Review: JBL Everest 700 Elite wireless headphones
JBL's new Everest line of wireless headphones features around-ear, on-ear, and in-ear styles that are billed as combining up-market audio technology, ergonomics and wireless connectivity. We recently got hold of a pair of the flagship Everest 700 Elite model and hit play to see what they could do.
Out of the box, the on-ear JBL Everest 700 Elite have a clean look with a padded adjustable headband, a silky textured plastic feel, and ear cups that ride on a subtle hinge. Available in black or white, they measure 76.9 x 176.5 x 169.5 mm (3x 6.9 x 6.6 in), weigh only 305.4 g (10.7 oz) and fold neatly into the included fabric carry case. A micro USB charging cable, an audio cable with 3.5mm jack, a Quick Start guide, and instructions for downloading the My JBL Headphones app are also included
Inside the 700 Elite is a 40mm driver with a dynamic frequency response range of 10 to 22 kHz and a sensitivity of 99 dB@1kHz with 1 mW maximum. In addition, there's a built-in 14 dB microphone, Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity, and a polymer li-ion battery that charges via the USB cable and provides 15 to 25 hours of playing time depending on whether the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) feature and Bluetooth are active.
The review pair we received didn't have the Quickstart guide included and it took a little experimenting to determine which was the power button and how long to hold it to switch the phones on. We subsequently discovered that we could have simply put on the phones on and used voice prompts to power on as well as connect the Bluetooth to a mobile device.
The physical controls are very simple. On the righthand side are the on/off control and the settings for the NXTGen ANC feature. On the lefthand are the Play/Pause button and volume control.
The 700 Elite are designed to be used primarily as wireless headphones connected to a smartphone or other mobile device by Bluetooth. However, they can also be directly connected using an audio cable, which is handy for air travel. When we paired it with an Android phone, we found that the connection is very stable and that it worked very well even when we left the smartphone behind and walked to the other side of the building with several walls in between. There seems to be a slight buffer built into the system to eliminate skips when the phone is having momentary problems of its own, which is refreshing, and the only real problem arose while wearing them near a WiFI router that was unusually busy, which caused some minor crackling.
JBL Pro Audio
The 700 Elite certainly seem to be engineered for the audiophile market. Overall, the JBL Pro Audio sound quality is very impressive with strong fidelity in the high, middle, and low ranges, and exceptional clarity with excellent spacial feel. The bass is nicely balanced and not overly assertive, while the high end is surprisingly clear – we often mistook it for an external sound. In addition, it's very easy to separate individual instruments in a way that's impossible with lower bandwidth infrared sets.
Using the 700 elite for answering the phone is not listed as a function and takes some experimenting to figure out that it's the Play button that needs to be pressed to initiate and close a phone call. When making calls, we found that there were no echo either end, sound quality was good, and the microphone did as well as any bendy gooseneck variety sans the annoying puff sounds.
One stand-out feature of the 700 Elite are the ergonomic, cushioned cups designed to envelop the ear so that there's no gap to let sound seep in or out, meaning volume can be kept to a very comfortable level and there's no disturbing others nearby. The cups proved to be very comfortable to wear for long periods and caused very little sweating.
Noise canceling technology isn't new, but the 700 Elite combines the feature with an awareness setting that allows the wearer to control how much outside noise can get through. This can be adjusted so that hardly any noise comes in or reduced so that you can keep an ear open for the doorbell.
We found the ANC feature very effective against even loud noises, such as an upright vacuum cleaner or an ancient rattling dishwasher a yard away, though we could hear people talking on any setting. Personally I actually find it preferable to allow in more outside sounds even when the room is quiet because it lessens that trapped-in-a-box feeling that high-end headphones often give – you certainly get the choice here.
The cans also feature TruNote Auto Sound Calibration, which analyzes the sound environment for each listener's individual ears and adjusts the sound accordingly. It's controlled from the app and only takes a couple of seconds.
My JBL Headphones App
Available in iOS and Android, the My JBL Headphones app is a free, optional app for the 700 Elite. The headphones work perfectly well without it, but when installed on a paired mobile device it allows the wearer more control over the headphones and the ability to customize the settings. With the app, the awareness feature and ANC can be turned on and off or set to one of three levels. In addition, awareness can be set for each ear.
There's also an equalizer with two pre-loaded presets (Jazz and Bass) and the ability to create further customized set-ups. There's a lot of granularity, though we would have liked to see more presets.
The JBL Everest 700 Elite wireless headphones are priced at US$299.
The video below introduces the JBL Everest 700 Elite.
Product page: JBL