We’ve brought a number of new headphones to your attention lately, and it’s something that I’ve been looking at more closely as well. I use headphones daily (one pair at the gym, and then a wired headset at the office for calls), so I must be thinking about something new. I’m a fan of solar charging, so these new JBL Reflect Eternal cans are definitely a curiousity.
I had actually started hearing about the a month or so ago (thanks, Facebook ads!), and now that the Indiegogo campaign is here, the solar charging is definitely the differentiator here. The headphones themselves pack a 700 mAh battery, which will give you up to 24 hours of play time (presuming you’re sitting in the dark, or in the Arctic in the dark months of the year). If you can get out in the light, though, you’ve got virtually unlimited play time.
You see, there are solar cells built in (they’re not specific on this, but I’m guessing they’re in the headband) that power up the battery pack (and if that’s not enough, there’s a USB connection to allow you to top things off). This seems like a clever initiative for wireless headphones, but there’s one thing that’s bugging me. Well, two, actually.
First, is that all of the attention is on the solar charging – and not on audio quality. Sure, they’re trading on the JBL name for sound quality, and perhaps they’re just fine (I mean, 40mm drivers seem like a good starting point). But it still seems odd they’re not talking about the sound they produce. Second, is the battery life. Not by how many hours they’ll play, but how many charge cycles the power cell will live through.
As we all know, batteries have a finite number of charge cycles before capacity degrades. JBL touts the JBL Reflect Eternal as being sustainable, but there’s no word on being able to change out the battery. I guess technically even once it gets really worn down they’d still work in direct sun, but that’s not going to be a truly long-term solution.
And who knows, those could just be random worries from a reviewer (me) about the JBL Reflect Eternal, and they could be just fine. If we can get some hands-on time, we’ll let you know. Right now, the Indiegogo campaign is running, and has already hit it’s funding goal. It’s got 28 days more to go (closing out in January 2020). What’s also weird (and that’s why it’s on Indiegogo and not Kickstarter) is that they don’t have a working prototype yet. The timeline shows that happening in February 2020, with shipping not occurring until October 2020. That seems like a long time to wait to see if your $99 investment (that’s the earlybird pricing) actually turns into a real product that functions in the real world. So, yes, I’ve got some doubts – but like Fox Mulder, I want to believe. campaign page
Product Specs from JBL
- 24 Hours Battery Life (3.7V / 700mAh)
- Driver Size: 40mm
- Driver Sensitivity at 1kHz/1mW: 106dB SPL
- Dynamic Frequency Response Range: 20Hz-20kHz
- Max Input Power: 15mW
- Impedance: 32 ohm
- Bluetooth® Version: V5.0
- Bluetooth® Profiles: A2DP V1.3, AVRCP V1.5, HFP V1.6
- Battery Type: Polymer Li-ion Battery (3.7V DC, 700mAh)
- Charging Time: 2hrs from empty (via USB)
- Music Play Time with BT On: Up to 24 hrs (with no SOLAR charging)
- Music Play Time with BT On: Unlimited (with SOLAR charging¹)
- IPX4 Rating