We tested the Tovala Smart Oven Air Fryer and it sure beats takeout for individual meals


The Tovala Smart Oven Air Fryer is a Wi-Fi connected, app-forward countertop oven that, paired with a pricey meal plan subscription, can cook up fresh, individual dishes for one in about 20 minutes or less.

A perfect companion to a small kitchen and busy schedule, the Smart Oven Air Fryer lets you pick your meals online, scan the barcode on the packaging and dig in. However, if you’re interested in creating your own recipes or cooking for more than one (you can order double portions, though that will up the price tag for the already expensive meals) you may not need such a targeted smart appliance. And, if you don’t feel like spending the extra cash on a six-week meal delivery, the affordable $70 oven rockets to a less economical $250 — which no longer makes it a budget pick, especially compared to other countertop ovens and air fryers like our favorite, the $300 Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster.

To help you decide if this smart oven is for you, I prepared a week’s worth of Tovala’s gourmet meals using the Smart Oven Air Fryer. Here’s what you need to know before you get cooking.

The Tovala Smart Oven Air Fryer offers a simple, fresh meal delivery service for one and Wi-Fi connected, one-touch cooking. A great budget toaster oven if you order meals, it jumps to a pricier, less useful purchase if you’re more interested in cooking from scratch. However, if you’re looking to save time and energy, this countertop oven beats out supermarket frozen food and takeout.

The Tovala app (available for iOS and Android) is non-negotiable for the Smart Oven Air Fryer because it’s where you sign up, pay for and order your meals. It also walks you through setting up your oven and even comes with access to a recipe base if you do, indeed, decide to cook from scratch. And if you need a recipe on air frying hot dogs (see below), this oven is definitely a win.


Once you download and sign into the app, it will completely control the Smart Oven Air Fryer as well, though you can still go OG with the appliance’s simple buttons (more below) or use its even handier barcode scanner. And, to keep you organized, the app will also send notifications to your phone about meal deliveries and will give you a heads up when your food is done cooking.

Because I live with my husband and two kids, I knew I wouldn’t necessarily use this oven the way it’s intended — to offer a tastier, 21st century version of the lone TV dinner. And, because I love to cook for my family, I was skeptical of the simple, smart oven premise. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how incredibly easy and fast it was to use when paired with the meal delivery service.

The point is to take most of the prep work out of preparing fresh food — while simultaneously making it tastier and healthier than the prepared meals you can grab in a supermarket. Not only do you not have to follow a complicated recipe, but you don’t need to fiddle with the temperature, figure out a cooking mode or consider how long to cook it for. This is, simply put, dinner for dummies.


The new Smart Oven Fryer, which launched this year, is a neutral putty color in contrast to the Smart Oven Pro’s soft gray finish. It has a glass window to watch your food cook, a panel of touch controls on one side, and a barcode scanner on the top right.

Super simple meal subscription and preparation

Because the meal subscription service is an integral part of the company’s philosophy, there’s not much point in purchasing this oven without ordering at least some of the meals. And, as mentioned above, in order to get the oven for $70, you have to commit to ordering six meals: I ordered eight to get started.

Though you can get a meal for as low as $10, the average price is $13 per serving (depending on ingredients, prices do vary). Which is about what you’d pay if you were ordering in. You can start at 4 weekly meals for $52 and shipping is a flat $10. Once you subscribe, you can easily go back and change the frequency or even skip or pause your meals depending on your schedule.

I chose an array of meals to try out, including four chicken dishes, one filet mignon (which added a few dollars to my delivery price), some meatballs, a beef and rice bowl and one vegetarian. Each meal comes in a tidy cardboard box with a set of instructions and a bar code, though the corresponding protein is vacuum packaged separately.


Making the meals was a snap. Everything is already cut and portioned, and any sauces or condiments you need come in handy, individual packets. I had my teen try making them on his own, and my 16 year old was charmed by how easy it was to assemble the meal and throw it in the oven — then just scan the barcode and wait for his dinner. As mentioned, you can use the app to start the oven, but there is something strangely satisfying about holding that barcode under the scanner and watching it go to work.

The food is good. It’s not restaurant quality, but it’s more appealing than a frozen dinner. Though if you’re watching calories or salt, you may want to check the nutrition list online before you order specific meals — my Italian Meatballs with Roasted Red Peppers and Potato Wedges was a whopping 720 calories and contained 45 grams of fat, with nearly 2,000 grams of salt (compare that to a Big Mac, which has 540 calories, 25 grams of fat and just over 1,000 grams of salt).


If you’re looking for a more comprehensive toaster oven for all kinds of food and types of cooking, the Tovala is not the best choice. And no, you can’t go to the supermarket and pick out a Tovala meal. There is a list of food under the “Groceries” tab in the app if you want to grab something from brands like Amy’s, DiGiorno or Trader Joe’s — though at that point, you may as well use your microwave.


The oven itself is smaller than the $449 Cafe Couture Oven with Air Fryer I usually have on my countertop and it comes with a lot less bells and whistles. Though this austerity may be better for the prepared meal subscribers, it’s not as helpful if you’re making food from scratch or cooking for a larger group.

Though this newer oven is billed as an air fryer, I realized after I received the meals that none of them used this feature. At least I don’t think it did, because it doesn’t tell you what it’s doing when it’s cooking. It just does.

And when I went back into the ordering hub, I never could discern which ones are specifically meant to air fry. You can use the smart oven’s buttons if you want to throw in some frozen french fries or veggies, but I’m still not sure how it ties in with the Tovala meals.

Here’s something I didn’t consider before I signed up for my meal plan: Where exactly do I store 8 individual boxes of food in my fridge? I ended up having to completely rearrange things to stack them, then put the proteins in the freezer. If you have a small kitchen and even smaller refrigerator, you may want to consider this before you order more than four meals at a time.

Of course, if your fridge is empty because you don’t cook for yourself, the Smart Oven Air Fryer is a perfect fit.


The Tovala Smart Oven Air Fryer and accompanying meal plan is a time-saving way to enjoy fresh food at home. Assembling the meals is simple, and you can choose to use the app or the strangely gratifying bar scanner to cook without any further instructions.

Of course, if you don’t feel like paying at least $52 a week for a minimum of 4 meals, that inexpensive $69 oven goes up to $250, and you’re better off with a basic toaster oven/air fryer like the Hamilton Beach Sure Crisp for just $100 with no strings attached. And if you are a more adventurous home cook, you may want something larger and more versatile, like our pick, the KitchenAid Digital Countertop Oven with Air Fry ($200).

But if you simply want to cook your own food with almost no effort, prep work and clean-up, the Smart Oven Air Fryer is, well, a smart choice. Even my 16 year-old, who spends more time waiting on line at Chipotle than making his own meals, appreciated Tovala’s ease of use and minimal mess.

So, how was the food? “It’s good, mom, but I’d rather eat your cooking.” Music to my ears, but for him, it’s certainly a step up from take out.


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Aaron Rodgers news live updates: Rumors and analysis as Jets trade looms


The wait for an Aaron Rodgers trade goes on.

The fate of the four-time MVP remains up in the air with the Jets hoping to bring Rodgers to New York in a trade.

Has Rodgers agreed to the trade or is he waiting for the Jets to fulfill his wish list of NFL free agents?

Is the holdup with trade compensation between the Jets and Packers?

Answers may soon be coming with Rodgers scheduled to appear with Pat McAfee at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

What you need to know


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Mikel Arteta interview: Arsenal boss on going from midtable to Premier League title challengers

Mikel Arteta interview: Arsenal boss on going from midtable to Premier League title challengers


LONDON — Arsenal may have exceeded all expectations to top the Premier League in mid-March, but manager Mikel Arteta is just getting started.

When the 40-year-old laid out his blueprint for restoring the Gunners to pre-eminence in conversation with the Kroenke family upon his appointment in December 2019, his plan had five distinct phases. At that time Arsenal were out of the Champions League, 10th in the table and swallowed by the shadow of their former glories. Arteta’s predecessor, Unai Emery, had proved incapable of dragging them back into the light.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

Monday night’s London Football Awards were a reflection of how far they have come. Arteta was named Manager of the Year, Martin Odegaard took home Premier League Player of the Year, Bukayo Saka was chosen as Young Player of the Year with Aaron Ramsdale Goalkeeper of the Year; it is the first time in the history of the awards that one club has won all four categories in the same year.

It would be tempting to assume, then, that Arteta’s five-point plan is close to fruition. But when he sits down backstage at London’s Roundhouse to discuss Arsenal’s journey under his guidance, the answer is different.

What phase are we in now? “Phase 3,” he tells ESPN. “Phase 3 is a period of time and we’re a little bit ahead of schedule.”

Only a “little bit.” Arsenal are five points clear at the top of the Premier League and will aim to reach the Europa League quarterfinals on Thursday when facing Sporting CP at Emirates Stadium, a tie positioned slightly in their favour after last week’s 2-2 first-leg draw.

Arteta is notoriously protective of the club’s inner workings but it felt worth a try to ask a little about the phases of his plan that have already passed, the reasons why he is sat with one of the first significant honours of his fledgling managerial career.

“It’s something a little bit private,” he continues. “It’s just my understanding and vision of what the club was, and what we have to capture and develop.

“I like to do it looking forward first and then you have to do it backwards. It just my idea of the club and the decisions we have to take to move it forward. Obviously you need a team, all together thinking the same way and in the same direction and we’re lucky to have that at the club.”

Some of the elements of those first two phases are public knowledge. A dramatic overhaul at multiple levels of the club took place, most obviously to the playing staff as no fewer than seven players including big names like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil had their contracts ripped up amid Arteta’s concerns about divisions within the group. The recruitment strategy was streamlined with many of the club’s overseas scouts moved on, while clearer pathways from Arsenal’s Hale End academy were established to maximise internal development.

Arteta, a player and captain at Arsenal between 2011 and 2016, tried to forge a new spirit infused with the club’s values, attempting to bring people closer together at a time when COVID-19 demanded we were all kept apart. Arsenal won the 2020 FA Cup final in what proved a valuable vindication of a young manager’s methods, but by the end of that year the Gunners were languishing in mid-table, the football was flawed and Arteta found himself under pressure.

Perhaps without the FA Cup success, he would not have lasted in the job. “I don’t know,” Arteta says. “Looking back, obviously a lot of things have happened. To start your managerial career with no experience at any level and face straight away that success and then having two years of COVID, with all the challenges that we have internally at the club, externally at the club, probably I am lucky to be sitting here today looking back with how it could have developed.

“I have always been fascinated with the journey and living every single day like it is the last and I think you have to take this job especially like this because every day there are lessons, there are challenges.

“But as well there are great opportunities. I like to think as well outside of the box and learn straight away from that and just try to be the best possible manager for Arsenal and what Arsenal needs today from me to make them better. In one month, it will be different and in two years’ time maybe they need something else but it is about today.”

Arteta is steeped in Arsenal’s history. Arsene Wenger was a long-time supporter of Willow, the charity behind the London Football Awards, due to a longstanding friendship with co-founders Bob Wilson and his wife, Megs. Wilson, a former Double winner with Arsenal in the 1970s, was the club’s goalkeeping coach and remains close with Wenger. Arteta has sought to extend that relationship with the club this week, inviting Bob and Megs to their London Colney training base to further strengthen Arsenal’s relationship with Willow, which provides unique special days for terminally ill young adults aged 16-40. It is another aspect of that sense of community Arteta was determined to build. None of it could have been possible, however, had the owners not held their nerve.

Arteta was under considerable pressure but the emergence of Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, among others, began to create a new identity while successive transfer windows focusing on younger players — including Odegaard, Ramsdale and Ben White — helped accelerate a rapid transformation. Kroenke Sports Enterprises have been heavily criticised ever since Stan Kroenke took a controlling stake in 2011. Some supporters will never warm to their American owners, many of whom feel have prioritised finances over football. Arsenal’s status as league leaders makes it easy to forget it is less than two years since widespread protests took place at Emirates Stadium, initially triggered by a backlash against the club’s inclusion in the failed European Super League project. In reality that only stirred longstanding resentment. But after supporting Arteta so resolutely and spending approximately £270 million on transfers in the past two years, is it time the owners were cut some slack?

“It took some time to position themselves where they wanted, in terms of how much of the club they own and how much they could decide and how much they could really benefit the club in the way they believe is the right way to take it,” Arteta says. “I believe they were really patient in exactly the right way. Now they have shown they are fully committed, they have big ambitions and they are fully behind the club to give everything they can to make it successful.

“I am convinced the owners will continue to do everything they can to make us very successful and continue to invest in the club in the right way.”

Arteta believes that support will continue this summer. Arsenal ended up signing Leandro Trossard and Jorginho in January, two shrewd acquisitions but alternatives to higher-priced targets on whom they missed out. Mykhailo Mudryk joined Chelsea from Shakhtar Donetsk for £88.5m while Brighton retained Moises Caicedo despite Arsenal’s £70m offer. Arteta insists the club remain willing to compete at the top end of the transfer market.

“When it is necessary for the right profile of players and we can afford it, it will make sense,” he says. “But only if it is the right profile, the right price and we can afford it without damaging ourselves. That’s a really, really thin line and I think we have to have a lot of discipline as well.”

Before then, however, there is the small matter of a Premier League title race to win. Arteta’s innovative teamtalks were a feature of Arsenal’s recent Amazon “All or Nothing” documentary and he continues to tap into the club’s lifeblood to keep his players on track; after last Sunday’s 3-0 win at Fulham, a picture emerged of Arsenal’s players in the away dressing room with a replica timepiece symbolising the Clock End stand which originated at Arsenal’s old stadium, Highbury. The hands were pointing at 11 and 2, which some interpreted as a nod to there being 11 games left in the title race, but Arteta insisted there was no significance in those numbers.

“It was something I related to a few days before on where we were as a team and club and what we have to stand for,” he said. “It was something private in the dressing room just before the game and something that’s in the history of our club. We have to be really conscious of that and when we have that history and we use it in the right way, that’s a really powerful thing to have.

“The reality is that every game is so important, the margins are so small and we are now going to have to do something incredible until the end of the season to earn the right to be there.”

Winning the title would cement Arteta’s legacy. It would also give him the chance to build a dynasty similar to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, under whom he served as assistant coach before taking the Arsenal job, and Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool. Is that something he wants to do?

“If I’m in that position, it would mean we’ve done a lot of great things,” Arteta says. “But I take it daily. It’s the only thing you can do when you’re a manager. There are so many decisions, so many things that happen throughout the day that you have to be focussed on that. And not get too lost. The bigger picture is clear. I know what I would like to do and what I would like the club to be in certain months but we have to impact today’s decisions in the best way to be where we want to be.”

Perhaps “building a dynasty” is phase five.


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Spring cleaning checklist: How to actually clean every type of floor

Spring cleaning checklist: How to actually clean every type of floor


Spring cleaning is the time to tackle deep cleaning jobs that improve the appearance of your home, and ensure that neglect doesn’t cause permanent damage to big ticket items like appliances, fixtures and floors.

If deep cleaning tile and grout floors, or carpets and rugs, is on your list of spring cleaning tasks, we’ve got all the resources you need to do the job. We also created a guide to the correct cleaning and maintenance of hardwood, engineered hardwood and laminate floors.

Rounding out this guide is our collection of vacuum, carpet cleaner and mop reviews and recommendations; if this is the year you invest in or upgrade your floorcare tools, our product reviewers will help you select the best option for your home and lifestyle.

underscored lead tile cleaning

Oxygen bleach is the secret to deep cleaning grout with very little effort on your part.

Even with regular cleaning and care, tile and grout floors can become dingy as foot traffic drives dirt, dust and grime into porous grout. If the thought of deep cleaning grout has you imagining hours spent scrubbing with a toothbrush, fear not — there is a technique that takes the heavy lifting out of deep cleaning grout, by using a solution made of oxygenated bleach that does most of the work for you.

hardwood floor Bissell Crosswave Pet Pro All in One Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner and Mop

Our top pick in a review of mops, the O-Cedar EasyWring Microfiber Spin Mop combines a hands-free wringing bucket with lightweight, triangular mop head that’s perfect for both mopping and spot-scrubbing on any surface.

Cleaning and maintaining hardwood, engineered hardwood and laminate flooring is straightforward, but there are things to avoid when it comes to caring for them. Cleaning methods that will permanently damage these flooring types abound on the internet. To help break down how to care for hardwood, engineered hardwood and laminate flooring, we spoke to experts about what tools and cleaning solutions to use — and what to avoid.

Lead Carpet Cleaning

Thanks to the Hoover CleanSlate Pet’s 7-inch vacuum head and compact design, you won’t have to sacrifice performance for portability.

Regularly cleaning and maintaining carpet and rugs will keep them looking their best. There are also some things to avoid when it comes to caring for carpets. To help break down how to care for your carpeted flooring, we spoke to experts about how and how often to vacuum, how to spot treat stains as they happen, and what to do when carpets and rugs are in need of a deep cleaning.

Grooming Wipes Wild Ones

Treat deep, set-in pet mess stains with this professional strength stain remover and odor eliminator.

Pets can do a number on your home, and that’s especially true of flooring. We asked pet experts — groomers, vets, celebrity pet experts and the pet parents on our staff — what cleaning products they cannot live without and rounded up the very best products to address just about every mess your pet could make.


A rubber broom is a smart choice for removing pet hair from all types of flooring.

We tend to think first of vacuums when it comes to cleaning up loose pet hair, but brooms play an important role too — especially with big jobs like spring cleaning. The trick when selecting a broom for sweeping hair is to go for one with rubber bristles rather than a traditional brush broom.


Named the best upright carpet cleaner overall, the Hoover SmartWash+ is built around simplicity, thanks to its automatic carpet spraying system.

Underscored best upright vacuum cleaner lead image

With great cleaning power and maneuverability, the Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away NV501 was a standout in all of our testing.

Underscored best canister vacuums lead image

The Miele Classic C1 Turbo Team is powerful, maneuverable and built to last. Its six suction speeds and great tool loadout make it great, even pleasant to use, for hard floors, low carpets and rugs, upholstery and dusting.


With impressive power and the ability to tackle cleaning tasks on surfaces ranging from high-pile carpet to hard floors, the Dyson V11 Animal is the most capable cordless stick vacuum we tested.

best handheld vacs lead

The Black + Decker Dustbuster is the easiest to use, charge and empty of all the handheld vacuums we tested, with a large capacity canister and convenient built-in attachments that make it convenient and versatile enough for any small cleanup.

Underscored best robot vacuums lead image

This is the best robot vacuum you can buy right now, with simpler mapping, more cleaning power and smarter features than anything else we tested.


The compact, inexpensive iRobot Braava Jet 240 is simply the best robot mop for the money. While it doesn’t have the smarts of more expensive models and can’t do double duty as a vacuum, its efficient design and simple pattern-based navigation deliver impressive cleaning.


Our top pick in a review of mops, the O-Cedar EasyWring Microfiber Spin Mop combines a hands-free wringing bucket with lightweight, triangular mop head that’s perfect for both mopping and spot-scrubbing on any surface.


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The JBL Quantum 100 gaming headset is a solid choice for less than $40

The JBL Quantum 100 gaming headset is a solid choice for less than $40


How many times have you been called a n00b while gaming online and cried out, “No YOU’RE the n00b,” only to realize you’re a fallen tree in an unhearing forest? Me too, friend; I get it. So, I finally caved and bought the cheapest gaming headset I could find from a brand I know. The JBL Quantum 100 wired gaming headset ain’t fancy, and that’s just fine, because it’s $40 (with frequent drops to $30 or less) and it lets me hear the footsteps of the guy who’s about to shoot me, and tell him something I heard about his lineage as I lay there, my in-game avatar crying for a medic that probably won’t come without an active weekly goal to reward them.

I appreciate a functional piece of tech as much as I do gear on the bleeding edge, and the JBL Quantum 100 certainly falls in the former category. The sound is reasonably good, the built-in microphone is surprisingly reliable and it has a thoughtful design for the price. It lacks the convenience of Bluetooth, sure, but sometimes it’s nice not to have to worry about the finicky nature of wireless communication and go with good old hard-wired tech.

The JBL Quantum 100 headset is a great buy for gamers on a budget, offering a comfortable, user-repairable design and good-enough sound for less than $40.

The JBL Quantum 100 is a well-designed headset from a company with a strong home audio pedigree. It uses an over-ear format with well-padded ear cups and the braided audio cable is nicely flexible. The surprisingly sturdy, angled 3.5mm audio jack is a nice touch, too, making it comfortable to use without kinking the cable. On the left ear cup, you’ll find a volume wheel rather than a rocker, and a mute button; both simple, easy to use mechanisms.

It also has a bendable, removable boom mic that’s surprisingly good — I wouldn’t be ashamed to use it for a podcast or some background vocal recording in a pinch. The headset is otherwise made up of mostly pretty cheap-feeling plastic, as you’d expect, and it’s certainly not taking home any medals for its looks, but JBL clearly put at least some thought into ergonomics and convenience when crafting it.

Lightweight and comfortable

There’s an upside to the cheap materials here: the JBL Quantum 100 are very lightweight headphones, making them comfortable to wear for extended gaming sessions. The clamp force — that is, how hard they clamp your head — isn’t overly strong, but their feathery weight renders pressure points virtually nonexistent. I wear glasses, and unlike clampier headsets, I didn’t feel the need to use my thinnest glasses with them.

The over-ear cups fit nicely around my ears, and are nice and roomy compared to my AirPods Max, which have a tendency to put a little too much pressure on the outer, upper tips of my precious lobes, though they’re a little shallower than Apple’s ultra-premium headphones. The headphones can also be rotated or tilted for small adjustments if they get uncomfortable or you need to pack them away.

JBL Quantum 100 earcup closeup.jpg

Lastly, these headphones have a nice range of headband adjustment, letting them stretch way bigger than my average, run-of-the-mill head calls for — I’d guess they’re good for even bigger noggins, given their generous, erm, headroom.

Related: Sony’s Inzone H9 is one of the most comfortable gaming headsets I’ve ever worn

A lot of tech is made so you can’t bust into it without either destroying it or having the experience to know how not to, but the JBL Quantum 100 are mostly user-serviceable with nothing more than a couple of screwdrivers and a soldering iron. The ear cups are clipped in and replaceable, and when you remove them, you expose a cover held in place by just a few phillips-head screws.

Inside, you’ll find the driver, hidden behind more plastic, and a few small boards with simple soldered connections. There is some glue used to affix the driver’s casing to the plastic cover, but it looks fairly easy to separate. I probably wouldn’t go to the trouble of replacing the driver itself, but otherwise, everything else about them can be fixed.

Unsurprisingly, the speakers aren’t stellar. Bass is almost nonexistent, and the low-midrange is beefed up to give the impression of a slightly boomy sound. Still, they’re perfectly inoffensive for casual listening and tuned well for in-game voices or other sounds. For comparison, they have a somewhat similar sound profile to wired Apple EarPods, and I prefer them to the old Sony WHXB700 Bluetooth headphones I happened to have handy.

The earcups don’t really do much to block out external noise, and neither does the microphone. So if you’re planning to game in a noisy environment, you’ll probably want to spend more and get something with better noise isolation or even built-in noise gating for the microphone to reduce quieter background sounds.

Still, with a very functional approach to audio and a superior microphone than you’d find on even much pricier headsets, they’re well worth the $20 I paid for them on sale. I don’t think I’d be upset if I’d paid their $40 list price, either.

Like I said above, these headphones definitely feel cheap. Although I see this largely as a plus for comfort reasons, it doesn’t bode well for their longevity unless you plan to baby them. The thin leatherette covering the ear cups will probably start peeling after a year or so, and there are several places where accidental mishandling or sitting on the headphones would probably snap something.

jbl quantum 100 alt cnnu

The audio cable is non-removable without some invasive repair work, so if you break the cable, you’re going to have to open them up to replace it, or just buy another pair. That’s not a big deal if you like them since they’re so cheap, but buying a second pair is inconvenient and wasteful, and that’s a shame.

Not that it’s expected given their simplicity, but you won’t find “features” in these headphones — unless you consider volume control a feature. They don’t have any special connectivity, apps or any ability to customize the sound at all. They’re just headphones with a microphone. It’s honestly refreshing, and I debated where this section fits in this review, as you could easily call this a benefit or not, depending on your perspective.


Anything with 3.5mm audio jack

Anything with 3.5mm audio jack

Anything with 3.5mm audio jack

Y-splitter included



Yes (with PC version)


Adjustable headband
Rotatable ear cups
Bendable microphone

Adjustable headband
Bendable microphone

Adjustable headband
Bendable microphone

Active noise cancellation








Wired connectivity

Non-detachable 3.5mm audio cable

Non-detachable 3.5mm audio cable

Detachable 3.5mm audio cable


Removable, adjustable boom microphone with pop filter

Non-detachable boom microphone

Non-detachable boom microphone

Driver size




Software customization








If you’re looking for a reliable wired budget gaming headset, give the JBL Quantum 100 a serious look. They’re cheaper than most other name brand wired headsets, have nice controls, thoughtful design and a surprisingly good microphone. They won’t blow you away with their audio quality, though they’re good enough for casual use. They don’t have any special features, but I’ve often found that once I’m finished playing around with extraneous options, I tend to forget about them unless they meaningfully improve the experience.

For better sound, it’s worth considering the Razer Kraken X — one of the best gaming headsets — which is otherwise very similar, albeit a bit heavier and not quite as adjustable. Their microphone is also distinctly worse, making them pretty useless outside of the context of gaming or video conferencing, if vocal quality is important to you. For better noise isolation, consider the $60 SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1. They don’t weigh much more than the JBL Quantum 100, and they block out background noise better. Both the Kraken X and the Arctis Nova 1 can be used with software to add audio features you won’t get with JBL’s headset, each offering simulated 7.1 surround sound if you want a slightly more spacious experience.


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