JLab Flex Open earbuds match Bose Ultra Open for a fraction of a price

The earbuds’ answer to open-ear headphones is the clip-on style that doesn’t sit deep in the ear canal, therefore less chance of permanent hearing damage if you listen to music at high levels. Bose Ultra Open earbuds created quite the buzz at CES 2024 for this new earbuds design but a price tag of $300 only attracted enthusiasts.

Now JLab has come up with a similar open clip style design called Flex Open earbuds. The pair offers most of what the high-end earbuds offer and that too at a fraction of a price. Being only $50 makes this open-ear accessory worth the try if you are eager to try out new audio accessories.

Designer: JLab

For those who want to be aware of the ambient sounds around them, the open-ear design is perfect. That’s where the Flex Open excels for a sixth of the price offered by the best in the industry. They even manage to beat the Bose’s earbuds with an IP55 rating and multipoint connectivity right out of the box. Battery life is also impressive at seven hours on a single charge and 21 more hours on the charging case. Compare that to the Ultra Open which lasts a couple of hours less in real-life testing. While you cannot expect the audio quality to be anywhere close to Bose, still the 12mm drivers deliver a thumping sound.

The only thing you can complain about is the lack of spatial audio with head tracking, but most people like me don’t bother much. Call quality in noisy environments can be a bit of a hit-and-miss with these, but if you’re using them majorly for music listening, they are a bang for the buck. After all for that price, how much wrong can these go? One thing that’ll make you ditch these earbuds is the lack of the latest lossless Bluetooth codec from Qualcomm if you care about those things.

The companion app for the Flex Open lets you toggle the sound signature to stay close to the preferred curve. In a way, these earbuds tick all the right boxes if you are on a budget and want to try out this new open-ear earbuds trend for once without breaking the bank.