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JLab’s $60 Noise-Canceling Earbuds Are Better Than They Have Any Right to Be

The ANC 3 are IP55 rated for dust and water resistance, and that was very confidence-inducing when bringing them with me. I wore them in the shower, took them on muddy trails with my dog, and rinsed them off when they got gross from my hands. It’s nice to be able to treat a digital appliance like this, especially one this affordable.

Sound On

Inside the earbuds are 10-mm dynamic drivers that do well to compete with the vast majority of earbuds on the market, providing robust bass and relatively crisp and clear mid- and high-end response. If you’ve heard other, cheaper JLab buds, these are a bit clearer and better sounding.

They sound good in a wide variety of settings and with a wide variety of material. I liked using the buds to listen to both Netflix episodes and my classic rock workout playlist. They have really nice balance at lower volumes, which means you don’t have to turn them up really high to get good bass during your reps.

Even classics like Eddy Arnold’s Cowpoke sound fantastic in these earbuds, with the acoustic guitar hiding on the left side and the vocal harmonies on the right, and Arnold’s rich baritone in the middle of the mix. Everything sits perfectly in the mix, as though you’re listening to it on a pair of headphones that, truly, would have cost hundreds of dollars just a few years ago.

JLab also offers features that would have cost you that much, too, with an app that lets you control equalizer settings, noise-canceling, and transparency mode (pumping in the sound of the outside world so you don’t have to take the buds out for a quick chat).

Blue and white box for earbud case and instructions

Photograph: Parker Hall

Battery life is a solid nine hours with ANC off, and about six with it on in my testing (depending on volume and what you’re listening to). Call (and Zoom) quality is good, too. Controlling the buds on the go is easy, with presses on the outside of each bud enabling you to play or pause music, switch songs, and toggle noise-canceling settings.