Jabra Elite 5 review: the TWS earphones convince almost everything

THE Jabra Elite 5 they are medium-high-end TWS earphones satisfying from more or less every point of view and have no serious flaws that make them difficult to recommend. At the same time, however, they do not reach peaks of excellence. They are fine, but perhaps they are not overly interesting. They stay a bit in the background and some may take them for granted.

Jabra is doing its part because it has recently released a large number of products, and at this point it becomes almost difficult to navigate its extensive range of headsets. These Elite 5s are in danger of being blacked out from the Elite 7 Pro and Active, which are a little more expensive but often are discounted at the same list price as the Elite 5, or from the Elite 4 Active, which cost a little less and do not involve major sacrifices. But let’s go in order.

SUMMARY


DESIGN AND MATERIALS


The headphones are unmistakably Jabra: the design language is typical of the brand, as well as the choice of materials and the form factor. They are worn 100% in-ear and there are no tabs or other stabilizers to help keep them in place: you only rely on the correct positioning in the ear canal, thanks also to the rubber pads of various sizes, and on the very light and balanced weight of the earphones . The charging case is reasonably compact and is, shall we say, “casket”, similar to that of the AirPods Pro to be clear. It has its own nice front status LED, rear USB-C charging port, and there’s nothing else worth looking at. The magnet that locks the headphones into the case is pretty strong, but the shapes and the interlocking of the various parts involved make it very easy to extract the headphones – even by one hand.

No touch for the controls: The part of the earbuds facing the outside of the ear, where the Jabra logo is, is actually a physical button. Depending on your ear and the number of taps you can perform different commands, including answer the call, switch between noise canceling profiles, next song and so on. It is a decidedly less refined solution than the touch surfaces found at many competitors, but to be honest, perhaps the old system is better in this case. There is less risk of involuntary activations, at least.

However, the ability to adjust the volume is missing, which generally in “touch headphones” is done with an upward or downward swipe. Once you get used to this system, going back to taking out the smartphone (or even just looking for the physical balance wheel) every time you want to raise or lower the volume definitely feels like a step backwards. However, the tactile feedback of the key is excellent – adequate travel, stable movement, satisfying click and ideal choice of actuation force.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS


  • Form factor: in-ear
  • Earphone material: plastic
  • Ear tips material: silicone
  • Ear tips size: S, M, L
  • Housing material: plastic
  • Earphones weight: 5 g each
  • Case weight with earphones: 50 g
  • IP earphone resistance: IP55
  • Driver diameter: 6mm
  • Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000Hz
  • ANC: yes, adjustable
  • Transparency mode: yes, adjustable
  • Ear Detection: Yes (Auto Pause, Auto Answer Call, Auto Power On / Off)
  • Microphones: 3 for earphone, MEMS
  • Controls: physical button on each earphone
  • Bluetooth: 5.2
  • Bluetooth codec: SBC, AptX, AAC
  • Voice assistant support: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Siri
  • Autonomy:
    • Music with ANC: 7 hours per headphone charge + an additional 21 hours in the case
    • Music without ANC: 9 hours per headphone charge + another 27 hours in the case
    • Charging speed: 3h for the case, 10 minutes for one hour for the earphones
  • In the box: spare earphones, 20cm USB-C / USB-A charging cable, manuals
  • Colors: Beige gold, Black titanium
  • Price: 149 €

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EXPERIENCE OF USE AND LISTENING


The 6mm drivers of the Jabra Elite 5 don’t sound bad: perhaps they are a bit lacking in the bass and mids, while the high frequencies are quite ringing, but overall the mix is ​​nice. To summarize: the cymbals of a drum sound great, the kick drum lags behind and the guitars don’t shine too much, but the voices are beautiful in the foreground. In the official app there is a 5-band EQ that can help, but it wasn’t very effective: too much detail is lost. Despite the form factor, there is less of that feeling of “audio transmitted directly to the brain” typical of in-ears. It’s a slightly more open sound than you might expect.

Very well the presence of high resolution codec very popular on both Android / Windows (Qualcomm AptX) and iOS / macOS (AAC). The Bluetooth connection was always stable, and the multi-point support didn’t give any headaches. The same goes for the Google Fast Pair protocol in the case of Android smartphones. I found the microphone to be very good during calls and conferences, but the background noise cancellation leaves something to be desired – both for ambient noise and for other people’s voices in crowded areas or offices, for example. That said, I have not encountered any problems invoking and dictating commands to voice assistants.

Active noise cancellation is perhaps the aspect that convinced me least. The “hybrid” technology, which is based on microphones facing inward and outward, reasonably accurate, mind you, but not too intense – even at maximum intensity, which can be adjusted via the official app. The hearthrough mode is certainly not “smart” like that of the latest AirPods Pro – and there is a minimum of delay between a sound that occurs in the real world and its reproduction through headphones. In slightly more particular scenarios it is also possible to be able to deceive the algorithm, for example with very loud and sudden noises, which therefore are not filtered, at least for the first moments. In short: not even this ANC has managed to make me change my mind on the superiority of a good implementation of passive isolation, as happens for example in Shure in-ear monitors.

The autonomy in real use turned out to be slightly lower than what the manufacturer declared: instead of 7 hours with ANC active in a single charge I got to 6 hours and 40 minutes. it must be remembered that factors such as the volume of the music reproduced and how much the ANC has to intervene have significant repercussions on autonomy. On the other hand, the promises on recharging times are kept more or less per minuteboth the earphones and the case.

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You know, every person / ear has their own mysterious preferences when it comes to evaluating the stability of a pair of earbuds, but I found myself very well, and despite the absence of stabilizers I was able to carry out various sports activities (including MTB sessions on rather rough terrain) without the need to constantly reposition the headphones. I think the credit goes above all to the rubbers, both in terms of shape and in the choice of materials, a little rougher (and therefore less slippery) than what I happened to find on competing products. There IP55 certification against water and dust it means that the earphones are not afraid of sweat or splashes of water, but they are not suitable for diving.

SMART FUNCTIONS


The official Jabra Sound + app is now well run in and finished: it works well and is full of interesting and well implemented features. As with the more prestigious Elite 7 Pro, here you can adjust the ANC level according to your preferences, select the voice assistant (supported Assistant, Alexa and Siri, among others), play with the 5-band graphic EQ (you can also save presets) and activate various other behavior options. Very nice the white noise generator, with a lot of different sounds, and the support for the Find My Jabra mode, which however is a rather rudimentary implementation – it just records the GPS position of the paired smartphone when you withdraw the earphones in the case .

CONCLUSIONS


So, are these Jabra Elite 5s worth buying? As we said at the beginning, there is really no reason to say no: true, perhaps the ANC is not the best on the market, but in general the quality of the earphones is more than decent from all points of view. More difficult is to make an assessment considering how wide the Jabra range is and how close the products are to each other from a price point of view. The Elite 5 are priced at € 149, which is only € 30 more than the Elite 4 Active. The latter lose support for the AAC codec and adjustable ANC, but are slightly superior from an IP certification point of view (57 vs.55).

On the other hand, spending 50 € more there are the Elite 7 Pro, which have better drivers on paper and IP57 certification but a little less autonomy. The picture is further complicated by the offers – it is not impossible to find the Elite 7 Pro at the same price as the Elite 5, for example, while the latter have practically never dropped so far. On the other hand, the Elite 4 cost € 119 but are often found on offer under € 100. Jabra wanted to create a concrete midrange without exaggeration, and the goal can be described as absolutely hitbut it seems to have gotten a bit lost with the organization of its price list.

In short, long story short: the product is good – although perhaps not too exciting or particular, but watch out for the prices because it may not be the best choice ever. Even staying in the Jabra house.

PROS AND CONS IN BRIEF


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