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JBL Tune 120 vs Galaxy Buds (2021): Should You Pay Extra For More Features?

Now that the era of true wireless headphones is here, a lot of brands are going with the trend and cutting the cord. This leaves consumers with plenty of options, some might say a little too many, with each model trying to outdo the other. Two wireless headphones in particular, namely the JBL Tune 120 and the Galaxy Buds, have been making it hard for people to choose. While both deliver great sound performance, there’s plenty more to consider when deciding which one’s best for you.

The JBL Tune 120 earbuds are a no-frills option. They don’t market themselves as the perfect gym companion nor do they pair up with any app. Those things aside, they do like to impress users with their thump-y bass and sculpted highs, making it extra enjoyable to listen to music. As for the Galaxy Buds, they’re part of the Galaxy family and so they’re an obvious choice if you’re a Samsung user. Not only do they wow with their audio quality but they boast of handy features too if paired with the Samsung app.

If you need help finalizing a pick, here’s an in-depth look at these two wireless earbuds.

JBL Tune 120 vs Galaxy Buds Comparison Chart

ModelJBL Tune 120Galaxy Buds
 JBL TUNE TWS Wireless EarbudsSamsung Galaxy Buds
Price Check Price

on Walmart

Check Price

on Walmart 

Earpiece DesignIn-earIn-ear
Active Noise CancellationNoYes
Battery4 hours5 hours (talk)
6 hours (music)
Quick Charging Times15 minutes for 1 hour15 minutes for 1.7 hours
Recharge Time2 hours2 hours
Additional Run Time (via charging case)12 hours7 hours
Sweat ProofNoYes
Bluetooth4.25

Design

The Galaxy Buds have a slight edge over the JBL Tune 120 because they are sweatproof and their controls are customizable. 

The JBL Tune 120 earbuds (left) have a flashier look to them while the Galaxy Buds (right) are more subtle.

The JBL Tune 120 earbuds, offered in black, blue, green, white, pink, and yellow, do not disappoint in terms of color range so you’re sure to find one that suits your style. Boldly designed with the JBL logo, they have a flashiness to them that you might like if you want passers-by to know what brand of headphones you’re using. As for the in-ear fit, you get to choose from various ear tip sizes but the earpieces themselves don’t have fins on them for that added feeling of security. That doesn’t seem to matter, however, because giving them a twist as you place them inside your ears is enough to create a stable and comfortable seal. It’s important to note that these earbuds do not come with an IP rating so it would be best to keep them far away from water.

As for the controls on the JBL Tune 120, both the right and left earbuds have specific roles to play. Tapping the left earpiece once, for example, will allow you to skip ahead while tapping it twice will play the previous track. The right earpiece, on the other hand, handles the play and pause controls as well as answers incoming calls. While all controls are accessible, you do have a bit of memorizing to do before you can get a hang of them all. 

The JBL Tune 120 earbuds are boldly designed with the JBL logo.

The Galaxy Buds come in more subdued colors like silver, black, and white and they don’t flaunt the Samsung logo either, making them the better pick if you’re into subtlety. They do have a nice, pearlescent sheen to them though that are just enough to catch the eye. When it comes to in-ear fit, the Galaxy Buds are designed with wing tips that help make sure they stay snug inside your ears. You get extra pairs of different-sized wingtips and ear tips as well just in case the default ones don’t fit you well. Fortunately for those who have a tendency to sweat profusely, the Galaxy Buds have an IPX2 rating which means they’re protected against dripping water.

Similar to the JBL Tune 120, the Galaxy Buds are also equipped with intuitive touch controls which you can use to play/pause/skip tracks and answer/end calls. They do have a bit of an edge, however, as you can customize the controls via the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app. Because you get to assign which control goes where, you’ll have a much easier time memorizing and getting used to the functions.

Sound Performance

Both the JBL Tune 120 and the Galaxy Buds deliver quality sound performance. 

The JBL Tune 120 earbuds (left) excel in bass performance while the Galaxy Buds (right) create a great soundstage.

The JBL Tune 120 earbuds are able to provide the signature punchy bass the brand is known for without overwhelming the ears. While their low end may not be as detailed as one might like, it’s definitely good enough for wireless headphones. They do well in the mids as well, delivering vocals and instrumentation that’s crisp and clear with very little distortion. As for their high end, it complements the lows and mids quite nicely, producing a sound that’s exciting enough without being too sharp or annoying. They do, however, struggle a bit when it comes to soundstage but then again, most headphones do. Overall, considering their low lows and high highs, the JBL Tune 120 earbuds are able to deliver a dynamic and well-balanced performance.

As for the Galaxy Buds, they’re not backing down from the fight because they, too, give out quality sound. Listen to a bass-filled song and you’ll realize that they produce quite a powerful low-frequency response. They have their air-displacing dynamic drivers to thank for this, making you feel like the beat’s thumping in your chest. They’re not too shabby when it comes to mids either, able to deliver clear and detailed vocals and instrumentation. This is good news for those who love the sound of pianos and guitars. As for their soundstage, it definitely beats out the JBL Tune 120 because you can actually hear the different instruments breathing in their own space.

Battery Life

The JBL Tune 120 earbuds win when it comes to battery life, offering a total of 16 hours of playtime. 

The JBL Tune 120’s charging case (left) holds an extra 12 hours of battery time while the Galaxy Buds’ (right) only has 7 hours. 

The last thing anyone would want while they’re listening to music is for their wireless headphones to run out of juice. Fortunately, the JBL Tune 120 earbuds promise 4 hours of battery life at a time before you have to charge them again. Their charging case offers another 12 hours, bringing the total to 16 hours. It takes 2 hours to fully charge the case when it’s completely empty, although charging it for 15 minutes will already give you an hour of playtime. This quick charging feature is especially useful when you’re running late and only have a couple of minutes to spare.

The Galaxy Buds, with their 6-hour battery life, beat out the JBL Tune 120 by a couple of hours. It’s important to note, however, that their charging case only carries 7 hours of battery life with it. So if you do the math real quick, that brings their total battery life to just 13 hours. In the end, it looks like the JBL Tune 120 earbuds actually win this round. When your Galaxy Buds run low on battery, you have two ways of charging them: either via the charging case or with your Galaxy S10 smartphone’s wireless charge feature, if you happen to have one. They also have a quick charge feature which gives you 1.7 hours of playtime after a 15-minute charge.

Additional Features

The Galaxy Buds provide extra features when used with the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app.

The Galaxy Buds come with an equalizer as well as a “Find my earbuds” feature.

Being the straightforward wireless headphones that they are, the JBL Tune 120 earbuds don’t really have anything else to put on paper. As for the Galaxy Buds, they give you a couple of extra features to enjoy if you use them in tandem with the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app. Aside from being able to customize your controls, you also get access to an equalizer which allows you to choose from 5 different settings. This means you get to decide exactly how your headphones sound depending on your musical preferences.

Another useful thing that comes with the Galaxy Buds is the “Find my earbuds” feature which, you guessed it, allows you to locate your earpieces if you’ve lost them in the depths of your bag or if the cracks of the couch have gotten hold of them.

Verdict

The straightforward JBL Tune 120 is the more cost-effective option while the Galaxy Buds offer more features at a higher cost. 

If all you want is good quality music to fill your ears and nothing more, the JBL Tune 120 earbuds are what you’re looking for. They’re able to deliver a solid, well-rounded sound performance that’s expected of JBL headphones. Beyond that, however, they don’t really do much of anything else. They’re not sweatproof so it would be a poor choice to wear them while you’re working out. They’re also not compatible with any of the apps out there so you don’t get any additional features. If you can do away with these things, then the JBL Tune 120 earbuds are the more cost-effective pick for you. They get plus points too for having the longer battery life.

As for the Galaxy Buds, they keep up just fine when it comes to sound quality, able to produce a rich and deep bass as well as a balanced soundstage. While they are the more expensive option, you get additional features that are absent in the JBL Tune 120. Aside from being sweatproof, their controls are customizable, you can change up the sound settings according to your mood, and they’re also much easier to find if you do misplace them. That said, it’s important to note that these features are exclusive to Android users. If you think these features are a necessity and you’re willing to pay extra for them, then the Galaxy Buds are the better wireless headphones for you.

FAQs

📌 Are JBL Tune 120 good?

Yes, the JBL Tune 120TWS wireless earbuds are decent and versatile headphones for everyday use. Their battery life is sufficiently long and overall performance is well worth the price.

📌 Are JBL Tune 120 noise cancelling?

No, the JBL Tune 120TWS headphones does not have noise cancellation features.

📌 Do Galaxy Buds fall out easily?

While the Samsung Galaxy Buds may feel too small and at risk of falling out with rapid movement, they’re stable enough to stay fixed in most cases. They also come with ear tips and wing tips in different sizes so you can find the best fit.

📌 Do Galaxy Buds have a mic?

Yes, the Samsung Galaxy Buds have four microphones, two of which are positioned inside your ear to pick up your voice from inside your head.

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Denise Jose

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Researcher and yoga teacher passionate about article writing, photography, wellness, and mindfulness.