Jabra Elite Active 75t review: Top-notch wireless sports earbuds


The Elite Active 75t costs $20 more than the standard Elite 75t.


David Carnoy/CNET

As it did with its last-generation true wireless headphones, Jabra has once again released a very slight upgrade to its newer Elite 75t model. The new Elite Active 75t arrives about three months or so after the standard Elite 75t (sans Active) debuted. That model was downright excellent, earning a CNET Editors’ Choice award. This “active lifestyle edition” costs $200 (£190; $AU329) or $20 more than the standard version and has some small design upgrades. Is it worth the extra dough? The short answer is that for most people, probably not. But if you’re looking for a sports headphone for running and other athletic pursuits — and you sweat a lot — spending a little more on the Elite Active 75t may give you some added peace of mind that your headphones may hold up better over time.

Like

  • Better fit and smaller than previous model
  • Added coating for dust and sweat resistance
  • Sound better than the AirPods Pro, with better clarity and tighter bass
  • Good for making calls
  • IP57 water-resistance rating (fully waterproof)
  • HearThrough transparency mode (lets ambient noise in)
  • 7.5-hour battery life between charges
  • USB-C charging

Don’t Like

  • No active noise canceling
  • No wireless charging
  • AirPods Pro are slightly better for making calls

At first glance, except for the color (the one I got was navy blue but it’s available in other color options), the Elite Active 75t looks identical to the Elite 75t. But upon closer inspection, you’ll notice the finish on the case and earbuds is slightly different. Instead of the hard smooth finish of the Elite Active 75t, the Active 75t have a soft-to-the-touch finish with a touch of grip to it. Or, as Jabra put it, it’s “built with a durable coating for dust and sweat resistance and features an increased IP water-resistance rating from IP56 (of the Elite Active 75t) to IP57, making them waterproof.”

The standard Elite 75t fit in my ears just fine and I had no trouble running with them. The Active 75t’s slightly grippier finish is supposed to help them stay in your ears slightly more securely when you’re sweating. I do like the finish a tad better on the Elite Active 75t, but I’m not sure it’s worth an extra $20. Notice that I’m using words like “slightly,” “a touch,” and “a tad” to describe the subtle differences between the two models — because they really are subtle. 

The two models have the same features and appear to sound the same. You can read about those features in more depth in my review of the Elite 75t, but the quick skinny on the Elite Active 75t is that — thanks to a 20% smaller design than the Elite Active 65t — this new model should fit more ears better and let most people get a tight seal with one of the various sizes of included eartips. (The earphones offer good passive noise isolation that reduces ambient noise but not active noise canceling.) If you do get a tight seal, sound quality is quite good — smooth with good detail and well-defined bass that has some oomph to it. It may not sound quite as refined or open as the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 or the Sony WF-1000XM3, but it’s very good for true wireless earbuds.

The charging case is quite compact — slightly smaller than AirPods Pro’s case.


David Carnoy/CNET

The equally rugged Jaybird Vista costs a little less (it’s down to around $160) and really locks into your ears, thanks to its sports fins. I like the Jaybird and rated it highly, but this Jabra sounds a little more detailed and is better for making calls, with two microphones in each earbud, one for dedicated to noise reduction while making calls. There’s also a sidetone feature so you can hear your voice in the buds, allowing you to modulate your voice, which I appreciated. 

Another couple of features worth mentioning. There’s a HearThrough transparency mode that lets in ambient sound — you activate it with a short press on the left earbud — and in the Sound Plus app for iOS and Android you can opt to have your music pause when you activate HearThrough. That way if someone comes up to talk to you with the buds on, you can tap the left earbud and have a conversation. It’s also a safety feature for runners who want to hear traffic around them, although you do have to reduce the volume of your music to hear traffic even with HearThrough activated.

I dipped the buds in water and they survived just fine.


David Carnoy/CNET

The app has EQ settings that allow you to tweak the sound to your liking and you can choose between your device’s native voice assistant or Amazon‘s Alexa voice assistant. You have to press a button, however, to access the voice assistant (to be clear, these buds have physical buttons). With the AirPods Pro, you can simply say, “Hey, Siri,” to access Siri hands-free. 

Unlike the AirPods Pro, these have volume controls on the buds. You press and hold the button on the left earbud to lower volume and press and hold the button on the right earbud to raise the volume. It works well. 

With the release of the Active 75t, Jabra enabled two new software features for both Elite 75t models: Jabra MyControls, giving you the option to use just one earbud, and Jabra MySound, which allows you to create a sound profile based on your personal hearing and was developed by Jabra’s sister company GN Hearing.

Read moreBest true wireless earbuds of 2020

Battery life is rated at 7.5 hours at moderate volume levels — up from five hours on the Elite Active 65t (the AirPods Pro are rated at 4.5 hours with noise canceling on). Alas, the charging case doesn’t offer wireless charging, just USB-C charging (with an included cable). It provides an additional 20.5 hours of battery life.

Except for the lack of wireless charging and active noise canceling, there isn’t much to complain about. Like the Elite 75t, this is an excellent true-wireless headphone that’s easy to recommend. Whether it’s worth the extra $20 over the standard version is debatable, but a touch more ruggedness never hurts.   

Jabra Elite Active 75t key features and specs

As noted by Jabra:

  • Up to 7.5 hours battery life, and 28 hours with the charging case
  • Four-microphone technology for clear calls
  • USB-C charging
  • IP57-rated durability and two-year warranty against dust and sweat
  • Six colors: Navy (February), Copper Black (Amazon exclusive, February), Titanium Black (Best Buy exclusive, February), Gray (March), Sienna (April) and Mint (April)


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