Written by Pete Anthony
The Tune 225TWS are wireless Bluetooth earbuds that came out circa 2020, but right on par with the currently fast product lifecycle and turnover rate in the earbud market, the 225TWS are now deprecated and have since been replaced with the slightly modernized Tune 230NC earbuds (affiliate link), with the main change being the switch to in-ear silicone tips from the more on-ear bud design, the same change that the Apple made with the AirPods Pro from the 2nd gen AirPods.
The original MSRP of the Tune 225TWS was around $110, but we’ve now seen it available for as little as around $50, and an effectively half-price discount for a product that’s still fairly new is definitely something that’s going to catch a lot of people’s eye.
out of the box
The box itself is nice and sturdy (and kind of a pain to open), but the packaging itself is pretty flimsy and minimal for the price, even considering the big discounts we’ve seen. There’s a single contoured piece of packing plastic but no protection on the top side for the earbuds. I would personally rather see a company just ship the buds in the carrying case than use something like what’s used for shipping the Tune 225TWS. I’ve used and reviewed many earbuds for a fraction of the price of the Tune 225TWS that come with much better packaging. And while I’m not personally keen on the unboxing experience, I know that many people in the headphone world are, and I think when the MSRP of a product cracks triple digits there should be at least some effort put into that aspect.
JBL Tune 225TWS included accessories
- hard charging and carrying case
- short ~10 inch USB type C charging cable
- safety and warranty pamphlet
- quick start guide
- does not include any different sized replacement tips
nozzle, side screen, mini port
How good and comfortable is the JBL Tune 225TWS fit?
One of the major problems with a true earbud design that sits on the outer ear canal, which is what the Tune 225TWS uses, is that the fit can be very hit or miss on an individual basis and is generally worse than that of an in-ear headphone that utilizes a replaceable tip. If a true earbud doesn’t quite match the shape of your ear, you’re pretty much out of luck. This also makes tuning a pair of true earbuds (as opposed to in-ear headphones which are often just called earbuds as well) very difficult to do if not impossible in my honest opinion.
Suffice to say, the Tune 225TWS does not fit well. I was not able to get them positioned comfortably or securely – there were a few hot spots that I felt with them in, and they moved around if I moved my head or jaw significantly. They would inevitably move around if I used any of the button controls, and both the left and right bud fell out if I tilted my head enough, which is really not good for any kind of active use.
While in-ear headphones almost always come with different sizes and/or styles of replacement tips to help the individual purchaser get an optimal fit, the Tune 225TWS doesn’t come with any alternative tips, nor could it even really accommodate any separately purchased tips because of it’s unique shape and screen locations. Even if you could get a larger style wing tip, for example, to fit on, it would most likely cover up the outer screen and screw up the tuning and sound.
Relevant: How To Make Budget Earbuds (Around $20) Sound Their Best
Does the JBL Tune 225TWS have good controls and usability?
The Tune 225TWS has pressable buttons (as opposed to tactile touch controls) that have all of the basic functions one would expect wireless earbuds to have in 2022:
from the included quick-start pamphlet
- pause/play song: press right earbud button once
- track song forward: press left earbud button once
- track song backward: press left earbud button twice
- activate voice assistance: press right earbud button twice
- take/end call: press either button once
- mute/unmute: press and hold either button for 3 seconds
- turn on/off left/right earbud: press and hold left/right button for ~3-4 seconds
The Tune 225TWS control buttons and functions were responsive, easy to use, and reliable, which is one nice aspect of pressable buttons over tactile controls which can sometimes be finnicky and not really work. Pairing the Bluetooth was also easy and I didn’t have any issues there.
One disadvantage of side dependent button functions is if one of earbuds loses power you effectively lose some of the functions. The other issue that I previously mentioned is that the buds, due to their poor fit, inevitably moved around no matter how gently I tried to push either button.
Are JBL Tune 225TWS earbuds water or sweat proof?
The Tune 225TWS does not have any IP code certification rating (the standard rating system used for various levels of water/dust/weather resistance for audio electronics) and is thus not officially rated for being water or sweat proof. This is a big competitive disadvantage against many other similarly priced products that not only fit and sound better but do have double digit IP codes and are effectively water and dust proof. Some competitors even now have charge/carrying cases that have double digit IP codes for the poor sucker who manages to drop that in a puddle while out for a jog.
Does the JBL Tune 225TWS have good isolation and/or active noise cancellation?
The Tune 225TWS does not have any active noise cancellation (though many JBL headphones do) and isolation is basically nonexistent. Poor isolation is another con of a true earbud design because it’s very hard to achieve decent isolation without a somewhat pressurized seal that in-ear tips will give you. The leakage is also pretty bad – you can hear what song is playing pretty clearly when the buds aren’t actually in your ear. This makes the Tune 225TWS a bad choice for general commuter use in my opinion. Poor isolation is also bad because people might unintentionally crank the volume up to unsafe long-term levels to try and drown out external noise.
How good is the JBL Tune 225TWS battery life?
Per JBL’s spec sheet, each Tune 225TWS earbud individually holds a 5 hour charge and the case can hold up to 3 recharges for a total of 20 hours of listening time. Spec sheets are usually fairly accurate in my experience (otherwise rabid online reviewers will let the world know) but are based on ideal conditions, so expect less juice if you’re in a particularly extreme climate or listening at higher volumes, especially so with these since they don’t have an IP code for any kind of weather resistance.
5 x 4 hours of total charge is comparatively OK battery life at the ~$50 price point, not terrible, but there are competitors that do promise considerably more.
Does the JBL Tune 225TWS have good warranty coverage?
The Tune 225TWS has a one year limited warranty which is fairly standard for budget earbuds, but pretty minimal for the ~$50+ price point, where similar competitors, especially those that do have IP codes for weatherproofing, will sometimes offer up to two years of warranty coverage.
The important question: does the JBL Tune 225TWS sound good?
I will admit that I had pretty low expectations given the poor fit and, in my opinion, inherently flawed and inferior true on-ear bud design, but the Tune 225TWS actually sounds quite decent, impressively so I’d even say.
But there’s a deal breaking issue, and it all comes back to the issue of this style of earbud being nay impossible to properly tune – I had to position the earbuds *just* right in order to get the sound to sound what I’d call “right” in my experience, or that’s indicative of a “proper” fit. But the moment they moved just slightly – and the buds inevitably move as I said if I move my head, push the function buttons, or just wear them long enough – that “right” sound signature was lost.
I actually found the 225TWS sounded best, and quite good actually, if I held them in my ears with just a little pressure from my fingers. If I pushed them in too hard the bass immediately got muffled and it sounded under water, probably because the 2nd set of screens on the back got blocked. If I stopped pushing and simply wore them “as is” the bass got sucked out and they sounded thin and sibilant. But no one is going to hold in their headphones with their hands or fingers in order to listen to them, obviously.
Id describe the overall sound signature as pretty even and neutral, maybe slightly V shaped. The clarity and separation is there though. The Tune 225TWS doesn’t sound bad or unlistenable by any means.
Does JBL make good headphones and earbuds in 2022?
JBL is interesting because it and it’s parent Harman International are collectively one of the oldest and largest audio companies in the world, and they consequently make a ton of different headphones and speakers. Some JBL speakers over the years have been regarded as industry leading, and while their rep in the headphone/earbud market isn’t quite so strong, some of their products there are in fact very good, but there are also others that I’ve reviewed that are just straight up terrible. JBL is one of those big companies that seems very hit or miss with the sheer amount of earbuds speakers in general that they make.
Final Verdict: Are the JBL Tune 225TWS wireless earbuds worth getting?
The current reality is that there are now a lot of budget-tier wireless earbuds to choose from, and competition in this market is extremely stiff. While the Tune 225TWS is not a *bad* product by any means, I would still say they are definitely not worth getting – even with the massive MSRP discounts there are still similarly priced (and cheaper) competitors that are better in pretty much every important way: better fit, better battery life, better warranty coverage, much better isolation, and an actual IP code certification for water/sweat/weather resistance.
I am interested to try the newer generation Tune earbuds that switch to the more presently common and frankly better in-ear tip design and see how they compare. I’ll update this article with a link to any reviews if and when I do them.
If you’re interested in cheap wireless earbuds that are water/weather-proof, then I’d highly recommend either TOZOs in-ear models, the T6 and T10 (reviewed here and here respectively), but not the TOZO A1s (reviewed here) because they have the same design issues (but worse) as the Tune 225TWS do.
The JBL Tune 225TWS is currently available from:
‣ Amazon – see current price (affiliate link)
‣ Walmart – see current price (affiliate link)
• The best value tier (under $50) true wireless earbuds
Pete Anthony has had a lifelong affinity for music, and more recently has become an anti audiophile snob who wants great sound to be accessible and enjoyable by anyone. Without needing to break the bank. Read his full author page here