Mobile Technology

Adios, headphone port? JBL and HTC officially launch first USB-C earbuds

Adios, headphone port? JBL and...
JBL Reflect Aware C headphones, from our hands-on back in April
JBL Reflect Aware C headphones, from our hands-on back in April
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The headphones, which were announced alongside the HTC 10 smartphone, are now available for purchase
1/5
The headphones, which were announced alongside the HTC 10 smartphone, are now available for purchase
The headphones are designed with sport use in mind, featuring ergonomic ear tips and a sweat-proof build
2/5
The headphones are designed with sport use in mind, featuring ergonomic ear tips and a sweat-proof build
The cables are built to avoid tangles, and are highly reflective, making them easily visible at night
3/5
The cables are built to avoid tangles, and are highly reflective, making them easily visible at night
The headphones are priced at US$199, available in a choice of black or white
4/5
The headphones are priced at US$199, available in a choice of black or white
JBL Reflect Aware C headphones, from our hands-on back in April
5/5
JBL Reflect Aware C headphones, from our hands-on back in April
View gallery - 5 images

The world's first USB Type-C headphones, the JBL Reflect Aware C, are now available for order. First announced in back in April, the high-res earphones are sport-focused, and feature adaptive noise cancelling tech.

JBL announced the Reflect Aware C headphones earlier this year alongside the HTC 10 smartphone. The high-res, noise cancelling in-ears connect via the USB-C standard, increasingly the norm among Android flagships and laptops, making them the perfect companion for future-facing phones that forego the headphone port, like the Moto Z (leaks are pointing to Apple's 2016 iPhones ditching the headphone jack too, but they use Lightning standard, rather than USB-C).

Combining audio out and charging/data into one port allows phone-makers to either make their headsets lighter and thinner, or use that extra space for larger batteries. The USB-C connection also powers the earphones, meaning there's no need for a separate battery pack, like you'll find on the Reflect Aware C's most obvious rival, Bose QC20.

The headphones, which were announced alongside the HTC 10 smartphone, are now available for purchase
The headphones, which were announced alongside the HTC 10 smartphone, are now available for purchase

There's noise cancelling tech on board: When we tried the headphones at HTC's launch event in April, they did an impressive job of cancelling out extremely loud speakers sitting just a few feet away from the demo area. Featuring 14.8 mm dynamic drivers, and with a 10 – 22 Hz frequency response, the headphones are designed for sport use, and have ergonomic ear tips and a sweat-proof build. The cables are also built to avoid tangles and are highly reflective, making them easily visible at night.

According to HTC, you can currently get a free pair of the headphones, while stocks last, if you pick up an HTC 10 from the company's website. The Reflect Aware C headphones are also available for order on their own, exclusively from HTC's website, in a choice of black or white, priced at US$199.

For more on the phone they're being marketed with, you can revisit New Atlas' HTC 10 review.

Product pages: JBL, HTC

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5 comments
MiguelCampos
So you can't use the headphones and charge the phone at the same time? does it force to buy a wireless charging station (if available)?
S Michael
Still connected by wire. This is not the future. Wireless earphones are the future. Until this happens, it's still old tech.
Fabien
Noise cancelling while doing sports is dangerous. Runners with standard headphones in cities are already a pain in the ass for car-makers.
Daishi
@MiguelCampos I see your point but at the same time I can't think of very many times I have charged my phone while listening to headphones. Those activities tend to happen at different times for me. I use headphones when I am moving and charge when I am stationary. Besides, certain companies like to sell dongles when multiple ports are needed at the same time.
navmed
Bad idea trying to imitate Apple's bad idea. I'd use Bluetooth. If I really want better quality I'd have far more options with the regular 3.5mm jack. Good thing they didn't eliminate it ... yet.