JBL Tour One M2 Review ANC Headphones Alternative To Sony WH-1000XM5

Friday, April 21, 2023

JBL's new Tour One M2 is the new talk of the town when it comes to ANC headphones, giving Sony and Bose something to think about!

The JBL Tour One M2 uses adaptive ANC, meaning the active noise cancellation has been designed to automatically self-adjust according to the environmental conditions. You can achieve between 25 hrs of battery life (ANC ON) and 45 hrs of battery life with ANC OFF. You can also turn off the bluetooth connection and use ANC without playing any audio. Full charge takes 2 hours with quick charge support, which gives you 5 hours of battery life from a 10 minute recharge. 

The JBL Tour One M2 has physical plastic buttons (with subtle actuation) on-board the earcups, as well as a touch control button located on the front of the earcup. You can control track skipping (next/previous), play/pause, voice assistant, calls (answer/end) and listening modes (ANC, Ambient Aware & TalkThru).
JBL's AmbientAware and TalkThru modes are basically Transparency mode, which on many headsets can be a hit or miss but not with the Tour One M2. The clarity is so good that you can confidently and safely wear them on for situational awareness. In Talkthru mode, the volume audio gets reduced automatically too, which is super convenient. You can set TalkThru to turn on and off automatically by enabling "SmartTalk" mode via the JBL Headphones app.

The JBL Headphones app is simple, easy to use and requires no email registration. The app gives you access to all the onboard functions, as well as preset sound modes, custom EQ mode, volume limiting, automatic TalkThru mode, disable auto play/pause and mode. You can customize the onboard action button but you cannot remap the functions nor disable the action button. The earcup touch control panel can be disabled but the functions cannot be remapped so, you're stuck with the stock options. 

Spatial audio sound is another feature you get with the JBL Tour One M2 headset, although it is just surround sound - not head tracked spatial sound like on the JBL Quantum One headset. The Tour One M2 deliver superb sound, clearly defined and with plenty of detail, making this headset suitable for monitor audio, track mixing, listening to podcasts, etc. Compared to the Quantum One headset though, the audio isn't as deep or as far reaching as the Quantum One headset which delivers more immersive audio, thanks to DTS sound and head tracking. 

When it comes to audio/sound performance, the Quantum One wins in that department. However, for every day use the JBL Tour One M2 is the better choice because it is 100 grams lighter, less bulky and better suited for commuting, office, etc. That being said, the Quantum One also features superb ANC performance and, it's a lot cheaper to buy than the Tour One M2. 

The JBL Tour One M2 headset has comfy earpads with large inner hole, measuring 6cm high x 4cm wide x 2.5cm deep. The drivers are thickly padded on top to prevent the ears rubbing against. The earpads are made of protein leather, which typically heats up the ears, making them sweaty. With the Tour One M2 though, this isn't as noticeable, thanks to the breathable fabric on the inner side of the earcup which helps ventilation. 
As far as noise cancellation performance, it is very good. The JBL Tour One M2 delivers excellent passive isolation, which really aids the performance of the active noise cancellation blocking ambient and voices too. Compared to the industry leading Sony XM series ANC headphones, the Tour One M2 holds its own very well, making it one of the of better alternatives to Sony or Bose. You definitely won't be disappointed, considering the Tour One M2 costs twice as less.

The underside of the Tour One M2 headband is also padded, although only on the top section. The sides aren't padded. The minute you open the box packaging, you can tell the JBL Tour One M2 is a premium headset with top notch build quality and detailing (e.g. JBL engraving). The JBL Tour One M2 headset weighs just 270 grams, which is lightweight for a pair of headphones. The headset is mostly made of plastic with chrome accents and aluminium reinforcement for the folding hinges and headband inner band, which has a loud ratchet style mechanism. 
You can listen to audio in wired mode too  with the Tour One M2 connected to a phone. However, the Tour One M2 uses a 2.5mm audio port connection on the earcup, which is not a problem in and of itself but, it means you cannot use a standard male to male 3.5mm audio cable.

Potential deal breakers
  • No head tracking Spatial Sound 
  • No side headband padding
  • 40mm drivers - the Quantum One has 50mm drivers
  • Only two color options
  • 2.5mm audio jack
  • No button remapping
Selling points
  • Adaptive ANC
  • Hi-Res Wireless  
  • Top tier ANC performance
  • Spatial sound
  • Loud volume
  • Video low latency mode
  • 85dB volume limiting 
  • SmartTalk mode
  • Excellent background noise reduction during calls 
  • Voice prompts (clearly audible at 100% volume)
  • Metal folding hinges
  • Breathable fabric inner cups
  • Latest bluetooth chipset (bluetooth 5.3)
  • Clear sound - low noise/low distortion
  • Comfortable daily driver
  • Ability to use ANC with bluetooth turned off
  • Wired audio
  • Folding earcups
  • Automatic play/pause
  • Voice control (Ok Google and Alexa built-in)
  • Super fast charge (5 hrs from 10 minutes)
  • Long battery life
  • Established brand
  • Factory reset function
  • Status light for battery & bluetooth
  • Mobile app support
  • On earcup button controls
  • Hard travel case
  • Replaceable earpads
  • Seamless multipoint
  • Google Fast Pair
  • Touch control button

Accessories included with the JBL Tour One M2 headset are all branded. They include an airplane headphone adapter, male to male 3.5mm to 2.5mm cable (1.5 meters), USB-C to USB-A cable (1.5 meters), cables and a snazzy hard case for storing and transporting the headphones. 

The hard case is made of EVA foam covered with water/scratch resistant fabric. The hardshell case has a suitcase style opening via a single metal slider. The zipper teeth are concealed, although the seam is not fully water resistant. 
On the side of the case, there is a detachable lanyard with a snap button fastener. Internally, the Tour One M2 hard case features a large velvety pocket with velcro fastener to store the cables as well as pre-shaped guide insert (non removable) to help position the headphones neatly in the case. Dimensions of the Tour One M2 hard case are 21cm x 17cm x 6.5cm high. You can buy the JBL Tour One M2 from the JBL website and amazon.

Similar Gadget Explained Reviews


Connect With Gadget Explained