Creative Sound Blaster JAM
A pair of wireless headphones will liberate you from trailing headphones and getting yanked back when they catch a door handle or any other protruding object. If you’ve ever pulled the cables too hard and broken your precious headphones you’ll appreciate the freedom of Bluetooth audio. There are compromises on sound quality, so it’s important to select the right headphones if you value your audio.
Often price is an indicator, and at less than £40, the Sound Blaster JAMs suggest that sound quality won’t be great. Our initial concerns were unfounded though, because audio quality was very good. Indeed, it wasn’t a million miles from our favourite Bluetooth headphones, the £125 Sennheiser MM 400-X.
The Creatives offer good overall tonal balance, with enough weight in the bass to give a comfortable full sound. There is a slight roughness in the treble, but without overly exaggerated treble that would otherwise make them too wearing.
We hardly expected these headphones to be the last word in detail, but at this price, it’s excellent. Its neodymium drivers can handle frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. The level midrange means vocals are neither recessed nor pushed up too loud, and these fast and dynamic headphones have an excellent wide stereo with natural spread between the ears.
Overall, these are very impressive as budget headphones, let alone as wireless models using the most basic lossy audio codec.
We are fans of the ergonomics, too. Weighing just 109g, the JAMs are lightweight, and don’t clamp too tightly yet feel secure in place – sitting well on the ears. We prefer headphones that will fold up to as small a size as possible, and these don’t do that – although they’re small enough to fit in a coat pocket or take up little space in a bag.
Built into the right earcup are the main controls for the headset power, volume, Bluetooth connection, audio play/pause and calls. You can also boost the bass by tapping the Bass button on the earcup.
You can also attach the headphones to a PC/Mac via USB for enhanced sound quality – handy when watching a movie or TV programme on your laptop. When paired to a phone via Bluetooth, the built-in microphone blocks out some of the ambient noise and echo.
The Sound Blaster JAM features Near Field Communication (NFC) wireless connectivity for easy onetouch pairing – although this isn’t yet supported on iPods or iPhones.
Battery life is another factor to consider when buying Bluetooth headphones, and the Sound Blasters lasted a decent length of time before requiring recharging, which is done using the included Micro-USB cable.
The Creative Sound Blaster JAM Bluetooth headphones offer fantastic value for money as they outperform expectations on both audio quality and comfort. Incredibly lightweight, you’ll hardly notice you’re wearing them, and while they don’t fold for ultra portability they are small enough to fit in a coat pocket.