JLab Epic Wireless: review in two minutes
JLab is a brand that may already be familiar to many of our readers, it certainly was to me as I’ve owned a pair of JLab wireless earbuds for workouts for several years. It turns out that the ones at JLab also make keyboards and mice; and they’re actually pretty damn good, trading blows with some of the best keyboards out there.
What I’m looking at today is the company’s flagship keyboard, the JLab Epic Wireless. I wasn’t expecting much; JLab’s hardware is typically good quality but also affordable, so you shouldn’t expect seriously premium kit.
Despite this, the Epic Wireless managed to impress me in many aspects and the drawbacks are also relatively minor, making it one of the best wireless keyboards out there.
Opening the box, the keyboard immediately looks like a good quality product. While parts of the keyboard are plastic, the underlying base is metal, meaning there’s very little flex in the casing, even if you’re a heavy-handed typist. The keys have a slightly concave center, which comfortably guides your fingertips into each key for a smoother typing experience.
The keys themselves are membrane scissor switches with soft white LED backlighting. They don’t provide the same level of tactility as the best mechanical keyboards, but if you’re a fan of membranes you’ll probably find it very enjoyable. Key travel is just 1.8mm, but the actuation felt responsive enough that I rarely made any typos when testing the keyboard. However, as many gamers will attest, they don’t provide the same degree of accuracy as the best gaming keyboards.
The keys are nearly silent, which JLab touts as a feature—I dispute that slightly, as pretty much any membrane board is significantly quieter than the average mech keyboard—but it’s fair to say this is one of the quietest keyboards I’ve used. There’s a little more bounce in the keys than I’d like, but that’s a matter of individual preference, so I won’t mark the Epic Wireless for that.
The main feature here is the volume dial, which JLab calls the “Smart Media Knob,” a name I’ve personally been referred to by colleagues and friends. Regardless of the silly nomenclature, it’s an excellent feature; the brushed metal dial has a pleasantly tactile rotation with silent notches that make it easier to control. You can also click it to play or pause your media.
The keyboard layout is full-sized, with dedicated keys for switching between modes. You can use JLab Epic Wireless with Windows, Linux or macOS devices, and USB dongle/Bluetooth hybrid connectivity allows you to connect to multiple devices simultaneously. Being able to switch between computers with the push of a button isn’t a unique feature, but it’s a very welcome one. THE JLabWork application the software also lets you set up custom key profiles with mappable hotkeys.
Despite being a wireless device, the Epic comes with a cord because it’s not a keyboard that burns AAA batteries; it has a 2000mAh rechargeable battery that lasts an impressive amount of time between charges, further solidifying it as a solid choice for workers on the go. There is also a hidden magnetic slot at the bottom which can hold the USB dongle.
In terms of key criticisms, I really don’t have much to complain about. My main gripe is that the rear feet aren’t height-adjustable, a feature I’d expect to be a staple of any keyboard that you wouldn’t find in a supermarket bargain bin. There’s also no bundled palm rest, which is an inclusion I always appreciate with a keyboard, though that’s hardly a deal breaker.
Overall, it’s an outstanding wireless keyboard from a manufacturer I wasn’t sure I was providing, given that JLab’s usual fare is specifically audio-focused kit. With a very reasonable price (more on that later), it’s very easy to recommend the JLab Epic Wireless Keyboard to anyone who needs an easy-to-carry work keyboard.
JLab Epic Wireless: price and availability
- How much does it cost? $69 / £69.99 (about AU$110)
- When it is available? Available now
- Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK and Europe
The JLab Epic Wireless Keyboard will set you back $69 / £69.99 (around AU$110), placing it pretty squarely in the mid-range when it comes to keyboard pricing. You could easily spend a lot more for a keyboard like this; many mechanical keyboards, like the Razer Pro Type Ultra, will run you more than double that price.
Sure, there are cheaper models out there – the Logitech Signature K650, our current keyboard of choice, is a ridiculously cheap $49 / £49 / AU$ – but JLab’s offering is still very reasonably priced considering it looks relatively premium. and works as advertised.
The Smart Media Knob (ugh) is obviously a key selling point here, and researching other keyboards with a similar dial function shows that even the cheapest unheard-of brands on Amazon will set you back at least forty or fifty bucks, so let yourself be introduced to a branded product for $69 seems very reasonable to me.
JLab Epic Wireless: Specifications
|Switch:||JLab “soft touch” membrane scissor switch|
|RGB or Backlight:||1-zone white LED|
Should you buy JLab Epic Wireless?
|Value||At $69 (£69.99 / about AU$110), it looks like a good keyboard at a reasonable price.||4/5|
|Project||The clean aesthetic, smart design choices, and media dial are all great — I just wish I could adjust the height.||4/5|
|Performance||Fast typing is comfortable and precise thanks to the concave keys, although the membrane switches aren’t ideal for gaming.||4/5|
|Average rating||A solid keyboard from a manufacturer I didn’t expect to impress me, the JLab Epic Wireless is easy to recommend.||4/5|
Buy it if…
Don’t buy it if…
JLab Epic Wireless: Also consider
|JLab Epic Wireless||Logitech Signature K650||The professional 6 keyboard|
|Price:||$69 / £69.99 / approx AU$110||$49 / £49 / AU$89||$199 / £169 / AU$329|
|Disposition:||Full size||Full size||Full size|
|Switch:||JLab “soft touch” membrane scissor switch||Plunger membrane switch||Cherry MX Blue/Brown tuners|
|RGB or Backlight:||1-zone white LED||Nobody||1-zone white LED|
|Connectivity:||Bluetooth 5.2/USB receiver||Bluetooth 5.0/Logi Bolt USB receiver||wired USB|
How I tested JLab Epic Wireless
- I have been using the keyboard at home for two weeks
- Day to day work, occasional web surfing, gaming
- I took it with me to a friend’s house to test its portability
I have been reviewing keyboards for years and in that time have developed a careful process for testing them. Amazingly enough, that involves using them: I spend at least a week simply swapping out my ROG Strix Scope on my desk for the keyboard I’m testing.
That means doing everything I normally do: writing reviews like this one, researching online, using image editing software, and of course playing loads of games, including invariably my longtime favorite Warframe, a game that can force you to force the fingers some really arcane hand movements on the keyboard. I even put it in my backpack and took it to a friend’s house for a gaming session, to check out exactly how portable this keyboard is.
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First inspection in August 2023