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Jabra Elite 5
September 1, 2022
10mm, 12mm, 14mm
Hot on the heels of the last handful of Jabra earbuds, the Jabra Elite 5 is… very similar to its predecessors. These wireless earbuds bring aptX, active noise canceling (ANC), and multipoint to a form factor, you’ve probably seen before. However, familiar doesn’t always mean bad.
We spent a week with the Jabra Elite 5 and found out everything you need to know.
Editor’s note: this review was updated on September 28, 2022, to include results from our battery testing.
The Jabra Elite 5 is for anyone who needs a reliable pair of true wireless earbuds. The adequate noise canceling makes for a decent commute companion, and the stable fit and IP rating are nice for people in search of some workout buds.
What’s it like to use the Jabra Elite 5?
If you’ve used any of the Jabra wireless earbuds to come out in the last year or so (and there have been a lot), the Jabra Elite 5 will feel very familiar. The earbuds sport the same rounded shape and stemless design as the Jabra Elite 3 and Elite 4 Active, among other earbuds from the company.
The Elite 5 features the same sort of matte plastic construction as its many counterparts, rather than the rubberized texture of something like the recent Jabra Elite 7 Active. The curved earbuds nestle deep into your ear canals, and the array of ear tip sizes (small, medium, and large) makes getting a good seal and secure fit is easy. If you’re particularly sensitive about ear tips going very deep into your ears, it’s probably best to stick with the small size, but I find the medium is pretty comfortable.
The earbuds themselves are IP55 rated for dust and water protection, which means they aren’t quite waterproof, but plenty prepared to withstand getting caught out in the rain and covered in sweat at the gym. There aren’t any stabilizing fins or nubs on these earbuds, but the depth that they rest in your ears brings enough stability that even moderate head shaking during activity won’t knock them loose—running is totally fine.
How do you control Jabra Elite 5?
Controlling the Jabra Elite 5 is very straightforward. Rather than use touch-sensitive side panels, the earbuds opt to make the glossy Jabra-branded sides large multifunction buttons. This makes finding the controls very easy while you’ve got the buds in your ears, though it does limit your options somewhat.
|ONE PRESS||TWO PRESSES||THREE PRESSES||PRESS AND HOLD|
|THREE PRESSES||PRESS AND HOLD|
|PRESS AND HOLD|
Should you use Jabra Sound+ with the Jabra Elite 5?
Jabra Sound+ (iOS/Android) is the company’s companion app for all its wireless audio products, and while it’s by no means breaking new ground, it works pretty reliably. Connecting to the app can feel a little finicky the first time you pair the Jabra Elite 5 to your phone of choice, but once that’s all squared away it’s a trusty companion.
The app brings options for adjusting EQ through presets or a limited five-band equalizer, customizing controls, and the ability to toggle between active noise canceling, HearThrough (a transparency mode), and having neither of those on. The control customization options are pretty limited—almost everything you can do is already available with either a single, double, or triple press of the left or right button, but you can at least mix and match a little bit if you like. Unfortunately, there’s no way to control volume with the earbuds, so you’ll have to pull your phone out to adjust that.
However, the control customization and EQ aren’t the full extent of the personalization features. A few menus deep, there’s an option for tailoring the earbuds’ ANC performance to your liking. The process involves adjusting the ANC level, and the ANC balance between your left and right earbuds to account for differences or sound leaking—a lot of is just as easily sorted by making sure you’ve got a decent fit, but it’s nice to have a software feature to shore things up further.
How does the Jabra Elite 5 connect?
The Jabra Elite 5 connects to your device of choice over Bluetooth 5.2 and supports connections using the default SBC codec, as well as aptX and AAC. This means you get a reliable high-quality option regardless of your platform preference, which is great to see. The earbuds also support Bluetooth multipoint, and in my experience, the pairing process is nearly seamless. The Jabra Elite 5 remembers up to 6 devices, and you don’t need to do anything extra to pair with more than one at a time—just keep connecting to new devices, and it will keep adding them. Alternating between audio sources has a slight delay, and the earbuds can get a little confused when picking between two devices playing audio at the same time, but it’s easy to avoid those situations most of the time.
The Jabra Elite 5 supports Google Fast Pair, so if you’ve got a compatible Android device, just opening the case should be enough to initiate pairing. Otherwise, here’s how you do it:
- Remove the Jabra Elite 5 earbuds from the case.
- Press and hold both multifunction buttons for 3 seconds, until the earbuds’ colored LEDs pulse blue.
- Find the “Jabra Elite 5” in the Bluetooth connection settings of your device and connect to it.
How long does the Jabra Elite 5 battery last?
Jabra claims the Elite 5 can last up to 9 hours on a single charge with ANC off. In our testing of sustained, real music output peaking at 75dB (SPL), the Jabra Elite 5 lasted 6 hours, 36 minutes with ANC on—okay for a pair of true wireless earbuds. The company also claims the case contains 21 hours of additional charge, for a total of over 31 hours, which lines up well with my experiences during the review. Battery performance like this isn’t going to win any awards—true wireless earbuds are kind of a crapshoot for battery life and lifespan.
The Jabra Elite 5 charging case supports wired charging over USB-C and 10 minutes plugged in will net you an hour of listening time. The case can also wirelessly charge using any Qi-compatible charging surface.
How well does the Jabra Elite 5 cancel out noise?
The Jabra Elite 5 features pretty unremarkable ANC performance for a pair of noise canceling wireless earbuds these days. It works, and it definitely quiets the grunts of the gym or the din of a bus commute, but you certainly won’t forget where you are when wearing these earbuds. Really low rumbling sounds, which ANC typically handles, aren’t quieted all that much, but slightly higher-pitched droning sounds get reduced quite a bit. The passive isolation is also adequate, but not remarkable—if you get a great seal, you won’t have any issues, but you’re not going to get anything spectacular.
How does the Jabra Elite 5 sound?
The Jabra Elite 5 features a frequency response that gets pretty close to our in-house target curve, with a handful of more notable deviations. Sub-bass output is pretty under-emphasized compared to what we generally look for, and midrange output is also a little lower than we usually want.
Lows, mids, and highs
While the deviations from our target curve aren’t exactly small at certain points, for the most part, they shouldn’t significantly impact your listening experience (unless you listen to music with tons of droning sounds). In New Gold by Gorillaz, everything from the bass guitar picking to Damon Albarn’s harmonized vocals come through loud and clear. The kick drum lacks a certain degree of oomph, however.
Basically, if you’re on the hunt for a pair of earbuds with lots of low end, this probably isn’t the place to look—even the bass boost EQ preset doesn’t make a terribly big audible difference—at least not a terribly pleasant one. Turning on the bass boost preset while listening to something like Strangers (feat. A$AP Rocky and Run the Jewels) by Danger Mouse the kick drum gets much more prominent, but there’s a lot of noticeable detail lost.
Can you use the Jabra Elite 5 for phone calls?
The Jabra Elite 5 microphone has a pretty nice looking frequency response for wireless earbuds. Both low and high-pitched voices come through loudly, with a nice degree of clarity. However, if there’s one issue with the mic, it’s noise rejection. The Jabra Elite 5 will pick up most of what’s going on around you pretty clearly—not a big deal if you’re just sitting at home, but if you’re taking a phone call in the office, or while out on a walk, the person on the other end will get an added earful.
Jabra Elite 5 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):
Jabra Elite 5 microphone demo (Office conditions):
Jabra Elite 5 microphone demo (Windy conditions):
How does the microphone sound to you?
Should you buy the Jabra Elite 5?
If you want a straightforward pair of true wireless earbuds, you could do a whole lot worse than the Jabra Elite 5. There’s nothing really exceptional about it, but there’s nothing especially wrong either. Battery life is decent, it sounds good, and the ANC is fine. Having aptX is definitely a nice touch, at least.
How does the Jabra Elite 5 compare to the Jabra Elite 4 Active?
Jabra’s put out a lot of similar-looking earbuds and it can be pretty hard to tell the difference between them. The direct predecessor to the Jabra Elite 5 is the Jabra Elite 4 Active, and they’re pretty similar products. Aesthetically, the only meaningful difference comes down to the color, but under the hood, there are a few more meaningful things. For starters, as an Active-branded product, there’s a little more emphasis on durability, and the Elite 4 Active is IP57 rated, compared to the IP55 rating of the Elite 5—basically, it has better dust proofing.
However, the Jabra Elite 5 is more iOS-friendly. Both use the Jabra Sound+ app, Bluetooth 5.2, and support aptX, but only the Elite 5 supports the AAC audio codec. Elite 4 Active users will be stuck with SBC if they’re hooked into Apple’s ecosystem. However, the Elite 4 Active is also $30 USD cheaper, at $119.99 USD.
What should you get instead of the Jabra Elite 5?
There are a lot of options for true wireless earbuds on the market these days, so if the Jabra Elite 5 isn’t quite checking all the boxes you want, fear not. If better noise canceling is what you’re looking for, plenty of options exist, but you may have to spend a little more money.
The recent Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is one of the best on market for noise canceling. These earphones are a little more enticing for Samsung users, as only they will be able to access the Samsung Seamless Codec, and it’s also about $70 USD more expensive than the Elite 5. The Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless retains aptX support, and generally runs for less money than the Elite 5 these days. It only has an IPX4 rating, but otherwise, this is a very competitive product, and arguably superior in some ways. If you don’t care about ANC, the regular CX True Wireless runs for even less money, too.
Frequently asked questions
There’s no straightforward fit test in the Jabra Sound+, but the noise canceling personalization feature can help you find out if one ear isn’t quite sealing right. If ANC is less intense in one ear, it could be a sign to swap out an ear tip.
The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) is a technically better product than the Jabra Elite 5. Apple’s newest AirPods Pro has better noise canceling, Adaptive EQ, and other advanced features that make it a pleasure to use… with an iPhone.
Read our Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) review to learn more about this pricy, premium headset.