My go-to earbuds have been the Jabra Elite 7 and, until now, Jabra’s premium earbuds. Eighteen months on, Jabra has launched the Jabra Elite 10 wireless earbuds. We start this review with excitement about what has improved.
What is a Jabra Elite 10 wireless earbud?
The Jabra Elite 10 earbuds are Bluetooth, noise-cancelling, rechargeable and support Dolby Atmos. The Elite 10 is the top-of-the-line in a range of earbuds from the Danish audio giant.
WHY should you buy wireless earbuds?
Earbuds are a convenient way to listen to music or conversation without wearing traditional on or over-ear headphones. They are not bulky and will not mess up your hair.
Earbuds come with a case that, in most cases, also acts as an extra battery to charge your earbuds, allowing extended time away from a mains power source.
The compact size allows them to be discrete in your ear or easily carried in a pocket or handbag.
A big reason for wireless earbuds is that smartphone vendors no longer include wired earphones in the box, nor do most have a headphone socket. If you want to listen to audio without disturbing others, wireless headphones are your only option.
What is in the Box?
In the box, you will find the charging case containing the two earbuds, a USB A to USB C cable and, for the first time, three extra sets (previously 2 with other models) of silicone ear gels. The ear gels are used to match different-sized ear canals to ensure you get the correct fit. These ear Gels are also oval (traditionally round) to better fit your ear shape.
Each earbud weighs 6 grams, and the charging case is 46 grams. The charging case dimensions are 65x24x47 mm.
The earbuds are charged via the case, which needs to be charged via the USB cable to a mains charger (not included), a PC, a car USB, etc. The charge time is up to 3 hours and will provide up to 36 hours of listening time by using the case. When fully charged, the earbuds will provide up to 8 or 6 hours with noise cancelling switched on. (same as Jabra 7). The case also supports wireless charging.
If you run out of power in the buds, 5 minutes in the case will give you one hour of listening.
Pairing these buds is super easy, with my phone and PC recognising them before I even tried to set them up.
Priced at $379, Jabra Elite 10 are available in 5 colours. The included warranty is 2 years, protecting you from failure due to dust and water if you register your product on the App.
Using the Elite 10 earbuds
A feature I like about the whole Jabra earbud range is the large physical button on each earbud, which allows various operations like pause, skip Siri/Google Assistant, etc. This button gives a reassuring click.
You can set these earbuds up with ten Bluetooth devices, such as a PC or smartphone, and easily change between them. Connection is done via Bluetooth 5.3 with a range of approx. 10m. Leaving my phone in the centre of my house, I can continue to listen in every room.
The earbuds can be used independently, just one, not two earbuds. However, with the hear-through technology, there is no real need other than personal preference to leave one earbud out. While wearing both earbuds, any media playback is immediately paused if you remove one. I find this a courtesy thing when talking to someone, as with the hear-through feature, you can hear just as well, leaving the earphones in.
Sound reproduction is excellent from a 10mm speaker, 33% larger than the Elite 7, providing excellent base (deep sounds). The big addition to these earbuds is the inclusion of Dolby Atmos, which uses timing trickery to make your brain believe sound is coming from different directions beyond just left or right. Watching a movie or listening to music encoded with Dolby Atmos enhances your listening pleasure. I enjoy this feature, which is a reason to buy these earbuds. The jury is still out on the Dolby Head Tracking, which moves the sound around as you move your head to give the impression the sound comes from the same place. I find this a bit disorientating, and gives the sound an echo, which I don’t particularly appreciate when listening to podcasts.
Jabra promotes the Elite 10, having twice as good as “Jabra Standard ANC” (Advanced Noise Cancelation). Compared to Jabra’s cheaper models, this is no doubt true. Still, compared to the Elite 7, I found the Noise cancellation only slightly better.
Having tested many different headsets and earbuds, the most anticipated feature for me was how well the Elite 10 could handle voice calls in noisy environments. Having Six microphones (compared to 4 in the 7), I hoped for big things with this model and, unfortunately, was left still hoping. My standard test for headphones is my weekly call with my mother. I am exposed to construction noise, traffic, lawnmowers, etc. Manufacturers use multiple microphones to work out what your voice is and what is background noise. The technology then attempts to remove the background noise so only your voice is heard. The Elite 10s are okay, but headphones with a boom microphone with ANC built-in do a better job at this. Unfortunately, earbuds are still a work in progress.
The ear gels I found took a bit to get used to as it is a different feel to the round gels. I went to a bigger size but returned to the standard size and now happily wear them all day. Speaking of different shapes, the charging box is a new shape that fits your pocket better but must be held to reinsert the buds. The 7 had a flat bottom, so buds could be inserted without holding the case.
I wear earbuds as I do chores on a weekend and always worry I will drop a bud by accident into a bucket of water. To date, the buds have remained in place in my ears and only hit the ground with no damage from my fumbling fingers. If I were to drop a bud in a bucket, they are IP 57, meaning they should survive a quick dunking in water.
Our Take Jabra Elite 10 review.
The Jabra Elite 10 certainly are the best earbuds to date from Jabra. The sound playback quality and noise cancellation are exceptional for such a small size.
Suppose you are using these buds for work and play. In that case, there is definitely a bias towards play, as calls in a noisy environment are, unfortunately, still challenging for the other party.
The Dolby Atmos support is a standout feature and worth every cent of the $379 RRP of these buds, and with so much more content being consumed on a smartphone, it really enhances the experience.
If your budget does not stretch, look at the Elie 7 Pro reduced to $199, which is now a bargain.