FACEOFF: JBL Everest 110 vs. Pixel USB-C Earbuds

We are comparing two competing in-ear headphones.  One costs about $79 and the other $30.   One is bluetooth connected, the other connects through the USB-C plug at the bottom of a smartphone.   Both utilize Google Assistant.    So which is the winner?   We are going to compare based upon the following criteria:

  • Sound quality
  • Microphone quality
  • Comfort and Usefulness of Earbuds
  • Affordability/Value
  • Integration with Google Assistant

The JBL Everest 110GA headphones clearly offers lightweight, high quality headphones.    They have an 8-hour battery life, when fully charged.

PROS: 

  • They connect with the Pixel phone very easily.  The first time they are used, they start in pairing mode.   The pairing process took no more than 20 seconds.
  • There’s a handy button on the volume control bar that allows you to interface directly with Google Assistant.   You don’t even have to use the wake word — the button does it for you.   Sweet!
  • The microphone is excellent — the test calls we made were free of echo and handled wind-noise nicely.   The microphone’s performance may have been the highlight of the JBL headphones.

CONS:

  • The earbuds are not all that comfortable.  After one hour of wear, we found they were beginning to irritate our ears.  This may be attributable to the size of the ear speakers.
  • The sound is predictably good.  But it wasn’t markedly better than the Pixel Earbuds or some other wireless earphones that we tried.
  • They are not designed for sports-activities. They fit snuggly, but will fall out if jostled.

For the sub-$100 price, they are a decent value.  Perhaps not the best on the market,  (the Focal Spark Wireless Headphones may offer better quality for the money) but they are excellent.   But according to PC Magazine, they are comparable, if not lesser than, other similarly priced headphones such as the Jaybird Tarah, the JLab Epic Sport Wireless, the Jaybird X4, and the JBL Reflect Mini 2.

However, this faceoff isn’t complete.   Enter the Pixel USB-C Earbuds.   Sold for $30 by the Google Store, these buds are the answer to the question:  Why did you take away the headphone jacks from smartphones?    They plug nicely into the USB plug at the bottom of most new smartphones.   The buds themselves are small and light — just like we like them.   They have a 3-button remote control that also contains a microphone and the Google Assistant middle button.   It works almost identically to the JBL Everest.

PROS: 

  • Installation was jaw-droppingly easy.   It took no less than 10 seconds and didn’t involve turning the headphones on.
  • As for the sound:  it’s excellent.  Perhaps as good as the JBL earphones.   Certainly, they are not half as good — as the price might indicate.
  • The earbuds are super-comfortable.  More so than the JBL buds.
  • Similarly, the microphone was more than adequate, although not as good as the JBL mike.

There are no CONS because we simply couldn’t come up with any.   For $30, the Pixel buds rock the house.   We can’t recommend the JBL buds unless the bluetooth connectivity is essential.  For the money, our money is on the Pixel USB-C Earbuds.

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