Review: JBL Quantum 610 wireless headphones are a gamer's delight, especially on PC

JBL Quantum 610 wireless headphones
Could the brand's trusted audio experience translate into its latest gaming headphones? Photo credit: Newshub

JBL has established itself as a trusty brand in Aotearoa, with sets of earbuds, headphones and speakers that provide an excellent overall sound experience.

They've recently updated their gaming line, with the new Quantum 610 headphones providing a mid-price option for those wanting good quality, but not necessarily wanting to blow their budget.

Could the updated headphones get me to commit to spending more time gaming on my PC or would my consoles remain king?

I've been using the JBL Quantum 610 headphones for a few weeks now and here are my thoughts.

The good

The two most important aspects of any set of headphones are the sound quality and comfort, and it's not surprising that JBL nails those aspects.

They're not the lightest set I've worn, coming in at around 350g, but the support pad that goes across the head and the memory foam cups ensure your gaming session won't be interrupted because your ears need a break.

The quality of sound is equally as impressive. The 50mm drivers ensure that whatever you're doing, you're going to get decent bass and an overall fidelity of sound that's pleasing to listen to.

The headphones are 2.4Ghz low-latency Bluetooth wireless and come with a dongle to plug into your PC or PlayStation 5 - unfortunately the included 3.5mm headphone cord is needed for Xbox and my Switch Lite.

The quality of overall sound on consoles is still very good, but it's definitely better on the PC. That comes from the ability to better adjust the settings in the QuantumEngine software.

JBL Quantum 610 wireless headphones
Photo credit: Newshub

When you first plug in your USB dongle, you're asked to download the software. It'll then process any updates to drivers, either of the dongle or of the headphones themselves, before you're given the opportunity to finesse the sound to your liking.

Whether that's by selecting one of the pre-defined equaliser settings or adjusting them to make your own, or by turning on 7.1 Surround Sound, it's completely up to you.

Although I'm absolutely terrible at First Player Shooting (FPS) games, I really love the experience of hearing the direction that my murderer is coming from.

One of the more funky aspects of the headphones can also be defined via QuantumEngine, and that's the light show you get on the outside of the earcups.

JBL Quantum 610 wireless headphones
Photo credit: Newshub

I'm not a massive fan of green, so I was able to change the colours of the lights to blue, red and white to match the mighty Glasgow Rangers, my favourite football team.

Okay, it's not exactly a functionality that's high up on my list of importance, but presumably it is for at least a decent proportion of the audience. I suspect it's those who take their gaming more seriously than myself.

The battery life while operating wireless is also excellent, topping off at around 40 hours.

Back in my student days there were long nights of playing MarioKart and International Superstar Soccer on an SNES that might have gone on for just about as long as that - but those days are long gone.

JBL Quantum 610 wireless headphones
Photo credit: Newshub

If a battery sees me through a whole day of use without losing juice, that's good enough for me. A three-hour charge overnight via the supplied USB-C cable will top you right back up to 100 percent.

For those who like to game for days non-stop, there is some good news, however, and that's the ability to use the headphones while plugged in and charging via USB-C.

But as a (somewhat) responsible adult, don't do this. Put them down and go to your bed and get some rest. You'll get the benefit of that tomorrow.

The on-ear buttons are also reasonably easy to find and use. The on/off switch is the only one on the right-hand cup, meaning you're not going to turn them off accidentally as I've done with other brands.

On the left cup, there's a mute button and two rotating controls - one for overall volume and one to control the mix of game volume to chat volume.

JBL Quantum 610 wireless headphones
Photo credit: Newshub

They're all easy to find and easy to use - and in my case, easier to remember the layout than some I've tried.

They're also not expensive for the overall quality you're getting, generally retailing for around the $249 mark, but even now are available online for less than $200. That's a bargain, and if I was in the marketplace for a set, I'd be jumping at that price.

The bad

The biggest downside to the Quantum 610s is the microphone.

For me, that's not a biggie - I barely like talking when there's people in the same room as me, never mind strangers over the internet while I'm indulging in some mental relaxation.

I like the fact it switches on and off automatically as you lower and raise the boom, but it's still a little unwieldy compared to, say, retracting the microphone into the earcups.

The microphone cover is also very loose and easy to lose. How easy? I've searched my room and have no idea where it's gone.

JBL Quantum 610 wireless headphones
Photo credit: Newshub

Perhaps that's a reason why I was a little underwhelmed at the audio quality of the microphone. Listening back to me talking was okay, but it didn't sound as good as others I've tried. 

There was a little muffling and some of the background noise was picked up, which could be an issue if playing with others over the internet is your thing.

The other negative is the lack of wireless connectivity for the Xbox. Both my PlayStation 5 and PC are pretty handy for wired connections - so I'd actually benefit most from having a Bluetooth connection to my Series X, which is located out of the way.

Unfortunately that's not possible and so it's wired only for Microsoft's consoles, the Nintendo Switch (unless docked) and Switch Lite, Mac and mobile.

JBL Quantum 610 wireless headphones
Photo credit: Newshub

The verdict

As I've come to expect from JBL's excellent technology, there's a lot to love about the Quantum 610 headphones.

First and foremost they're comfortable to wear for an extended period of time and I love the freedom they offer, allowing me to wander while I'm playing on either my gaming tower or PlayStation 5.

Having to be plugged in for the Xbox Series X is still a little disappointing but if you're a dedicated Microsoft gamer, you may already have a headset that fits your needs perfectly.

JBL Quantum 610 wireless headphones
Photo credit: Newshub

The biggest downside (or upside depending on your persuasion) is that the headphones really are designed for a PC, with the QuantumEngine software providing more customisation options and better overall gaming experience.

I had largely ditched my PC, with my recent gaming solely focused on consoles and my attempts to fly over my house in Flight Simulator and complete Assassin's Creed: Valhalla. But with a top quality headphone offering a great sound and a free - if not quite my cup of tea - disco party at the same time, I'm heading back to Games Pass and my favoured puzzle games for a bit.

If you're more partial to the PC than consoles and looking for a mid-priced set of headphones that won't disappoint, then JBL certainly has a set for you.

Newshub was supplied with a set of JBL Quantum 610 headphones for this review.

JBL Quantum 610 wireless headphones
Photo credit: Newshub