High Tech

Jabra Elite 3 review: Elite for the price

aa2020 recommended

The Jabra Elite 3 are a truly affordable and solid pair of earbuds. The inclusion of aptX is rare under $100, and the earbuds come close to nailing fundamentals like audio output and isolation.

When you’re in the market for true wireless earbuds, it can be hard to find a good pair on a budget. If $200 isn’t too steep, you can find more versatile, high-quality buds, or you can spend a lot less to get something basic. If you are set on finding something with aptX support, but you can’t spend over $100, the Jabra Elite 3 might be your answer.

The Elite 3 are the most affordable pair of true wireless earbuds Jabra has ever released. Is the price low enough to justify buying them?

This Jabra Elite 3 review comes from the audio experts at our sister site SoundGuys. Check out their in-depth take on the Jabra Elite 3.

Jabra Elite 3 Wireless Earbuds

Who is the Jabra Elite 3 for?

  • Outdoor athletes who want earbuds with transparency mode and an IP rating might like these buds.
  • Everyday listeners who want comfortable earbuds that sound good should consider these.
  • People on a budget who want to get a pair of true wireless earbuds, but aren’t ready to burn an AirPods-sized hole in their wallet will appreciate Jabra’s high-value earbuds.

What’s it like to use the Jabra Elite 3?

One Jabra Elite 3 earbud in a hand, showing the ear tip.

Sam Smart / Android Authority

The Jabra Elite 3 earbuds are simple, and that’s a good thing. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles here, so it’s easy to just put the buds in your ears and start listening.

They’re made primarily of plastic and look pretty generic, with a shape designed to nestle into your ear. These earbuds fit securely even without hooks or fins for added stability, so achieving a good seal is necessary for these buds. The Elite 3 come with additional silicone tips, so that shouldn’t be too hard.

Read more: The best workout earbuds

These earbuds are IP55 rated, so they’re guaranteed to withstand jets of water (but not submersion), along with dust and small objects. This means they’re great for outdoor activities, since they won’t perish in the rain or if you drop them on a trail on a hike. However, the case doesn’t feel too sturdy, being made of lightweight plastic. The magnets inside do a good job of keeping the earbuds in place, but the hinge feels flimsy.

Jabra Elite 3 being worn.

Sam Smart / Android Authority

The Jabra Elite 3 support the SBC and aptX Bluetooth codecs, meaning Android users get a high-quality option on these, though they’re less ideal for iPhone users since they don’t support AAC. They use Bluetooth 5.2, meaning they could one day support the new Bluetooth LE audio standard and LC3 codec.

The Jabra Elite 3 earbuds are simple, and that’s a good thing.

The Elite 3 maintain a steady connection once paired, but the initial pairing process is a bit of a hassle. They support Google Fast Pair, so a connection card should pop up on the screen of your Android device when you open the charging case, but this actually won’t work until you install the app.

Should you download the Jabra Sound Plus app?

Jabra Elite 3 Sound app on a phone.

Sam Smart / Android Authority

The Jabra Elite 3 use the Jabra Sound Plus app (available on iOS and Android) to bring a few additional features, and it’s helpful during your initial pairing process, so it’s worth a download.

Sound Plus is pretty simple, and lets you toggle HearThrough mode, choose an EQ preset, and update your firmware. The app feels like it’s made for more features, given its “edit widgets” button, but currently it only allows you to arrange whether the EQ presets are above or below the HearThrough window. The app also gives you Spotify integration, and the ability to set your voice assistant to Alexa instead of your phone’s built-in assistant.

Installing the app also activates quick settings control in the notifications section of your home screen. If you pull down the menu, you can toggle HearThrough and look at your battery life.

How is the battery life of the Jabra Elite 3?

Jabra Elite 3 case, showing the USB-C charging port.

Sam Smart / Android Authority

According to Jabra, the Elite 3 can last up to seven hours on a single charge, and in our testing, we found that was pretty accurate. At a consistent output of 75dB(SPL), the left earbud lasted six hours, 48 minutes, and the right earbud lasted a little longer at six hours, 55 minutes. Jabra also claims the case can hold three full charging cycles, extending battery life to 28 hours, and we haven’t experienced anything to dispute that.

The charging case doesn’t support wireless charging, but fast charging is available. Just 10 minutes in the case will give you an extra hour of playback time.

How well do the Jabra Elite 3 block out noise?

Jabra Elite 3 Isolation chart.

Sam Smart / Android Authority

The Jabra Elite 3 have pretty standard isolation performance for true wireless earbuds without active noise-cancellation (ANC). If you have the right size ear tips to get a decent seal, you shouldn’t be too bothered in most areas with a moderate amount of noise. Busy traffic or loud cafe sounds won’t be blocked out much, but that isn’t necessarily bad. Being able to hear your surroundings is pretty important, hence why these earbuds also have HearThrough mode.

Check out: The best noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds

How do the Jabra Elite 3 sound?

Jabra Elite 3 frequency response chart.

Sam Smart / Android Authority

The Jabra Elite 3 (cyan line) actually follow Soundguys‘ target curve (pink line) quite closely. There’s a bit more of an emphasis in the bass frequencies, but otherwise the earbuds nicely emphasize highs and mids. This is using the Neutral EQ preset on the buds, but there are more options to choose from, like bass boost, treble boost, and more. However, you can’t create a custom EQ in the app.

How is the microphone in the Jabra Elite 3?

Jabra Elite 3 earbuds on a table, with the case behind it, open.

Sam Smart / Android Authority

The microphone in the Jabra Elite 3 sounds pretty average for the price. The microphone is relatively clear, but doesn’t do a great job of blocking out environmental noise. It’s fine for a quick phone call, but not much else.

Jabra Elite 3 microphone demo (Ideal):

Jabra Elite 3 microphone demo (Street):

Jabra Elite 3 review: The verdict

Jabra Elite 3 case in a hand.

Sam Smart / Android Authority

If you’re in the market for a reliable pair of budget true wireless earbuds, the Jabra Elite 3 are definitely worth considering. They’re easy to use, sound good, and have solid battery performance. There’s not a lot to them, but for $79.99, extra features aren’t really to be expected.

The Jabra Elite 3 are a great choice for the budget-conscious consumer.

I have concerns about the durability of the case, but most true wireless earbud cases have flimsy hinges anyway. These buds are ultimately a great choice for the budget-conscious consumer.

Jabra Elite 3 Wireless Earbuds

Jabra Elite 3 Wireless Earbuds

Jabra Elite 3 are the company’s cheapest true wireless product to date. They offer aptX support on a budget, solid sound quality and isolation, and are easy to use.

How do the Jabra Elite 3 compare to other Jabra earbuds?

Jabra Elite 7 Active and Jabra Elite 7 Pro beside each other on a table.

Sam Smart / Android Authority

The Jabra Elite 7 Active ($179) are an excellent pair of workout buds, with an IP57 rating, a “ShakeGrip” rubberized coating, and a great fit. They support wireless charging and use USB-C to fast charge. They also have good active noise-cancelling. However, they only support SBC and aptX, so iPhone users may want to get the Jabra Elite 7 Pro ($199) instead for AAC support.

The Jabra Elite 75t ($149) are one of the best of the Elite line. If you have an iPhone and the lack of AAC support on the Elite 3 is the only downside for you, the Elite 75t have it, though they don’t support aptX. They also have ANC, though it’s not the best. They have the same IP55 rating as the Elite 3, charge via USB-C, and have slightly battery life. The Elite 3 also produce better sound than the Elite 75t, hewing a bit closer to the SoundGuys consumer curve, while the Elite 75t have a more workout-friendly sound with a bigger bass emphasis. The Elite 75t also allow you to create a custom EQ in the My Sound Plus app, which is a great feature to have.

What are some alternatives to the Jabra Elite 3?

A person holds open the case to the Amazon Echo Buds (Gen. 2), while it attempts to connect to a phone.

Since the Jabra Elite 3 aren’t super Apple-friendly, people with iPhones should probably look to the many options that support AAC. The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 ($89) and Amazon Echo Buds (2nd gen) ($119) are both reasonably priced and support the AAC audio codec. Both allow you to set custom EQ profiles too, which is a great feature to have.

The JBL Tune 230NC ($99) are another great option at an affordable price. You get active noise-cancelling, SBC and AAC support, and a good app with custom EQ. They do have a stemmed design like AirPods, so if you’re taking your mask on and off a lot, they could get caught on it.

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