I have admittedly never used many types of earbuds outside of Apple’s Earpods or AirPods, though I have always wanted to try something new. The announcement of the new Jabra Elite 5 got me excited because the specifications on paper looked frankly amazing. The Jabra Elite 5 are Jabra’s new mid-range earbuds that promise to have everything you want in earbuds but at an affordable price. But what are they truly like?
Straight out of the box, you’ll find a USB Type-C cable, four different-sized ear tips, and the Elite 5 itself, along with the warranty – pretty much the standard items you’ll get with most new wireless earbuds.
The first thing I immediately noticed was how light the Jabra Elite 5 is, which weighed in at just a mind-boggling 50g in total, with each earbud being only 5g each. The case is very sleek, with a matte black finish for the Titanium Black colourway model I had. Each earbud is also finished with a black colour that is smooth to the touch.
The earbuds are shaped nicely, and both fit into my ear with ease and snugly. The ear tips are also made of soft rubber and can be changed if you feel that they are either too big or too small.
The weight of the earbuds really shows when you wear them for long periods of time. I personally am unable to wear earbuds for long, but with the Jabra Elite 5, I was perfectly okay with using it for extended periods, owing to its excellent design, shape and weight.
The earbuds have an IP55 durability rating against dust and water, so while it isn’t exactly the best available right now, it still is good enough to use while on a jog.
So overall, in terms of the design, I’d say that the Jabra Elite 5 is excellent and is one of the most comfortable earbuds I’ve used to date. It is also designed really nicely, and is quite the looker, in my opinion.
The performance of the Elite 5 also really surprised me with how great it sounds right out of the box. The base and treble, I noticed, were prominent and made bass/treble-heavy songs sound good. Though the only thing I did take note of was the vocals being a little more muted, this can be fixed, however, by using the in-app equaliser on Jabra Sound+.
The ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) was also good, blocking out a good amount of ambient sound, which allows you to focus on external distractions.
I did test out the Jabra Elite 5 while cycling too, and despite the wind noises that get picked up and are unavoidable when you cycle, they weren’t deafening, and I could still hear my music clearly, which does show how Jabra’s effort to try and reduce wind noise has paid off.
One weird feature that the Elite 5 has is that it turns off ANC when you are on a call, which might help you to be more aware of your surroundings when on call, but I feel that the sudden onset of external noise might distract you from your call. While I understand that this is a safety feature, I’d say it’ll be a nice touch if we could have the option to turn on/off ANC when taking calls.
Though overall, in terms of performance, the Jabra Elite 5 offers good features usually found in higher-end earbuds, making it a great option to consider when searching for a pair of mid-tier earbuds.
The Jabra Elite 5 has Bluetooth Multipoint, which can connect to up to 2 devices at any time, switching between whichever device is playing audio; If you want to change the active device, you have to pause the music on the other one.
It also comes with Google Fast Pair and Microsoft Swift Pair for easy connecting to devices. Although this might make it seem more geared towards Android/Microsoft products, it pairs very seamlessly with Apple products, too, such as the iPhone and the Macbook; You just need to press down on both earbuds simultaneously, and it should pop up in your pairing list!
It is optional for you to download Jabra’s Sound+ app, but I’d say you should because it allows you to customise the strength of your ANC and HearThrough, in addition to helping with tuning your music using their equaliser to fit your preference. Though if you’re unfamiliar with how to adjust it, they already have some presets for you to try out! You can also customise your media controls if you wish to do so via the “Settings” page.
For media controls on the Elite 5, you push the right earbud once to pause/play your music and twice to skip to the next song. Press three times to return to the previous song and hold it to increase your volume.
As for the left earbud, you can push it once to toggle between ANC and HearThrough and twice for your voice assistant, be it Siri or Google Assistant. Lastly, push and hold the earbud to decrease the volume.
The earbuds have the Spotify Tap feature, which allows you to instantly play music from Spotify by pushing the left earbud twice. So to turn it on, you need the Jabra Sound+ app, and you need to head to “Settings”, and only then can you turn on Spotify Tap. I’m not exactly the most observant person, but the toggle placement for this feature should have been more directly placed within the UI. Most especially since I spent a rather long time trying to figure out how to turn it on; it would have saved much of my time from having to search for it.
However, I was still somewhat disappointed by Spotify Tap, because it plays random songs from the genres you listen to most. This might be good to some, but personally, sometimes I just want to listen to music that I already know and like rather than random songs chosen by Spotify.
Overall, I’d say the touch controls have all that I need in a pair of earbuds, though my only complaints are that having to push the earbuds might feel uncomfortable at times and that the Spotify Tap feature doesn’t play songs from your own playlist.
On paper, the Jabra Elite 5 is quoted to have 7 hours of playtime with ANC turned on and 28 hours in total when combined with the charging case.
During my testing with the earbuds, those stats seem to be accurate since the Elite 5 were able to last me a full gaming session for about 3 and a half hours straight and were still good to go when I went out afterwards for approximately 4 hours. So, to conclude, the battery life on the Elite 5 is well, very impressive.
If you are looking for a pair of wireless earbuds that wouldn’t break your bank, I’d say the Jabra Elite 5 is an excellent option. It has many great features that make it worth the price.
It is lightweight and comfortable to wear for long periods, has pretty good audio quality, and has a customisable experience. In my opinion, they can hold their own against more expensive options, making it so bang-for-your-buck.
Photos by Glenton Weng of the DANAMIC Team.