Browsing the market for headphones under $ 100 is like playing Minesweeper. Navigating to a good pair of headphones probably means buying some really poor quality headphones along the way, most of which are either 98% bass or sound like you’re putting your ear through your phone’s speakers. . But Jabra thinks it can grab the budget market by the skin of the neck with its new Elite 3 buds that cost just $ 79.
It’s $ 20 cheaper than Google Pixel Buds A-Series and about half the price of Samsung’s cheapest headphones, the Galaxy buds 2. Both are conspicuously in the same category. While the Jabra headphones don’t have the same level of functionality as the competition, they really do master the basics. Particularly in the most important area: sound quality.
Jabra Elite 3 at a glance
- Excellent sound quality
- Great low price
- Physical buttons
- No thrills
- Very basic in terms of functionality
- They got that hip feeling
- No CPN
Jabra Elite 3: Technical Specifications
Price $ 79.99 | Bluetooth 5.2 | Pickups: 4 | IP Rating: IP55 | Battery Life: 7 hours, with up to 28 hours in the case | Colors: Dark gray, navy blue, lilac and light beige. Dimensions: 20.1mm x 27.2mm x 20.8mm | Weight 4.6g
Old school buttons
The buds are quite similar to most of the other models that did not directly tear off the shape of the Apple stem. They are round with an elongated tip that sinks into your ear canal. But there is something slightly different here in that they have a flat side that hosts a physical button.
I’ll come back to what the physical button does later, but having the option of pressing instead of pressing is a welcome change of pace. My neurotic mind still panics even the slightest bit when I can’t register a tapping on touchscreen headphones, in public, and I have to keep hitting my ears until something happens. I don’t know how long Jabra will continue with the physical buttons, but the satisfying click and guaranteed action that follows is a pleasure to use.
The buds fit well in my ears, but there’s no wing tip here to hold them in place like on Google’s Pixel Buds. I didn’t have any issues with their dropping because the speaker ventures deep enough into your ear canal. They aren’t too intrusive, but they can go deeper than the heads you’re used to in this price range.
This means two things: they have excellent passive noise cancellation, better than more expensive headphones. The Jabra Elite 85ts also have some of the best Active Noise Reduction (ANC) on the market. So the company clearly thought about how they could deliver a more immersive experience through the design rather than the technology of the Elite 3. However, I found that because they venture further in your ear than these competitors, they started to get irritated after prolonged use.
On the other hand, they also have the feeling of plugging in, which is more important than other heads. There’s no spatial ventilation here like on the Pixel Buds to mitigate that either. It can be off-putting for some people.
Elsewhere, the pill-shaped case offers 28 hours of battery life, charges via USB-C, and has a lid that closes with a satisfying snap. With seven hours of battery life on a single charge, the Elite 3 lasts longer than Galaxy Buds 2, Airpods, and Pixel Buds. They’re bigger than these headphones, but only slightly, and that’s worth two extra hours of battery life.
Incredibly good sound
These are very loud headphones. I mean this in the nicest way possible. You don’t need to turn up the volume to reach your optimum level, which I guess is due to the tight fit as less sound is lost to the outside world. It also means that in noisier environments you have more volume to use if the heads are drowned out by ambient noise. Since the Elite 3 doesn’t have active noise cancellation, this is important.
In terms of sound quality, these are surprisingly impressive. I predicted the Elite 3 would sound heavy bass and not much else, but they sound surprisingly rich. The high frequency elements stand out very clearly on the JD Remix bag and on Nao Wait. Different elements aren’t as clearly defined in these as they are on other more expensive buds, like the Jabra 85T, but they don’t sound mashed up in the Elite 3 and the clarity defies the price.
The bass is very punchy, as you would expect in this price range, but unlike other budget competitors, the bass is more faithfully represented than dominant. The Elite 3 handles tracks with more complex and sinuous bass, like Nolay’s Stop acting—really good. Drill, Grime and Hip Hop sound great on these heads.
Call clarity is also very good thanks to the four built-in microphones. Friends I spoke with said my voice was clear even outside, and one said they couldn’t tell I was using headphones to chat.
No thrill features
How Jabra can combine great audio quality at such a low price is revealed in the core features of the Elite 3 offering. As I mentioned before, there is no ANC, no 360 audio. , no option to read notifications aloud, no Bluetooth multipoint and no low latency game mode, and other omissions.
When you open the Jabra Sound + app, you’ll be greeted with two options: Toggle Ambient Sound Mode (called “hear through”) and Equalizer settings. Jabra’s more in-depth EQ slider option isn’t there either, but all six presets will do.
In the settings menu, you can customize the buttons a bit more. Users can choose what to do by double-tapping the left button, launching Spotify, or a voice assistant (either your phone’s default assistant or Alexa). Double tap twice with the Spotify option turned on to also launch a music discovery playlist that browses music that you have never played on Spotify before. I found myself using the random music option more than I expected, especially in the gym. If you religiously stick to your carefully crafted music choices and wonder what new playlist or album to try, this is a good feature that requires nothing more than a double tap. Again, the physical button really helps here.
Elsewhere, there is an option to find lost buds, the firmware update menu, and some manuals. Basically that’s it.
Is the Jabra Elite 3 worth your money?
It’s good to know that the price of the Jabra Elite 3 headphones will only go down. I can see that they get sucked in during Black Friday shopping season if they’re more discounted because they’re really great value at $ 79. I also love that Jabra chose to mute the bells and whistles rather than skimp on sound quality, as this is ultimately the most important part of a pair of headphones.
If you’ve looked at the headphone landscape and don’t buy the top-tier “pro” headphones, it’s very difficult to look past the Jabra Elite 3. They might not do as much as other headphones. , but they easily rival the competition in terms of sound quality, while comfortably winning the price war.