JBL UA Challenge Rock Headphones Review: Rugged And Costly

Growing a fantastic pair of sports activities headphones may be tough. Not solely do sports activities headphones need to be powerful, however in addition they have to supply an excellent clamp and maybe some sweat resistance. JBL and Below Armour assume they’ve cracked the code — and have collectively partnered with The Rock on a brand new pair of headphones — the JBL UA Challenge Rock headphones.

The title is a mouthful to say the least, however that’s to be anticipated when you need to cram three entities into it. Extra necessary than the title, nevertheless, is how the headphones carry out. Can the JBL UA Challenge Rock make a critical case for over-ear exercise headphones? I’ve been testing them to seek out out.

JBL UA Challenge Rock headphones design

These headphones supply an all-black look, however they’re not essentially boring-looking in any respect. You’ll get a emblem of The Rock’s iconic bull tattoo on every ear cup, a cloth sweat-proof ear cushion, and a typically rugged look.

There are a number of buttons and port-covers dotted across the headphones. On the left ear cup, you’ll get button to set off your most well-liked voice assistant, together with a canopy for the USB-C port. On the best ear cup, there’a an influence swap, playback controls, and a canopy for the aux port for wired listening.

JBL UA Challenge Rock on a desk Picture supply: Christian de Looper for BGR

The bull emblem on the best cup can be a button. This button controls noise cancelation modes, permitting you to change between noise cancelation, ambient noise, and Talkthru mode. Its good that the management for this has been moved away from the perimeters, contemplating what number of controls are already there.

As a result of these are sports activities headphones, you may sweat quite a bit with them. Fortunately, you possibly can nonetheless clear them — the ear cushions are detachable, and washable. It’s a pleasant contact — although be certain that handy wash them solely.

For essentially the most half, the JBL Below Armour Challenge Rock headphones really feel like they’re made with comparatively premium supplies. The ear cups are comprised of a rubberized plastic, and whereas the one metallic within the development is within the headband, they didn’t really feel like they might break.

Within the field, aside from the headphones themselves, you’ll get a pleasant carry case, a charging case, and an aux cable. It’s just about every part you’ll want.

JBL UA Challenge Rock headphones options and battery

The headphones supply a number of totally different options to assist make them smarter and extra useful. Notably, they connect with the JBL Headphones app, which lets you management issues like noise cancelation, and tweak the EQ. The Rock himself has created his personal EQ profile, however you possibly can change it to your individual most well-liked EQ. Or, merely flip the EQ off and have the default sound.

JBL UA Project Rock ControlsJBL UA Challenge Rock buttons Picture supply: Christian de Looper for BGR

The app additionally affords another customizations. You possibly can change the operate button, choose your most well-liked voice assistant, and extra. They’re no AirPods — however the headphones supply loads of useful options.

The battery life on the headphones is great. JBL charges the headphones as providing 45 hours of use on a single cost, which is great.

JBL UA Challenge Rock headphones consolation

The JBL UA Challenge Rock headphones aren’t essentially the most snug cans on the market, and sadly it does have an effect on their total utilization. The headphones supply greater than sufficient padding within the ear cups, nevertheless the ear cups are barely too small for my ears — so that they pinch them a bit when sporting. When sporting them for an hour or two, this wasn’t a problem. However any longer, and it begins getting a bit uncomfortable.

JBL UA Project Rock ComfortJBL UA Challenge Rock ear padding Picture supply: Christian de Looper for BGR

The scarf is a degree of discomfort too. There’s little padding below the scarf, and the floor masking it’s rubberized. The result’s that they really feel a bit arduous on the highest of your head, and infrequently really feel like they’re pulling your hair. I suppose this isn’t a problem for The Rock.

JBL UA Challenge Rock headphones sound

The JBL UA Challenge Rock headphones aren’t all that snug, however fortunately, they sound fairly good. Notably, there’s loads of bass to go round, together with good readability within the excessive finish. The Rock’s customized EQ pumps up the bass, nevertheless it was a bit a lot for me so I caught with my very own EQ a number of the time, and simply had the EQ turned off the remainder of the time.

Bass response, as talked about, is comparatively deep and highly effective, permitting kick drums to hit straight by way of a mixture.

JBL UA Project Rock Ear CupsJBL UA Challenge All-time low Picture supply: Christian de Looper for BGR

Mid frequencies are decently tuned, although with the customized EQ enabled, I pulled them again a bit. Vocals typically have loads of meat to them, whereas guitars supply sufficient lower to sound front-and-center. Once more, some EQ tweaking will assist the mids sound a bit extra pure, however you possibly can play with that relying in your preferences.

The highs sound fairly good, nevertheless a little extra high-end extension would have been good. In different phrases, there’s good readability, and cymbals shimmer properly, however they may shimmer a bit extra. I’m nit-picking although — the highs are good for a pair of headphones on this value vary.

The noise cancelation tech on supply right here is fairly good too. It’s not solely the extent of the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones, sadly, even if they’re solely $50 cheaper. However it may possibly lower out some noise, which may come in useful within the health club.


The JBL UA Challenge Rock over-ear headphones have quite a bit going for them. The rugged design, strong audio high quality, and glorious battery life positively makes them a good decide on this value vary. They’re let down a bit by a typically uncomfortable match, however if you happen to plan on utilizing these for an hour or two per day within the health club, you received’t actually discover all of it that a lot.

The competitors

In the end, if you happen to’re in search of a pair of noise-canceling headphones within the $300 value vary, you must get the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones on sale. However these aren’t essentially the most effective headphones to get for people who wish to work out with their headphones. In that case, we suggest one thing just like the Beats Studio3 Wi-fi headphones, or Plantronics BackBeat 810 Wi-fi.

Ought to I purchase the JBL Below Armour Challenge Rock headphones?

Sure, however provided that a rugged design is necessary to you. In any other case, you must go for one thing else.

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