After establishing a robust popularity with nice, reliable earbuds just like the Elite 75t, Jabra is overhauling its complete lineup with three new fashions. On the excessive finish are the $199 Elite 7 Professionals and $179 Elite 7 Energetic earbuds, which is able to hit cabinets in October. However for a lot of, probably the most thrilling a part of Jabra’s newest trio would be the Elite 3 earbuds, that are the corporate’s first true wi-fi earbuds to launch at a worth below $100. They solely price $79.99, placing them in competitors with EarFun, Anker, JLab, and different firms which can be recognized for high quality buds on a funds.

Jabra doesn’t shoot for the Moon with the Elite 3s; they lack lively noise cancellation and so they sacrifice one function that’s grow to be an indicator of Jabra earbuds: multipoint assist. You’ll be able to solely pair these with one system at a time, whereas the corporate’s different merchandise can join to 2 audio sources concurrently. It stings, but it surely’s additionally a predictable omission at this asking worth. What you’re left with is a set of earbuds that outshine sound high quality expectations, ship prolonged battery life, and above all else, come by with constant, dependable efficiency — which might’t all the time be mentioned of different sub-$100 earbuds.

From a design standpoint, the Elite 3s have developed past the utilitarian look of the 65t / 75t / 85t and present just a little extra model. Jabra describes it as “a sleek Danish design.” My overview unit is the usual darkish grey, however there are lilac purple and beige choices if you would like one thing brighter. As an alternative of the standard round button on the outside, these earbuds have extra of a teardrop form, and the mini stem with perforated mic holes from the corporate’s previous buds can be gone.

However the Elite 3s really feel very acquainted as soon as seated in your ears; fortunately, they use spherical ear ideas as an alternative of the oval-shaped ideas that got here with the 85t buds, which by no means match as snugly as I might’ve appreciated. (Three sizes of silicone ideas come within the field.) In the event you appreciated how the 75t buds match, you’ll be proper at dwelling with these, and their lighter weight makes for even higher consolation over longer intervals. I by no means felt any soreness when sporting the Elite 3s. A very good seal is essential for the very best passive noise isolation, and I used to be happy with how these buds managed to subdue outdoors noise — even with out ANC. They could lack multipoint, however on the plus facet, you need to use both earbud independently in mono mode. That hasn’t been the case for Jabra’s earlier earbuds, so it’s a welcome enchancment for the 2021 lineup.

These earbuds don’t protrude from the ear so far as Jabra’s others.

The charging case appears similar to Jabra’s others and stays properly compact. However the firm undoubtedly opted for a lighter, cheaper plastic this time; the lid has some creaking and a little bit of flex, and the case itself picks up scuffs fairly simply. Functionally, it does the job positive and holds the earbuds securely. And the battery standing LED is sensibly positioned on the entrance, in contrast to older Jabra earbud instances the place it was round again. There’s no wi-fi charging right here — simply USB-C for wired recharges. For battery life, Jabra says the Elite 3s can hit as much as seven hours of steady enjoying time, and my expertise up to now provides me little cause to doubt that estimate. The case holds sufficient juice for 3 recharges, so that you get 28 hours of listening time in all.

The case feels moderately low cost and scuffs simply.

The Elite 3s don’t sound like $80 earbuds, and I imply that in the very best manner. In contrast to the fatiguing, inarticulate sound signature that’s all too widespread at this worth, Jabra’s new funds buds have a properly balanced EQ that lends the bass some added punch, however to not objectionable ranges. The sound isn’t as full-bodied as with the Elite 75t or 85t buds, but it surely’s removed from muddy. Listening to Kacey Musgraves’ new album Star-Crossed, the Elite 3s did an awesome job with each elaborate, reverb-heavy tracks like “Cherry Blossom” and the weak, acoustic “Hookup Scene.” Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” goes to indicate that the bass isn’t fairly as thumping as on Jabra’s different earbuds, nonetheless. Supported Bluetooth codecs embody customary AptX and SBC, however not Apple’s most popular AAC.

The Elite 3s lack guide EQ controls, in contrast to Jabra’s different earbuds.

The Jabra Sound Plus app, obtainable on each Android and iOS, provides a couple of completely different EQ presets like bass and treble enhance, although you lose the complete slider controls which can be reserved for the corporate’s pricier earbuds. That feels just a little stingy to me, however I’ll take some EQ flexibility over none in any respect. You’re additionally caught with the default controls, although there’s not a lot I’d wish to change about them. The proper earbud handles audio controls, whereas the left summons your most popular voice assistant. (Jabra helps Amazon Alexa along with Siri or Google Assistant.) I actually like that the buttons now take up the complete outer floor of the earbuds, making them easy to seek out and press. And so they’ve bought a pleasant click on. Nobody likes mushy buttons regardless of the worth. On Android, Jabra helps Quick Pair for faster setup.

Jabra has redesigned its newest earbuds with a bit extra model.

The Elite 3s function a HearThrough transparency mode to offer you some consciousness of your environment. Nevertheless it’s muffled sufficient that I hardly ever bothered toggling it on. The state of affairs the place it’s most useful is once you activate sidetone (which helps you to higher hear your personal voice) on calls. Talking of which, these earbuds carry out decently however aren’t going to boggle the thoughts. I by no means bought any complaints about mic high quality on the cellphone or over Zoom, and everybody might clearly make out what I used to be saying, although they do have that talking-on-earbuds sound to them. For $80, that also checks off the “good enough” field for me. Jabra charges the sturdiness of the Elite 3s as IP55, that means they’re immune to on a regular basis mud and may deal with sweat and splashes of water, however shouldn’t be submerged.

Regardless of their interesting price and strong efficiency, I’ve nonetheless bought some minor nitpicks: the Elite 3s use tones and beeps to point pairing standing and different features as an alternative of the unmistakable voice suggestions from Jabra’s prior earbuds. I actually hope this doesn’t carry over to the extra premium new fashions. There’s no auto-pause on the Elite 3s once you take away an earbud. And as we proceed to see lively noise cancellation trickle down into extra reasonably priced buds from firms like EarFun, Anker, and TCL, Jabra may need to get extra bold subsequent time round. Or no less than enhance the rinky-dink case.

However as the corporate’s first earbuds coming in below the $100 mark, the Jabra Elite 3s managed to impress me with their well-considered mixture of sound high quality, steadfast efficiency, simple controls, first rate name high quality, and prolonged battery life. There are different options you would possibly need for one cause or one other, however I can’t consider a lot else I’d actually want for this type of cash.

Pictures by Chris Welch / The Verge


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