JBL Grip 100 / Grip 200 Review - Affordable Tunes For Your Workouts

First launched at the IFA last 2015, JBL brought the Grip 100 and Grip 200 for the Philippine market. They're sport centric earphones that comes with specialized type of eartips for comfortable grip, tough looking build quality to withstand your active lifestyle and "JBL grade" sound quality.
JBL Grip 100 / Grip 200 review
JBL Grip 100 / Grip 200 review

What's quite amusing with them aside from the above-mentioned traits is the price. It's pretty uncommon as they're pretty low for a JBL product, especially for a sports centric earbuds that often cost a lot.

So we took them to a spin and checked what is it all about and if JBL was able to nail it in this price range.

Disclaimer: This unit was seeded by JBL Philippines for an honest review

JBL Grip 100 / 200 Specs

Driver Unit: 15 mm dynamic drivers
Frequency response: 20 - 20 KHz
Cable: 1.43 m reflective cables
Mic: Single Mic (Grip 200 only)
Price: 1,290 Pesos (Grip 100), 1,690 Pesos (Grip 200)

Note: The only difference between both models is the mic, Grip 100 doesn't have one and Grip 200 has it.

Unboxing / Accessories

The box
The box

As expected, the packaging of both Grip 100 and 200 comes in a simple box with print of the earphones that includes some basic information about the earphones.
Extra tips
Extra tips

In terms of accessories, it only includes an extra eartips made by Flexisoft. This would have been better if there are other inclusions included such as a carrying pouch and other sleeves.

Build Quality / Design

The cable management grip and y-splitter
The cable management grip and y-splitter

Out of the box, the Grip series looks as tough as advertised. The body is made out of decent plastic material, the rubber cables are thicker than your average earphones and the eartips is made out soft / flexible medical grade silicon. Our only gripe here is the 3.5 mm straight jack isn't gold plated for better conduction and sound.
Microphone of Grip 200 at the right
Microphone with single button of Grip 200 at the right

Upon further inspection, we noticed that JBL placed proper and flexible strain reliefs that prevents damages from accidental cable pulls. That's something useful as your hard workouts are prone to accidental pulls.
The straight 3.5 mm jack
The straight 3.5 mm jack

Design-wise, the Grip both looks minimalist and futuristic. The charcoal black color looks fine, the green and grey looks better for me. 

Ergonomically, it doesn't need a cable cinch as it has its own grip below for cable management. It enables you to attach either your left or right earpiece there in case you just want to use one of them.

Comfort / Isolation

It's an earbuds when you remove the sleeve
It's an earbuds when you remove the sleeve

JBL is very proud about the comfort of these earbuds. However, it might be tricky at first. I had a hard time getting the fit I want and I didn't get the optimum comfort it advertised. Fortunately, after several tries, I was able to achieve the fit I want.

All you need to do is to place it straight to your ear with shallow fit. It's not meant to be pushed deeper or you won't get the comfort you like. Once you get the fit you like, it's soft in the ears and doesn't get itchy.
The Grip can isolate, but kept in a minimum level that's good for outdoor activities to make you aware of your surroundings.
In terms of isolation, don't expect this to remove outside noise that much. As a matter of fact, this set is specifically designed to make you aware of your surroundings. It can still isolate, but not that much. It's pretty great for its purpose.

Sporty individuals will also like that it doesn't fall off your ears that easily even when pulled with slight force accidentally. There's also very little cable noise (microphonics) that won't annoy you while running or moving fast.

Sound Quality

Great build and comfort even on a budget set should be match with decent sound quality. Gladly, JBL is up to that task. They were able to provide pretty nice dark sound signature for the price.

In terms of bass quality, it's there, but we expect a workout earphones to pack some sort of heavy bass slams to keep you pumped up. While it's not that overpowering to our liking and has subtle texture, the bass region may sound anemic for your workouts. We also can barely hear sub-bass, decays, and it can't go deep.

Vocally, the Grip did a fine job in its mids. As long as you're playing tracks that doesn't have too many instruments playing at the same time, it sounds pleasantly clear. It's close to immersive on female tracks that's relaxing to the ears. It's still far from refined, but acceptable enough for most. The highs on the other hand is also pretty weak. It doesn't extend well, lacks in sparkle, has too much hiss, and doesn't have much weight.

Given that it has a large 15.4 mm driver, the soundstage was pretty wide here, but not 3D or even hall like yet. It's also not that great when it comes to instrumental separation and distinction.

Volume-wise, this set is pretty easy to drive. All I need is around 60% on my favorite smartphone and 30% with my Yoga 500 laptop. It doesn't need amping to shine as well.

To sum it up, the Grip series sounds fine and has clear vocals. However, even if there are resemblance of JBL's brilliance in sound, it's still not as full sounding and across the spectrum. It's understandable for the price though.

Pros - Affordable price, durable build, comfortable fit, good vocals, low cable noise
Cons - Anemic bass response, below average instrumental separation


If you're looking for a sports earbuds and doesn't have much budget, you can consider this set. It's durable enough for your active lifestyle, has great comfort and pretty nice style. However, while it sounds decent for the low asking price, it didn't sound that full enough for my workouts.

So if you have more budget, I would suggest you to take a look at JBL's higher-end offering for better sound quality.

GIZ Rating: 3.5/5 Stars