This model is very similar to my aging Jaybird headphones, so I was very excited to put them through their paces.
Included with the headphones are additional ear hooks and ear tips to customize the fit, as well as a micro-USB charging cable. They also include a nice hefty pouch to hold everything.
The playback controls are located in-line, a few inches below the right earbud. The center multi-function button is flanked on either side by separate buttons for volume control/song skipping. The micro USB charging port is also located on the controller. The controller, including the buttons, seem fairly well constructed and not flimsy.
Pairing is accomplished in typical fashion by holding the multi-function button down for a few seconds until you hear the “pairing” voice prompt. Once paired with your device, it will prompt you with a “paired” voice notification. Like the J&L-100s that I reviewed, when you subsequently connect your J&L-103s it still says “paired” instead of the traditional “connected.” The voice prompts are slightly distorted for some reason, but this doesn’t otherwise impact the sound quality.
The play-time is estimated to be 6 to 8 hours and I got about 8 hours. Charging took a little over an hour.
I tested the J&L-103s using Audiocheck.net’s Headphones and Earphones Benchmarking Test Files. I could hear frequencies from about 20Hz to 14KHz which probably has more to do with my impaired hearing at the upper ranges than anything else. I’m no audiophile, but I found the sound quality of the J&L-103s pleasant though they seemed a little muddier than my Jaybirds. Call quality was good and I received no complaints from folks on the other end.
I don’t like the Jaybird earhooks and wear mine sans them. However, I found the J&L-103s very comfortable even with the earhooks, which have a slight curve to them where the Jaybird earhooks are straight. That said, I’m sure this totally depends on the shape of your ears and, thus, is personal preference. I wore them for long periods without problem.
The cord that connects the two ear pieces is about the same as on the Jaybirds though perhaps slightly less rigid. As with the Jaybirds, the cord transfers rumbling noise if the cord moves and slides when in contact with your body. I suppose this is where the cordless Apple EarPod type are superior, but honestly, having a strap connecting the ear pieces makes me much more confident I won’t lose one.
The J&L-103’s build quality seems good and they have a nice heft to them. I love the magnetic feature which allows you to connect the two earpieces together to form a necklace. The magnet strength is pretty strong and should hold them together through most situations. Note that they do not automatically switch off when magnetically connected which would have been a nice feature.
If you are looking for this style of Bluetooth headphones, I have no hesitation in recommending the J&L-103s especially for the price of $49.