Active noise-cancelling headphones can help reduce background noise by sampling ambient noise and adjusting the audio to help drown it out. But in order to do that, headphones or earbuds with noise cancellation features need more power than a traditional set of headphones. That’s why they usually have a battery compartment.
JBL’s new Reflect Aware C noise-cancelling earbuds are designed to plug into a USB Type-C port on smartphones, laptops, or other gadgets rather than a 3.5mm jack.
Since USB Type-C can deliver both data and power, that means the Reflect Aware C headphones don’t need a battery.
JBL and HTC unveiled the Reflect Aware C headphones together in the official announcement for the new HTC 10 smartphone. But the earbuds actually made an appearance on the Red Dot 21 design award website recently.
While the USB C model is new, JBL had previously introduced a version of the earbuds with an Apple Lightning connector for use with iPhones. They’re available for pre-order for $160 and there’s an estimated ship date of June 19th.
I like the idea of noise-canceling headphones that don’t need recharging. But it’d be nice if they were a little more affordable.
I have a pair of cheap Audio Technica earbuds that I use when traveling by bus, train, or airplane. The noise cancellation technology isn’t that great, but the price was right. While I can use them without noise cancellation if the battery dies, they sound awful when used without it.