Jabra Elite 5 Earbud Review: Good ANC/Solid Audio

October 25, 2022
2 mins read
Start
9/10

Summary

Jabra Elite 5 Earbuds REVIEW

PAT PILCHER loves sticking things in his ears and it turned out that Jabra’s new buds had a lot to recommend them.

$239

Jabra’s Elite 5 noise-cancelling earbuds are the latest in their ear gear line-up. The million-dollar question is whether these buds both deliver decent audio and active noise cancellation.

Specs-wise, the Elite 5’s deliver a lot of bang for buck value. Under their hood sits a 6mm dynamic driver. They’re also Bluetooth 5.2 compatible and have support for AAC, Apt-X, and SBC codecs, as well as multipoint connectivity and Google’s Fast Pairing.

 

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Their charging case is suitably compact on the design front, making it easy to pocket. The buds are petite, and instead of capacitive touch panels, which typically don’t work if you wear a beanie, there are physical buttons. Most people prefer capacitive touch controls because pressing a physical button makes it feel like the bud is being shoved further into your ear. In use, I found the buttons were right on the sweet spot. I could tap them without jostling the bud further into my noggin, but putting a beanie on didn’t accidentally push the button either. In terms of their fit, they were snug but comfortable, secure enough that they didn’t come loose.

Speaking of the controls, they’re intuitive. A single press on the left bud switches between ANC/Hear-Through. Pressing twice fires up your phone’s voice assistant. A single press on the right bud plays/pauses audio, twice skips forward, and three times skips backwards. For answering an incoming call, a single press on either earbud does the trick. Ending a call is a double press on either bud.

The Elite 5’s are IP55 rated, which means they’re fine for use in a gym but are not fully waterproof. Don’t go swimming with these bad boys bunged in your ear holes! The charging case isn’t splash-resistant. In terms of their run-time, I managed to wring just over seven hours of use (most of a working day), and the case should (in theory) give an additional 21 hours of juice. Your mileage will vary depending on volume levels and ANC being used/disabled.

The Elite 5’s also use the Jabra Sound+ app’s (Android/iOS) capabilities. With it, you get battery levels for the buds and charging case and can switch between ANC, Hear Through and no ANC. Even better, you can use a slider control to adjust ANC levels. There’s also a five-band EQ which includes several pre-sets. Interestingly, there’s also a Soundscape option. This can play looped audio with sounds for scuba diving/white/pink noise, ocean waves or birds. If you need to focus, these are useful.

ANC is handled by Qualcomm QCC3050 silicon. I found the ANC to be surprisingly effective. It killed low-frequency noise (like jet engine noise) but also did a solid job of cutting out noisy conversations in crowded environments. Audio at the upper end of the sound spectrum did leak through but not enough to be a distraction. Their audio was also a pleasant surprise. They delivered in the low-frequency department, with their bass sounding solid, lending a sculpted quality to their audio. That I could crank up their volume (don’t try this at home kids!) and their bass output stayed clean was a definite bonus. Their audio was otherwise bright and crisp but not shrill. The Black Seeds’ ‘Cool Me Down’ sounded smooth, with the Elite 5’s pushing a complete and convincing soundstage into my ears. Holst’s Planet Suite saw the Elite 5’s struggle a little more. While ‘Jupiter Bringer Of War’ had plenty of thumps and bangs, some orchestral detail was lost in translation.

So, the verdict? Jabra’s Elite 5 earphones deliver solid value for a surprisingly small amount of money. Their ANC is good, and they offer up pleasing and balanced audio. Combine that with a good run-time and a useful app, and there’s a lot to like.

www.jabra.co.nz

 

Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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