Jabra just announced no fewer than three pairs of earbuds but the ones I'm most excited about are the Elite 7 Active. Jabra already makes the Elite Active 75t, which is one of the best pairs of running headphones, workout earbuds or whatever you prefer to call them. The Elite 7 Active – yes that is quite a confusingly similar name to the previous buds, isn't it? – improves on them in various ways
There are about a bazillion true wireless earbuds in the world, many of them aimed at lovers of running and workouts. However, Jabra's have always been a step above and these could truly be the GOAT if they live up to their promise. Beats Powerbeats Pro might finally be shaken from the top of our best running headphones top 10, where they have resided since their launch.
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So, why are Elite 7 Active so exciting?
It looks like Jabra has taken everything that was good already about 75t Active and made significant improvements. A lot of running headphones are inescapably bulky but Elite 7 Active improve the incredibly small size and comfortable shape of their predecessors. They are 16 per cent smaller, in fact – and 75t Active were by no means oversized.
Jabra's previous workout buds were very hard to dislodge from your earholes once inserted, but with a new and improved ShakeGrip coating, the Elite 7 Active should be safe from dislodgement in any situation short of nuclear war. There are no 'wings' on the Elite 7 Active. Instead, the design of the buds, plus a judicious splash of ShakeGrip – liquid silicone rubber, basically – give what Jabra calls 'the ultimate fit whatever your movements.' In other words, no matter how much you thrash about on an elliptical trainer, or how XXX-treme your CrossFit moves, Elite 7 Active should stay firmly in place. Powerbeats provide rock-solid stability, but require a very hefty pair of over-ear hooks to do so, making this a potential game changer. If you'll pardon the cliché.
The buds are IP57 rated for dirt and water resistance which means they are effectively waterproof. That's a lot better than Beats Powerbeats (IPX4) and more in line with Jaybird's superb trail running buds, although those are a bit bulkier and more brutish.
There's also now adjustable Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and HearThrough, so you can dial up or down just how much outside sound is allowed in. So whether you want to block out everything, to focus on your lifting or cardio workout, or allow ambient sound in for added safety when running or cycling outdoors, Elite 7 Active makes it possible. Jabra also has an excellent EQ control in its app if you are not happy with the sound out of the box.
Battery life is class leading at 9 hours – and that's with ANC on. The battery case gives a total of 35 hours of listening, with 'fast charging' that delivers 1.2 hrs of power in just 5 minutes. Connectivity is via Bluetooth 5.2 and sound quality is further boosted with support for aptX and aptX HD.
Call quality is not the main selling point here – you'll be wanting the Elite 7 Pro for that – but there are four mics to pick up your voice, with a microphone mesh helping to reduce wind noise if you're outdoors. So I'd imagine it's perfectly fine for calls in most situations, even if it's not quite at 'Pro' level.
Jabra Elite 7 Pro, you say?
In terms of audio quality for music, battery life and ANC, Jabra's two new pairs of 7 series true wireless earbuds are identical. Where they differ is that whilst the Active is built for wild workouts and rugged runs, the Pro is all about voice call quality.
So on the Elite 7 Pro, Jabra is employing MultiSensor Voice tech for 'best-in-class call performance.' MultiSensor Voice combines a bone conduction sensor, as found in headsets used by special forces types on night raids, with four microphones and some clever digital processing algorithms, for 'crystal clear' calls.
As you speak, the Jabra Elite 7 Pro buds are constantly analysing the different types of noise picked up by those mics. When things get too noisy – most particularly in windy situations – the algorithm chooses the best possible combination of voice delivered by bone conduction sensor – which is not subject to wind noise – and by the mics, for the ultimate call clarity.
Even if, like me, you hardly ever make voice calls these days, you have to say that is highly impressive. And as an added bonus, the tech should also mean that the built-in Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant – the latter on Android only – are able to hear you loud and clear.
Jabra Elite 3
The Jabra Elite 3 is out today and is Jabra's stab at the increasingly massive 'best cheap wireless earbuds' market.
In this market, having bass by the megaton is all important, seemingly, so Jabra has digitally dialled up the bottom end. You can use their app's EQ to dial it back down again if you like.
The drivers are not as high-end as on the Elite models, but there's still four mics for 'crystal clear calls', aptX HD audio support and a very solid seven hours of battery life, with the case adding a further 21 hours on top of that. Although there's no ANC, Jabra's excellent fit mean the buds should offer excellent noise isolation. HearThrough is built in here too, so 'users can tap into the sounds of their surroundings.'
The other important element in the budget. market is slick design, and Elite 3 serves that up, with a new range of colours including Dark Grey, Navy, Lilac and Light Beige – all of which, I am assured are bang on trend for 2021.
Jabra CEO René Svendsen-Tune shouted in my ear, “We are more connected than ever before. The world has also never been noisier, which requires innovative technology to ensure people can be assured of a clear voice, calls and music experience. At Jabra, we take our many years of experience to push the boundaries of technology, with the launch of our Elite 7 Pro, Elite 7 Active and Elite 3 earbuds as a result. The introduction of these new products signifies huge developments within the market, and we are excited to be at the forefront.”
Jabra Elite 7 Active, Elite 7 Pro and Elite 3: price and release date
Jabra Elite 7 Active goes on sale on October 1. Cost will be £169.99 or $179 or AU$279 depending on where you are.
Elite 7 Pro goes on sale on October 1. and will be priced at £199.99 or $199 or AU$299.
Elite 3 is out now and costs a very reasonable £79.99 or $79 or AU$119.
• Buy Elite 3 now at Amazon (opens in new tab)