Jabees is a China audio brand by FreeTek International who has been manufacturing OEM Bluetooth products since 2004. They decided to focus on their own in-house brand, Jabees, and since then, has developed several wireless earphones, and of recent months, true wireless earbuds. They are currently crowd-funding their newest TWE, the Jabees Firefly. But this article is about the other TWE that is available now, distributed in Singapore by Axtro Sports. I will be reviewing the Jabees Beebud.
Specs and Design
- Bluetooth 5, SBC codec
- IPX4 Water Rating
- 55 mAh x 2 battery on earbud for 4 hours playtime
- 500 mAh battery on charging case for 3 additional charges
- Fuss-free pairing
- Auto power on and off
The charging case is rather unique, unlike others. It is like a semi-rigid zip-case with a mesh compartment inside to store other accessories. It is rugged enough to throw in your bag without worrying about scratches.
The earbuds are fastened in the cradle with strong magnets, and auto powers up when you remove them. First, both earbuds will connect to one another with voice prompts “device connected”, then it will automatically go into pairing mode to search for any Bluetooth device. If you have already paired a device, it will automatically connect with voice prompts “second device connected”. If not, you can open the Bluetooth menu on the phone to connect to Beebud. This is better than other earbuds where you have to press power button to go into pairing mode.
There are both standard silicone eartips and those with integrated ear hooks. Due to the size, the ear hooks cannot fit into the case, so you have to remove the eartips.
There is one button on each earbud. Tap to play-pause, tap-hold the left earbud to go next track, and right button to increase volume but if you want to decrease volume, you have to wait until the volume reaches maximum before it starts to reduce. For that, I would rather control volume directly from the smartphone.
When I popped in the earbuds and listen to the audio without comparing any other earphones, I find the Beebud has an unfamiliar stereo imaging. On further assessment, I find that the mono audio data, like main vocals and bass, are positioned right in the middle of the spatial plane, almost inside my head. Other left-right audio data are spaced out to the extreme sides at near field. Listening to binaural tracks feels odd because the lack of coherence around the middle stage where it is reserved for pure mono audio. So for instance, the reverb of a drum will travel from left stage to the right stage with a dip of signal through the middle stage.
Putting aside the stereo imaging, the frequency delivery is rather good for a S$99 true-wireless earbuds. The treble is clear and airy to avoid being veiled, the bass does not overwhelm, with sufficient kick, but no thanks to the stereo imaging, the bass frequency appears only in the narrow spatial field in the middle, almost mono, resulting in the lack of perceived fullness. When listening to full-bodied fast-paced songs like the modern genres, you will not feel any less.
The wireless audio compression depends on the source. For most Android smartphones, audio is slightly distorted at higher frequencies. iPhones sound better but slight impurities can still be detected by the keen-eared. I have to clarify that I am a picky listener and given these at S$99 earbuds, I am not expecting them to match the quality of competing established-brand true-wireless earbuds.
The Jabees Beebud true wireless earbuds are well-made for fitness users thanks to IPX4 water rating and the inclusion of ear hooks. The zip case keeps the earbuds secure, and the battery life of 4 hours is sufficient for urban workouts. Audio breakups between the earbuds are not frequent and recovers promptly, but like any true wireless earbuds, they will occur more frequently than normal wireless earphones. Should you get a true wireless earbuds? Read my other article.
The stereo imaging is not to my liking, and for that, I will not recommend them for audio aficionado. Other than that, the audio quality is within expectations of a S$99 true wireless earphones, with the clarity of treble and feels of the bass that consumers enjoy.