Back when Apple announced the AirPods, they got highly mixed reactions. While most people mocked the design, some calling it a blow dryer for Smurfs, others praised the truly wireless design and the case which charges the AirPods whenever you put them back after usage.
My experience with the AirPods showed that they did not come without shortcomings. The design while catchy and somewhat of a style statement now, does not fit right in different sizes of ears and thus may or may not be a snug fit. The sound quality is almost exactly the same as the earpods that are bundled with iPhones which means that you’re not gonna be blown away by it. Even the noise cancellation is practically non existent, which means they are not the best choice of earphones in loud environments like gyms and aeroplanes.
Having fallen in love with the convenience and ease of use of truly wireless earphones but disappointed by the shortcomings of the AirPods, I set out to find a replacement, something which should fit better in my ear so I can use them in the gym without having to worry that they might fall off and with proper noise cancellation. And then, I got the Jabra Elite Sport.
Long story short, I love these earphones. They are everything that I wanted the AirPods to be.
Long story long:
The Jabra Elite Sport do not look nearly as catchy as the AirPods. That does not necessarily mean that they look bad. It’s just that they are more subtle and won’t stand out like the AirPods do. That could be an advantage or disadvantage based on the kind of user. I prefer stealth over loud any day. They come in 2 colour options. Black and the new Lime Green Gray, which I got.
Where the Jabra’s design easily wins is the customisability. The Elite Sport comes bundled with 3 sizes of ear buds in 2 different materials, foam and silicon. To add to that it also comes with what Jabra calls Secure Fit Wings, also in 3 different sizes. You might have to fiddle around to find the best combination for yourself at first but when you’re done, the fit is extremely reassuring, night and day better than the AirPods. I’ve been taking them to the gym everyday for a month and I have not had to worry about them falling off even once, something I worried about daily with the AirPods.
The case of the Elite Sport is fairly simplistic and functional. It is about twice as large as the AirPods’ case. It does feel more sturdy and rugged than the AirPods’ case, but is not quite as elegant and jewel like. When you open the case, an LED indicator on the side of the case lights up in different colors to show the battery level of the case. Close it and two more LED indicators light up to show the individual battery levels of the 2 separate earphones.
The Jabra Elite Sport comes with a host of features missing from its arch rival, Apple’s AirPods. It’s water and sweat proof which means you don’t have to worry about your sweat ruining them, a concern for people who workout. Jabra is so confident about this that they even give a staggering 3 years of warranty against sweat damage.
The Jabra Elite Sport also comes with a built in Heart Rate Sensor. This can be paired with popular fitness apps like Strava, RunKeeper or Jabra’s own companion app, Jabra Sport Life. The heart rate is picked from your ear(duh!) and you can get a pretty accurate measurement within 5-10 seconds. Jabra’s companion application is also pretty good and provides in ear tips and information.
There’s also the HearThrough feature which allows you to hear ambient sound without removing your earphones. Pretty useful if you’re talking to someone or need to listen to the surroundings. It is triggered using the two function keys on the right earbud which can require a bit of trial and error before you learn how to use them.
Lastly, I ended up using these a lot for phone calls and they were brilliant. The caller’s voice was always clear and they could hear me perfectly fine too. Very, very convenient if you talk on long phone calls regularly.
Jabra claims that the Jabra Elite Sport has a respectable 4.5 hours of battery life and could be recharged upto a 100% twice using the case. While manufacturers usually give out these numbers by testing under ideal conditions, we were actually surprised to observe battery life that was pretty much in line with Jabra’s claims. Points to Jabra for this utter honesty.
Of course battery life takes a hit if you use the HearThrough feature a lot or always listen at maximum volume, but all in all we are very satisfied with the Elite Sport’s endurance.
Let me clarify that I am in no way an audiophile. I am just a guy who loves his music. The Jabra Elite Sport has never disappointed me in terms of sound quality. There’s energy when the music demands it and at the same time, all the intricate details of soft rock and classical music can be heard clearly.
All in all, I have no complaints for the sound quality of these earphones. They sound slightly better than my AirPods and combined with the noise cancellation provide for a much better listening experience overall.
I love the Jabra Elite Sport. They have managed to replace my AirPods solely because of how better they are while working out. The reassuring fit and noise cancellation are two factors that make a huge difference to me. The AirPods might make more of a statement, given how popular they are, but Jabra Elite Sport are clearly better functionality wise.
They are more expensive than the AirPods, at $200 in the States or Rs 20,000 in India. I certainly wish that they were priced slightly lower, perhaps at the same price point as the AirPods. But all in all, I’ve fallen in love with these excellent earphones and would definitely recommend them over the AirPods, especially to those who intend to use it during their workout.