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JBL’s latest earbuds have a ‘smart’ charging case with phone notifications, controls, more

The latest set of true wireless earbuds from JBL, the Tour Pro 2, includes a touchscreen in the “smart” charging case, complete with notifications, media controls, and more.

Over the last few years, earbuds have steadily gotten “smarter,” particularly when it comes to controlling media playback and triaging notifications. Headphones that are deeply integrated with the Google Assistant, including the Pixel Buds and models from JBL, are able to announce your notifications and even allow for verbal replies.

Today, JBL is looking to take the relationship a step further while also making better use of the charging case you’re stuck carrying around anyway. In previewing next year’s JBL Tour Pro 2, they’re giving us our first look at an interesting new concept, adding a touchscreen to the front of the earbuds’ now “smart” battery case.

In a way, the design is reminiscent of the “second screen” on some foldables and affordable smartwatches, allowing you to scroll through a few pages of controls. Exact details are still a bit thin, but JBL promises you’ll be able to use the 1.45″ screen on the Tour Pro 2 case “to manage your music, customize your earbuds, receive calls, messages and social media notifications.”

Given the size and shape of the case itself, which should allow it to stand freely, it seems like JBL’s buds would make an excellent desk companion. With a few quick taps, you should be able to check the time, play/pause your music, enable/disable noise cancellation, and more without ever opening your phone.

JBL has not yet shared whether the Tour Pro 2 buds will have Google Assistant built in like their predecessors, the Tour Pro+, which we found had exceptional audio quality for the price point. They have confirmed that the new earbuds will have further enhanced noise cancellation along with support for spatial audio. Better yet, the €249 JBL Tour Pro 2 will include full support for Bluetooth LE Audio, which Android 13 recently added as a feature.

JBL is also making that same high-end feature set of spatial audio, Bluetooth LE Audio, and more — minus the smart charging case of course — available in a set of full-size over-ear headphones, the Tour One M2. Boasting an estimated maximum 50 hours of battery life and 40mm dynamic drivers, these €299 headphones should cause a stir when this latest lineup from JBL launches in January 2023.

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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