The Sound Blaster Jam V2 is out, promising great sound for a budget price of $39.99. But you can’t have everything, so the question is: Do these headphones impress in general, or fall by the wayside chasing that high-end sound?
The Sound Blaster Jam V2 boasts some impressive specs including 22 hours of battery life and low weight of 84 grams. And with a small profile and the ability to switch between a wired (USB-A) connection and wireless (Bluetooth) connection on the fly, these sound great on paper. However, once you get your hands on them, you realize just how many corners Creative cut to achieve this—and frankly, it wasn’t worth it.
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The Sound Blaster Jam V2 is an unassuming pair of headphones with an all-black, rough plastic body. They feel pretty cheap and flimsy in the hands, and while that was likely done to achieve the weight of 84 grams Creative proudly markets, I think something was lost in the process. These are supposed to be used in a variety of situations, but I felt the need to be more careful with them than most headphones.
And even when it comes to comfort, things aren’t great here either. I’ll admit to not being a big fan of on-ear headphones in general, but the thin cushions on each earpad did little to help things. They were never truly comfortable to wear, but the low weight did avoid actively straining my ears or head. The fit also wasn’t very secure, even when wearing them tighter than I would normally.
The construction of these is just underwhelming, and while that’s understandable to an extent due to the price, I think more could’ve been done here to make the listening experience more enjoyable. I didn’t want to wear these for long sessions even with the low weight, which removes the excuse for the flimsy build quality. I would’ve preferred some more cushioning and a solid build even if it added a few grams.
Creative managed a couple of smart design decisions though, namely the array of shortcut buttons on the right earpad. These include some basic volume controls (also used for skipping tracks), a bass boost button, and a multifunction button that can summon your voice assistant, pair the headphones over Bluetooth, or play/pause music. Some of these actions require simple shortcuts, namely holding down the volume button to skip tracks or double-tapping the multifunction button for your voice assistant. It’s a nice touch, but it does little to save the hardware of these headphones.
It would be a real travesty if on top of the subpar hardware the sound wasn’t up to snuff on these—fortunately, Creative delivered in a big way on this front. These headphones sound good, even great a lot of the time. I experienced some minor issues with crackling sound and background hissing (mainly when used in wired mode), but those issues were few and far between.
But on the whole, the Sound Blaster Jam V2 delivers quality sound for whatever you’re doing. While it can sound a little flat, the sound you’re getting for the money here is really good. You can also use the “Bass Boost” button to help things, but frankly, I barely noticed a difference whether this was on or off.
You can also customize the sound through the Creative App, which offers numerous options such as adjusting the headphone’s EQ levels and sampling rate. However, these options are only available if the headphones are plugged into a Windows PC, which makes me question their usefulness because wireless is such a large focus here. The headphones themselves lack any internal memory, so you can’t download profiles to them to use in wireless mode either—a real shame.
Regardless, it’s hard to say anything bad about the sound; it’s definitely the strongest part of these headphones. Possibly too strong, because I experienced a lot of sound leakage out of these, so I’d lower the volume a bit if you’re going to be around others.
Creative placed all its bets on the audio quality for these headphones, and while that’s not a bad idea conceptually, in practice it means they feel off-balance. The sound quality could trick you into thinking these cost way more than they do, but the actual hardware feels like it falls under the price point. If you only care about sound then that’s fine, but for everyone else the question of “Should you buy these?” is more complicated.
The low weight and small profile suggest portability to me, but you’d get something more comfortable and portable from a pair of earbuds. And if at-home use is the goal, I’m not sure why they skimped out on comfort so much. Basically, these have the body of headphones you’d only wear for quick bursts, but the audio quality for much longer use.
I’d never call the Sound Blaster Jam V2 bad—in some ways, they’re amazing—but I could only recommend these at full price if audio quality is your only concern. If not, I’d wait for a sale or steer clear in general.
Here’s What We Like
- Great Sound
And What We Don't
- Flimsy build quality