Home Apple Jabra Elite 5 review: TWS earbuds convince almost everything

Jabra Elite 5 review: TWS earbuds convince almost everything

by Andrew

The Jabra Elite 5 are medium-high range TWS earphones that are satisfying from more or less every point of view and do not have serious defects that make them difficult to recommend. At the same time, however, they do not reach peaks of excellence. They’re fine, but maybe they’re not overly interesting. They stay a bit in the background and some may take them for granted.

Jabra Elite 5 review: TWS earbuds convince almost everything

Jabra puts its own effort into it because it has recently released a large number of products, and at this point it becomes almost difficult to navigate its articulated range of earbuds. These Elite 5 are likely to be overshadowed by the Elite 7 Pro and Active, which are a bit more expensive but are often discounted at the same list price as the Elite 5, or by the Elite 4 Active, which cost slightly less and do not involve major sacrifices. But let’s go in order.

The earbuds are unmistakably Jabra: the design language is typical of the brand, as well as the choice of materials and the form factor. They are worn 100% in-ear and there are no tabs or other stabilizers that help keep them in place: you rely only on the correct positioning in the ear canal, thanks also to the ear tips of various sizes, and on the very light and balanced weight of the earphones. The charging case is reasonably compact and is, let’s say, “casket”, similar to that of AirPods Pro to be clear. It has its nice front status LED, rear USB-C charging port, and more significant to observe is not there. The magnet that locks the headphones in the case is nice strong, but the shapes and interlocking of the various parts involved make it very easy to pull out the headphones – even with one hand.

Jabra Elite 5 review: TWS earbuds convince almost everything?

No touch for the controls: the part of the earbuds facing the outside of the ear, where the Jabra logo is located, is actually a physical button. Depending on your ear and the number of presses you can perform different commands, including answer the call, switch between noise cancellation profiles, next song and so on. It is a decidedly less refined solution than the touch surfaces found in many competitors, but to be honest perhaps in this case the old system is better. There is less risk of inadvertent activations, at least.

However, it lacks the ability to adjust the volume with a swipe up or down, as in traditional “touch headphones”. You can press the button for a long time, but it is less comfortable. The tactile feedback of the button however is excellent – adequate stroke, stable movement, satisfactory click and ideal choice of actuation force.


The 6mm drivers of the Jabra Elite 5 do not sound bad: perhaps they are a bit lacking in bass and mids, while the high frequencies are quite ringing, but overall the mix is pleasant. To summarize: the cymbals of a drum set sound good, the kick drum remains a little bit behind and the guitars do not shine too much, but the voices are beautiful in the foreground. In the official app there is a 5-band EQ that can help, but it was not very effective: you lose too much detail. Despite the form factor, you have less of the “audio transmitted directly to the brain” feeling typical of in-ears. It’s a slightly more open sound than you might expect.

Very good the presence of high resolution codecs widespread both on Android / Windows (Qualcomm AptX) and on iOS / macOS (AAC). The Bluetooth connection was always stable, and the multi-point support did not give any headaches. The same applies to the Google Fast Pair protocol in the case of Android smartphones. I found the microphone very good during calls and conferences, but the background noise cancellation leaves something to be desired – both in terms of ambient noise and the voices of other people in crowded areas or offices, for example. That said, I found no problems invoking and dictating commands to voice assistants.

With Google Fast Pair, you can connect in seconds
Active noise cancellation is perhaps the aspect that convinced me the least. The “hybrid” technology, which is based on inward- and outward-facing microphones, reasonably precise, mind you, but not too intense – even at maximum intensity, which can be adjusted via the official app. The hearthrough mode is certainly not as “smart” as that of the latest AirPods Pro – and there is a minimum of delay between a sound that takes place in the real world and its reproduction through the headphones. In slightly more particular scenarios it is also possible to be able to deceive the algorithm, for example with very loud and sudden noises, which are therefore not filtered, at least for the first moments. In short: not even this ANC has managed to change my mind about the superiority of a good implementation of passive isolation, as happens for example in Shure in-ear monitors.

The autonomy in real use turned out to be slightly lower than stated by the manufacturer: instead of 7 hours with active ANC in a single charge I arrived at 6 hours and 40 minutes. It should be remembered that factors such as the volume of music played and how much the ANC has to intervene have significant repercussions on autonomy. Instead, the promises on charging times, both of the earphones and of the case, have been kept more or less to the minute.

You know, each person/ear has their own mysterious preferences when it comes to evaluating the stability of a pair of earphones, but I found myself very well, and despite the absence of stabilizers I managed to perform various sports activities (including MTB sessions on rather uneven terrain) without the need to constantly reposition the headphones. I think the merit goes above all to the grommets, both as a shape and as a choice of materials, a little rougher (and therefore less slippery) than what I happened to find on competing products. The IP55 certification against water and dust means that the earbuds do not fear sweat or some splashing water, but are not suitable for diving.

The official Jabra Sound+ app is now well tested and finished: it works well and is full of interesting and well-implemented features. As with the most prestigious Elite 7 Pro, here you can adjust the ANC level according to your preferences, select the voice assistant (Assistant, Alexa and Siri supported, among others), play with the 5-band graphical EQ (you can also save presets) and activate various other behavior options. Very nice white noise generator, with lots of different sounds, and support for Find My Jabra mode, which however is a rather rudimentary implementation – it only records the GPS location of the paired smartphone when you withdraw the earphones in the case.

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