JBL Focus 500 Review

Value for money

Sound Quality

Ease of use


These mid-range headphones are practical, durable and have a great sound quality – they are definitely worth the price you pay!

True to form, these JBL headphones do not disappoint when it comes to sound quality. Heavy on the bass, they’ll get you through the toughest of workouts.

Although these headphones connect easily via Bluetooth, they are tricky to fit onto your ear. 

Sweat, rain and water-resistance make these headphones perfect for heavy workouts.

These mid-range headphones are practical, durable and have a great sound quality – they are definitely worth the price you pay! True to form, these JBL headphones do not disappoint when it comes to sound quality. Heavy on the bass, they’ll get you through the toughest of workouts. Although these headphones connect easily via Bluetooth, they are tricky to fit onto your ear. Sweat, rain, and water-resistance make these headphones perfect for heavy workouts.


  • Secure fit
  • In-line remote
  • Quick, easy Bluetooth connection
  • Battery life
  • Comfort
  • Value for money
  • Durability
  • Sound Quality


  • Tricky to fit
  • Ambient noise / music balance
  • Separate volume control to your phone

The JBL Focus 500 – Quality sound, right in your ear.

Known for their professional, immersive sound quality, JBL has moved past loudspeakers and into the realm of headphones, bringing several variations of both wireless and non-wireless headphones onto the market. When it comes to the JBL focus 500, it’s safe to say these are a solid choice from JBL’s “sport” line – their secure fit and wireless functionality make them ideal for any type of workout. 

Although it may take a while and several adjustments, once fitted, they will not leave your ear, and you can be sure the baseline of your favorite workout tracks will keep you moving for hours on end. With a higher than average battery life (and fast charging time!), the Focus 500 is everything you could want from headphones and more, coupling an accessible price with real quality – just what you need for headphones that are going to get you through. And more than that, they’ll last. Workout headphones are not meant to be treated with care, and JBL incorporated that into their design, making them sweat proof, and giving them a non-tangle cable. Minus a bit of extra fiddling and practice to find the sweet spot in your ear, these headphones come highly recommended. 

What to expect from the JBL Focus 500 Headphones.

The JBL Focus 500 is part of JBL’s “sport” range of headphones. With built-in TwistLock™ technology and ergonomic ear tips, they guarantee comfort and security, even during the most rigorous of workouts. Bluetooth connectivity means you no longer have to worry about where you put your phone and can workout feeling lighter and freer than ever while enjoying JBL’s signature sound quality and immersive baseline. 

Light, comfortable and, once correctly fitted, easy to use, the Focus 500 will keep you focused on your workout, and, importantly, keep you safe. Perfect for outdoor workouts, the Focus 500 lets in ambient noise, allowing you to enjoy the power of your music while still being aware of your surroundings – something that should not be overlooked. 

Released in 2016, the Focus 500 comes from a line of Focus headphones, that have been tweaked and improved all the way back since the Focus 100. Each model is available in two variations – men’s and women’s – the Focus range has been designed for ease and simplicity. With no fancy features or extra buttons, these headphones do what they say on the tin – provide excellent sound quality in a comfortable, durable, secure package, and at a reasonable price.

JBL Focus 500  Wireless headphones

Who are the JBL Focus 500 for?

Nowadays we hear a lot about wireless headphones, but are they worth the hassle? And what type would suit your lifestyle best? From noise-cancelling over-ear headphones to in-ear buds and over-ear workout headphones – what are the differences and what will really make a difference when it comes to listening to your favorite tracks?

If you’re looking for headphones that will get you through an intense workout – whether at the gym, outdoors or even in the rain, these are a great option. Sweat, water and rain proof (but not under-water proof – don’t go swimming in them!), these durable headphones are sure to keep you entertained and safe by letting in ambient noise. Although sometimes inconvenient, this feature is essential for your overall safety when you’re out and about! You may not get quite sound quality you would like in these situations – but as soon as you move away from the noise, you can go back to enjoying your tunes, safe in the knowledge that you know exactly what’s going on around you.

If you’re not a fan of ambient noise or want completely wire-free headphones, the Focus 500 is not for you. Connecting behind your neck with a handy, non-tangle cable, although they don't connect to your phone, these headphones still connect to each other; so if you don't like having a cable at all, look for truly wireless options. If you’re all about the immersive experience, the Focus 500 won’t give you what you’re looking for, so noise-canceling headphones might be a better fit. 

What’s in the box?

  • One pair of Focus™ 500 headphones
  • One pair of additional ear tips
  • One Sports carry pouch
  • One Charging cable
  • One Warranty card
  • One Saftey Sheet / QSG
  • One Warning card

The Focus 500 headphones come in a nice little package with all you could need. The sports carry pouch makes sure you keep your headphones neatly tucked away when you’re on the move, and additional ear tips give you more options of a better fit – which means higher levels of comfort!

jbl focus 500

Overview of the JBL Focus 500 features

The Focus 500 doesn't have fancy special features– but what it does do it does well. Here’s a run-through of each of the features of the Focus 500, and why they make these an excellent choice of headphone:

Sound quality 

Straight away when you put on these headphones, you’ll be able to hear JBL’s totally immersive signature sound. They have not disappointed with this model, where they have definitely focused on bass – letting your power-tracks give you the push you need to work that much harder.


Although they can be fiddly to put on, and it may take a while to get it right, these headphones really are secure. JBL’s patented TwistLock™ technology makes sure the headphones will not leave your ear, no matter what you’re doing. Fitted all around you ear with bendable, firm hooks (that are also removable if you’re not a fan), the design has clearly been well-researched in order to have reached this point.

But it’s not just about security – the Focus 500 is also comfortable. Silicone, ergonomic ear tips make the headphones particularly comfortable, and they even come with an extra pair of tips to ensure the best fit possible. 


It’s hard to tell the size of ear buds when you’re looking at pictures, but one very pleasant feature of the Focus 500 is its size – smaller than you would expect, these headphones are also lighter than you would think, adding to their comfort and wear-ability.

Battery life

Eight hours of battery life from 1.5-2 hours of charging time are numbers we can’t argue with. Longer than the average battery life of wireless earphones, these will keep going as long as you do! If you do want more, you can also buy an additional external charger that will give you two extra charges – perfect for traveling or if you need to charge on the go.

Non-tangle cable

The Focus 500’s non-tangle cable goes around the back of your neck, with a remote control placed in a very handy location for you to easily control track changes. The remote also has a microphone which, to be honest, could be better, but it does the job and keeps you talking – all while connected wirelessly to your device.

The wire also has a clip on it, that lets you clip it onto the back of your clothes. That way you can be sure that your headphones aren’t going anywhere (but more for your peace of mind really, as we can assure you that they secure firmly to your ears).

jbl focus 500 review

Remote on wire

The utility of a remote on the wire rather than on the earbuds themselves are often overlooked, but think about it – every time you touch your ear, readjust your earbuds or take your headphones on or off you’d also be changing track or increasing the volume. Remotes on the buds themselves are just not practical, so the thought JBL put into their remote placement is something we truly did appreciate. 

Quick, easy Bluetooth connection

No apps necessary - just turn the headphones on and look for them as a Bluetooth device on your phone. The headphones will audibly tell you when they’re on, tell you when they’re connected, and a flashing light guides you through the process. It couldn't be simpler, and that’s just how we like it!

What to look out for

The Focus 500 is practical and straightforward, apart from one very important feature – the volume controls. The headphones themselves have a separate volume control to the one on your phone (think the volume control on your car or speaker when you’re connected via Bluetooth). You may struggle with the volume to start off with, or even find you’re disappointed with the sound quality, but before you give up on your new headphones make sure both controls are the way you want them to be! JBL won't let you down that easily!



If the Focus 500 isn't exactly what you’re looking for, here are some alternatives:

High-end alternative

Bose Soundsport Free. At 250 dollars a pair, these headphones are a far more expensive alternative. However, if they are going to give you what you’re looking for, they may be worth it! Totally wireless, these in-ear headphones have no cables whatsoever, not even between the buds. If cables get on your nerves, great signal, excellent connectivity between the headphones and maximum practicality may just be what you need. 

Main features:

  • Truly wireless
  • StayHear+ support tips
  • Expertly placed antenna for better Bluetooth signal
  • Volume-optimized EQ
  • Multi-function button on earbuds
  • Sweat and weather resistant
  • 5-hour battery life
  • Comes with an app
  • Sound quality
jbl focus headphone

Similarly priced alternative

Monster iSport Victory comes in at slightly more expensive than the Focus 500, but if you don’t like the around-the-ear design of the Focus 500, this could be the right option for you. Small buds fit snugly into your ears, connected via a reflective cable behind your neck. These Monster headphones also provide 90% noise isolation – letting you focus solely on your workout. If you’re looking for a more immersive experience, these could be the headphones for you!

Main features:

  • Two sound profiles, one of which is a turbo mode to really get you going.
  • Sweat-proof
  • 90% noise isolation
  • Comfortable
  • 8+ hours of battery life
  • In-wire remote
  • Reflective cable for extra safety in the dark
  • Sound quality

Cheaper alternative

Skullcandy Ink'd Wireless Earbuds are a cheap, lightweight pair of sports headphones that do the job at half the price. If you don't like cables but want a bit more security to your headphones, Skullcandy’s neckband/flex collar may be the solution. A sturdier structure fits around the back of your neck, placing the remote right on your collarbone – a very convenient location.

Main features:

  • 8 hours of battery life
  • Lightweight design
  • Call, track and volume control on the neckband.
  • Easy to connect
  • Noise-isolating fit
  • Built-in, conveniently-placed remote with mic

So, should I buy the JBL Focus 500 Headphone?

A mid-range, high-quality pair of headphones, the Focus 500 do everything they say they will easily and simply. There’s no faffing, and the convenient design means that you’ll soon be working out to your favorite tunes in style. The only downsides being they’re tricky to fit, once solved these headphones are what is going to get you through the toughest of workouts. They’re a safe bet. 

About the Author Christina lee

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