Audio

Earbuds so light, they delight

Three months after Jabra launched its latest true wireless in-ear headphones with the Elite 75t, its "active" cousin now joins the line-up.

The Jabra Elite Active 75t - which costs $30 more - looks like the "non-active" version. In fact, they share identical specifications, apart from their water-resistance ratings.

While the 75t has a water resistance rating of IP55, the Active 75t has a rating of IP57. The practical difference: The 75t is good enough for jogging in a drizzle, but the Active 75t can survive drenching under torrential downpours.

Also, while the 75t comes in black and gold, the Active 75t has four colour options - grey (version tested), dark blue, pink and green. The pink and green versions will be available at a later date.

The Active 75t's earbuds and the charging case have rubberised textures, unlike the smooth textures on the 75t.

The earbuds - each has a circular button with the Jabra logo and a very short stem - look really sleek. Ditto their colour-matching, compact charging case, which has a rear USB-C charging port. But the case does not support wireless charging.

Included are three pairs of ear tips of different sizes. I find the right fit with the medium-sized ones, which allow the earbuds to stay snugly in place when I am jogging, despite lacking the ear hooks or neckbands found in many fitness-centric in-ear headphones.

The Active 75t is truly a cable-less delight that is so lightweight, you do not feel like it is there when you are wearing it.

On the downside, there is no active noise cancellation (ANC), though the earbuds do create a good seal against ambient noise. But for a pair of fitness-centric headphones, having no ANC can be a good thing as you will want to be aware of your surroundings while exercising.

For that, the Active 75t even has a HearThrough function that allows you to hear what is going on nearby with the earbuds on and the music playing.

I use this function on my jogs and it lets me hear approaching joggers and cyclists at the park connector so I can keep my distance.

  • FOR

    • Cordless convenience during workouts

    • Great sound quality

    • Good call quality

    • Comfortable and snug fit

  • AGAINST

    • Lacks active noise cancellation

    • Charging case does not support wireless charging

    • Does not differ much from the Elite 75t

  • SPECS

    PRICE: $318

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 5.0

    WATER RESISTANCE: IP57

    WEIGHT: 5.5g (earbud), 35g (charging case)

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

However, the headphone controls need some time to get used to. For instance, you press and hold the left earbud's button for at least one second to lower the volume and do likewise with the right earbud's button to increase the volume. I always forget which side does what.

But the audio quality is top-notch, with great bass oomph, pleasing mids and detailed highs. It does not lose details even with the volume cranked up.

Furthermore, I can customise the equaliser settings using the Sound+ app (available for Android and iOS), as well as use the equaliser presets.

Battery life is excellent, rated at 71/2 hours of music playback on a full charge and a total of 28 hours with the charging case. I find the rating to be spot on - the battery level drops by 50 per cent after four hours of continuous playback during my test.

At $318, the Active 75t is slightly cheaper and more versatile than its nearest competitor, the Beats Powerbeats Pro ($328). It also sounds better.

Unless you already have the Elite 75t, the Jabra Elite Active 75t is worth checking out if you are looking for new earbuds for workouts.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2020, with the headline 'Earbuds so light, they delight '. Print Edition | Subscribe