Apple is well-known for bringing true wireless earbuds to the mainstream. The company has built off the success of the original AirPods with the AirPods Pro. Apple isn’t the only one with a horse in the true wireless race: the Jabra Elite 75t delivers a fun sound and impressive durability—all without forcing people to pay a premium. The Jabra Elite 75t will feature noise cancelling in mid-October thanks to a significant update provided by Jabra. Let’s see which noise cancelling earbuds are the best value for you.
Editor’s note: This post was updated on December 9th, 2020 to answer a FAQ.
Which earphones are designed better?
Similar to the AirPods, the AirPods Pro feature a glossy-white exterior made of hard plastic. The earbuds are compact with a short stems that protrude from your ear. The stem on the AirPods Pro is much shorter than the AirPods, meaning that you’re less likely to catch your earbuds on hair or earrings. Durability is good, but not the best we’ve seen: the AirPods Pro have an IPX4 water-resistant rating, meaning these earbuds won’t break a sweat when used at the gym, or when exposed to light showers.
Instead of one-size-fits-all approach, Apple has included a selection of ear tips with the AirPods Pro. This helps ensure a proper seal, which is important for good isolation performance. The ear tips are made of a silicon material, though you can always purchase memory foam ear tips from a third-party, if you so desire. Apple includes a spatial vent in each earbud to alleviate pressure buildup in the ear, which is great for users who are sensitive to environmental pressure changes.
The Jabra Elite 75t buds are constructed of hard plastic with a matte-black finish. The blocky design may not be as sleek as Apple’s earbuds, however the lack of a stem and rubberized, inward-facing surface means that the Elite 75t aren’t likely to fall out from even the most intense workout regimens. The Jabra Elite 75t also one-ups the AirPods Pro with its IP55 water-and-dust resistance rating. If you’re the outdoorsy type who doesn’t want to worry about their earphones biting the dust, the Jabra Elite 75t is certainly a compelling choice.
When it comes to fit, the Jabra Elite 75t also includes a selection of standard sized ear tips to help create a good seal, which keeps your earbuds stay in place without compromising on sound quality.
Both the Jabra Elite 75t and Apple AirPods Pro support some version of ambient aware listening, which allows background noise through the headset. This feature is must-have for anyone who exercises outdoors, or who takes strolls down trafficked streets. Jabra and Apple also support mono listening, but the Elite 75t is limited: you may only use the right earbud for mono playback which isn’t great for those who are hard of hearing in their left ears.
Both the AirPods Pro and Jabra Elite 75 have nice charging cases
There isn’t much to say about each charging case, and in fact: they look quite similar—minus the color and branding.
Both charging cases are small enough to be considered pocket-friendly, and feature magnets to slot your earbuds in for charging. However, the charging case of the AirPods Pro has a slight edge over the Jabra Elite 75t, thanks to its support for Qi-Wireless charging. Another difference between the two cases are charging inputs; Apple’s uses the proprietary Lightning method, while Jabra’s case supports USB-C.
The AirPods Pro feature intuitive playback controls
Love it or hate it, the stem on the AirPods Pro has its perks. The stems are pressure-sensitive and have slight grooves to indicate where you can squeeze to access playback controls.
The squeeze patterns are quite intuitive: squeeze once for pause/play, twice to skip to the next song, and thrice to go to the previous song. Meanwhile, a long squeeze triggers transparency mode, allowing you to temporarily hear your surroundings. Apple also enabled automatic ear detection with the AirPods Pro; when one AirPods Pro bud is removed, playback is automatically paused, and it auto-resumes when the bud is reinserted. This may be disabled in the Settings menu of any iOS device, and it only works with Apple devices.
The Jabra Elite 75t also include touch-sensitive buttons on the sides of the earbuds for playback control. However, when you try to push the buttons: you end up pressing the earbud into your ear which creates an uncomfortable suction sensation. This is one instance where the stem of the AirPods Pro is actually an advantage, since the playback controls are located away from the body of the earbuds.
Winner: AirPods Pro
Connection quality and Bluetooth codec support
Both the AirPods Pro and Jabra Elite 75t have support for the SBC and AAC codecs. If you’re an iOS user, you shouldn’t expect any major issues with audio quality or connectivity, thanks to Apple’s allegiance to using AAC as a streaming codec.
Android users, unfortunately, are limited to using SBC for a stable connection because AAC just isn’t consistent across Android devices. However, with how far Bluetooth streaming technologies have come, you’re not likely to hear any significant loss in audio quality when listening using SBC with services like Spotify.
Recommended reading: Understanding Bluetooth codecs
From our tests, the connection strength of the AirPods Pro and Jabra Elite 75t was good, however the Jabra Elite 75t was more susceptible to occasional stutters and audio dropouts. A quick reboot of the earbuds solved the issue, though inconvenient.
Apple H1 chip: the AirPods Pro’s secret weapon
One of the biggest selling points of the AirPods Pro is its inclusion of the H1 chip, which allows for a seamless and stable connection when using an iOS device. Pairing the AirPods Pro to an iPhone is as simple as opening the charging case next to the device, then pressing “Connect” on the phone when prompted.
Besides enabling one-touch pairing, the H1 chip is a dedicated processor in the AirPods Pro that handles other background tasks, such as maintaining a stable connection, content processing, and adjusting the active noise cancelling according to your listening environment.
The Jabra Elite 75t supports Bluetooth multipoint
One trick that the Jabra Elite 75 has up its sleeves is that it supports Bluetooth multipoint, allowing you to automatically switch between two connected devices. While this is certainly convenient, its implementation leaves a lot to be desired. When fellow SoundGuys editor Adam tested the earbuds, he found the multipoint feature to be a little buggy when switching between an iPhone and iPad Pro. Future firmware could definitely improve its multipoint performance, but as it stands: it’s only good if you can get it to work.
The AirPods Pro received support for automatic device switching with iOS 14. It’s too early to tell how much better Apple’s implementation will be compared to the Jabra Elite 75t, but the use of the H1 chip on the AirPods Pro hints at a much more stable multipoint experience.
Winner: Apple AirPods Pro
Which sounds better?
The AirPods Pro sound signature is best described as “consumer friendly,” with the usual emphasis on the bass and treble frequencies. The low-end frequency bump on the AirPods Pro isn’t as pronounced as on other true wireless earbuds, like the Beats Powerbeats Pro. While this level of restraint in the bass prevents auditory masking in the midrange frequencies (most octaves of your standard 88-key piano), there may appear to be a lack of detail from sounds like sub-bass synths and 808s. It’s not that those sounds are actually “missing,” but rather they’re harder for your brain to register given the louder mid-bass and upper-midrange frequency amplification.
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The emphasis in the mid-to-high frequencies, starting around 2kHz. While this helps retain vocal and instrument clarity in electronic and hip-hop songs, treble notes can seem a little loud when listening to more acoustic-centric tracks, leading to minor discomfort during listening.
Meanwhile, the Jabra Elite 75t really brings the bass to its users—maybe even a little too much.
From our tests, we found that the earbuds heavily emphasized low-end notes.While the extra bass is ideal for listening to music during workouts, these earphones make your music sound unclear because midrange and treble notes (e.g., the attack of a kick or snare drum) are masked by the much louder bass notes. To compensate for the overbearing low-end, mids are slightly boosted at around 1kHz in order to retain clarity in lead vocals and guitars.
If you’re not happy with the sound profile of the Jabra Elite 75t out-of-the-box, you can always tune it to your liking using the EQ tools, available in the Jabra Sound+ app.
Winner: Apple AirPods Pro
The Apple AirPods Pro support active noise cancelling
The AirPods Pro comes equipped with active noise cancelling, and as of September 22, 2020, the Jabra Elite 75t and Elite Active 75t are promised to also become noise cancelling true wireless earbuds thanks to a future update set to go live in October. Unfortunately, it’s not live yet but when it is we’ll be sure to update this article.
From our tests, the noise cancelling performance of the AirPods Pro is very good for a pair of true wireless earbuds. The H1 chip processing renders low-frequency sounds half as loud with noise cancelling enabled than without it. Noise cancelling performance is consistent from 100-500Hz, which is impressive given how other ANC performances fluctuate across this range.
Apple's noise cancelling is some of the best in the true wireless market.
The high-frequency blockage is almost entirely due to the ear tips and sealed ear canals, rather than ANC technology. Upper-midrange and treble frequencies are very difficult for noise cancellation to overcome, because these sounds are usually unpredictable (compared to the droning hum of a airplane cabin).
The Jabra Elite 75t will let you select ANC intensity
On the other hand, when the Jabra Elite 75t receive noise cancelling capabilities you will only be able to toggle it on or off. Unlike the Jabra Elite 85t, you cannot adjust the noise cancelling intensity. For now though, we’ll address the headset’s passive isolation performance.
The earbuds do a very good job reducing ambient noise above 1kHz, blocking out distant nuisances like PC cooling fans, refrigerator hums, and light chatter but don’t handle the blocking of low of midrange frequencies well. While it doesn’t exactly make the world melt away, it blocks out enough ambient noise that you can focus on your content—whether you’re on your couch or commuting to work. In order to get this kind of passive isolation effect, you must take the time to find the best ear tips for your ear canals; sometimes this could even mean using the medium size for one bud and large for the other.
Unfortunately, Jabra’s headset doesn’t have a dedicated spatial vent for pressure relief, so you’re more likely to experience discomfort with this headset when noise cancelling is enabled.
Winner: AirPods Pro
Jabra Elite 75t vs. Apple AirPodsPro: microphone quality
The AirPods Pro has one of the best microphones available on a pair of true wireless earbuds. Its use of dual beam-forming microphones reproduces voices with a neutral frequency response, while effectively rejecting off-axis noise. This makes the earbuds an ideal choice for phone calls and Zoom meetings.
AirPods Pro microphone demo:
Looking at the frequency response chart, the AirPods Pro lacks any form of roll-off in the low-frequency, meaning that people with deeper voices should come through loud and clear. There is also a slight de-emphasis around 1kHz, which is just enough to reduce harsh sibilant sounds without compromising on the loudness of higher-pitched voices.
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The microphone on the Jabra Elite 75t is also good, though not as neutral-sounding as the AirPods Pro.
Jabra Elite 75t microphone demo:
Compared to other, less expensive true wireless earbuds, the microphone does a good job of picking up lower-pitched voices, since the frequency drop-off in the lows are rather gentle up to 100Hz. However, there is a significant de-emphasis between 450Hz-1.5kHz. This helps with speech clarity as that’s where distinguishing consonant sounds fall when speaking.
Winner: You can decide by voting in the poll!
App features and integration
If you’re on iOS, Apple offers some degree of control over your AirPods Pro via the Settings app. You can perform basic functions such as playback control customization, long squeeze customization (choose between Transparency Mode or Siri), and toggling between different noise cancelling settings (On, Transparency Mode, or Off).
The Settings app also includes a fit test to help determine whether or not you’re using the right ear tips. Plainly put: it can tell you whether or not a proper seal formed.
Apple software features are easier to use, but Jabra's app gives users much more control.
The AirPods Pro also has limited EQ functionality, providing you with vague presets like “Bass Boost,” “Acoustic,” or “Treble Boost.” And no, there’s no graphical interface that indicates what frequencies are being adjusted. You can, however, take advantage of the AirPods Pro’s adaptive EQ which adjusts the sound in real time depending on your environment.
If you’re using AirPods Pro on Android, you don’t get access to any of these controls. To take full advantage of these earbuds, you’ll need access to an iOS device.
The Jabra Elite 75t has more comprehensive app features than the AirPods Pro
Looking at the other side of the fence, the Jabra Sound+ app is available on both Android and iOS, allowing you to customize and control your Jabra Elite 75t. In the app you get access to firmware updates and a fully-featured graphical EQ.
The Jabra Sound+ app also has MySound. The app conducts a hearing test that creates an optimized sound profile according to your hearing results and provided demographic information. It’s a neat feature to have, considering that everyone has slightly different frequency sensitivities.
If you already have an iOS device, the AirPods Pro will have the smoothest user interface but if you want the greatest functionality and accessibility, Jabra is the way to go for its granular EQ module and host of other features that are made available to Android and iPhone users alike. We’re giving this one to Jabra, barely, because of accessibility.
Winner: Jabra Elite 75t
The Jabra Elite 75t has better battery life
Here at SoundGuys, all true-wireless earbuds are subject to the same testing standards. Each pair of earbuds were set to play music with a constant output of 75dB, which is just below the recommended volume level to avoid damage to your hearing.
Between the two earbuds, the Jabra Elite 75t had a longer-lasting battery, clocking in at around 7.5 hours of constant playback. This playtime can be extended to up to 28 hours when using the charging case. Meanwhile, the AirPods Pro lasted roughly 5 hours with active noise cancelling enabled. With the charging case, you get up to 24 hours.
Of course, your results may vary since battery life is affected by multiple factors, including your volume level, and whether or not you’ve enabled additional processing like EQ.
Winner: Jabra Elite 75t
Jabra Elite 75t vs. Apple AirPods Pro: which should I buy?
In this true wireless earbud comparison, we have to give the crown to the Apple AirPods Pro. While the Jabra Elite 75t puts up a good fight, the AirPods Pro takes the cake with its sleek design, great sound quality, clear microphone quality, and sound quality. While we await measurements of the Elite 75t’s noise cancelling performance, we can confidently say the AirPods Pro remain among the best true wireless ANC options around. If you’re an iPhone user, there’s no better option for you than the AirPods Pro. Android fans, however, have a harder decision to make.
See also: Best Apple AirPods Pro alternatives
The Jabra Elite 75t is a great value made even better with the free active noise cancelling upgrade. Not only is it much cheaper than the AirPods Pro, it boasts a more durable IP55 water-and-dust resistance rating, multipoint connectivity, longer battery life, and better software integration via the Jabra Sound+ app. If you want to avoid Apple’s product ecosystem without having to pay a fortune, the Jabra Elite 75t is a great option—especially with its sub-$200 price tag.
Alternatives to the Jabra Elite 75 and AirPods Pro
If neither one of these earbuds appealed to you, don’t worry. If you’re someone who wants a great pair of active noise cancelling earbuds, check out the Sony WF-1000XM3, which has better ANC performance than the AirPods Pro. For audiophiles, the Sennheiser True Wireless 2 is another alternative, sporting a great sound profile and active noise cancelling.
If you want a reliable pair of true wireless earbuds for working out, there are tons of options as well. The Beats Powerbeats Pro is one of the best earbuds for the gym, with its use of ear hooks to ensure a secure fit, and an IPX4-rated build for water resistance. For people who want an alternative to Beats, there’s the Jabra Elite Active 75t. It sports a similar design to the Elite 75t, but comes with an upgraded IP57 rating, making it completely waterproof.
Frequently Asked Questions
I wouldn't say that the AirPods Max will be "better" than either of these just because they're very different types of headphones. Over-ears will give you more isolation from outside noise by design, but they're also not as portable as true wireless options. As far as features go, the AirPods Max are almost identical to the AirPods Pro. They both offer noise cancelling, a transparency mode, quick pairing thanks to the H1 chip, and the new spatial audio feature that simulates surround sound with compatible content and devices. Basically, the AirPods Max seem to just be an over-ear version of the AirPods Pro, whereas the Jabra Elite 75t are completely different. Though it's worth mentioning that they also offer noise cancelling thanks to a recent update and a transparency mode as well. The last thing you should know is that the AirPods Max cost more than the AirPods Pro and the Jabra Elite 75t combined. We'd recommend waiting to see how the reviews come back for the AirPods Max before spending the $549 USD required to get them on your head.