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The general look of the 750s is definitely reminiscent of higher-end headphones on the market. Cans that swivel and fold are a nice touch for portability and protection: important when the 750s come without a dedicated case. They feel durable enough to throw in a bag without too much worry, however, as the headband is made of flexible plastic.
A piece of comfortable cushioning has been placed in the middle of the band, which actually makes a world of difference to the comfort of the fit: the headphones could be accused of being a little tight, but this band cushioning, paired with the premium feel of the super thick padding on the cups and over-ear fit, makes these headphones a snug experience without veering into discomfort.
Controls are simple and effective. Pairing is a matter of holding down the on button and finding the headphones on your Bluetooth list, and volume and play/pause buttons are refreshingly big – no touch controls that stop your music or somehow accidentally ring the police with a slip of the hand. There’s also a designated button to switch ANC on and off: all of this is on the right cup and is subtle and intuitive. A nice surprise was seeing a jack input next to the controls, for those moments where only wired listening will do. Top marks.
We, oddly, had a few issues when the headphones were connected to our iMac – Bluetooth signal between the computer and mouse seemed to be intermittently affected by the 750s’ own connection. This wasn’t enough to put us off, but it is something JBL should look at. Battery life comes in at around 15 hours, which is paltry when compared to higher-end models, but we can cope with a little more forward planning for this price.
To most listeners, the 750s will be bang on the money. You can tell that JBL has concentrated on the bass: it’s historically one of the brand’s greatest strengths, and it comes through here. The “pure bass sound” fills each track with heft and warmth, especially when combined with ANC mode. While the treble and mids could be more powerful – they actually sound better with ANC off, so good luck finding the right balance – they still have enough room to create a bright sound profile that comes out well, especially when considering the price.
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The active noise cancellation is decent. There’s a discernible difference when ANC is switched on – it’s not as all-encompassing as higher-end models by any stretch, but it masks much of the outside world, especially lower frequencies, and we had no “vacuum effect”, which is a sensation ANC can sometimes prompt. There’s no “transparency mode” that many more expensive headphones offer, whereby you can hear some ambient noise without taking the headphones off, and higher frequencies did manage to find their way through to our ears, but for a pair of headphones at this price to offer any ANC at all is a positive development.
We had a few teething problems with crackling and momentary loss of connection (the 750s support the quite basic Bluetooth 4.2), but nothing that lasted longer than a few seconds, and you can connect to multiple devices simultaneously. All in all they gave sophisticated sound – something that by now shouldn’t really be a surprise from JBL.
The verdict: JBL Tune 750BTNC
The 750BTNC headphones are a great choice for anyone looking at the more budget end of the ANC headphone market, with a performance that far outdoes the price. They’re not on the same level as the Bose NC 700s (£299, Selfridges.co.uk) or the Sony WH-1000MX4s (£349, Centresdirect.co.uk) and they’re not trying to be. They’re much cheaper, produce good sound and offer capable active noise cancellation.
Despite a few teething problems, if you’re looking for a great pair of budget noise-cancelling headphones, you can’t really go wrong with these. For the current price, they’re supremely good value.