JBuds Mini Review: The Cutest, Tiniest Lil’ Earbuds

Think how cute the mint-green ones would be nestled in a pencil case or a pocket in your Borealis backpack as you’re making a #packingmybag TikTok. I love grabbing these on my way out the door. They fit in my tiniest Patagonia waist pack. Women’s jeans pockets are so impossibly small and useless that sometimes even my lip balm pops out of my pocket when I sit down. But these slide in and stay put. (And someone please fix this women’s jeans pocket situation already.)

Photograph: JLab

Just the Right Price

For such tiny buds, they sound pretty great! I was shocked when the bass in the chorus of the Builders and the Butchers’ “The River” flooded my ears. They sound so much richer and warmer than any bud this tiny has a right to sound. Honestly, I can’t believe they actually work. In a way, wearing them gives me the same level of satisfaction as a video of someone painstakingly making a tiny chocolate cake with real flour in a tiny little bowl, with a tiny little egg, baking it in a tiny oven, and then actually eating it.

They’re IP55, so they’re sweatproof and dustproof, and because they fit so well, the noise canceling is very effective. They also connect to the JLab app, which doesn’t have great reviews on the Apple app store but does everything I need it to do. JLab’s ambient sound feature, which it calls Be Aware, can be turned on and off in the app. You can also customize the touch control and EQ settings, which are adequate. JLab’s signature sound does seem to tilt toward bass, but it sounds perfect when you’re playing Chaka Khan while walking your dog.

The biggest downside is that they’re pretty bad for phone calls. They also only get around five hours of playtime without the case and 20 hours with it, but that’s still about a week’s worth of play time for me before I have to charge them.

That brings me to the most salient point: Like all of JLab’s buds, the Minis come at a pretty amazing price point of $40. They don’t sound as clear as a $200 pair of Jabras, and I definitely don’t notice sparkling clarity or a great big soundstage when listening to live shows. But I’m not really paying that much attention to details like that when I’m just listening to 10 minutes of Normal Gossip while waiting for my daughter’s dance class to end.

$40 is the exact right price if you’re gifting these to a loved one—maybe a new sister-in-law, or a niece or nephew in their first year of college. Earbuds are always practical, and the bright colors make these more personal and intentional. Just like a teacup poodle or a tiny talking shell, the JBuds Mini are a pint-size pocketful of easy, convenient delight.

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