Wireless earbuds — the ones that employ a wire behind your head and connect to your phone over Bluetooth, not ones that don't actually have any wires at all — have started including more and more features like fitness tracking and hands-free calling. But JBL and parent company Harman Kardon just announced a pair here at CES called the Everest Elite 100 that offer something even newer — customizable active noise cancellation.
Features like active noise cancellation put a drain on battery life, which is already tricky when it comes to wireless earbuds. So to counteract this, JBL has added a horseshoe-shaped neck rest to the original Everest 100 earbuds. That's right: they're neckbuds.
It's not the most attractive look, but that's fine! It's an increasingly popular design, and with a little time, you too can learn to love neckbuds. And for the right user, that extra bulk might be worth it for the added functionality.
Will they be the best sounding neckbuds ever?
Instead of just blocking out ambient noise indiscriminately, NXTGen lets you dial certain noises up or down in the audio mix. By using JBL's accompanying app, users can tune out particularly annoying frequencies, or make sure they can hear things like oncoming traffic. It's a similar idea to what we saw Doppler Labs develop last year, only in the form of a consumer-ready product meant for more general use.
JBL calls this take on noise cancellation "NXTGen Active Noise Cancellation," and it's used the technology on some of its most expensive over-the-ear headphones. But this is the first time the technology is available on the company's wireless earbuds. Other wired earbuds, like the Bose QC20s or the Monoprice 10799s, offer noise cancellation technology, but JBL is the first to put active noise cancellation on a pair of earbuds like this.
Otherwise the new Everest Elites look pretty similar to the original Everest 100 headphones. There's no word on battery life, and the extra functionality will cost you more — the Everest Elite 100s will run $199 when they go on sale later this year. (JBL says they'll be available "early 2016.")
Correction: This post originally mentioned both JBL and Jabra. The headphones are made by JBL.