Jabra Elite 7 Pro and Elite 3 earphones for all tastes and budgets (review)
This is a combo review of the Jabra Elite 7 Pro and Elite 3 earphones because they cover both ends of the spectrum – The Elite 7 Pro is premium and has it all at $299. The Elite 3 is an excellent entry-level earphone at $119.
Let’s look at a few differences before we get into reviews
Jabra Elite 7 Pro and Elite 3 earphones
|Item||Jabra Elite 7 Pro||Elite 3|
|Warranty||2-years (requires registration)||Same|
|Country of origin||Designed and engineered in Copenhagen and assembled in China||Same|
|Colours||Titanium Black, Black, Gold Beige||Dark Grey, Light Beige, Navy (Lilac soon)|
|Bluetooth||Qualcomm True Wireless|
V5.2 to 10m
SBC, and AAC
Multipoint x 2 devices
Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux devices
SBC and aptX
|Battery (claims)||Up to 8 hours|
22 hours extra in the USB-C charge case
5 minutes charge for 1 hour
30 minutes 50% charge
|Up to 7 hours |
21 hours extra in USB-C charge case
10 minutes charge for 1 hour
|Charge time (case)||USB-C 5V/1A/5W 150minutes|
Qi Wireless 5W 180 minutes
|USB-C 210 minutes|
|App||Android or iOS Jabra Sound+ |
|ANC (Active noise cancellation)||Slider adjustable 1-5 levels plus noise isolation||N/A – noise isolation|
|Sidetone||Yes adjustable||Yes, on/off|
|Speakers||6mm 20Hz to 20kHz||Same|
|Mono mode||Either bud||Same|
|Personal sound profile||My sound adjusts to your hearing, and My Fit tests noise isolation||N/A|
|EQ||Full plus pre-sets||Pre-sets Neutral, Speech, Bass Boost, Treble Boost, Smooth, Energise|
|Ear tips||Ear Gel S, M, L||Same|
|Mic||4 x MEMS and VPU Bone conduction||4 x MEMS|
|Voice assistants||Alexa, OK Google, Siri||No Siri|
First impression – same design cues
Let’s talk first about Jabra. It is part of the GN Group, established over 150 years ago. It is the only company sharing advanced audio tech to create consumer headphones, professional headsets, and hearing aids. The single-minded purpose – to make your life sound better.
It is not necessarily a brand you consider against Samsung, Sennheiser, Apple Airpods, Bose, or Sony. But if you don’t, you will miss some class-leading features, great neutral sound, and effective ANC (where applicable). They’s fighting words – be warned if you don’t include them, it is your peril.
Jabra Elite 7 Pro (E7P) and Elite 3 (E3) earphones are almost physically identical, so it is best to say the main difference is the adaptive noise cancelling. They essentially replace Elite 85t/75t and 65t, but Jabra tends to sell superseded models for quite some time. I have used the 85t and 75t extensively and love the fit and the App. More on that later.
Sound – neutral so it won’t change your music
Surprisingly both have gone back to the closed-back design. While it lessens the sound stage width, it helps noise cancellation (E7P) and sound isolation (both). It also means both use the 6mm transducer (the 85t has 12mm) with a 20Hz to 20kHz frequency response. We cannot measure that in-ear, so we can only be subjective.
The sound stage is within your head (typical or all closed-back) with good left and right separation. But one thing to note about neutral signatures – they neither add nor subtract from the sound so if you feed it garbage MP3s then you get garbage sound unless you play with the pre-sets or EQ.
EP7 – In default mode, bass starts from about 75Hz and builds nicely with solid mid and treble. It is almost neutral – flat from 100Hz to 10Khz and a gentle descent to 20kHz. We tested with ANC on and off, and we suspect it compresses some of the mid-bass and mid/high treble.
E3 – Almost the same if cleaner/brighter with slightly more mid/upper treble control.
You can read more How to tell if you have good music (sound signature is the key)
The App EQ works very well with a neutral signature – while you can’t increase the native signature, you can tailor it to clear vocal.
ANC – noise cancellation EP7 only
Let’s first start with noise isolation which cuts outside noise entering the ear canal. Both the E7P and E3 are excellent, and for the most part, that is all you need.
ANC is adjustable in five steps, with the top-level cutting out rumbling trucks and loud, clicky keyboards. It is not quite up there with the Sony WF-1000XM4 or Bose Quiet Comfort, but it Is very good. As ANC should never be the sole reason to buy, we would rather focus on sound quality, and Jabra is in the same class
Latency – very low
We did not notice any lag using the SBC codec on Android or AAC on iOS, which indicated <100ms. However, when playing video on a PC, we did notice minimal lag, which usually occurs at 200ms or more.
E3 have aptX, so with a compatible Qualcomm smartphone, you don’t have to use lossy SBC. EP7 have AAC – ditto.
Comfort – closed-back and deep in-ear canal
We tested each bud for about 2 hours, and because they are small, they don’t trap heat. These should be good for exercise.
But remember, both use noise isolation, and it is critical to get a good fit deep inside the ear canal. The App has MyFit to test for sound leakage.
I prefer the Elite 85t wider open-back sound stage because I suffer fairly common pulsatile tinnitus (hearing my heartbeat in my ears). If you have this, itchy ear or hay fever the open back Elite 85t or Sennheiser Momentum 2 are better or any open-back over-the-ear headphones are best.
Hand-free – a perceptible difference
Both have 4 MEMS mics, but the EP7 has VDU Bone conduction. If you intend to use them for a lot of speech on the train or outside, then the EP7 are terrific, offering a very clear voice. Sidetone (where you hear your voice in calls) is a great feature.
The E3 are also excellent in the office or inside – they have superb noise isolation – no noise cancellation.
Test callers could tell the difference, preferring the EP7 for a more natural voice.
Battery – 7-8 hours
We issue the standard warning that few buds meet the battery life claims they make. In two hours of tests, the EP7 (ANC on) showed 60% remaining and the E3 (no ANC) 75%. These are not far off the claims.
Jabra Sound+ App
This is where the most significant difference lies. The EP7 has a comprehensive range of settings, including My Sound, My Fit, an EQ and pre-sets and almost granular control of everything. The E3 is more basic, likely reflecting the capabilities of an entry-level Qualcomm Bluetooth True Wireless chip.
Cybershack view – Jabra Elite 7 Pro and Elite 3 earphones are excellent
As we said earlier, the simplistic way to differentiate is noise cancelling (EP7) and none (E3).
- IP57 – perfect for exercise
- Slightly longer battery life
- Good but not class-leading noise cancelling
- Clear voice hands-free
- More comprehensive app choices
- Qi and USB-C charging
- Slightly cleaner sound than the EP7
- $180 less
- For active use, hear-through or ambient sound is more important than ANC
- One of the best apps I have ever used
- Light and comfortable
- Decent battery life and fast charge
- Push buttons instead over overly sensitive touch controls
- Mono bud use
Are they better than Sony Sennheiser, Bose, JBL, BlueAnt and more?
The hard part of bud shopping is that you can’t try before you buy. That is why deep-dive reviews are so critical. Our advice:
- EP7 will satisfy all but picky audiophile listeners (and no BT buds will do that anyway). The App allows extensive customisation, well beyond other brands.
- E3 has slightly more bass but a very similar sound signature. As you are buying on price, it is a very safe purchase.
Comparisons to buds we know
EP7 is a premium bud comparing well among equals. Its sound signature and App EQ is class-leading.
Sony WF-1000XM4 ($389) and Bose Quiet Comfort ($297) lead in ANC, but we question how much better. And ANC impacts music quality. Sony has the high-res LDAC codec popular with audiophiles.
Sennheiser Momentum 2 ($299 runout) leads in music quality with its open back and lower ANC compression. It has SBC, AAC and aptX.
Bose has a sound signature that is more what it thinks you want to hear than what you might like.
Samsung Galaxy Bud+ ($299 review to come) have a solid pedigree, but they are more for Samsung phones supporting its Samsung Scalable Codec.
E3 faces lots of price competition from JBL, Sony, Marley, Skull Candy, Yamaha, BlueAnt and more.
Where it leads is the App, as well as excellent sound isolation. Music quality is on a par with Sony WF-C500 or BlueAnt Pump Air 2 and a whole lot better than the Pod styles that litter this price bracket.
Both are excellent, and what the E7P has in premium features, the E3 makes up in value — highly recommended.
- From Jabra, specialists in hearing
- Class-leading sound isolation
- Class-leading App
- Good battery life
- Decent IP ratings
- Pulsatile tinnitus, itchy ear, and hay-fever suffers need open-back over the ear headphones – not deep in-ear canal buds
- Not a very wide sound stage