Jabra is continuing its tireless pursuit of the perfect pair of true wireless earbuds, with the Elite 7 Pro and its sporty companion the Elite 7 Active. The 7 series are taking the reins from the Elite 85t
but with a slightly more affordable price.
Costing only $199 / £199 / AU$299, the Elite 7 Pro are in the lower mid-range market for true wireless earbuds, but many of the 7-series features compete or outclass competition at a higher price point.
These earbuds have been designed with comfort and convenience in mind. The compact charging case is a timesaver, and the lightweight molded buds almost feel like they disappear when worn. Still, the build feels relatively solid.
An impressive IP57 rating makes these buds more waterproof than the Sony’s WF-1000XM4
or other premium competitors.
Users will find a comprehensive set of controls and customizations in the MySound+ companion app from Jabra, allowing them to adjust noise-cancellation and ambient sound settings.
Right out of the box, the Elite 7 Pro produces scooped sound, with dominant bass and mids, but you can adjust this with the app’s equalizer. Still, we think the audio isn’t very spacious, offering compressed output akin to sound produced by Beats headphones.
While the ANC is decent in these earbuds, it’s no match for competition in higher price brackets. Call quality, on the other hand, is excellent, thanks to the work of a four-microphone array in concert with bone conduction sensors.
The battery life is especially solid despite its diminutive size, with 30 hours total (8 in the buds and 22 in the case) playback with ANC engaged. The Elite 7 series use the latest Bluetooth 5.2 standard although support for hi-res codecs is absent and Bluetooth Multipoint support is scheduled to be added in January 2022.
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The Jabra Elite 7 Pro launched alongside its Elite 7 Active counterpart in October 2021 with a retail price of $199 / £199 / AU$299. They’re available in Titanium Black, Black or Gold Beige color configurations.
This is a fairly competitive price point for true wireless in-ears featuring noise-cancellation and a solid battery life. In comparison, Sony’s industry-leading WF-1000XM4 launched at $280 / £250 / AU$450. Since the launch, the price of the Sony earbuds has already been slashed considerably, and may have reached a point closer to Jabra’s newer buds.
Design and controls
- IP57 dust/water resistance
- Lightweight, comfortable and secure
- Excellent controls and customizability
The buds themselves are some of the most compact we’ve reviewed, with their lightweight and sculpted form fitting comfortably and securely in our ears. They arrive with three pairs of ear-tips of differing sizes to help with the fit. One of those ear-tips should work for you because, according to Jabra, the inner shape of the earbuds has been designed “using data from 62,000 ear scans.”
All three color options are relatively understated and classy. The case and buds have minimal trim or markings in their design — outside of the Jabra logo and a subtle two-tone accent differentiating the buttons from the body.
The charging case itself sports a similarly elegant aesthetic, and it’s comparable in size to Sony’s WF-1000XM4 case but with slightly more heft. Its squat form and flat top and bottom mean this case won’t topple over or off many types of surfaces.
In its waterproofing abilities, the Elite 7 Pro have an advantage over some of its pricier rivals. The buds are rated at IP57, meaning they’re fairly well protected against dust ingress and are rated to be submerged at a depth of 1 meter for half an hour.
In practice, this means that you won’t have to worry about the buds being damaged by sweat, heavy rain, or a tumble into a puddle. Comparatively, Sony’s WF-1000XM4 only boast an IPX4 rating — no dust protection and merely splashproof — so the IP57 rating is definitely a selling point for the Jabra.
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Jabra’s Sound+ companion app is incredibly intuitive and offers a great degree of control and customization over the Elite 7 Pro. The app can run a test to ensure the buds are fitted correctly with the current tip size, as well as personalize the level of noise-cancellation so that it’s comfortable for you.
It also includes a comprehensive control scheme for the buttons on both the left and right buds — something that’s frustratingly limited in most competitors — allowing you to select exactly what a single, double or triple press will achieve when playing media, receiving an incoming call or being on a call.
Among the deep control scheme settings is the option to simultaneously mute (although not pause) any playing media when the transparency mode is engaged. This is a feature we’ve rarely seen in various earbud designs but is a total benefit for the buds that boast it. In the vast majority of situations when you want to be able to hear your surroundings, you won’t want your music to continue playing.
The buttons themselves aren’t touch capacitive, but instead offer a soft-click actuation, which is the perfect balance in our opinion. This means you won’t accidentally engage the button when adjusting the bud in your ear, but you also won’t have to press so hard to activate that you make your ear canal uncomfortable.
If physical controls aren’t your speed, then these buds feature Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant built-in. These enjoy a similar level of configurability as the other controls on the Jabra Elite 7 Pro.
Audio and ANC
- Bass and treble too strong
- EQ adjustment helps
- ANC is good but not great
As for the out-of-the-box audio profile, the sound is heavily scooped — at once overwhelming and sometimes boomy in the bass frequencies while being boosted and occasionally brittle in the upper treble range: all of this reduces the clarity of the mids.
You can employ something that Jabra calls a MySound hearing profile, which customizes the frequency response after conducting a brief (1-minute) test. While we admire inclusions such as this, and did notice a subtle shift in the right direction after engaging this mode, it didn’t balance out the profile quite as much as we’d hoped. To be fair, the usefulness of this feature will vary listener-to-listener by virtue of being personalized.
There’s also a five-band equalizer in the app, allowing you to adjust the signature even further to your liking. This certainly offered a decent remedy to the scooped profile, all-but rectifying the issue. Still, we found that even this additional layer of finetuning couldn’t tame the issue entirely.
As is common with many in-ear audio devices, we found the music to have a fairly compressed delivery, with less of a sense of space than over-ear cans are usually able to deliver (in addition to other earbuds, for that matter). This quality isn’t always a detractor as it can work well with certain genres of music like electronic and hip hop — if you’re a fan of the punchy sound delivered by Beats headphones, then this isn’t too dissimilar.
All this isn’t to say the audio quality is bad — there’s no sign of distortion even at high volumes, and there’s no denying that the presence and impact of the sound signature excites certain bass-heavy genres — but those seeking a more neutral sound may need to look elsewhere.
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The noise-cancelling performance is in league with its overall audio offering, which is to say it’s good and plenty serviceable, but not the best. While it handles static noises fairly well, more sporadic sounds aren’t filtered all too much and the end result is a considerable lessening of unwanted disturbance, but not elimination. With that said, even when ANC isn’t engaged, the passive isolation on these buds is better than much of the competition thanks to the tight and deep fit of the eartips and sculpted shape.
There is a sliding scale within the app that allows you to adjust the level of ANC, but we felt the pressure in the upper settings to be a little uncomfortable and quickly fatiguing. As is to be expected, there’s also a transparency mode (dubbed HearThrough by Jabra) that admits external sounds if you wish, and this works as it should.
The quality of both the audio and ANC need to be considered in tandem with the lower price of these buds. They’re not going to beat out heavyweights like the flagship Sony or Bose buds on either desirable feature, but both features work solidly for their price.
When it comes to call quality, the Elite 7 Pro excel. Through a combination of bone conduction and four external microphones, your voice when on a call is picked up rather well. When in windy environments, the extra environmental noise is cancelled from your voice (with the help of those bone conduction sensors again).
As with all true wireless earbuds, the distance from your mouth to the microphones means they’ll never be as good as over-ear headphones — or of course talking straight into your phone — but this is some of the best we’ve heard.
Battery and connectivity
- 8 hours + 22 in case (ANC on)
- Qi wireless charging case
- Bluetooth 5.2
The battery life of Jabra’s tiny buds is rather impressive for the market, with a solid 8 hours of ANC-enabled playback for the buds themselves and an extra 22 in the case, bringing it up to a 30-hour total. By comparison, Sony’s WF-1000XM4 get 8 hours from the buds with ANC engaged and another 16 in the case.
What’s more, the case offers fast charging, with five minutes of case time giving the buds a full hour of playback. You can recharge the case itself with its USB-C port or wirelessly via a Qi-compatible charging mat — a feature that’s typically reserved for the pricier options.
As for Bluetooth standards, the Elite 7 Pro supports the latest 5.2 version, meaning greater connection stability, simultaneous audio streaming to the left and right ear, and better power optimization (this contributes to the decent battery life).
While the buds don’t feature any hi-res codecs like atpX or LDAC, the support for SBC and AAC will be plenty for most listeners that use streaming platforms such as Spotify; the audio is already compressed for bitrates these two codecs support.
Although they don’t currently feature Bluetooth Multipoint connectivity, which will enable simultaneous connection and seamless switching between two devices, Jabra promises this will land in January 2022. If this is a crucial feature for you, you might want to hold out until that time.
Should I buy the Jabra Elite 7 Pro?
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