As a manufacturer, Jam is doing a pretty good job keeping our attention. That is to say, they’re good at making products that look and feel cool very much in the style of Beats or other prestige brands.
What they aren’t doing, unfortunately, is making true wireless earbuds that stand up to the likes of current generation true wireless newcomers like Mifo.
That said, the Jam Live true wireless earbuds have their charms, and for the nearly $100.00 sticker price we expect them to have a few tricks up their sleeves.
It’s hard to hate the peppy, color and texture forward Jam brand. As one of the first really innovative visual styles from the era that brought us Skullcandy and Beats by Dre, Jam knows how to wrap things in a pretty package.
Indeed, Jam products are like audio for grownups without the price tag of Bang & Olufsen or Bose. It’s a cool young adult, straying far from dad’s headphones. And if that style speaks to you, the Jam Live true wireless earbuds should fit the bill nicely.
The textured, cloth-wrapped exterior is complemented by three inoffensive colors that add a touch of sophistication to the device. A similarly wrapped and styled battery case is included, offering more power when on the road. Features are standard and certainly not incomplete, but do not offer any redeeming or unique points aside from the visual styling.
While you are on the go, taking calls happens with the tap of either the left or right earbud inset button. The magic quickly fades after that thanks to one of the major defects found in most true wireless earbuds that are not Apple’s AirPods or Jabra’s Elite True Wireless earbuds.
The technical reason is placement of the microphone as well as software interpreting the sounds coming through. Most true wireless earbuds today offer a single microphone in one or both earbuds. Thanks to the position of this microphone relatively far from the speaker’s mouth and close in to the side of the head, they tend to pick up ambient noise just as well as the speaker. It gets very old very quickly, so if you are planning to use true wireless earbuds for frequent or important phone calls, go for a pair with multiple microphones and advanced beam forming technology that helps listen to the speaker and cuts out ambient noise.
Battery life is lacking in the Jam Live true wireless earbuds. They are rated for a maximum of three hours of continuous use before needing a charge, but in reality end up getting between two and three, depending on what you are doing and where you have volume settings.
That’s too bad, because today’s TWS earbuds using lower power Bluetooth 5 chipsets and larger, more efficient lithium polymer batteries are getting nearly eight hours of continuous use before needing a recharge, four times the capacity of the Jam Live true wireless earbuds.
Speaking of Bluetooth chipsets, it’s worth noting the older Bluetooth 4.1 chipset contained in the Jam Live is getting dusty. While signal strength is fine, it isn’t great. True wireless earbuds require a delicate ballet of signal exchange between a source device, a master earbud, and a secondary or child earbud. Mess one part of the equation up with too much distance, software issues, or other impossible to control details and sound skips, stutters, or outright doesn’t work at all.