While there might be plenty of takers for audio products from new and exciting brands such as Lypertek and OnePlus, it's wise not to overlook well-established names including JBL. Among the oldest audio product manufacturers in the world, JBL has a strong and deep-rooted presence in India, with an effective distribution network that still taps into the typical Indian preference of buying products in brick-and-mortar stores. JBL also has a reputation for strong bass, and buyers looking for exciting and energetic sound will usually find just that with a pair of JBL headphones or earphones.
The latest in JBL's growing lineup of true wireless earphones is the Tune 225TWS, priced at Rs. 8,499.The company has taken a simple approach with these earphones, promising easy connectivity and reliable JBL sound above all else. Is this now the best pair of true wireless earphones you can buy for less than Rs. 10,000? Find out in our review.
Although many listeners prefer a secure in-canal fit with true wireless earphones, there are some advantages to the outer-ear fit that the JBL Tune 225TWS adopts, including comfort and some ability to hear your surroundings. Although large in size, the JBL Tune 225TWS earpieces are quite light and I could barely feel them when worn. When positioned properly, the earphones also offer some passive noise isolation, while allowing for some ambient sound to filter in.
The earpieces do look a bit strange; almost cartoon-like in their design because of the thick stems and comically small earbuds. However, the design isn't too offensive, and when worn, you and anyone around you will barely notice that the JBL Tune 225TWS earpieces are even there. The earphones are available in white, grey, and black, and all have silver accents on the earbuds. Usefully, there are indicator lights on the earpieces that tell you when the earphones are on, pairing, and have low batteries.
The charging case is small enough to fit in a pocket, and has all the essentials including a USB Type-C port for charging at the bottom, battery indicator lights just under the lid, magnetic latching, and a snug, secure hold for the earpieces. Like the earpieces, the case is plastic, but is built well and feels about right for the price.
Although a lot of options in this price segment feature touch controls, the JBL Tune 225TWS relies on old-fashioned physical buttons on the earpieces. These aren't customisable, and there is no companion app for tweaking settings. found the button configuration for controls a bit confusing, and the buttons often didn't work as expected.
A single-press on the left earpiece skips to the next track and a double-press skips to the previous track. A single press on the right plays or pauses music and a double-press invokes the default voice assistant on your source device. Answering calls is easy enough with a single-press on either side, and long-presses control power and pairing. While it sounds simple, it isn't intuitive at all, and I often got the combinations wrong. Often, trying to skip to the next or previous track resulted in the opposite of what was supposed to happen, for no apparent reason.
The JBL Tune 225TWS uses Bluetooth 5 for connectivity, with support for the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. The earphones have a frequency response range of 20-20,000Hz. There is also support for Google Fast Pair for quick pairing with compatible source devices, and you can use either earpiece independently. There's no IP rating for dust or water resistance, so you'll have to be a bit careful to avoid water or dust exposure while wearing the JBL Tune 225TWS.
Battery life on the JBL Tune 225TWS is claimed to be five hours on the earpieces with an additional four charges from the case. While I was able to get around five hours of listening time per charge on the earpieces, the case offered just over three full cycles for a total battery life of around 20-21 hours per charge. While this isn't exceptional, it's decent enough for the price and form factor.
A big reason for JBL's success with its consumer product range is its signature sound, which is known for capturing the mood and feel of popular genres. The JBL Tune 225TWS sticks to this sonic signature, offering an enjoyable listening experience that gives the low-end a calculated boost. Despite the less-than-ideal passive noise isolation, the JBL Tune 225TWS does offer an engaging, immersive, and largely fun listening experience.
However, the earphones are held back a bit by the lack of support for advanced Bluetooth codecs, and aren't as detailed and cohesive as I've heard on similarly-priced options such as the Lypertek Tevi and Creative Outlier Air.
That's not to say that the earphones aren't detailed at all; good tuning does help with the soundstage and imaging to a fair extent, and good audio tracks and recordings can extract a decent level of performance out of the JBL Tune 225TWS.
Naturally, that's what I started with, playing a Tidal Masters version of Superstition by Stevie Wonder. Apart from the very refined and calculated lows, there was enough sparkle at the top to call this a proper V-shaped sonic signature. The soundstage offered a good simulated sense of distance and direction, with each instrument in this peppy track having a distinct place in the arrangement.
All of this is held together impressively by the aforementioned refinement in the bass. The JBL Tune 225TWS was similarly wide and open-sounding when listening to Dolby Atmos and 360 Reality Audio tracks, but not quite as impressive as the Lypertek Tevi. Once again, better Bluetooth codec support might have made a difference here; the JBL Tune 225TWS simply doesn't provide its capable hardware with enough input.
While the sound was decent with high-resolution audio tracks, compressed audio on Spotify and YouTube didn't give the JBL Tune 225TWS enough to work with. Although the sonic signature was as comfortable and refined as before, the lack of detail in Wake Up by Petit Biscuit was quite evident. The soundstage narrowed considerably, and there wasn't as much cohesiveness and definition in the track. The slow, punchy beat was engaging on its own, but the rest of the track didn't quite hold up as capably as when listening to high-resolution tracks on Tidal.
What definitely works for the JBL Tune 225TWS though, is that the headphones can handle both high and low volumes quite well; the volume level didn't have much of an effect on the quality of the sound, which was uniform and clean throughout.
The JBL Tune 225TWS is a capable headset not just for music, but also for everything else you'd need wireless earphones for. The sound was clean and sharp when watching videos on YouTube, as well as TV shows and movies on Netflix, and the Tune 225TWS worked well for voice and video calls as well.
The past few months have seen many big launches in the mid-range true wireless segment, with brands such as OnePlus and Vivo joining established names such as Creative, Skullcandy, and Sony. Not to be left behind, the JBL Tune 225TWS is a very good pair of true wireless earphones for less than Rs. 10,000, and it gets things right in terms of comfort, battery life, and sound, for the most part. The classic JBL sonic signature is the big draw here, and these earphones do sound pretty good with the right input.
However, this isn't the best pair of true wireless earphones you can buy for the price, largely let down by the lack of support for advanced Bluetooth codecs and inconsistent controls. If you're a fan of JBL and want the comfortable, enjoyable sound it expectedly delivers, the JBL Tune 225TWS is a good option to consider. However, the competition is well worth checking out before you make a purchase decision.
Price: Rs. 8,499
Ratings (out of 5)
Which are the best truly wireless earphones under Rs. 10,000? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.