Jabra Elite 5 Review: Pretty Good Value!

Jabra has been putting out products so rapidly, I won’t blame you if you’ve lost count. This one is yet another addition to their lineup, this time, in the midrange segment. We have the Jabra Elite 5 with us today, and at S$228 or US$150, it’s sitting pretty firmly in the midrange section of the true wireless earbud market right now.

Design

So, let’s talk design. These look exactly like something Jabra would put out. Something I have to commend Jabra on is their consistent design. When you look at the case, you know it’s from Jabra. The good thing about these is that Jabra has gone back to the taller, slimmer case design from the Elite 75t and Elite 85t, which I like a lot more than the stouter case design from the Elite 7 Pro. That said, it is taller and longer than the Elite 75t’s case, although still very pocketable.


The case itself is simplistic. You get the Jabra logo on the front along with an LED indicator for charging and battery status, and a USB-C charging port on the rear. Oh yes, the charging port is back on the rear of the case, thank you. I hated that Jabra placed the port on the front of the Elite 7 Pro’s case, so this is a very welcome change. At the bottom of the case, you get the Qi logo, which indicates the availability of Qi wireless charging.

Inside, you get the earbuds. The earbuds have a more angular faceplate design compared to the Elite 7 Pro, and personally, I found these fit my ears much better. It was more comfortable over longer periods of use and yeah, the earbuds felt smaller as well. A point to note, the magnets in the case are really strong, so there’s no need to worry about the earbuds accidentally coming loose.

Controls

The faceplate itself is a large physical button, which is nice for people who prefer not to deal with finicky touch controls. By default, on the right side, a single press controls play/pause, a double press skips tracks forwards, three presses skips tracks backwards and a long press and hold raises the volume. On the left side, a single press toggles between ANC and transparency and a double press pulls up the voice assistant while a long press and hold lowers the volume. This is somewhat customisable in the Jabra Sound+ app.

Companion App

The Jabra Sound+ companion app is a must-download, in my opinion. First off, you get your firmware updates there, but there is a bunch of other features that you can access, including an EQ, control customisation, in-ear detection, Spotify Tap, MySound, which is personalised EQ essentially, and personalised ANC. Personalised ANC is a bit of a misnomer. You need to be in a noisy place to do it, and it’s basically just a slider where you pick what option sounds like it cancels out the most noise. Not very personalised, but /shrug.

ANC

Now, let’s talk about ANC. These are using hybrid ANC, which is basically using feedback and feedforward microphones to help cancel out noise. I thought that the ANC on the Elite 7 Pro was just passable when I tried them, and, well, it’s kinda still just passable here. With music playing, yes, you do drown out environmental noise, but in crowded areas, there’s still a touch of noise that’s not able to be completely removed. Train rumble and engine noise is still quite decently removed though, so if you’re planning on using these mostly for your daily commute, it should be fine.

Connectivity

These run on Bluetooth 5.2 and support the SBC, AAC and aptX codecs, which is nice. There’s also multipoint and the earbuds can remember up to six devices, so that’s probably more than enough for most people with a phone, a laptop, a desktop and a tablet.

Battery Life

Battery life is pretty good, Jabra claims nine hours with ANC off and seven hours with ANC on. With the case, it comes up to a total of 36 hours with ANC off and 28 hours with ANC on, so around an additional three charges in the case. I did find myself having to bump the volume up a bit on my iPhone for some reason, listening at around 40-ish% to feel like it’s the approximate loudness I typically listen to, so just something to note. Battery life is relatively accurate, I did get slightly over six hours with ANC on, so that’s decent.


The earbuds are IP55 dust and water resistance rated, and I know a lot of people like using Jabra’s earbuds when they’re exercising, so yes, no problems there at all.

Microphone Quality

Mic quality is pretty good, as usual, the one thing I’d say needs a bit of improvement is background noise rejection. If you’re just taking calls indoors and in quieter environments though, there shouldn’t be much of a problem at all.

Sound Quality

As for sound quality, it’s relatively flat compared to the more bass-heavy Elite 4 Active and it’s quite in line with how the Elite 7 Pro sounded. That balanced sound also makes it easy to tweak the EQ to your liking, so that’s nice. Personally, I felt it was alright, but I did find myself boosting the bass and mids from time to time. Again, the Smooth preset was one of my favourites among the existing options, so that’s a good starting point if you want to play around with the EQ.


The soundstage is a bit narrower and not as wide and spacious as a lot of other earbuds nowadays. Instrument imaging is pretty accurate though, so that’s good.


All in all, the Jabra Elite 5 are a decent pair of earbuds at this price point. There’s decent, balanced sound, good battery life, aptX support and they’re comfortable. The one big thing I would hope to see improved in future products would be the ANC performance.


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