Here we go again with another with another pair of true wireless earbuds to add to the ever-growing list of options. Thankfully, these are from Jabra who has a history of making some pretty great products. The Jabra Elite 65t were one of the best options for a long time, and the Elite 75t earbuds should be better in every way. So are they?
Editor’s note: this Jabra Elite 75t review was updated on September 22, 2020, to address new noise cancelling capabilities.
Who should get these?
- People that want the quality of AirPods, but don’t want AirPods. While the AirPods Pro are great, they’re also way more expensive. If you want most of the convenience without the pricetag, just get these. Not to mention, the discreet design here looks much sleeker.
- iPhone users. The Jabra Elite 75t earbuds work on Android, iOS, and Windows, but the only high quality Bluetooth codec they support is AAC, which is great for iPhone users.
- Professionals who want everyday commuter buds. The small size, HearThrough feature, and the impressive isolation make these a great option for anyone looking to listen to audio on their commutes.
- Anyone looking to try noise cancelling. Jabra announced a free noise cancelling update to its Elite 75t series of earphones when it announced the Jabra Elite 85t. The Elite 75t are a less expensive way to try true wireless ANC earbuds.
How’s the build quality of the Jabra Elite 75t true wireless earbuds?
Using the Jabra Elite 75t is, thankfully, super easy. While the initial pairing process isn’t going to be as pretty as with a pair of AirPods because they don’t house Apple’s H1 chip, it’s still not difficult at all. To pair, all you have to do is hold down both buttons simultaneously for three seconds. Then you can pair two smartphones at the same time—one more smartphone than I currently have—but if you have to switch between a bunch of devices that could be a huge plus for you.
Durability also gets a good score here as the Elite 75t feature an IP55 rating. This means that you don’t have to worry about rain or sweat damaging them while you’re out and about. I’ve used these for a few weeks for my runs and haven’t had any issues with sweat damaging them, though if you want to get even more fitness functionality you should definitely check out the Jabra Elite Active 75t. With the regular 75t earbuds though, they’ve held up to weeks of sweating with no issues.
The case and the earbuds are made of the same kind of soft plastic, which doesn’t give them the most premium feeling in the world but it also means they’re insanely lightweight. Each earbuds only weighs about five grams and in my testing I didn’t have any problems with comfort. They fit in my ears perfectly, and the inclusion of the standard sizes of ear tips means that you’ll hopefully be able to find a similarly comfortable fit.
My only nitpick here are the buttons on the outside of each earbud. I’m not a huge fan of touch sensitive playback controls mainly because of how finicky they are, but I’ve also always found buttons to be uncomfortable as well. Mainly because when you push the button it causes suction on your ear that, even when it’s done right, can cause discomfort. The Jabra Elite 75t are definitely not the biggest culprits in this category, but I’d be lying if I said pressing the button didn’t have these same issues. On the bright side, the playback controls work as advertised, but there’s definitely a learning curve when it comes to remember how many clicks and on which earbud it takes to perform a certain task.
Let’s talk about the design
When it comes to the actual design of the earbuds, they’re only slightly redesigned when compared to the previous model, the Jabra Elite 65t. Where those had a slightly longer “stem” design pointed towards the mouth of the user, the Elite 75t earbuds instead opt for a small curved section that looks more discreet. It still fits in the ear comfortably though, and comes with three sizes of ear tips so you can hopefully find the perfect fit for you. I wore these while running and exercising and never felt like I needed to adjust them in order to get them to stay put. While they don’t feel as secure as something like the Powerbeats Pro with the around-ear design, they’re not bad at all.
The charging case is also super easy to handle thanks to its small size, which is something it has going for it when compared to the previously mentioned Powerbeats Pro. These flip open easily and snaps shut perfectly securing the earbuds every time (unless you drop them, which I did once and had to chase down a rogue earbud). But making these buds a part of my everyday carry wasn’t hard to do at all. The case helped it fit right into my pocket along with my wallet and keys without taking up too much space or getting in the way.
Overall, I’d say just like the Elite 65t before these, the Elite 75t earbuds are thoughtfully designed in every way. And while some may prefer to bold luminescent white of something like the AirPods Pro, the subtle black or grey colorway with the smaller earbud design has a more subtle and professional vibe to it that I think a lot of people are going to dig.
Is the Jabra Elite 75t noise cancelling any good?
Jabra announced that the Elite 75t series would receive a free noise cancelling update through the Jabra Sound+ app. This is great news for listeners who don’t yet want to invest up to $250 in noise cancelling earphones. While our tests are ongoing, we know that you cannot adjust ANC intensity. Instead, functionality is limited in that you may only toggle it on or off. If you want more advanced features, you’ll have to upgrade to the Elite 85t. Regardless, it’s great that Jabra supplied such a substantial update to its users, and for free.
How’s the connection strength?
The Jabra Elite 75t are rocking Bluetooth 5.0 which is nice, but unfortunately the only high quality Bluetooth codecs they support is AAC, which is good for iOS users but problematic with Android phones. If you were hoping for aptX for your Android, you’re out of luck. But you can always go into the developer options on your Android to switch the codec over to SBC.
I didn’t have too many major issues though I did notice there were a few quirks. In roughly three weeks of testing there was only one occasion where the audio began glitching to the point that I needed to take them out and put them back in the case, but that hasn’t happened since. While the connection strength wasn’t perfect and I did notice some stutters over a few weeks, they usually resolved themselves instantly and I didn’t need to do anything at all. I would say that in an average week of using these while commuting around subways every day and going on hour long runs three times a week, I experienced maybe two or three stutters.
One issue that I could not resolve was switching between my iPhone and iPad Pro. These are supposed to stay connected simultaneously to two devices, but when I was trying to jump onto a video meeting on my iPad after pausing the music on my phone I just could not get the headphones to connect. I ended up just giving up and reaching for my wired earbuds as my time to experiment mid-meeting is limited. This was one of those moments that inevitably had me remembering how seamless this exact transition was with a pair of AirPods. To be fair though, every other time that I had tried to transition from my phone to my iPad when listening to music or podcasts worked perfectly, it was just on this one occasion that the Jabra Elite 75t earbuds decided to go haywire.
Playback controls are also very simple with these earbuds, though like I mentioned there was a slight learning curve to remember which combination of button presses and holds does what. Thankfully, due to a new update via the Jabra app you can customize the controls how you see fit. So you can customize what happens when you single, double, or even triple tap.
Then there’s the Jabra Sound+ app which you can use to EQ your music and customize the HearThrough experience (more on that later), though I found it wasn’t really necessary to really enjoy these buds. Jabra also included a small hearing test that you can do as well which will auto-EQ your music based on the results. Unfortunately, it won’t tell you what the results of that test are, but it’s still nice to see the company take hearing tests seriously given that everyone has slightly different sensitivities.
What’s the battery life of the Jabra Elite 75t?
Jabra claims that the Elite 75t earbuds will get you around 7.5 hours of constant playback, with the case providing up to 28 hours of playback. For our battery tests, we make sure to play music on loop at a constant output of 75dB which is just below the recommended output to avoid damaging your hearing.
Running this test, we found that the Jabra Elite 75t earbuds managed 7 hours and 14 minutes which is still pretty impressive. Of course, if you listen to music on max volume, first of all you should read this, second of all it will likely die much quicker. It’s definitely an above average battery, and it charges via USB-C as well as an added bonus.
How’s the microphone quality?
Jabra products are known for having good microphones, and these are no exceptions. I didn’t have any complaints from people when using these for phone calls and the wind cancellation works great too. As you can hear from the sample clip below, there really isn’t much to complain about here.
One thing worth mentioning here since it has to do with the microphones is the HearThrough feature, which I found super useful. Jabra has always been very good at this, but after using the AirPods Pro for so long I had forgotten how good these are. The Jabra Elite 75t don’t have any active noise cancelling, but by getting the right fit and isolation they do an impressive job at blocking outside sound, and HearThrough cuts through that.
Similar to the Transparency mode on the new AirPods Pro, the HearThrough feature uses the microphones built into the earbuds in order to let you listen to what’s going on around you. It also amplifies the sound a little, enabling you to hear even better than normal which makes you feel like some kind of futuristic cyborg. A single tap on the left earbud turns it on instantly, and it lets you hear everything from what the conductor of the train is saying (always that the train is being held by the dispatcher, thanks MTA) to the soft rustle of my jacket as I walk. Like I said, it’s really sensitive and pretty cool.
What do the Jabra Elite 75t sound like?
The sound quality of the Jabra Elite 75t was good, but it didn’t blow me away. The low end was exaggerated enough to make the bass notes of my favorite songs just a little overbearing in everyday use, but that same emphasis made these indispensable on my runs. The rumbling bass in the song Going Bad by Meek Mill was exactly what I needed to power me through to the end of my run. Is it accurate and clean? Absolutely not. The bass was overbearing, but that’s the point.
Mids definitely suffered a bit and Miguel’s vocal in Where’s the Fun in Forever were slightly masked by the rampant bass, but I found the highs were surprisingly great here. At the beginning of Piano Joint by Michael Kiwanuka the hi-hats that come in at the beginning (about 2:04 in) actually had me take out the earbuds and look around because i thought the sound was coming from somewhere in my apartment.
Should you buy the Jabra Elite 75t?
So should you buy the Jabra Elite 75t? I think when you’re asking this question, what you’re really asking is, “What else can I buy that’s better?” And the answer is, pretty much nothing, especially if you are an iPhone user. While the AirPods Pro are a great pair of earbuds that I had less issues with overall, they’re also way more expensive. The Jabra Elite 75t aren’t perfect, but they’re damn close. If you can look past the occasional stutters, you get most of what the AirPods Pro offer for significantly less money and a sleeker and more discreet design.
However, if you’re looking for a fully waterproof pair of earbuds, the Jabra Elite Active 75t are pretty much exactly the same as the Jabra Elite 75t, just with an IP57 rating and a price tag of about $20 more.
What happens if I lose one earbud?
Unfortunately, if you lose a single Elite 75t earbud, you’re going to have to buy an entirely new replacement pair. I know this because I went through the entire process myself after accidentally dropping my right earbud onto the subway tracks on W 110th in New York City. Lucky me. But as per our ethics policy this meant that I had to replace the pair with my own money. Thanks a lot morals. It’s not a complete waste though as now I can update this review to fill you in on the process. You’re welcome!
Replacing your earbuds is actually fairly simple:
- The first thing you should know is that you can’t replace just a single earbud. It’s all or nothing here. So you ‘re going to need to buy a replacement pair which you can get from Jabra for $149. They come with free express shipping too which is nice, so you won’t have to wait too long.
- Once you receive your replacement pair you have to go into the settings of your phone or tablet and forget the previous pair of Jabra Elite 75t.
- Put the new Jabra Elite 75t earbuds into old charging case and let them charge.
- Once they’re charged, then you can pair them to your device as if they’re a brand new pair. Just open up the charging case and remove the earbuds. From there you can just pair to them in your Bluetooth settings like normal.