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Full disclosure: I’m a big fan of JBL’s audio products. I’ve been using their headphones and earphones for years now and haven’t had one bad experience with them. Whether it was the Synchros E50BT headphones , the Synchros Reflect earphones, or Pulse 2 portable speakers, I’ve always been very happy with the audio performance of their products. That’s why when JBL introduced their latest Everest line of headphones late last year, I new I had to give them a try. The Everest line is their top of the line series of audio products featuring all their latest technology including new legendary JBL Pro Audio sound, Bluetooth 4.0, and TruNote™ Auto Sound Calibration. For this review I’ll be taking a look at the JBL Everest Elite 300, which also adds new NXTGen Active Noise Cancelling Technology to the feature set.

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The Look

These new JBL Everest Elite 300’s look pretty darn good. The Everest series is by far the cleanest looking headphones JBL has ever put out with a smooth, minimal look that keeps things simple. While their older designed looked pretty good too, this new cleaner look  will appeal to a much wider audience, especially those who like the look of the Beats headphones as they do seem to share a similar style.

Gone are the exposed hinges from past designs and instead, the Everest Elite 300 features a smooth looking band with hidden hinges that can fold the band for storage and easier carrying. The band also features integrated padding up top for more comfort while wearing. The band is also adjustable for various head sizes and has a sizing guide etched into it so you can make both sides even when adjusting.

The earcups on the Everest Elite 300 is also designed for utmost comfort. The premium leatherette covering on the plush padding make for a delightful experience while the pivoting earcups allows then to adjust properly to fit the angles of your ears. Inside the earcups, a large L and R are prominently displayed so you’ll always know the proper orientation to wear your Everest Elite 300.

Controls for the Everest Elite 300 are also stealthily placed on the rear behind the ears. Past headphones had it on the side which was convenient, but also made it too easy to push them by accident. Moving it the rear fixes this.

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The Sound

Of course looks aren’t the only thing important when looking at new headphones. Sound quality is also quite important. Without good sounds, all you got is an expensive fashion accessory that sounds like you’re listening to music with tin cans.

Let’s just cut to the chase. In typical JBL fashion, their legendary JBL Pro Audio sound profile sounds amazing. The highs sound crisp and clear while the bass is deep and punchy. There is no distortion in sound quality as you get louder with the volume settings and everything just sounds really good. If you have the new NXTGen Active Noise Cancelling Technology feature activated, you will be fully immersed in your music as all the outside sounds disappear. Like all noise canceling tech, it’s meant to keep the outside sounds out so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your tunes without being distracted. This also a great feature for air travel to drown out the sounds of the engine hum and noisy passengers.

There also a mode included with the Everest Elite 300 called Ambient Aware which you can turn on or off. This mode allows you to enjoy your music, but uses the built in mic to capture sounds around you. This is useful if you’re listening to music and need to hear the sounds around you for safety reason, such as walking in a busy city or riding your bike. There are 3 levels of Ambient Aware you can set depending on how much of the outside sounds you want to hear. All of this can be adjusted using the JBL app on your smartphone. More on that below.

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Everything Else

As I mentioned above, there is a JBL Headphones app you can download that is made specifically for the Everest series of headphones and earphones. You don’t have to use the app, but it does adjust certain features of the headphones that you can’t really do without it. For instance, you can assign the smart button the Everest Elite 300 to either adjust the level of Ambient Aware when pressed, or use it to turn noise canceling on and off. You can also use the app the choose specific equalizer settings or to create your own for use with the music you listen too. Lastly, the app is used to calibrate the headphones using JBL’s TruNote technology. As a bonus, the app also tells you how much charge is left in your headphones and is also used to update the firmware on them.

Like with most good wireless headphones, if you do run out of charge, there’s a solution that can keep the music going. Just attach the included aux cable to the headphones and your device and you’ll be able to listen to your tunes through wired headphones. This is great if you’re in a situation like a long flight where you might run out of charge at the tail end of your trip.

Lastly, the JBL Everest Elite 300 includes a handy canvas carrying / storage case that is nicely padded on the inside to protect them from bumps and scratches.

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The Finale

JBL has a winner here with the JBL Everest Elite 300. I love the new look of them over their older headsets and while the sound quality is about the same, the new NXTGen Active Noise Cancelling Technology really makes the experience better. My only real complaint about these are that they don’t come in more colors. Black and white are great, but if would have been nice if you could also get these in the pink and blue you find with the regular Everest 300 model.

Aside from the color thing, the JBL Everest Elite 300 are now my favorite headphones to use. For me at least, they are really comfortable to wear and sound really good when you just want to get away from it all.

For those of you who might not be fans of on-ear headphones, JBL also makes the larger JBL Everest Elite 700 headphones which are over-the-ear units with the same features.

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