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JLab Go Air Sport review: Low-cost sports buds with big bass

Despite some compromises, the $30 JLab Go Air Sport is an enticing deal for active lifestyle fans seeking a big bass sound and extended playtime

The JLab Go Air Sport wireless earbuds being held aloft a pool backdrop
(Image: © Regan Coule/Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The JLab Go Air Sport has the bass and battery life to appease fitness buffs on a budget, but don’t expect grand performance.

Pros

  • +

    Punchy sound

  • +

    Sturdy and highly secure design

  • +

    Great battery life

  • +

    Intelligible connectivity

  • +

    Unbeatable price

Cons

  • -

    Finicky controls

  • -

    Poor-sounding highs

  • -

    Inconvenient charging system

  • -

    Lack of extra features

JLab Go Air Sport specs

Price: $30

Colors: graphite; green; light blue; sand; teal; yellow

Battery life (rated): 8 hours (ANC); 32 hours (charging case)

Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.1

Water resistance: Yes (IP55 rated)

Size: 1.38 x 1.0  x 2 .0 (est. earbud) 

Weight: 0.2 ounces (per bud); 1.5 ounces (charging case)

The all-new JLab Go Air Sport is a notable sporty addition to the budget wireless earbuds market, offering a bass-heavy sound with an ergonomic and water-resistant design that's geared towards runners.

JLab’s low-priced business model might trigger skepticism among budget-conscious shoppers. However, their reputation as a credible earbuds maker has not only turned the brand into an Amazon darling, but also a bargain bin favorite. Well-reviewed models like the $99 Epic Air Sport ANC and $20 Go Air Pop can attest to this.

While these buds pull off more than their MSRP might suggest, owners must come to terms with several shortcomings. Read our full JLab Go Air Sport review to see why this is still one of the best cheap running headphones out there.

JLab Go Air Sport review: Price and availability

You can purchase the JLab Go Air Sport exclusively through JLab. It comes in six colors, including graphite, green, light blue, sand, teal, and yellow. Inside the box are a charging case with integrated charging cable, three sets of different sized ear tips, and a two-year warranty. 

For all of the latest wireless earbuds sales, bookmark our best headphones deals page.

JLab Go Air Sport review: Design and comfort

  • Built for intense workouts
  • Optimal fit
  • Charging case is long, but lightweight and slim

Earhook-designed earbuds aren’t anything new. Beats popularized them with the iconic Powerbeats lineup, which translated perfectly to the truly wireless Powerbeats Pro. JLab followed by releasing several models in both the Air Sport and Sport series that copy the same look. The Go Air Sport provides a secure fit and modest comfort for hour-long workouts.

The JLab Go Air Sport wireless earbuds and charging case being dislplayed on the concrete

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Build quality is one of its biggest selling points. Sturdy plastic combined with IP55 sweat and water resistance make for one well-protected package. Not even the pricier AirPods Pro (IPX4) matches the Go Air Sport’s moisture defense. The buds won’t crack or take on scratches either when dropped to the ground.

The JLab Go Air Sport wireless earbuds being worn during a workout

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The charging case is a bit long, but thin enough to fit snugly in your front shirt pocket. It won’t take up any space in your gym bag and is light at 1.5 ounces. The magnets are also strong to keep the buds locked in when charging. We’re still waiting on JLab to confirm whether the case is water-resistant as well.

JLab Go Air Sport review: Controls and digital assistant

  • Touch accuracy isn’t on point
  • Supports the big three digital assistants

JLab does something that I’ve only seen higher-priced wireless earbuds do, which is program a full suite of media controls on the Go Air Sport. These commands include playback, call management, volume, digital assistance, and EQ activation. The controls are equally divided among the buds and assigned to different input methods (single/multiple tap and long hold). JLab gets an A for effort, but a C- for execution due to the buds’ poor touch detection. Performing the same input method several times before the touch sensors recognize your intended command becomes frustrating.

The JLab Go Air Sport's touch controls being tested

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

No motion detection for auto-pause/play when removing or placing the buds on your ears also hinders the user experience.

If you’re someone who loves using Siri, Google Assistant or Bixby for voice commands, then the Go Air Sport can serve good purpose. The mics aren’t as intelligible as what you’ll find on the AirPods or inexpensive rivals like the Skullcandy Grind Fuel, but they’ll comprehend inquiries well enough for the AI bots to perform their magic.

JLab Go Air Sport review: Sound quality

  • Deep bass
  • Programmed EQs are hit or miss

JLab is known for their emphasized bass sound, and the Go Air Sport sticks to the sonic formula. Audio has been slightly tuned to give mids more shine. JLab’s sound profile attempts to do the same for highs, but it fails miserably.

Three EQs (Signature, Balanced, and Bass Boost) are programmed into these buds. These aren’t the greatest, but at least you’re given some type of sound customization, which is more than most sub-$30 models offer.

Method Man & Redman's "Da Rockwilder" playing on the JLab Go Air Sport

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Signature is the default and the best of the trio. You’ll get a decent mix of crisp mids and punchy lows, something I experienced when working out to hip-hop bangers like Method Man & Redman’s “Da Rockwilder.” The track’s propulsive bass boosted my energy levels on 5K runs, though the 808 effects created some distortion. Better performance was had on rock tracks like Green Day’s “Warning,” where the circling guitar riff and infectious bass line were toned down, but still impactful.

JLab's Audio Burn-In tool running on the JLab Go Air Sport

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

There is no companion app, nor any extra features outside of the EQs. You can download JLab’s audio burn-in tool from the App Store or Google Play. Since the jury is still out on whether playing hours of sound on headphones can adjust the sound signature effectively, I advise sticking with the Signature EQ. 

The earbuds struggle to isolate external sound. Expect most of what’s transpiring around you to enter the soundscape, possibly disrupting workouts.

JLab Go Air Sport review: Battery life and charging case

  • More playtime than most luxury models
  • Charging system is problematic

Brand staples like the Epic Air Sport ANC (11 hours with ANC on) and Go Air Pop (8 hours) stand out as playtime leaders at their respective price points. The Go Air Sport is right up there with them, generating up to 8 hours on a single charge. You can squeeze in a week’s worth of workouts and still have an hour or two left for casual listening. I was pleased with the four days of moderate use (2 hours daily) provided before recharging. 

Fully powered, the charging case holds up to 32 hours. Do the math and that is four extra charges at your disposal. That is more portable power than any Jabra or Beats charging case.

The JLab Go Air Sport's charging case being charged via portable charger

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Unfortunately, JLab makes it inconvenient to charge this thing. The integrated USB cable, a cool and unique feature that has brought much appeal to JLab earbuds in the past, is outdated and requires a USB port to charge. At a time when all other wireless earbuds manufacturers are going with USB-C charging, it’s time for JLab to modernize its charging system. 

Quick charging isn’t available, nor is wireless charging, but neither should be considered a dealbreaker.

JLab Go Air Sport review: Call quality and connectivity

  • Will suffice when you’re in a pinch
  • Strong connectivity

Many $30 wireless earbuds make terrible calling headsets. The Go Air Sport breaks free from the crowd by delivering above average results, as long as conversations take place in quiet settings. Any calls I took inside the house were met with positive feedback. Quality dipped when talking outside. The mics picked up lots of ambient noise and wind, but even with these disruptions, the missus could understand my words.

The JLab Go Air Sport wireless earbuds being used as a calling headset

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The Go Air Sport produces solid connectivity. Bluetooth 5.1 is at the helm and establishes a higher range (40 feet) than what JLab advertises on the product page (30 feet). That’s good enough to jump from one side of the house to another minus any dropout. Pairing is simple with the buds automatically linking to recognized devices. There’s even a Dual Connect mode to use the buds independently.

JLab Go Air Sport review: Verdict

For $30, the JLab Go Air Sport is worth the buy. The bass-forward profile will stimulate energy levels, plus the stable fit and battery life make these buds an ideal pitch for exercise enthusiasts who want acceptable performance on a budget. 

The low MSRP means you’ll have to deal with many compromises. These include dull-sounding highs, unreliable controls, and an inconvenient charging system. Spending a few dollars more on the $99 Epic Air Sport ANC gets you more bang for the buck, but the Go Air Sport accomplishes what it needs to for the price: long playtimes and reasonably good sound.

A lifestyle journalist with an affinity for consumer products, Alex has over a decade of experience and has worked with popular publications such as Complex, Thrillist, Men’s Health, Gear Patrol, AskMen, and Hoop Magazine. He currently focuses on audio, reviewing the most coveted headphones in the market for both Tom’s Guide and Laptop Magazine.