Back in January, we reviewed the Jabra Elite 7 Pro. We were impressed by how these earbuds could be used as a hybrid solution for work and pleasure. Jabra has recently announced a cheaper set of earbuds that we find superior in a few areas.
What are Jabra Elite 5?
The Jabra Elite 5 are wireless active noise cancelling (ANC) earbuds allowing you via Bluetooth to make calls and enjoy media in a small discreet package. Two separate devices can be connected to your Jabra Elite 5’s, such as your smartphone and your PC. The earbuds and case are of superior build and come with a 2-year warranty.
From visual inspection and the information from Jabra, it would appear that these earbuds have a greater number of microphones. These microphones improve noise cancellation across a wider range of frequencies. These same microphones are also used to improve voice calls back through your smartphone and also help to block out wind noise.
A new feature that we have not seen before is support for Spotify Tap. A key feature on Jabra earbuds is a physical button that you can press versus a tap sensor. When Spotify Tap is enabled via your smartphone Jabra App. You can double press the left earbud to start playing Spotify, and double press left again to browse content specific to you.
The Elite 5 continues to support playback of media and interaction via the buttons. Support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa continues and is activated by a long press to the right earbud.
Another new feature is better integration with Google. It includes support for Google Fast Pair, which my Android phone immediately recognised and connected the new earbuds. Another feature I noticed is a graphical image of the earbuds on my Android smartphone. The graphic shows the battery status of each earbud and the case, which is handy to know.
The earbuds are water and dust-resistant (IP55) and will support up to 7 hours of playback with ANC on. If you have ANC off, the playback increases to 9 hours. Case charging takes the listening time to 28 hours with ANC and 36 hours without ANC. In reading the manual, you will find the charging case needs to have a 30% charge or more to charge the buds and that 10 minutes in the case will provide enough power for the buds to operate for up to 1 hour.
The charging case can be charged via USB-C or by placing the case on a Qi-certified wireless charging pad. Charging wirelessly will take around 3 hours from flat. Visually you can see the battery status on the case and the earbuds via a LED, which will flash green for high, yellow for medium and red for low.
What is in the Jabra Elite 5 Box?
The Jabra Elite 5 can be bought as either Gold Beige in colour or Titanium Black. I tested a pair of Gold Beige while I initially preferred Black but soon realised the Beige acted more as camouflage when placed in your ears which has its positives and minuses around people realising you have earbuds in.
Also in the box beyond the 2 buds and the case is a USB – A to USB – C charging cable and a small and large ear gel set to replace the medium set already fitted to best suit your ear canal.
Users can download the Jabra Sound+ app, which gives you control over settings to personalise your Jabra’s. The app will also give you an indication of the battery state and facilitate firmware upgrades.
Using the Jabra Elite 5
These earbuds were a surprise in how well they performed against the more expensive ones at $299.
The Jabra Elite 5 can be purchased directly from Jabra or Amazon for $219. The good news is Jabra offers a 100-day free return. This is key when buying headphones, as normally, you cannot return an item you put in your ear. This returns policy gives you peace of mind because you cannot try these in a store.
The better features of the Elite 7 pros are faster charging, better water and dust resistance and longer battery life.
However, to my ear, the Elite 5 sound better for both voice and music media playback. I was not expecting this, but the Elite 5 has the advantage of a further year of development over the Elite 7 pro.
The biggest difference I found with the Elite 5 was how well the buds worked for phone calls, not from a listening perspective but from a talking perspective. The new 6-mic call technology makes a noticeable difference to the other party by providing an enhanced wind reduction and background noise reduction. I test earbuds week in and week out in noisy street environments. I have a particular associate who critiques my voice quality and does not hold back if it is not good.
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is my favourite earphone/headphone technology allowing you to block out the outside world. Jabra enables you to decide how much background noise you block out, and I tend to always use the maximum as it just sounds better. The downside is people start talking to me, not knowing I am wearing earbuds which causes a issue. I should also point out that from a safety perspective, this can also be problematic. One click of the left earbud activates hear thru, allowing you to hear ambient noise clearly. I use the earbuds on my bike and overcome this by only wearing one earbud. Speaking on being on the bike, I find the wind noise is noticeably reduced when listening to podcasts with this new model.
For those wondering how well a Jabra earbud sits in your ear. After using them for 10 months, I have never lost an earbud or had it fall out whilst on my bike, and I have had one occasionally fall out when bumping my ears at home. So far, they have bounced and not broken. You can feel when they become loose and quick whilst in your ear re seats them. Suppose you remove a bud from your ear. In that case, this action will automatically pause any media you are listening to or mute a phone call.
For an $80 saving versus the Jabra top-of-the-line, these earbuds outperform where it counts in listening to media and making phone calls. Any small business person will benefit from the versatility of these buds, allowing you to have a clear business conversation one minute and listen to your favourite media the next. The push button click of the earbuds is a feature I like confirming the action to touch of the feature you have just activated.