JBL Endurance Peak II Review
We test plenty of water-resistant true wireless earbuds, but only a small percentage make the fully waterproof cut. The JBL Endurance Peak II earphones, with an IPX7 rating, are one of the few, and given their $99.95 price, overall sturdy build, and solid audio quality, they’re also one of the best values for anyone seeking cable-free, gym-friendly in-ears. If you’re looking for accurate audio, these bass-forward earphones probably aren’t for you, but if you like the idea of some added bass, the Endurance Peak II’s secure, waterproof fit, and easy-to-operate controls make them a good choice for a relatively affordable price.
Available in black or blue models, the Endurance Peak II earphones have a hook design that latches over the top of your ear for increased fit security. There are three pairs of silicone eartips included, in small, medium, and large sizes. I found the fit to be quite secure — the over-ear hooks really help. However, if you wear glasses like I do, chunkier frames might compete for space behind your ear with the hooks.
An IPX7 rating means the headphones can withstand being submerged up to a meter — and while Bluetooth signal doesn’t do well underwater, the point is you should be able to wear these in heavy rain, and wash them off under a faucet without issue. The rating doesn’t extend to the charging case, however, so be mindful of wet earpieces.
The touch-sensitive panels on both earpieces offer easy-to-operate controls. A single tap on the left ear skips forward a track, while a double track navigates back a track. A single tap on the right ear plays or pauses audio, and a double tap summons your device’s voice assistant. A single tap on either ear will end or answer an incoming call, and upward or downward swipes on the right ear’s panel will adjust the volume. All of these were easy to operate, though we found the volume swipes to be a little less responsive — or at least, easier to misfire with. A few times, we tried to lower the volume and instead paused playback, but none of the misfires resulted in anything more annoying than that, and generally speaking, the taps work well and are easy to remember.
The charging case is necessarily bulky — the earpieces are large due to the hooks. The case has a hard, slippery contour, a flip-top lid, and a USB-C port on its rear panel for connecting the included USB-C-to-USB-A charging cable. A status LED on the front lets you know how much battery life is left in the case. JBL estimates the Endurance Peak II’s battery life to be roughly 6 hours, with 24 hours in the charging case, but your results will vary with your volume levels.
Internally, 10mm dynamic drivers deliver a frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz. The earphones are compatible with Bluetooth 5.0, and support AAC and SBC Bluetooth codecs, but not AptX.
What’s missing? An app with EQ controls would have been a plus, but at this relatively low price, it isn’t a deal breaker.
On tracks with intense sub-bass content, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the earphones deliver a palpable thump. At top, unwise volume levels, the bass doesn’t distort, and at more moderate levels, the low-frequency response is still powerful, but it is also balanced out with sculpting in the highs.
Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” a track with far less deep bass in the mix, gives us a better sense of the Endurance Peak II’s general sound signature. The drums on this track sound thunderous — this is an exaggerated bass response for certain. Callahan’s baritone vocals get an extra helping of low-mid richness, as well. But JBL does a laudable job of at least counterbalancing the boosting with crisp high-mid and high-frequency presence — the guitar strums and higher-register percussive hits are bright and also pushed forward in the mix. What we end up with is a scooped sound signature, with lots of low-end, lots of treble, and a little bit less in the middle. It may not be accurate, but it will appeal to plenty of listeners, especially those who are motivated by extra bass response while exercising.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop receives enough high-mid presence for its attack to retain its punchiness, but the lows are far more boosted, and so the loop sounds heavier than it normally does. The vinyl crackle and hiss that’s usually relegated to background status takes a step forward, too, indicating that the highs are indeed boosted here. The sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are delivered with impressive intensity — we’ve heard heavier sub-bass depth form some in-ears, but JBL manages to deliver substantial, exaggerated thump without ruining the overall balance of the mix. The vocals on this track are delivered with crisp clarity and not much added sibilance.
Orchestral tracks, like the opening scene from John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, are delivered with a heavy bass-forward lean. It would sound awful were it not for the significant high-frequency sculpting in play, as well. What we end up with is a sculpted, but balanced, sound signature with added bass depth and bright, crisp highs.
The mic offers average intelligibility. Using the Voice Memos app on an iPhone 8, we could understand every word we recorded, but there was plenty of Bluetooth distortion fuzzing up the recording. On a clear connection, callers should be able to understand you.
JBL continues to deliver quality, waterproof, gym-friendly designs for its true wireless lineup. The Endurance Peak II earphones will appeal to anyone seeking bass-forward audio and an IPX7 rating. If accurate audio is what you’re after — or if you’d like an app with adjustable EQ — we’re fans of the $200 Sennheiser CX 400BT earphones, but they’re much pricier and not intended for the gym. The $170 JBL True Wireless Flash X earbuds are another strong waterproof option, and the extra cost gets you an Ambient Aware mode that allows you to hear your surroundings, among other added features. And if you really just want the IPX7 rating and are looking to spend a lot less, the $35 Tribit FlyBuds 3 manage to be waterproof and sound decent for the price. But at $100, JBL’s Endurance Peak II earphones offer a strong value in the gym-focused true wireless realm.