JBL has seemingly found the solution for the perpetual bane of wireless headphones – limited listening life. The problem with wireless headphones has historically been that they constantly need a recharge. Weather via the power grid or a change of batteries (old-school), they’ve always needed a recharge to be usable again.
But JBL says otherwise and it’s putting the future of this product in the hands of the people. And the people really seem to like it. An IndieGoGo campaign created by the Harman Brand has already met its goal and is now fully funded. But for $99, you can still pre-order yourself a pair of the JBL headphones which are expected to ship by October 2020.
What’s so special about these JBL Headphones?
The Reflect Eternal headphones run primarily on solar power. And theoretically, this means that you get virtually “unlimited” life. Plain and simple.
According to JBL, the key to the whole thing is the Powerfoyle material from Exeger Tech. This material lets the JBL headphones draw energy from direct sunlight as well as indirect and indoor light sources. indirect and indoor light as well as the Sun. So unless you’re the kind who prefers constant darkness, the device will always be charging.
JBL estimates that around 90 minutes of outdoor time (ideal conditions) is enough to fully charge the battery and give it 68 hours of usage & listening time. Even if the conditions aren’t ideal (see, winter), you can still get by without plugging-in. And there’s a conventional backup option. Charging through USB for just 15 minutes can get you over 2 hours of runtime.
If this seems too good to be true, it kind of is. JBL says that “favorable” conditions of around 50,000 lux (measure of luminosity) are required in order to get the “virtually unlimited playtime” deal. According to Wikipedia, this means proper, direct exposure to sunlight. I’m pretty sure not a lot of people are going to be in the sun with the JBL headphones regularly for over 2.5 hours.
Putting the technology behind the cans aside, the Reflect Eternal seems like just another regular pair of headphones. They carry a frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz and come equipped with 40mm drivers. Other standard wireless features include multi-device pairing, hands-free calling, amplify ambient audio, and support for both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. An IPX4-rating means that the JBL headphones are water resistant as well.
This all sounds a little too familiar..
This isn’t the first time Exeger’s Powerfoyle has been applied to widespread commercial usage. Logitech’s wireless keyboards came equipped with the same technology. But the fact that JBL and Exeger are crowdfunding this product means that they’re trying to gauge industry response for the JBL headphones and tweak/adjust according to the feedback. So unless something drastically changes, you can rest assured that the Reflect Eternal headphones will start shipping in October 2020 on schedule.
Look, I’m not expecting my high school “solar-powered” calculator levels of durability or value-for-money here. I just hope the JBL headphones work and last as promised to the backers.