JBL is a veteran manufacturer in the audio space and the company behind the new Reflect Mini BT headphones. Built for athletes who have no patience for audio hardware with cords (aka me), these headphones use Bluetooth to connect and stream music from a phone or other audio devices.
- First and foremost, these things stay in place. JBL’s signature ergonomic sport ear tips (aka the funky looking rubber earbud part) help keep the Reflect Mini BTs glued to the ears. In the many, many miles I’ve run trail with these things, I’ve yet to experience an incident where they feel out of my ear. Seriously, not one single time.
- The most obvious advantage with the Reflect Mini BT is the Bluetooth connectivity and ditching cords completely. Insanely annoying headphones cords were the reason I stopped running to music in the first place. No cords = running with music.
- From the perspective of a non-audiophile, the headphones sound fine. I can’t pick out anything exceedingly amazing about the sound quality, but they don’t sound terrible.
- Battery life is absolutely fantastic. JBL advertises 8 hours of music streaming per charge and that’s been consistent with what I’ve experienced in testing the Reflect Mini BT. For moderate activity, a single charge per week is really all that’s needed.
- The one thing I really dislike about the the Reflect Mini BT are the controls. The play/pause and volume adjustment buttons are all so low-profile against the little control dongle they’re damn near impossible to use. Even a super small increase in the height of each button would make a world of difference in the ability to find them during pretty much any activity.
Summary: I reached a point where running a physical cord underneath my running shirt got too annoying. I hated the tug of the cord pulling out my earbuds on every step. I hated the limited length a cord would present when my phone was in a back pocket vs somewhere high and unreachable in the back of a hydro pack. So I stopped running with music. I ran my last two Ragnar Relays without music. I trained for and ran Mid-Mountain Marathon without music. Now, despite the shortcoming with the buttons, JBL’s Reflect Mini BTs have successfully reintroduced me to the world of running with music and podcasts, but this time without that pesky cord. While perhaps not a necessary item, at just under $100 the Reflect Mini BTs are an excellent upgrade to any any athlete’s gear collection.