Jabra Elite 75t review: Improved over time, better sound than the AirPods Pro

Jabra’s Elite 75t earned a CNET Editors’ Choice award when it debuted in November 2019, but it didn’t become widely available until early 2020. While many other excellent true wireless earbuds have since arrived, including many that offer active noise cancellation, the Elite 75t and its slightly more robust sibling, the Elite Active 75t the best true wireless options remained. Part of the reason is that Jabra has managed to improve the performance of the earbuds through firmware updates. The most recent of those (fall 2020) added active noise cancellation, although the company has released a step-up model, the Elite 85t, which uses a different and even more effective form of noise cancellation technology. The other reason the Jabra Elite 75t continues to be one of the top contenders is that it has become more affordable, occasionally cutting $ 40 or even $ 50 off the $ 180 (£ 170 and AU $ 299) list price during the period of the holiday sales.

Like it

  • Sound better than AirPods Pro, with better clarity and tighter bass
  • Better fit and smaller size than previous models
  • Battery life of 7.5 hours between charges
  • USB-C charging

I do not like

  • Rival models from Apple and Anker have better call quality
  • No wireless charging

As the 75t has improved over time and is now available at a lower price point, we are reaffirming its place in the current pantheon of wireless headphones with an updated editor’s pick as of December 2020.

Much of what follows is from my original review, but the key thing to note about the firmware updates is that voice call performance has improved, with better background noise reduction. Plus, the new noise canceling function really works – it helps dampen ambient noise – although the noise canceling in the Elite 85t step-up is a bit louder. And while the standard version of the Elite 75t doesn’t include a wireless charging case, there is now a variant that includes one for $ 20 more, although it’s not that easy to find.

As I stated in my original review, at first glance the Elite 75t, available in a few different color options, looks more like an evolutionary upgrade to the Elite 65t. But the updates turned out to be a little more substantial than I initially thought. The smaller size of the Elite 75t (buds and case are 20% smaller than its predecessor), increased battery life, and USB-C charging are significant upgrades. And then there are the smaller changes, like the new charging case design with magnets inside that make it easy to open and close and to keep the buds inside.

Read more: The best true wireless earbuds of 2019

The new case has magnets.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Jabra says the 75t’s primary goals were to make it smaller by increasing battery life. The problem with the Elite 65t was that while it fits me well, it’s too big for some people’s ears, which leads to returns. Jabra claims the 75t’s drivers are the same as the 65t’s, but the smaller design will help more people get a more comfortable, snug fit. That snug fit (“airtight” I sometimes call it) is not only crucial to having the buds firmly in your ears, but it allows you to get the best sound out of them with enhanced bass performance. And these have great sound quality for true wireless if you can get that tight seal. (To be clear, I’m comparing them to other true wireless earbuds, not wired headphones, which tend to provide better sound for the money.)

The 75t design didn’t make a big difference to me in terms of fit compared to its predecessor. As I said, the Elite 65t basically fits my ears almost perfectly, and even these passively isolate a good amount of ambient noise. However, the Elite 75t are definitely lighter and more discreet. The “tube” of the earphones, where the vocal microphone resides, has been almost eliminated on the Elite 75t, and its absence gives the earphones a more streamlined appearance. It’s a big problem. And I think the new smaller design not only fits more ears, it fits them more comfortably. It’s probably not as comfortable as the AirPods Pro, which is slightly lighter, but it’s comfortable for this type of noise-isolating in-ear headphones, which isn’t for everyone (many people don’t like having a silicone earphone dipped into the ear canal) .

The Elite 65t (left) versus the Elite 75t (right).

Sarah Tew / CNET

I also liked the smaller charging case and it now has a flat bottom so you can lay it horizontally (you have to place the case of the Elite 65t vertically). These design updates may seem small, but they clearly improve the product.

The headphones still have four microphones – two in each earbud (the Elite 85t has six) – but the position has changed from the 65t. There are now microphones on the front and back of each gem. The Elite 65t worked well as a headset, but this model works a little better for making calls, although I thought it was AirPods Pro that Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 were a level higher with noise reduction in noisier environments (however, as noted, noise reduction has improved with firmware updates). You can use the right earphone alone for mono music playback or for calls. If you remove the left earbud while listening to music, the music will automatically pause. To resume mono playback in the right earphone, you need to press the multifunction button.

With the Elite 75t, callers said they could hear me clearly but the background sound was less muffled than the AirPods Pro and the Anker. The Liberty Air 2 was actually the best for dampening the background sound. That said, the Elite 75t is the only one of the three to have a sidetone feature that allows you to hear your voice in the earbuds, preventing you from speaking too loudly. You can adjust the sidetone level in the app.

Jabra Elite 75t is equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, which not only helps improve battery life but also helps with wireless connectivity. I’ve encountered hardly any Bluetooth glitches in New York City, which is notoriously difficult with true wireless earbuds, especially the latest generation models. Although the earbuds are smaller, battery life is now rated at 7.5 hours at moderate volume levels, up from the Elite 65t’s 5 hours (AirPods Pro are rated at 4.5 hours with the noise cancellation enabled). The case provides an additional 20.5 hours of battery life. My initial tests indicate that the battery life numbers are accurate, at least for the buds themselves.

With a IP55 waterproof rating, the Elite 75t is splash proof and offers some dust resistance, and will be fine for use in the gym and running (the buds stayed firmly in my ears while running). Like the Elite 65t, there’s a HearThrough transparency mode that lets in ambient sound – you activate it with a short press on the left earbud – and in the Sound Plus app for iOS and Android you can choose to pause your own music when you want to activate HearThrough. That way if someone comes over to talk to you when you have earphones, you can tap the left earbud and have a conversation.

The app also features EQ settings that let you tweak the sound to your liking, and you can choose between your device’s native voice assistant or Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. However, you have to press a button to access the voice assistant (to be clear, these earbuds have physical buttons). With AirPods Pro, you can simply say “Hey, Siri” to access Siri hands-free.

Unlike the AirPods Pro, these have volume controls on the buds. Press and hold the button on the left earbud to turn down the volume and press and hold the button on the right earbud to turn it up. Works well.

The earphones have a more discreet design.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Changing the EQ settings can slightly improve the sound quality. In the end I opted for the Smooth setting, which reduces the highs a bit and raises the lows slightly. That setting seemed to work well for a variety of playing styles. And while the Elite 75t may not be as comfortable as the AirPods Pro and it doesn’t work quite as well as a headset for making calls, I think it sounds better than the AirPods Pro. The Elite 75t offers better overall clarity, with better definition. in the bass. It is more lively and dynamic.

For some people, that superior sound may not outweigh the advantages of the AirPods Pro. But the Elite 75t costs less, even with the AirPods Pro price dropping below $ 200. With software updates, it remains an excellent set complete with true wireless earbuds that has enough improvements, including a vastly improved design and better battery life (and now noise cancellation), to make it one of the flagship models in this highly competitive and rapidly evolving headphone category.

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