The Jabra Elite 5 true wireless earbuds are a solid B+ in many areas, like the sound quality, comfort, and battery stamina. Unfortunately, its hybrid active noise cancellation (ANC) is one of its weaker features. It also faces stiff competition from the many similarly-priced headphones in the S$200 price range.
- Hybrid active noise cancellation
- IP55 rating against dust and water
- Customizable EQ and Spotify Tap Playback
- Up to 7 hours music playback with ANC (28 hours with wireless charging case)
The Jabra Elite 5 earbuds are relatively compact in size. Not as large as some true wireless earbuds such as the Creative Outlier Pro, but slightly bigger than the Google Pixel Buds Pro. More importantly, they are comfortable enough that I could wear them for hours. Jabra has gone with physical buttons instead of touch-sensitive ones. Something to do with touch-sensitive buttons not working with gloves. Some users won't like this — each button press pushes the earbuds slightly into the ear canal, which can be uncomfortable. I don't mind this since I find touch buttons to be overly sensitive at times. But you can't swipe these physical buttons up or down for volume control. In fact, the Elite 5 doesn't have any kind of physical volume control, though you can use your voice (Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant) to adjust the volume.
Jabra says the Elite 5 comes with hybrid ANC that uses both feedback and feedforward mics. The ANC, though, was underwhelming. While the earbuds did a decent job at reducing constant, lower-frequency noise like the sound of the engine, they did little for the higher registers. I could hear clearly my fellow commuters on the bus chatting a few seats away. I also struggled to hear my music in a crowded train carriage. However, the Elite 5's hear-through mode is good. I also have no complaints about calls, which had good clarity. The earbuds can stay connected to two Bluetooth devices at the same time, which is great for productivity. Minor grouse: In-ear detection needs work. While music playback is paused when you remove an earbud, it doesn't resume automatically if you put it back on.
Jabra's Sound+ app is one of the best apps for headphones. It has everything you'll need. Besides the usual music equaliser and the ability to customise the buttons for media playback and calls, there's a Find My Jabra location feature, Spotify Tap, and even a convenient way to register the Elite 5's two-year warranty from the app. And if you need blocking the outside world, the app also offers a selection of white noise like the sound of rain or ocean waves. This is especially handy, given the lacklustre ANC. The earbuds themselves sound pretty good, they come across as clear and balanced in its neutral preset. Bass is present, but not overwhelming — I like to increase this slightly. Mids are solid, while highs are distinct and detailed.
The Jabra Elite 5 is said to provide up to 7 hours of music playback with ANC enabled. The battery life isn't extraordinary, but coupled with its wireless charging case, it's sufficient for most users. Overall, the Elite 5 are solid, mid-range earbuds, though the ANC could be better. Unfortunately, its S$228 retail price means they are competing in a very crowded space. Jabra's higher-end Elite 7 Pro (with better battery life and ANC) has been discounted to S$258, for example. The Elite 5 is available now at Shopee, Lazada, and Amazon SG.
Note: Review unit provided by Jabra.
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