Forget Apple Airpods 3, Or Samsung Buds, These Earbuds Are Perfect All-Rounders – Forbes

The Jabra Elite 7 Pro are worth taking a serious look at.

Janhoi McGregor

As a reviewer I’m constantly hunting for the best all-rounder headphones that balance features, size and price perfectly. Or, on the other end of the scale, unusually cheap buds that do one thing really well.

Apple’s new AirPods 3 have made a number of improvements like spatial audio, but the omission of active noise cancelling (ANC) means they miss out on a key feature, which is hard to swallow at $179. Samsung’s very capable Galaxy Buds 2 don’t quite deliver in the call quality department and the ANC is weak. Of all of the earbuds that have pumped music into my ears this year, only a few pairs have come close to winning that coveted all-rounder title, one of them is the Jabra Elite 7 Pro.

I have been testing these for the last couple of weeks and while I think the Danish company’s $79 Elite 3 buds are some of the best value around, the additional features the 7 Pro provide are worth taking a look at. I’ll be clear, the ANC on Apple’s AirPods Pro and Sony’s Wh-1000xm4 buds is undoubtedly better. But they cost a lot more. The $20 price difference between the AirPods 3 and Elite 7 Pro is worth paying for an important feature like ANC.

MORE FROM FORBESAmazon & Best Buy Suddenly Discount Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel & OnePlus 9 Pro

I’ll get into noise cancelling later, but what strikes me about the Jabra buds are how good they sound on phone calls. This is typically very much Apple’s area, but Jabra’s “MultiSensor Voicebone” technology has levelled the playing field. Like many buds the Elite 7 Pro have a voice processing unit that analyses and isolates your voice whilst removing interfering sounds when talking. But there’s an additional bone conduction sensor that picks up vibrations in your jaw when speaking, this is combined with microphones and other technology to deliver really clear call quality. The result? A friend could not tell I was walking through a busy market near my house when chatting.

I also like the back to basics physical buttons. Longstanding readers will know about my Basil Fawlty-esq tribulations with capacitive areas on earbuds. They have, to be fair, massively improved since the early days of Google’s first pair of disastrous Pixel Buds that required the steady hand of a surgeon to operate. Samsung has also done a good job of eliminating accidental touches in its latest releases. But physical buttons, as old school as they are, add confidence and certainty to interactions.

The Jabra Elite 7 Pro have physical buttons.

Janhoi McGregor

It’s satisfying to know for a fact that I have skipped a song, turned on ambient sound mode, or paused content, instead of hoping the command has been properly registered. Out of the box the left bud toggles ambient sound mode and ANC, while the right bud plays and pauses content. This can be customised in the Jabra Sound+ app. Despite the physical buttons the buds are small – a welcome trend in most 2021 earbuds. The bulk of their 85T predecessors has been removed to make them less imposing in your ears. 

In terms of sound quality they perform well. Mids and highs come through louder than the bass, which sounds just slightly underpowered to me. Jabra has clearly tried to balance the sound without falling into the trap of overcompensating with too much bass to mask other deficiencies. For pop listeners these are good buds. The vocals on Dua Lipa’s Levitating come through really clearly, with other elements easily distinguishable.  Other bass heavier tracks like Nolay’s Stop Acting don’t have the punch that I prefer and can sound a bit flat in comparison to the rich, powerful bass of rivals like Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro. 

The Jabra Sound+ app has lots of customisation options.

Janhoi McGregor

What works for Jabra is the in-depth equaliser settings. This is a mainstay of most Jabra buds with the exception of the ultra cheap Elite 3. You can tweak the frequencies or use presets to achieve your perfect sound. But, to my ears, even with bass boost the buds don’t quite deliver the punch I need.

Overall though I’ve opted to use these over other earbuds when travelling because they sound good and they provide enough of all features without being too big. They’re good all-rounder earbuds that do enough of everything to satisfy you in most scenarios, which is why they’re a good pick against similarly priced competition. The ANC, for example, isn’t the strongest effort I’ve seen from Jabra – it doesn’t match up to the 85T earbuds, but it does do a decent enough job.

My litmus test for ANC is how well earbuds can reject the high-pitched screeching sounds of the London Underground, which has defeated many competitors with ease. These do enough to take the focus away from the loud environmental sounds without whacking the volume up and doing permanent damage to my eardrums. In less extreme environments, the ANC can ward off everyday sounds and help immerse you in your content. As I say, don’t plug these in expecting something like Sony’s Wh-1000xm4 buds, or even the AirPods Pro, but there’s enough here to do a necessary job. This is aided by the sealed fit that provides good passive noise cancelling and removes gaps that let sound in. 

This is all encompassed in a small pair of earbuds that can hold roughly 7-8 hours of charge. That is why they’re a good all-round pair of crowd-pleasing headphones, because they execute the basics well and have enough left for a bit of flair. There are some missing features, though. There’s no Bluetooth multipoint and the ambient sound mode has a loud, distracting white noise running in the background. I’m also not sure the ANC customisation wizard made much difference to the quality the noise cancelling that came out of the box, nor did it make much sense. I felt like I was playing with controls that were not clearly explained and left me wondering if I was making it worse. 

I also think they’re priced just slightly too highly, so if you happen to find a deal for these on Black Friday then you should seriously consider picking them up. Make sure you keep an eye out for discounts on Sony’s earbuds too, which had $20 off at Amazon earlier this week. If you’re on a tighter budget, check out the Jabra Elite 3, or hold out for expected discounts on Samsung’s impressive Galaxy Buds 2. But if you pick up a pair of the Jabra Elite 7 Pro, you won’t be disappointed.

Got a tip or questions about earbuds? Get in touch on Facebook or Instagram .

More on Forbes

Google Missed A Major Opportunity With The Pixel 6 Pro

Amazon & Best Buy Suddenly Discount Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel & OnePlus 9 Pro