Home Rock music Don’t need ANC? Those $ 80 wireless headphones rock

Don’t need ANC? Those $ 80 wireless headphones rock



The Jabra Elite 3 wireless headphones are designed for the paralyzed and budget-conscious user.

These are a simple pair of budget headphones with just enough mast features and enough battery to last all day, if not longer.

They don’t look flashy with RGB lights and they don’t contain advanced Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). That’s okay because the Elite 3 only costs $ 80. For the money, Jabra has set a new standard for budget wireless headphones. The Elite 3 hits well above its weight class.

It seems more expensive

The Elite 3 pops out of the holster easily, and the holster is small enough to sit comfortably in your pocket without even noticing it. Alejandro Medellin / Entrance

Jabra’s $ 80 Elite 3 can’t compare to the best wireless ANC headphones like Sony’s WF-1000XM4 in the sound department. But, they hold up, with a surprisingly reliable and pleasant sound that I enjoyed. To my ears, the Elite 3 sounded better right out of the box than Google’s Pixel Buds A-Series, and the EQ presets in the Sound + app further improved the audio quality.

For punchy hip hop songs like “Seeing Green” by Nicki Minaj, which has one of Lil Wayne’s top ten lines – “Bop-bop-bop-bop-bop, he was a good cat, my bad, dawg” BARS! – the preset equalizer “Bass boost” directly slapped. The bass drums sounded as they should without drowning out the claps, snares or backing vocals. I also liked the “Smooth” EQ preset for its best soundstage, noticeably separating the different instruments in songs like “Ode To The Mets”. through Shots.

Elite 3 punches manner above its weight class.

I felt the Elite 3 sounded best at two-thirds of the volume. At full or near max volume the feel was uncomfortable and the distortion severe enough to ruin any song.

Power all day

Whether the seal is tight or just right, the Elite 3 can last quite a long time on a single charge. I have been using the Elite 3 exclusively for two weeks. I charged the box (USB-C) when I received the headphones and again about a week later. Incidentally, the heads are designed to protrude from the bottom of the charging case for easy removal, and they snap into place satisfactorily when charging. The hinge isn’t as fun as the AirPods or Pixel Buds, but the restless will be happy to know that the case closes with a snap of meat thanks to a built-in magnet.

Total battery life (earphones + case) is rated at 28 hours, earphones last 7 hours on a full charge for a total of four charges. However, I never ran out of battery in one sitting. I mainly used the heads in 2-4 hour periods several times a day, which is why I only had to charge the case twice in two weeks. Another reason why these affordable headphones have a long battery life is that they lack power-hungry features like noise cancellation or sound scaling like Sony DSEE Extreme.

Comfort may vary

Compared to the Jabra Elite 65T, with which the Elite 3 headphones share many similarities, Jabra’s budget wireless headphones are much smaller. They are comfortable to wear for 3-4 hours and my only gripe is the suction they create due to the tightness of the joint. This is a problem that persists with my Elite 65T. The suction makes your ears feel like they’re completely plugged in and in my opinion they can sound muffled or like the sound is blocked, basically sounding much lower compared to a normal earphone. . Other companies sometimes add vents to relieve air pressure, which I would have liked to see here, but then again, it’s $ 80, so any extra would have increased the price. This is not a problem, but I have often had to readjust one or the other earbuds to avoid excessive suction. Using a smaller set of ear tips can alleviate the problem, however, the less tight seal also allows for more sound, which reduces sound quality.

The large surface area of ​​the earpiece makes it easy to play, pause or skip a song. Alejandro Medellin / Entrance

The fit has its drawbacks, but the physical functionality of the device is generally excellent. With just one button on each button, Jabra got creative with the Elite 3. Press the right button to play or pause music, double tap to skip forward and three taps go to the previous song. The sound adjustment, however, is too delicate; it is better to just use the volume buttons on your phone. Holding the earpiece upright increases the volume until you let go; the same on the left button lowers the volume. This is a flawed solution that left me unsatisfied with the volume I wanted, but it can be useful in a pinch. Press both buttons to turn the headphones on or off while holding them down to activate pairing mode.

Elite features

Small headphones may have an odd shape, but they fit perfectly. Alejandro Medellin / Entrance

For a pair of headphones under $ 100, there are a few features that I didn’t expect. On the one hand, the Jabra Elite 3 uses Qualcomm’s aptX codec, known for its lower latency and faster transfer rates, that surpass the standard SBC codec which is also supported. If you have an Android device with a Qualcomm chip, chances are aptX is enabled and you will be able to enjoy the feature. It would have been nice if the Elite 3 supported Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) for the best compatibility on Apple devices, especially now that Apple Music has lossless audio, but that’s what it is.

To get better sound, the Sound + app includes several equalizer presets and a few other settings to adjust. There isn’t much to do here, but you can update the firmware and enable the “Find my Jabra” feature. You can also customize the controls on the left earbud. If you’re still talking to your phone’s assistant, you can turn it on. You can choose between your phone’s default assistant (Google Assistant or Siri) or Amazon Alexa. Or, you can program the button to launch Spotify and start playing music immediately, even if the app is closed. You can set either function on a double click. Press the left earbud once to activate my favorite feature: HearThrough.

The Sound + app lets you tweak a few EQ presets and customize the controls on the left earbud.Screenshots: Alejandro Medellin / Entrance

I’ve loved HearThrough since I first tried the 65T headphones, and I always complain when other headphones don’t include a similar feature. HearThrough turns on the microphones and plays amplified external sound directly into your ears; this is better than the “transparency” or “ambient” modes available on AirPods and other wireless headphones. When you think someone is calling your name or you have a sixth sense, the postman knocks on the door, press it once and listen. The feature doesn’t work as well when listening at high volume, but it does work quite well at low to medium volume. I know it’s not ideal, but it’s better than removing an earpiece for potentially nothing.

Even when I’m working from home, I like to be alert, and this feature gives me peace of mind. Whether it’s my cats heckling or my wife letting me know that her virtual meeting is over, I love being able to be present without being completely lost in my music. I had connection issues where HearThrough cut off while I was cooking. Perhaps the loud, buzzing noise from the hood somehow interfered with the microphones. It’s not really a knock on the microphones (two noise isolators on each button), which I was told sounded clear, even when I moved around my apartment to do household chores.

Master of budgets

The biggest downside to choosing wireless headphones is that companies keep adding features and complicating things. Everything is ANC this and the touch controls that. That’s good and all, but what if all you want is a simple pair of wireless earbuds that sound great and won’t make you cry if you accidentally lose an earbud or lose it. break?

One of the best no frills wireless earphones for less than $ 100.

Fortunately, Jabra realized this. The Elite 3s are easily one of the best no-frills wireless headphones for under $ 100 available today. They remind me a lot of the classics Elite 65T, which launched at just over double the $ 80 price of the Elite 3. The Elite 65T may look quaint in comparison, but the Elite 3 headphones easily carry on their legacy with longer battery life and improved sound quality. And it’s all wrapped up in a more compact design. At $ 80, you can’t go wrong with the Elite 3 if you don’t need features like ANC or more advanced controls.

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