The Jabra Elite 3 is the new benchmark for low-cost wireless earphones
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The The Jabra Elite 3 is the new benchmark for low-cost wireless earphones
Jabra has built quite a reputation for true wireless earbuds. In recent years, the company has expanded its mix of features and functionality, consistently creating some of the most reliable buds that do almost everything right. All that was left on the agenda was a cheap model: a set of earbuds that gave users good sound, useful tools, and solid battery life for under $100. With the Elite 3, the company does just that, and in the process designed it arguably his best true wireless product yet,
Jabra Elite 3 review Billy Steele/Engadget With its three new Elite models, Jabra introduced a whole new design and made them all smaller than the previous models. 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 also uses on the Elite 7 Pro and Elite 7 Active, more closely mimics the curves of your ear. Jabra says it used more than 62,000 ear scans to create the shape by mapping the details of the average human ear. Rather than being more round, the Elite 3 and its more expensive siblings have a rounded triangular shell.
No wireless charging EQ adjustment limited to presets Ambient sound mode is fine No auto-pause Previous Jabra earbuds, up because of the Elite 85t they all had a circle button for on-board operation. A small triangular elbow pointing at your face contained microphones. With the Elite 3, the button is now a triangle and covers the entire outer surface. All microphones are on the edge – one close to your face and the other up top. The inside of the earbuds is still the mouthpiece-like design that Jabra has used in the past. So like much of the competition, a large portion of each bud rests in your ear canal.
As with previous Jabra models, onboard controls are physical buttons unlike touch panels. This means that you have to really push them, but it also means that they are more reliable. On the right side you can play/pause (press once), skip tracks forward (press twice), skip tracks backward (press three times) and turn the volume up (keep pressed). On the left, the same actions relate to turning ambient sound on/off (single), activating your voice assistant (double), and decreasing the volume (press and hold). There is nothing assigned to the triple press on the left earpiece. Android users can also opt for quick access to Spotify, but you’ll have to replace the ability to summon your assistant.
Jabra Elite 3 review Billy Steele/Engadget Everything available as built-in controls is already on the buttons, so you don’t have to choose up your phone for the base. And that means that during training sessions, for which the dust and water resistance of the Elite 3 is very suitable (IP55), you quickly get to a button and go straight back to your exercise. The only important thing missing here is auto-pause. It’s annoying, but many earplugs in this price range omit that feature so I wouldn’t consider it a deal breaker.
The included charging case is almost identical to that of the Elite 75t. It is also quite compact and can be easily stored in a small pouch for transport. However, the Elite 3 case is noticeably lighter and the materials used make it feel a bit cheap. Especially the lid is a bit fragile. Of course, if the case protects your earbuds and keeps them charged consistently, I’ll bet there won’t be many complaints.
Sound quality Jabra Elite 3 review Billy Steele/Engadget When it comes to sound quality with under $100 earbuds, you usually get muffled, muffled sound without any kind of depth or bassy thump. Anker’s Soundcore line is an exception to this, and now you can add Jabra to that list too. I was immediately impressed with the sound quality of the Elite 3. The tuning is well-balanced, but the bass hits when it’s needed. The kick drum is deep and dynamic over rock tracks, and beats are energetic with hip hop and electronic styles. Songs recorded to sound open and light, such as CHVRCHES’ “How Not To Drown” or John Mayer’s “Last Train” Home”, are just that. Even the best-tuned cheap earbuds can have sound that feels compressed, and that’s far from the case on the Elite 3.
Jabra’s sound profile is also adept at emphasizing details here. On the aforementioned CHVRCHES track, you can easily hear finer touches like the rattle of the snare drum. Little things like string noise and gritty guitar distortion in Chris Stapelton’s Starting Over add a new dimension to the album. While Jabra only gives you a few presets to tweak the EQ with, it doesn’t matter – the Elite 3 outshines the pricier competition in sound quality thanks to a blend of balanced tuning, punchy bass, great clarity and inviting depth.
The Elite 3 features ambient sound, or HearThrough as Jabra calls it, but the sound quality here isn’t as good as some more expensive sets. Don’t get me wrong, it does its job by playing the sounds around you when you activate it. Things are muffled though and the earbuds only pick up your voice when you are on a call (sidetone). So for all the times you might want transparency, you’ll still feel garish if you’re having a quick chat IRL.
Wrap up The Jabra Elite 3 is the new benchmark for low-cost wireless earphones
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