This Jabra Elite 3 review is for those who want some of the best true wireless earbuds but don't want to spend too much money on them - you wouldn't know these cost less than $80 / £80 because they're just so good all-round.
Jabra is dipping its toe into the world of the best cheap headphones, with the Jabra Elite 3 true wireless earbuds being their most affordable TWS earbuds yet.
They may not have all of the bells and whistles you’d get if you spent a bit more, but if it’s the sound and call quality you care about then these will have you covered.
If you don't even want to spend that much then you might be better off taking a look at T3’s guide to the best budget wireless earbuds instead.
Jabra Elite 3 review: price and availability
You can buy the Jabra Elite 3 now starting from $80 in the US, £79 in the UK and AU$120 in Australia, take a look at the widgets on this page to find out where you can pick up a pair.
Jabra Elite 3 review: design and fit
The Jabra Elite 3 are available in four colourways: black, navy, lilac and beige. Made largely from plastic, they keep things simple without looking ‘cheap’. They’re tiny and discreet little earbuds.
The matching charging case is just as stripped back, with a very unobtrusive logo on the front and a tiny LED light below it to indicate the battery level of both the case and buds as you remove them from their slots. The case feels a little more flimsy than the earpieces but it looks good all the same. Measuring just 64.15 x 28.47 x 34.6mm, it will easily fit in your jeans pocket.
In the fully recyclable box, you get three sizes of silicone ear tips to fit the buds to your ear. They’re snug and secure, they didn’t budge no matter what type of activity I was doing, so these will be as good for workouts as they’ll be for your commute. They’re IP55 water-resistant which means they’ll cope fine with a bit of sweat but you’ll have to try not to drop them in a big puddle because they may not survive that.
On the outside of each bud, there's a single button on the surface. The only problem with them is that you’ll have to push the buds further into your ear to use them which could be uncomfortable.
By tapping the left button, you can play music straight from Spotify or you can set it to summon your voice assistant instead, which even includes Amazon Alexa. Both are handy features that should make using the buds much more efficient.
Using the two responsive buttons, you can also control the music: they let you pause or play the sound and skip through tracks. By holding down the buttons you can adjust the volume as well, it's really easy to do on the fly.
The Jabra Elite 3 offer plenty in the way of battery life, you get 7 hours from a single charge, while the case provides up to 28 hours of music in total. If you were to be caught off-guard with no battery, then a quick 10-minute charge using the included USB-C cable will give you an extra hour of playback.
Jabra Elite 3 review: performance
Considering how affordable these earbuds are, the Jabra Elite 3 offer pretty accurate audio. It sounds very clear with balanced mids and lows, with the most influence on the punchy bass. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, you're guaranteed strong powerful audio at least. You won’t find the soundstage stretches quite as far as with a pricier pair but still, I’m impressed.
What’s more, is that there are a few preset sound modes in the Jabra Sound+ app, including the default Neutral mode, as well as Speech, Bass boost, Treble boost, Smooth and Energise. There's no way of customising the sound manually but you can’t really complain too much about that because they offer more versatility in the audio settings than you’d get on most true wireless earbuds at this price point.
Another handy feature is the HearThrough mode - you can switch it on or off through the Jabra Sound+ app or by tapping the button on the left earbud. Like the Ambient mode on other earbuds, the HearThrough mode lets in some sounds happening around you so you can still have a conversation or hear the road. With it switched off, the earbuds have such a snug fit that they do a great job at isolating noise despite not having a dedicated ANC mode, it keeps your focus on the music.
Pairing the buds to your phone is really quick and easy, especially when you use the Jabra Sound+ app. They use Bluetooth 5.2 and had a reliable connection even when my phone wasn't on me. If you use an Android phone, you’ll even be able to make use of Google Fast Pairing which will connect them as soon as you take them out of the case. Unlike a lot of other Jabra buds, you’ll only be able to pair these with one device at a time.
With four microphones built-in, the call quality on these is pretty good too. Your voice will come across loud and clear for the most part, and they even manage to conceal a fair amount of loud background noise.
The Jabra Sound+ app is simply laid out and very easy to use, you can see the battery level of the buds, switch sound modes or music presets, see the user manual and choose whether you prefer to use a voice assistant or whether you'd rather have direct access to Spotify.
If you’re a bit scatterbrained, then you’ll love that these also have Find My Jabra. When they disconnect from your phone, their last location automatically gets stored so you’ll be able to see them on a map. It’s a really handy feature, giving you more chance of finding them if you were to lose them out and about. It’s a shame the music doesn’t stop when one falls out though.
Jabra Elite 3 review: verdict
The Jabra Elite 3 could have had me fooled as a much more expensive pair of true wireless earbuds than they actually are.
There are a few different reasons for that, the first being the sound quality which is just great. Another reason is the array of features including the quick access to Spotify or Amazon Alexa, as well as the fact that there are six music presets, and Find My Jabra. That’s not to mention the call quality.
If you want decent TWS earbuds but you’re not keen on spending too much money on them then you won’t find many pairs with more to offer than the Jabra Elite 3.
Jabra Elite 3 review: also consider
If you’re looking for impeccable sound at a reasonable price, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus are worth taking a look at. They’re slightly more expensive but not so much so that they’re no longer affordable.
Those on an even tighter budget should consider the Nokia BH-205 Lite Earbuds instead, they’re a fraction of the price and yet still manage to deliver decent sound, a fully waterproof design and a really long battery life - they might not look or feel as nice as these but you can’t have it all!
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