Truly wireless earphones are picking up traction. We’ve seen smaller independent companies bring these to market, and now big box names like Samsung, Apple, and Motorola are bringing their own versions with their special features beyond an audio experience. These retail for $249 at the time of this review, making these on the upper end in regards to pricing. But as always, I’ll place my links above. Click on my links, and they’ll give you the most updated prices in real time.
Going over the physical features, these are completely made of plastic yet they’re still durable. The Jabra Elite’s are IP67 certified, meaning they’re dust-tight and not only splash proof, but can be submerged in water, up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. I poured water all over these things and they’re still perfectly functioning. When you look at the competition, the Jabra’s here, the Bragi Dash and Motorola VerveOnes+ are the only ones with this IP67 certification while all others are either splash proof or offers no protection whatsoever. Moving on, the Elite’s doesn’t use touch sensitivity, which would make the experience that much smoother, but Jabra is using physical buttons to adjust volume and to access the other features which I’ll go over shortly. The buttons are responsive, but a slight push into the ear is needed each time.
Taking a look at the left earbud, plus and minus are there to adjust volume. Depending on your music app, a long tap will either skip a song about 15 seconds ahead or for some apps will skip to the next song altogether. On the right earbud, the bottom button is used to turn on and pair the earphones, with a double tap, you can turn on the microphones so you can hear your environment. Perfect for times you don’t need passive noise isolation while running and you want to hear your surroundings for safety. The very top button opens up the Jabra Sport app or a long-press will start a workout activity which I’ll get into detail right after I talk about comfort.
In the box, you get small, medium, and large tips and wings. First testing the silicone, the Jabra Elite’s do stay in the ear during my entire run. They’re not heavy at all, and at worst case scenario for me, the upper part of the earphone ever-so-slightly pulls away from my ears, but the earphones never fall out. In the retail packaging, there are expanding foam eartips. They do increase the amount of noise isolation, and more importantly, they stay more secure or snugged in my ear versus the silicone. You can tell a difference by using one over the other.
Moving on here, battery life on this thing is rated at up to 3 hours of use for continuous music playing with or without health tracking. With my testing, I’m getting about 2.5 hours of playback time to 2 hours and 45 minutes – that’s with me testing while running. There isn’t an auto-shut off mode when you take off the earphones from my experience. Taking off the right earbud, the left earbud that’s still in my ear will go into standby and stop playing while I can still hear music in the right earbud. If I take off both, it’s the same result – the Jabra Elites don’t auto-pause, but will continue to play. The odd part, although the earphones have no audio playing, the Jabra Elites don’t auto-shut off either, but will over time trickle it’s battery life down being on stand-by. The app doesn’t have a setting to adjust this, which I think would greatly help improve battery life over time.
Comparing to the competition, it’s on average with other brands offering up to 3 hours of battery life for each use. With the case, you do get an extra two full charges for a total of 9 hours of use if you were to include a full charge on the earphones themselves.
The only thing I’ve seen missing on these so far is the lack of on-board memory to locally store your music on the earphones themselves, and again, the touch gestures to adjust volume and toggle functions like the Samsung Icon X or Bragi Dash would have been a bit more intuitive.
HEALTH AND FITNESS
Now, let’s take a look at all the health tracking options. This is possibly the number-one reason why you would pay the premium and consider health tracking earphones over some normal earphones that just play music. The Jabra Sport Life, available for both Apple and Android, has been in the works for some time. The app has been evolving and it’s gotten to the point where it has nearly everything you want.
For one, you can have the app track and segment an abundance of activities. From basic walking, running, and cycling – if it’s not on the list, you can customize and simply create a sport profile. You can set a goal, whether you want to go a certain distance, a certain duration, or if you want to burn a certain amount of calories, you can set that up. Keep in mind, the accuracy of distance and speed is based on your phone’s GPS – there’s no built-in GPS in the earphones themselves. Granted you do have to carry your phone, having GPS is much more accurate than activity trackers that simply counts your steps, and then estimate your distance.
While you are performing your workout, the Jabra Elite’s will periodically come on through the earphones, and a voice prompt will tell you how fast you’re moving, how much distance you have gone, even down to cadence, pace, and since these have heart rate tracking built in, Heart Rate and Heart Rate zones. No need to take out your phone, no need to check your phone, these automated prompts alerts you without you losing focus. The alerts can be setup for every minute to every hour or at certain distances.
In addition to the free-form activities, there’re guided workouts if you’re into that. Some activities do use the movement sensors inside the earbuds so there’s automated rep counting. Each crunch you do or each push-up you do, the Jabra’s do a pretty good job at counting each rep. There’s a decent amount already in the app itself, but you can customize your own workout sets by manually making a workout routine.
The very last set of features that I wanted to touch base on are the extra health measurements that Jabra is offering. VO2 max measurements are offered in determining where your health levels are. Perform a guided fitness test with the app and in the end, the Sport Life app gives you a baseline on where your health is. After a month or two, re-do the test and see where you stand. Also, after each activity, the Jabra app let’s you know where your fitness levels are, comparable to others within your age and weight. There’s also “Recovery Time”, based on your previous workouts, to determine how much rest you need before you can function at your peak once again.
So to finish up the health aspect, in regards to Heart Rate accuracy, I used my tried-and-true Polar H7 chest strap to compare, and like most optical heart rate sensors, they provide you with a good idea of where your heart rate is, but it’s not 100% accurate. If you’re on smooth, consistent runs, the Jabra Elite Sport’s performs the most accurate with deviations of about two to three heart beats, but if you’re into interval runs or workouts where your heart rate elevates and descends down quite a bit, it seems the Jabra Elites have a little trouble keeping up. Overall and to be fair, most optical sensors, whether wrist based or other earphones that measures your heart rate on your ears, the Jabra has similar results.
But moving on here – how’s the sound quality? The Jabra Elites provide a nice, punchy amount of bass. It’s not as bass-boosted sounding like Jaybird earphones, however, you can tell there’s bass on bassy tracks, enough to have music enjoyable. Like bass, the midrange is also neutral from my experience, offering a clean and clear experience – nothing bright or boxy. I do wish the mid’s would have stood out a bit more, same with the higher frequencies, just to give it a bit more bite or more sparkle, you can say, to the music. But at the end of the day, the Elite’s are very easy to listen to and offer a good amount of quality for the average consumer. Even the soundstage, there is a moderate amount there. If you can get a perfect seal, the noise isolation helps big time.
So, that’s it for this review. Overall, for the price you pay, the Jabra Elite Sport earphones do give you practically everything a pair of sport earphones, and Truly Wireless earphones can offer today. From a very good audio experience to a robust lineup of fitness features, it’s very much worth a look at if you’re in the market for a Truly Wireless experience. If you guys can, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram. As always, my website is here to help YOU make a purchase decision. You guys take care, I’ll see you on the next one.
[table id=3 hide_columns=”all” show_columns=”a,b,c,f,i” /] Stats from manufacturer. If incorrect, please contact us.