Jabra makes its new Elite 3 buds affordable while keeping what you really need from a set of in-ears -- a decent battery, waterproofing, and excellent audio. Yes, you can get better earbuds elsewhere but not at this price point.
It’s entirely possible that you’re looking for a decent set of in-ears but aren’t looking to pay more than R2,000 for a set. That used to severely limit your options, with decent ‘buds starting around R3,000 and getting better from there. That’s changed. It’s now possible to snag some great in-ears for just R1,600 — the new Jabra Elite 3 earbuds are just dying for you to try them out.
Jabra is a Stuff favourite. Their Elite range, both in- and over-ears, are consistently excellent. But the other consistent feature is the price – excellent audio generally costs several thousand bucks. Now the company has a cheaper lineup – the new Elite 2 and Elite 3 in-ears. The latter are affordable buds that, admittedly, lack some features but there’s one area they don’t skimp.
Sounds all right to me
And that’s the audio. Yes, you can get better quality from the company if you give them more money but the Elite 3’s combination of a tight seal, passive noise cancellation, and solid sound aren’t anything to be upset about. Songs are crisp and detailed, with almost no distortion at any place on the audio spectrum.
Which makes up for the slightly cheap build quality and the physical controls on each bud. You’ll likely press those buttons too hard at first, forcing the Elite 3s into your ear canal, but they needn’t be so firmly prodded. They’ll work just fine with a softer touch. The right bud, by default, handles play-pause and track skips and the left sorts out the hear-through function.
Bells and whistles
The Elite 3 buds arrive with an IP55 rating, letting them shrug off sweat and moisture from basically any source you’ll encounter while pounding the pavement. They won’t survive being dropped in a cup of coffee, though. These in-ears feature a lengthy battery life – they’ll last almost an entire workday without needing to return to their lightweight charging case. Give them a few minutes in there and they’ll cheerfully finish out the day.
The fit, depending on your tastes, is fantastic. The Elite 3 buds will stick in your ears through everything from housework to workouts without budging a millimetre. But this comes at a price – they enthusiastically grip the inside of your ears, relinquishing their hold with a substantial but sweaty pop.
Jabra Elite 3 Verdict
Wireless buds have exploded in popularity but that doesn’t make them accessible. Jabra’s Elite 3s are a step in the right direction. Yes, you can grab wireless in-ears for less than a grand, but you won’t find anything like the sort of audio quality presented here. Battery life is way above average in terms of charge, but the case could store a little more juice. There’s no cause for complaint here, though. For their price, the Elite 3s are mighty impressive.
Audio 6mm drivers
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.2, USB-C charging
Battery Life 7hrs (buds), 21hrs (case)
Waterproof Rating IP55
Weight 4.6g each, 34g case