JBL Tune 220TWS Review
The JBL Tune 220TWS offers a good sound, with which the highs are particularly impressive and are very comfortable to wear. However, the short battery life, the limited operation, the lack of an app, and the lack of IP certification deliver many compromises that you have to make.
The JBL Tune 220TWS are wireless in-ear headphones hooked into the ears, like the Apple AirPods (test), and do not use silicone adapters. So they should always guarantee a comfortable fit. According to the manufacturer, the bass does not have to be dispensed with.
- Amazing rendering
- Cheap wireless
- Lots of misfires with the Bluetooth connection
- Necessarily limited
- Cheap design
The recommended retail price for the JBL Tune 220TWS is fairly cheap. In addition to the two earphones and the charging case, JBL includes a short micro-USB cable and a quick guide. In the USB cable, the USB-A connector is designed to prevent it from twisting, as only a thin plastic bar is installed in the middle of the connector. The cable can be plugged into a USB port in both orientations – a blessing in everyday life. Unfortunately, the counterpart on the charging case with micro-USB no longer looks up-to-date. The manufacturer could have relied on USB-C here.
Technical data in comparison
The charging case of the JBL Tune 220TWS is pleasantly small and easy to grip. It measures 29.1 × 51.7 × 54.7 mm (H × W × D). Only the high-gloss black inside is a bit prone to scratches and fingerprints. The AirPods charging case measures 53.5 × 44.3 × 21.3 mm, the Apple AirPods Pro (test) 60.6 × 45.2 × 21.7 mm, and the Samsung Galaxy Buds + (test) 38, 8 × 70.0 × 26.5 mm. The capacity of the charging case is 410 mAh, the battery of each earphone is 22 mAh. Unfortunately, JBL does not offer wireless charging for the charging case with the Tune 220TWS.
Battery life is too short
JBL states the battery life is up to 3 hours. In the test, the earphones are empty after 2 hours and 45 minutes at medium volume – without functions such as ANC being available at all. And that, although the earphones themselves have a large, comparatively thick pen and are by no means noticeable due to their particularly compact design. Therefore, the battery life is very short for current wireless in-ears and may be too short in everyday life. Galaxy Buds + buyers can enjoy 12 hours of music on a single charge of the earbuds. Even if the charging case of the Tune 220TWS provides a further 16 hours of battery life, the earphones always have to be recharged – there is also no quick charge function. It takes less than two hours to charge the earbuds when they’re empty.
The weight of the earphones is pleasantly low at only 5 g. The charging case also weighs little at 45 g. Therefore, the JBL Tune 220TWS is ideal for taking with you. The earphones are magnetically held so firmly in the charging case that they won’t fall out when it’s open, even upside down. However, taking them out of the charging case is also a bit fiddly because they sit deep inside.
Bluetooth 5.0, undocumented AAC, no multi-connect
For the connection to smartphones and tablets, JBL relies on Bluetooth 5.0. In addition to SBC, AAC is also offered for audio codecs, which the manufacturer does not document. aptX, however, is not supported. Furthermore, the headphones do not support Bluetooth Multi Connect, so they cannot be connected to several end devices at the same time to switch playback between them quickly.
12 mm driver and normal frequency response
JBL uses 12 mm, dynamic audio drivers with a frequency response of 20 to 20,000 Hz. The sensitivity is 105 dB SPL. The maximum sound pressure level is 98 dB SPL. The impedance is 32 ohms.
No protection against dust and water
The JBL Tune 220TWS is not additionally protected against the ingress of dust and water. This is because they do not have an IP certification. Use in the rain or contact with a lot of sweat is therefore at your own risk.
Limited control via button
Each earbud has a small button on the outside that provides a clear pressure point. When pressed, the earphones are inevitably pressed into the ear. However, this is not uncomfortable due to the loose wearing comfort without silicone inserts. On the right earphone, the playback is started and paused by pressing it once. Pressing twice starts the voice assistant of the connected smartphone. The right earbud can also be used to accept calls and end calls. The one on the left, on the other hand, is only used to jump between the tracks. Pressing it once jumps forward one track, pressing the button twice jumps back one song. It is not possible to control the volume via earphones.
If an earphone is switched off outside the charging case, the button must be held down for five seconds. Then, press it for two seconds to switch it on again. If you press both earbuds three times simultaneously, pairing mode starts to connect to another Bluetooth device.
No automatic pausing via sensors
The earphones do not have sensors that detect whether the Tune 220TWS is being worn or removed. Accordingly, they do not have a feature that automatically pauses playback when an earbud is removed from the ear and resumes when the earbud is reinserted into the ear.
Since JBL does not support the Tune 220TWS in the “My JBL Headphones” app, the operation of the earphones cannot be adjusted. Furthermore, firmware updates for the earphones, eliminating any problems or introducing improvements, are also impossible for the buyer due to the lack of an app. So far, only the JBL Live 300TWS are supported in the app. As a result, buyers have to do without functions such as an equalizer or other adjustments.
Only the right earbud can be used alone.
Only the right earphone of the JBL Tune 220TWS can be used alone. The earphones thus use the classic master-slave configuration, in which the audio signal is transmitted from the right earphone to the left and synchronized.
If the left earphone is placed in the charging case, playback on the right one stops for a fraction of a second but continues on its own. If the left earbud is taken out of the case again, playback is also briefly interrupted when the two earbuds are paired.
Comfortable to wear with sharp edges
Since the JBL Tune 220TWS is only hung in the ear, they are very comfortable to wear and do not develop any pressure in the ear. However, they sit a little too loosely on the tester because they are too small in the ear. However, this differs from person to person. Despite the loose grip, they do not fall out in everyday life, but they are only suitable to a limited extent for sports.
When inserting the earphones, it is noticeable that they are too sharp-edged in the front, tapered area. If pressed into the ear, this sharp edge is uncomfortably noticeable, but not even when worn since no pressure is exerted on them.
Good sound with clear highs
The JBL Tune 220TWS offers a pleasant, clear sound that benefits from clear, bright highs that are differentiated and reproduced concisely. Voices are very easy to understand and also well separated from the bass and treble. Singing is easy to understand, but a podcast can also be listened to without restriction through earphones. Tracks like Can’t Stop by Red Hot Chili Peppers suit the earphones very well. If the volume is increased significantly, the highs also sound a little worse and start to hiss without becoming hard and uncomfortable. An unpleasant scratching at high volume as with the Honor Magic Earbuds (test) and the Huawei FreeBuds 3i (test) do not have the Tune 220TWS so that Blondie can also be heard with One Way Or Another at maximum volume.
The bass is not too present, but it can certainly act powerfully when it is demanded. Due to the design, however, the bass is less present than with other wireless in-ears that sit in the ear canal with silicone inserts and more dependent on the individual fit in the ears. Deep bass like in St. Jude by Florence + The Machine is perceptible from a volume of around 35 percent. Not a bad, but also not a particularly good result and tends to be the criticism of the sound of the Tune 220TWS, as the bass lacks a bit of volume in the lower range. However, this is very noticeable on tracks like Stormzy’s Vossi Bop.
If you are not after the bass boom and are looking for a sound that reproduces all genres comfortably in everyday life, the JBL Tune 220TWS is well advised.
Ordinary telephony, no transparency mode necessary
When it comes to telephony, the JBL Tune 220TWS is particularly convincing with its good filtering of ambient noise, which is largely not transmitted to the person you are talking to. However, you have to accept that the voice sounds a bit tinny and further away. Nevertheless, the wearer is easy to understand, and phone calls can also be made using the JBL earphones.
The JBL Tune 220TWS does not offer a transparency mode for perceiving the surroundings, but this is not necessary anyway due to their design. As a result, the surroundings are noticeable to a limited extent, even when playing music, and conversations can be conducted with the earphones inserted at low volume or deactivated.
Regarding latency, the JBL Tune 220TWS achieves the typical AAC delay of around 160 to 180 ms and is not negatively noticeable despite the master-slave connection between the earphones. There is also no difference between Android and iOS.
The JBL Tune 220TWS proved to be solid all-rounders in the test, offering a good sound and reproducing almost every genre equally calmly. They lack a bit of volume in the low frequencies and, compared to in-ears with silicone fittings, sometimes a little pressure on the bass. The earphones sit loosely in the ear and do not develop any pressure. However, they are only suitable for sports to a very limited extent, and the front opening is a bit too sharp-edged.
Despite the comparatively long and thick pen, the battery life was also not convincing in the test. After only 2:45 hours, the earbuds are empty. Not enough for today’s standards, even if the charging case realistically adds around 15 hours of playback time – but only with an interruption. So you always have to put the earphones in the charging case when not in use to not unexpectedly empty. The charging case is pleasantly small and light – like the earphones – but relies on the old micro-USB port instead of USB-C.
Thanks to buttons with a good pressure point, the controls work without problems in everyday life, but they cannot be adjusted, and there is no volume control. Unfortunately, JBL does not offer an app with additional functions such as an equalizer or the option of firmware updates.