JBL’s handy Tune 500BT wireless on-ear headphones are comfortable to wear, provide up to 16 hours of battery life with fast charging and offer a great-sounding bass response. A 3-button remote with a built-in microphone for controlling Android and iOS devices is also available.
The Bluetooth on-ears design is the same as the wired version JBL Tune 500 and is characterized by a flexible suspension with tiltable, swivelable and retractable headphone shells. As a result, the headphones are space-saving, collapsible, easy to transport and adapt to your head very well. The soft padding on the hanger and shells provide a good fit with a firm hold that will not cause any pressure, even when worn for extended periods. The on-ears, which are primarily made of plastic, work well overall and details such as a metal-reinforced folding mechanism provide robustness.
The fast-charging, 300mAh lithium-ion battery provides up to 16 hours of operation. The battery level in combination with an iOS device is indicated by a display next to the Bluetooth symbol. If this is empty, the quick-charge function allows for a one-hour use after just five minutes of charging time, so that nothing stands in the way of spontaneous use. However, a full charge using the included USB cable takes up to two hours. The headphones do not have an audio input, though, so there is no possibility of wired use. In my opinion, this would have been more desirable over the inclusion of the fast-charging function in order to provide an alternative method of listening.
The on-ears support the Bluetooth 4.1 standard and offered stable ranges of about ten meters in a field test with various Android and iOS devices—a respectable result, especially since the pairing was so user-friendly. Holding down the power button turns the system on and puts it into pairing mode. As soon as the connection is established, the central remote button on the right headset shell serves to control the start/stop function as well as to accept and end telephone calls. Incoming calls can also be rejected by keeping the button pressed. For volume control, however, separate plus and minus buttons are available, which can also be used for track navigation. To do this, press and hold down the plus button to jump forward and backwards.
The headphones are equipped with a multipoint connection function and can be paired with two devices at the same time. This prevents, for example, missed calls on the phone while a tablet is being used, as playback is automatically interrupted and continued after the call. Speech intelligibility when making calls is good on both sides.
The Bluetooth variant of the Tune 500 also has a high output, which offers bass-intensive listening pleasure even at low volume. The punchy, rich bass foundation reaches into both the low bass and the fundamental tone range but does not cover the middle and highs, so that the sound does not seem one-dimensional. Despite its presence in the lower frequencies, the sound image is clear and the on-ears have a well-structured stereo image, which makes them versatile if the match fits your own listening habits. At the same time, bass-driven music styles such as hip-hop, R’n’B and electro come into their own and benefit from high sound quality, so that listening to music is a fun experience.