In a refreshing departure from the usual black and white earbud colorways, JLab has released a pair of truly wireless earbuds that come in six different colorways that can match varying ranges of skin tones. This is a perfect way to listen in a subtle, understated way, making it (somewhat) less noticeable to others that you are wearing earbuds.
This product came out shortly after Kim Kardashian collaborated with Beats to produce the popular skin-toned model of Beats Fit Pro. The major difference here is price. JLab’s Go Air Tones come in at a much lower price point. While they don’t deliver the same performance as the more expensive model, the Go Air Tones offer amazing bang for buck nonetheless.
JLab Go Air Tones: Price and availability
This popular audio brand can be found at any major retailer. You can find the JLab Go Air Tones at Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, and of course, the JLab official website. These earbuds go at the very reasonable price of $25, although I’ve seen them for as low as $20 on sale. They are available in six different skin tone shades, which are listed according to their corresponding Pantone color codes.
JLab Go Air Tones: Sound that blends right in
The first thing that drew me to the JLab Go Air Tones True Wireless Earbuds was the variety of neutral colorways. Since most major brands only offer black, white, or brighter shades, it was intriguing to see some subtle skin tones. I like the idea of slipping in an earbud that is less noticeable to a passerby, making it less obvious that I am listening, especially if I’m in a sketchy area where I don’t want to draw attention to my electronics.
Now, the product colors on my screen looked at tad bit darker than the actual color of the product I received, which is probably why JLab lists the actual Pantone codes in the product description to give you a good idea of the actual color. But if you are not in possession of a handy book of Pantone swatches, I say err on the side of darker. One, because the colors look a bit darker on the screen than they really are, and two, because your ear is actually a bit darker than the skin on your face. So go for a shade darker, because my earbuds are definitely a bit too light for my skin tone. Either way, they look nice and subtle in my ears.
Sound is always of utmost of importance when it comes to the best earbuds, of course, and I felt like the sound profile on the JLab Go Air Tones was pretty good overall. It comes through loud and clear, with no distortion even at loud volumes. The strong point for these earbuds is a lovely range of highs and mids, so voices come through beautifully. I felt like the low end bass tones were a little weak, but I’ll go into that in the next section. Besides that, the soundstage is nice and wide, so Spatial Audio sounds great, as do podcasts and phone calls. Note that these earphones do not support Spatial Audio (Dolby Atmos) through Apple TV or other Apple devices, but only in Apple Music.
Speaking of phone calls, the microphones are also quite good. My voice comes through loud and clear on voice calls, so I can use the earbuds for hands-free phone calls and virtual meetings without any issue. And since the earbuds offer eight full hours of listening and talking, I can use them for a full workday without charging. The case provides an additional 24 hours of listening time, so you can get a total of 32 hours without plugging in the charging case.
They don’t provide environmental noise cancellation or active voice cancellation for that matter, but I would not expect those extras at such an attractive low price point. Honestly, for this price, these earbuds are surprisingly great in all the ways that count. The sound quality and added features are not at the level I would expect from the Beats Fit Pro x Kim Kardashian Earbuds, but at less than a quarter of the price, I couldn’t ask for more.
JLab Go Air Tones: Unbalanced bass
As mentioned previously, the lows feel underserved in the standard sound profile of the JLab Go Air Tones. When listening with the standard EQ setting or with the “JLab Signature” EQ, I felt like the bass was pretty weak. One neat feature on these earbuds is that you can tap three times on the touch control node for an automatic EQ shift between three different settings. The ‘bass mode’ setting provides some improvement, but it’s still not quite there. If you prefer a sound profile that emphasizes lows and bass notes, you’ll want to turn on the ‘Increase Bass’ EQ profile within your Apple Music settings on the iPhone 14.
Another minor annoyance for me was the fact that each earbud has different touch control features. Since I usually use my earbuds to exercise outside or to tune out my family when working from home, I rarely use both earbuds at once. I usually prefer to use one earbud in order to keep one ear open. This is important to hear oncoming traffic or to hear when my children call me.
The problem is that, while the touch controls are functional and responsive, one earbud provides volume up and playback control features, while the other provides volume down and virtual assistance features. This can be very annoying if I’m wearing the wrong earbud when it’s time to turn up the volume or stop music playback. I’m sure most people like to wear both earbuds at once, in which case this wouldn’t be a downside, but I did find it somewhat frustrating.
Finally, the JLab Go Air Tones use a now old-fashioned USB-A connector to charge. I would prefer wireless charging or, at the very least, USB-C charging on a new device.
JLab Go Air Tones: Competition
At the writing of this article, there’s only one brand that offers multiple shades of skin tones in earbuds, and that’s Beats. The Beats Fit Pro x Kim Kardashian Earbuds were the first to come out in multiple neutral skin-tone shades. Like the original Beats Fit Pro, they offer active noise cancellation and flawless sound quality, as well as a high-end price point. At $200, these are not for the faint of budget, but they do come with Apple-backed smart technology and sound.
The JLab Go Air Tones, on the other hand, slide in at a tidy $25 and offer six different skin-tone shades to choose from. There’s a color to match closely with most skin tones, and the sound quality is decent, if not flawless. While these earbuds don’t include all the expensive bells and whistles, they do just fine for listening to Spatial Audio or making conference calls.
JLab Go Air Tones: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if…
- You want earbuds that match your skin tone.
- Beats Fit Pro are out of your budget.
- You like a voice-oriented sound profile.
You shouldn’t buy this if…
- You prefer a bass-heavy sound profile.
- You prefer to wear and control one earbud at a time.
The JLab Go Air Tones are an excellent alternative for anyone who loves the Beats Fit Pro x Kim Kardashian design but can’t afford the high price tag. These affordable earbuds won’t break the bank, but they offer a good sound quality and a similar look. With six different shades to choose from, most people will find a color that is close to their skin tone, although I suggest going a shade darker than your actual skin tone.
While the Go Air Tones don’t offer Active Noise Cancellation or a bumpin’ bass, they do have a good sound quality overall, especially for voice-oriented ballads and pop songs. The microphones are also good, so these work well for voice calls and virtual meetings. My favorite thing about the JLab Go Air Tones (besides the low price) is the subtle look. Since they don’t stand out as much as other earbuds, these offer an understated appeal, without drawing attention to the fact that you’re listening.