Test: JBL Live 400BT – On-ear with voice assistant

5 min


We have had JBL Live 400BT for testing. They offer both voice assistant and "The JBL signature sound". Are they good enough for a price of 999 kroner? F the answer here:

We have had JBL Live 400BT for testing. Among other things, the Live 400BT offers integrated voice assistant in the form of Google Assistant and Alexa. In addition, the headphones promise up to 24 hours of battery life.

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To get the full benefit of JBL Live 400 BT, you need to use JBL's own app, which, among other things, allows you to customize the sound and any voice assistant. Does the well-known combination of headphones and related applications mean enough to justify a price tag of up to DKK 1000?

Advantage:

  • Long battery life
  • Satisfactory sound
  • Talk Thru & Ambient Aware
  • Possibility of connection with 3.5mm jack plug

Disadvantages:

  • Troubling app
  • Voice assistant that cannot be controlled
  • Poor fit
  • Expensive price tag

Designed on JBL Live 400BT

You have no doubt which manufacturer you sit with when looking at the JBL Live 400BT. Not only because of the large JBL logos on the pages, but also because they are similar to most other JBL headphones in the class.

The layout of the buttons is very standard for JBL, with a power slider, the connected volume and play / pause buttons, and the Bluetooth button. JBL Live 400BT has the added addition of a dedicated assistant button that can help you quickly get notifications and messages.

The body is covered with fabric adorned by the well-known JBL logo on the top, and the cushions are covered with a rubber material that gives them a "synthetic leather look". Inside the rest pieces you have the habit of being marked "L" and "R" respectively, to show which way to sit.

The packaging itself is not much to write home about. It is an easily recognizable JBL packaging that presents the product completely after the book. The content consists of the headphones themselves, a charger cable with USB to micro-USB, and a jack to jack aux cable. So far, everything we now know from JBL, and why change it too?

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Easy connection – and still not

Getting started with the JBL Live 400BT is a narrow case. You turn on the headphones, press the Bluetooth button, pair with your phone, and then you are more or less ready. If you use Google Assistant, this person will immediately ask if you want to configure the voice assistant on the JBL Live 400BT, which I can only recommend. If you do not configure the assistant properly, it will interrupt the sound in time and out of time to provide updates on notifications, emails and messages. It may well remain long-term, to put it in good German.

To get the full benefit of the headphones, JBL recommends using them with the app. The app offers features like Equalizer, Talkthru and Ambient Aware, both of which are just marketing hoses to turn on the microphone for cleaning, and firmware updates. In other words, the app is a must if you need all the features.

The only problem is that the app is unreasonably cumbersome, which also scores a score of 1.8 on the Google Play Store. I experienced the same problem as a host of other users, namely that the app complains that I have more than one JBL device connected, which was not the case. It took me some time and a number of frustrated outbursts that I will not repeat here, but I found the solution.

It turns out that the JBL Live 400BT issues two different Bluetooth signatures, n recognized as audio device and n recognized as undefined Bluetooth device. To connect to the JBL app, I had to remove the Bluetooth device that was not registered as an audio device. Then everything went well and the application is a nice tool to turn Talkthru and Ambient Aware on or off, just as the equalizer is nice to have.

The sound of the JBL Live 400BT

It is now difficult to come up with new, inspirational glosses when describing the sound of a large headset. Usually because it's all heard before, and in some cases because the sound is uninspiring. Unfortunately for JBL Live 400BT, the sound here falls into the latter category.

The sound is good enough, but I would venture that there are more interesting alternatives for 999 kroner. Among other things, Skullcandy makes some headphones that are far more interesting and cost less. But okay, just the Skullcandy harheadhunt at least gets sound from JBL, so maybe that's part of the explanation. Back to the JBL Live 400BT, there's just not so much to say about the sound. It all sounds fine, you don't get blown back, and the headphones don't shine at any point.

If something is to justify it, in my opinion, the high price, then it must be assistant compatibility. But honestly, I'd rather have better sound in my headphones, and then keep the assistant in my pocket. It can also be quite annoying when Google's mechanical voice suddenly breaks into the middle of a number to tell me that I have received an email from Daniel.

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The final judgment

It's hard for me to be terribly excited about the JBL Live 400BT. Once you have mastered the app, there are a lot of nice features, but nothing to make the headphones stand out. The operation is easy and the build quality seems to be top notch.

The fit is cumbersome and I often find it uncomfortable after a while. But that's the case with most on-ear headphones, so here's the JBL Live 400BT again just a bit like the others.

When I say "again just a little like the others", it is because the sound unfortunately also belongs in that category. I know JBL is advertising the "JBL signature sound" itself, and it may well be that they are right. But if that is the case, many other manufacturers have succeeded in copying "The JBL signature sound" .

All things considered, though, the headphones aren't bad – they're just there. The price is too high and someone might have to take a look at that app. But the rest is a functional set of headphones that offer a host of features that appeal to a wide audience. If JBL had cut 25 percent of the price, they might have had one more star, but today JBL Live 400BT ends up at 4 stars out of 6.

[Total: 1    Average: 5/5]

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