I have reviewed countless wireless headphones, but no matter how good they are, I always find myself going back to my AirPods Pro as soon as I finished. There’s something about the way Apple headphones sound and feel like no other model could beat – until I get my hands on the Jabra Elite Active 75t, This is.
I first tested the Elite Active 75t for our best true wireless headphones roundup (where they were recently crowned best buds for training), but they stuck in my ears for weeks after that. The Jabra headphones offer a blend of comfort, style, and versatility that I’ve struggled to give up, all for up to $ 110 cheaper than Apple’s premium headphones.
Here’s why I ditched my AirPods Pro for the Jabra Elite Active 75t, and why they are a great (and much more affordable) alternative to the more popular wireless headphones.
Mike Andronico / CNN
The Elite Active 75t are among the few non-Apple headphones I’ve worn that feel good – and they look better to boot. I have no problem with Apple’s now ubiquitous headphone design, but I love that the Jabra headphones have a sleeker, more understated look that doesn’t stick out of my ears.
I also like to have a pair of headphones with an actual color. I currently wear the Navy Blue Elite Active 75t, but you can get them in five other shades including a striking pink and mint green. I still hope Apple releases the next AirPods Pro in multiple colors (like it did with the AirPods Max), but my Vibrating Jabras will do the trick for now.
More importantly, the Elite Active 75t are just as comfortable as my AirPods Pro. They’re a bit bulkier than Apple’s heads, but they also form a smoother, more secure fit that makes the AirPods Pro slightly loose in comparison.
I’ve also learned to prefer the design of the Elite Active 75t when it comes to the controls. Unlike the touchscreen controls found on most headphones, Jabra’s headphones have physical buttons for doing things like skipping tracks and activating your virtual assistant. This provides a unique tactile control feel and eliminates the risk of accidental taps, which I have too often had on more sensitive heads, such as the Samsung Galaxy Buds +.
While it’s easy enough to pinch the stems of the AirPods Pro to control music playback, being able to click a button on the Elite Active 75t is much more immediate and satisfying. The Jabra headphones also offer a finer level of control, allowing you to adjust the volume directly from the headphones themselves in addition to the usual Siri pause, play and summon.
And here’s the real kicker: When you use the left control knob to change sound modes, a built-in voice will explicitly say the words “ANC”, “HearThrough” or “off,” which will clearly indicate which setting you have activated. In comparison, the AirPods Pro play one of three similar-sounding chimes once you change modes, and I still can’t always tell the difference between them after almost a year of solid use.
Speaking of noise cancellation …
Mike Andronico / CNN
For a pair of headphones that cost a lot less than AirPods Pro, the Jabra Elite Active 75t offers the same key selling points – and more. Thanks to a post-launch firmware update, the Elite Active 75t now features Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), and it’s just as good (if not better) than what you’ll get on premium headphones. from Apple.
I was constantly shocked at the amount of noise the Elite Active 75t was able to cover, as they turned chaotic construction sites and overhead trains into a barely audible vibe every time I turned on the ANC for better hear my podcasts. In fact, I found that Jabra headphones suppressed even more noise than Apple headphones, in part because of the tighter seal they formed in my ears.
And whenever I needed to hear my surroundings better while being dragged through the park by my dog, the Elite Active 75t’s HearThrough mode did a great job of amplifying the outside world. This feature is very comparable to the Transparency mode of the AirPods Pro in terms of the amount of noise it lets in. But while Transparency mode only offers one setting, Jabra’s HearThrough feature offers six levels of tuning to let you choose exactly how many external racquets are chosen. up.
In addition to matching many of the key features of the AirPods Pro, the Elite Active 75t also does a lot of things that Apple’s buds can’t. While Apple headphones allow you to make a few changes to your Bluetooth menu, Jabra headphones have a full app for adjusting sound equalization, creating custom audio profiles, and even playing relaxing ambient sounds a bit. time it’s time to study or work.
I didn’t really miss my AirPods Pro in terms of sound quality, which shows how close Jabra headphones are to the audio department. While I find Apple’s heads sounding clearer and more balanced, the Elite Active 75t still sounds warm and lively enough to bring out the big guitars and vocals of my favorite indie and punk tracks.
And unlike AirPods Pro, Jabra’s headphones can be tweaked to your liking, with a fully customizable EQ as well as presets to boost things like bass and treble. After trying several different modes, I was able to reproduce the sound output of my AirPods quite faithfully using the treble boost setting. The deeper fit of the Elite Active 75t made the bass overwhelming at times, but I found it to be a small compromise for their better comfort and excellent ANC. Oh, and did I mention the battery life is great? Jabra heads lasted me six hours straight with ANC turned on (about an hour longer than AirPods Pro), and I only have to charge the case every few days when using them on my daily walks. and at work.
Mike Andronico / CNN
Ditching the AirPods Pro for the Jabra Elite Active 75t has been a total joy – with one exception. For some reason my iPhone 12 Pro will sometimes stop recognizing my Elite Active 75t, especially when I’ve left them sitting on my desk out of their case for too long.
I’m usually able to fix this by quickly placing the heads in and out of their cases (with a few occasional re-pairings), but it’s an annoying problem – and I don’t think I’ve ever encountered the AirPods Pro. We call the Pro the best headphones for Apple users for a reason, because they’ll pair with your iPhone in seconds and usually stay that way until you decide to unpair manually.
There are a few other benefits specific to AirPods Pro: Spatial Audio delivers truly impressive 360-degree sound on supported movies and shows, and audio sharing comes in handy if you and another AirPods owner want to listen to the same tracks together. . But none of those features (or the occasional disconnection) was enough to keep me running.
Mike Andronico / CNN
I tested a review unit of the Jabra Elite Active 75t, but if I chose which headphones to buy for myself between these and the AirPods Pro it would be a no-brainer. Jabra heads are right $ 139 at Amazon at the time of writing (they typically cost $ 179), which is an absolutely ridiculous value for a pair of headphones that go end-to-end – and sometimes go beyond – the AirPods Pro ($ 199, originally $ 249) in almost every way.
There are still good reasons to splurge on Apple’s premium headphones, from their overall best sound to their seamless connectivity with iPhones, iPads, and Macs. But the superb design, features, and noise cancellation of the Elite Active 75t form a winning combo that got this AirPod stalwart to jump ship for now. And I don’t know when I will be back.