Tech twist

Home » Reviews » Jabra Elite 3 review: The new standard for affordable wireless earbuds
a

Jabra Elite 3 review: The new standard for affordable wireless earbuds

Jabra’s truly wireless earbuds have a solid reputation. Since then, the company has continued to refine its mix of features and functionality, resulting in some of the most reliable buds that do nearly everything well every time they are released. Another low-cost model remained on the agenda: a pair of headphones with good sound, useful tools, and long battery life for under $100. This was the last item on the agenda. As a result, the company has created arguably its best true wireless product to date with the Elite 3.

Design

Each of the Elite models has a new design and is smaller than the previous models, which Jabra introduced with its new Elite line. There was only one pair of Elite 75ts available until now, and they were the company’s smallest earbuds. In addition to being more compact, the Elite 3 is also more comfortable than the Elite 75t thanks to a redesigned shape that better mimics your ear’s curves. Over 62,000 ear scans were conducted by Jabra in order to create the earphone’s shape. The Elite 3 and its more expensive siblings have a triangular shell instead of a circular one.


Jabra has built quite a reputation for true wireless earbuds. Over the last few years, the company has continued to refine its mix of features and functionality, consistently creating some of the most reliable buds that do nearly everything well. The one item still left on the agenda was a low-cost model: a set of earbuds that gave users good sound, handy tools and solid battery life for under $100. With the Elite 3, the company does just that, and in the process it designed arguably its best true wireless product yet.

Design

Jabra Elite 3 review

With its three new Elite models, Jabra introduced an all-new design and made all of them smaller than its previous offerings. Until now, the Elite 75t was the company’s smallest set of earbuds. But the even more compact Elite 3 makes them more comfortable than the Elite 75t and the new shape, which Jabra is also using on the Elite 7 Pro and Elite 7 Active, better mimics the curves of your ear. Jabra says it used over 62,000 ear scans to create the shape by mapping the details of the average human ear. Instead of being more circular, the Elite 3 and its pricier siblings have a rounded triangular shell.JabraElite 388SCOREEngadget88Critics – Not yet scoredN/AUsers – Not yet scoredN/A

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Impressive sound quality
  • Good battery life
  • Reliable on-board controls
  • Comfortable fit

Cons

  • No ANC
  • No wireless charging
  • EQ customization limited to presets
  • Ambient sound mode is just okay
  • No automatic pausing

There was a circle button for onboard controls on previous Jabra earbud models, including the Elite 85t. For example, microphones were housed in what appeared to be a small triangular elbow pointing down towards your face. A triangular button now encircles the entire outside of the Elite 3. As you can see, there are two microphones on either side of you. In the earbuds, you’ll find the same nozzle-like design Jabra has been using for years. Because of this, there’s a good portion of each tip resting in your ear canal, just like with most of the competition.

Instead of touch panels, the onboard controls are physical buttons, just like in previous Jabra models. So you have to press them, but they’re more reliable as a result of this. If you press the play/pause button once, you’ll be able to skip tracks forward, backward, and increase volume (press and hold). You can turn ambient sound on/off (single), activate your voice assistant (duplicate), and turn the volume down (left) (press and hold). To the left earbud’s triple press, there is nothing assigned to it. However, you’ll have to give up the ability to summon your assistant if you’re an Android user.

On-board controls for everything are already built into the buds, so you don’t need to reach for your phone for the basics. During workouts, for which the Elite 3’s dust and water resistance (IP55) is ideal, you can quickly press a button and get back to your workout. It’s important to note that there’s no automatic pausing. However, many headphones in this price range lack this feature, so I wouldn’t consider it a deal-breaker.

Sound Quality

As for audio quality, sub-$100 earbuds usually produce muffled sound with no bass or thump to it. A notable exception to this rule is Anker’s Soundcore line, which now includes Jabra. The sound quality of the Elite 3 immediately caught my attention. When needed, the low-end tone booms, but the tuning is balanced. Rock tracks have a deep and dynamic kick drum, while hip-hop and electronic styles have energetic beats. Open and airy songs like CHVRCHES’ “How Not To Drown” or John Mayer’s “Last Train Home” do just that.

When it comes to highlighting specifics, the sound profile of Jabra is also very good. Finer details, such as the snare drum’s rattle, can be heard on the CHVRCHES track. Starting Over by Chris Stapelton is enhanced by string noise and gritty guitar distortion throughout. Despite the fact that Jabra only provides a handful of presets for EQ adjustment, the Elite 3’s sound quality is superior to that of more expensive competitors thanks to a mix of balanced tuning, punchy bass, and inviting depth.

Call Quality

Like a lot of headphones companies, Jabra promises “crystal-clear calls” with the Elite 3. And like much of the competition, that claim doesn’t pan out. These earbuds are perfectly serviceable for phone and video calls, but they’re far from “crystal clear.” You end up sounding like you’re on speakerphone, and there’s a dull roar in the background at all times. Does it get the job done? Yes. Do you sound great? No. Jabra does make up for its shortcomings with a few handy features, though.

With the Elite 3’s HearThrough mode, you don’t have to shout to be heard, and you can enable sidetone to amplify your voice even more. You can turn off the microphone by pressing either side of them, and the earbuds have a handy mute button. For those who prefer to use one earbud at all times while the other is being charged, Jabra has enabled mono mode.

Battery Life

Battery life on the Jabra earbuds is seven hours, with three additional charges in the case. Compared to the competition, this is a slight improvement. Many of the current options are around the five-hour mark. Fast-charging technology allows for a full hour of use in just 10 minutes, even without wireless charging. It took me 15 minutes to kill one of the Elite 3 buds and 20 minutes to kill the other during my tests. It’s possible to get a full workday from these if you dock them a couple of times.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.