mm dynamic drivers, which provide good quality sounding audio. I wouldn’t say it’s as good as the Sony WF-1000XM4 or the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, but it’s very good and is the best JBL offers right now.

You can quickly and accurately customise the audio with the equaliser on the case or in the app. If you want more bass, turn it up, and it has a noticeable effect. If you want less bass, turn it down, and you won’t be able to hear it at all. It’s simple and capable and comes with several presets if you don’t want to alter individual frequencies yourself. 

Listening to a more mellow track like Cherry Tree by Bear Garden, I could easily pinpoint all the instruments in the mix. The saxophone came in clear and present and didn’t get drowned out by other sounds. On the flip side, listening to Bfg Division by Mick Gordon, with its thumping bass and heavily distorted guitars, also sounded good. None of the instruments felt overbearing, and the soundstage was wide enough so I could comfortably listen without fuzziness or disruption. 

I also tested the earbuds with more bass-heavy tracks like Bang Yr Head by Asher Roth, and while it wasn’t quite as good as the best-of-the-best, you won’t notice any issues here. The bass was punchy and loud, perfect for hip-hop or trap songs.

In the JBL Headphones app, there’s an audio fit test called Personi-Fi. This is one of the most comprehensive tests I’ve used with a pair of earbuds. It measures what you can hear in each ear and will adjust the audio to suit your results. You may not be aware, but many people hear sounds differently in each ear, and this test accommodates for that, which is a very nice touch.

The Tour Pro 2’s are compatible with JBL’s Spatial Sound. This is software that aims to make audio more immersive by spatialising stereo content. It’s a bit hit-and-miss. I tested it on Spotify and found that tracks sounded a bit tinny and weak compared to not having it on. I ended up leaving it off. But it might be better with spatially mixed tracks on other audio services like Tidal or Qobuz.

There’s also support for auto-pause, where the audio will automatically pause if you remove the earbuds. It works very well, and you can turn this feature off if necessary. 

JBL Tour Pro 2 review

ANC/Calls

The active noise cancellation (ANC) here isn’t quite as good as other earbuds I’ve used; however, it does a good enough job for a $350 pair of earbuds. The Tour Pro 2’s utilise four external microphones to pick up outside noise and cancel it out. The results are decent. It struggled with higher frequencies, but it does a good job of blocking out lower-frequency sounds like the low rumbling of a car or bus.

There’s support for AmbientAware here, in which the microphones will pick up outside sounds and play them into your ears to allow you to hear your surroundings, and there’s also TalkThru which enables you to talk to someone whilst wearing the earbuds. Both of these work well.

The earbuds have six microphones for phone calls, and its very good. I could talk to my partner even when in busy areas outside. And she was able to hear me clearly without any problems.

Battery

JBL estimates each earbud can last around ten hours per charge with ANC off, and the case holds an extra 30 hours of battery life.

With ANC on, the battery life drops to around eight hours per earbud. This is very good. It equals the best-in-the-business Sony’s WF-1000XM4 and is easily enough to use throughout the day.

The earbuds charge via a USB-C port on the case, and they support fast charging, in which 15 minutes will provide four hours of charge. It’s very good. 

JBL Tour Pro 2 review

Verdict

JBL’s Tour Pro 2 earbuds are excellent. The standout feature here is the 1.45-inch touchscreen on the case that allows you to control the earbuds, equalise audio, turn features on and off and much more. However, while refreshingly innovative, I didn’t find it as helpful or groundbreaking as I had hoped.

But at $350, these earbuds cost the same as other premium earbuds that don’t boast cases with touchscreen capabilities. Sure, I didn’t find it as useful as I would’ve liked, but it didn’t feel like a feature that was tacked on to bump up the price. It’s simply a well-implemented extra feature that you may or may not get sufficient use out of.

It also helps that the Tour Pro 2’s get many other things right, they’re comfortable, sound great, are full of advanced features, the ANC is capable and they have very good battery life. 

The one problem I had with the Tour Pro 2’s was the touch input customisation. Like the JBL Live Pro 2 TWS, I couldn’t set up all the inputs I wanted without going into the app constantly. It’s frustrating and is behind the competition in this regard. Other than that, the Tour Pro 2’s are very good earbuds and you’ll love them.

Patch Bowen
Patch Bowen is an accomplished technology journalist with a solid academic foundation, holding a degree from Auckland University. His expertise spans across a range of tech topics, with a notable focus on product reviews, industry trends, and the impact of technology on society. With his work featured on major New Zealand websites like Stuff.co.nz, thebit.nz, and The Press, Patch has established himself as a credible voice in technology media. His articles are known for their detailed analysis and practical insights, particularly in making complex technological concepts understandable for a broad audience. At ReviewsFire, Patch is renowned for his thorough evaluations and clear, informative writing style. He has a knack for identifying and explaining the nuances of the latest gadgets and digital trends, earning him a reputation as a trusted source for tech advice and information.

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