You’d be forgiven for thinking that JBL is a new contender in the headset market, even though they’ve been there for quite some time. They’ve been keeping a low profile up till now and, honestly, I don’t see why.
Thankfully, JBL has come out with their extensive Quantum range, aimed at all corners of the markets, from metaphorical cradle to hopefully-not-literal grave.
We got to try out the Quantum 200 set, an entry-level headphone sitting at a more accessible price point.
Quantum Leap Optional
Let’s open this honestly; the Quantum 200s I’m reviewing are not top shelf wonders. The Quantum series ranges from 100 all the way up to 800… and then also ONE which, I dunno, is probably like 1000 if we’re going that way. So as the second-lowest set, you’re not expecting miracles from the 200s.
The 200s and 100s are basically the same to be honest, at least from what I can tell. However, the 200s also come with a PC splitter, for an enhanced audio experience at about $20 more. That’s the beauty of the Quantum range; you can inch up or down depending on needs or budget, and get exactly the set you need. You don’t need to buy bells and whistles if you don’t actually want them.
The sound quality is very good, with music, SFX, and voice all coming through clear and solid on Switch, PS4, and my ancient laptop. Yes, I use Age of Mythology as a test program. No, there is no better RTS in existence. Quit asking.
The mic quality is harder to ascertain, so off to Zoom I go to test audio fidelity. And despite how intensely boring that sentence is, it worked; microphone is a goer. In fact, the microphone was surprisingly good. Aside from sounding a bit canned, like a radio interview dialing someone’s cellphone, the fidelity was great.
The microphone has a very audible click when toggled on or off, controlled by the standard flipping motion. This was a bit jarring, but also useful to know when I could yell at some dude blasting Hawaiian trip-hop over voice comms, and when I was safe to tell my kitten how good and small he is and ask him to share his secrets on these facts.
Both of these are equally important to the ideal gaming setup.
I had a mild heart attack when I unboxed the JBL Quantum 200 headset. Why? Because the audio jack is angled to be less obtrusive. Of course, since I wasn’t expecting that, I panicked and thought I’d broken them already. I am not a clever man, and this is actually a good idea, especially with the Nintendo Switch, where you REALLY don’t want giant prongs all over.
The only aspect of the Quantum 200s that feels budget is the build materials. You’re not expecting premium leather and platinum gilding here (although, ya know, free ideas for ya JBL), but the creaking of the joints on the earcups after a couple of hours was a bit disappointing.
The 200s are also full plastic builds, with some pleather added in for your pleasure. This is fine, and leads to an exceptionally light set for those with, I don’t know, weak necks or something. It also means that you get a mild case of sweaty ears if you play for long periods of time, so I’d recommend these for more the casual player rather than a hardcore gamer.
There are some very specific use cases for a set of headphones like this. Mostly, kids. If you’re a parent of a Fortnite kid… well, first off, I’m sorry, I understand that children can be disappointing. But more importantly, they need a fairly sturdy headset, with a microphone, and it can be daunting to go ahead and give a ten-year-old a $300 set of headphones.
Enter the budget headset. And while usually you don’t associate the words ‘budget’ and ‘quality’ in a positive light, if this job has taught me anything it’s that the days of your only cheap option being absolute crap are long gone. The JBL Quantum 200 headset is less than $100, but damned if it doesn’t get the job done.
The Quantum Zone
The JBL Quantum 200 headset feels like a starter headphone, and that’s because it is. But that doesn’t mean it’s lacking. Quite the opposite, the Quantum 200s feel perfectly suited to the casual, hour-at-a-time gamer, or anyone who wants a simple but effective set of headphones.
JBL’s Quantum series has a whole heap of different price points to enter in, for your next gaming headset or your first gaming headset. Beginner doesn’t have to mean poor and, despite the relatively low price point of the JBL Quantum 200 headphones, you definitely get more than your money’s worth.
The most indestructible affordable headset I’ve seen is the ASTRO A10, and these give them a run for their money. If you’re looking for quality on a budget, or something you can give a kid as a beginner set without worrying too much if they get yeeted across the room in a fit of adolescent rage, the JBL 200s are a good way to go.