JBL Quantum 350 Wireless review: Simple gaming headphones on a budget
Quick verdict: JBL’s Quantum 350 headphones get the gaming basics right, although its surround sound implementation isn’t notably strong.
- Good wireless range
- Detachable microphone
- No 3.5mm headphone jack
- Surround sound effect is weak
- Poor microphone quality
JBL's Quantum 350 Wireless headset is a relatively affordable set of wireless cans specifically targeted at gamers. It's not as impressive as its fancier Quantum 610 set, but if you're after virtual surround sound headphones on a budget, they're worthy contenders.
Design: Light on your head, but not amazingly robust
The JBL Quantum 350 Wireless headset doesn't particularly try to hide its gaming ambitions. Pick up the box, and you have text screaming at you that SOUND IS SURVIVAL, after all.
That being said, the headphones themselves have quite a plain design. It's an all-plastic affair with a memory foam cushion to stop it scratching or marking your head. As a man with no hair, I do appreciate that in a lower-cost gaming headset.
If you're a gamer who lives and dies by the quantity of RGB lighting on a gaming product, the JBL Quantum 350 Wireless headphones are unlikely to satisfy you.
Plastic as the body material also means that the JBL Quantum 350 Wireless are quite nice and light, which is a big benefit if you're wearing them over a longer span of time, or if you need to wear them during intense activity.
It's not what they're built for, but I've experimentally jogged in the JBL Quantum 350 Wireless without particularly feeling that they were crushing into my skull with each footfall. Wireless buds are still better for jogging, of course.
Controls are minimalistic, with a power switch on the right and clicky volume wheel above a mute switch on the left cup. It might have been nicer for JBL to place the mute switch a little further away from the volume controls. Its all too easy to hit the mute when you're trying to adjust volume in the heat of battle.
The JBL Quantum 350 Wireless also has a clip in microphone on a simple rubber stalk. It's easy enough to add or remove from the headset as suits your needs, although away from the headphones you've got nowhere else to store it. If that's likely to be a problem for you, consider a gaming headset with an in-line folding microphone instead.
The final part of the JBL Quantum 350 Wireless' kit is its 2.4GHz USB receiver. It's a USB-A type dongle, so if you're gaming on a newer laptop you may need to budget extra for a USB-C adaptor.
Performance: Good for gaming, but surround sound left me wanting
The JBL Quantum 350 Wireless relies on a pair of 40mm drivers to deliver its sound output through either stereo or what it calls JBL Quantum Surround Sound.
That's JBL's fancy name for virtual surround sound, and it applies only if you're using the headphones on a PC. There you can use JBL's Quantum Engine app to adjust equalisation and the level of surround sound, choosing between what JBL calls "Balanced", "Precise" or "Immersive".
Virtual surround sound always treads a fine line with realistic depictions of in-game (or in-video) sounds relative to their sound mixes, and the JBL Quantum 350 Wireless doesn't do a spectacular job here. I often found the surround mix of a particular game or film rather hollow and high, relative to what I could get out of either a proper surround mix or better surround headphones.
If you're simply after a slightly better cue for directional audio in-game they'll do the job, but the audio effect can be quite variable.
There's no noise cancelling capability built within the JBL Quantum 350 Wireless headphones, so I was left with just whatever ordinary isolation that over-the-ear cans could provide. You can't quite block out the whole world just that way, and from the reverse side some audio leakage was evident, especially at higher volumes.
Outside surround, the JBL Quantum 350 Wireless deliver a solid, punch and bass-heavy mix, which is 100% in line with what most gaming headphones deliver. You want that shotgun to sound meaty, after all. That's a mix that won't suit every other use pattern, although it's quite nice for Netflix action movie binges, which I made part of my testing pattern for these headphones.
The JBL Quantum 350 Wireless are, as the name suggests, wireless only, and only through the 2.4GHz dongle in the box. That's a limiting factor if you lose the dongle, because while you can recharge over USB, there's no facility for USB audio, and no 3.5mm headphone jack either.
An impressive aspect of the JBL Quantum 350 Wireless headphones are their range. 2.4GHz signals can travel quite far, and because audio isn't particularly data heavy, it means you can move quite a distance away from the receiver before the audio actually cuts out.
If your gaming PC uses a big screen sofa set-up, that should be no problem. I've managed to move 3 rooms away – including walls – before the JBL Quantum 350 Wireless gave up on me.
Outside obvious tether-free portability, the other big advantage of the USB adaptor is that it doesn't just work on a PC. I've successfully used the JBL Quantum 350 Wireless on JBL's supported platforms of PS5, Apple Mac and Nintendo Switch.
It doesn't end there. Because USB is universal, I was also able to hook the JBL Quantum 350 Wireless up to an Apple iPad Pro and a Google Pixel 6 Pro, just to see what would happen. They worked just fine, although on any Apple platform you're putting full volume control onto the headset and not the device.
A platform not supported by the JBL Quantum 350 Wireless is Microsoft's Xbox. It's not that its gaming platforms lack USB, but more simply that Microsoft blocks USB audio access from any device not made explicitly for its gaming consoles. That's not JBL's fault, and while that's been the case for a while now, it's still disappointing every time I remember that it's the case.
The included microphone offers reasonable pick-up for gaming, but it's not something I'd want to use for any kind of dedicated streaming or presenting work unless I absolutely had to. I could be heard through the microphone, but it wasn't particularly clear to speak of. The short rubber stalk also doesn't give you a lot of room to play with for mouth positioning, and more than once the headset refused to accept that the microphone was in fact plugged in.
JBL rates the battery on the JBL Quantum 350 Wireless as being good for up to 22 hours of play time, with a 2-hour charging time when plugged through with the supplied USB-C to USB-A cable.
Your usage is likely to be quite variable here, and I honestly didn't have the stamina for a full 22-hour gaming session in 1 hit. However, across multiple usage sessions, that 22 hour figure is definitely achievable and you may be able to get even more at lower volumes.
Should you buy the JBL Quantum 350 Wireless?
- Buy it if you want an affordable wireless headset with good battery life.
- Don't buy it if you need an especially good microphone or surround sound.
JBL hits a whole range of price points across its Quantum range, with the Quantum 350 sitting towards the lower end of that scale.
Not surprisingly, I had more fun with the pricier 610 headphones, and if your budget can stretch to those they're a huge upgrade and worth considering. However, that doesn't automatically make the Quantum 350 headphones bad. They're just simpler, cheaper options if you're gaming on a budget. If you can deal with the quirky microphone and don't need high-grade surround sound, they're worth consideration.
JBL Quantum 350 Wireless review: Pricing and availability
The JBL Quantum 350 Wireless headphones retail in Australia for $149.95.
How we tested
I played games, because sometimes product reviewing is hard. More specifically, I played a range of games using the JBL Quantum 350 headphones over a 1-week period, testing concurrently with the more expensive Quantum 610 headphones. Both sets of headphones were supplied by JBL for the purposes of review.
However, it wasn't just gaming and cheese snacks. The JBL Quantum 350 were also assessed for audio quality with particular attention to its virtual surround sound features, battery endurance and range, as well as how it represented audio across other formats such as music listening and video playback.
The reviewer has more than 2 decades of tech product reviewing under his belt and is a multi-time Australian IT Journo award winner, including awards for best reviewer and best technical journalist.