I have to preface this review by saying that I consider myself an audiophile. I love me some audio. Given my quest to find the best sounding devices possible, I have always gravitated towards over-ear headphones. Since I rarely leave the house, I haven’t gotten a lot of use out of portable in-ear headphones.
However, recently I started to go on daily walks and figured it would be a perfect time to review Jabra’s flagship truly wireless (TWS) in-ear headphones, the Elite 7 Pro. For more than a month, I used these headphones to listen to music, talk to my friends, and even edit the ICYMI videos I do every Friday. I found lots of things to love about the Elite 7 Pro, but there was also one thing that really disappointed me. Before I get into the nitty-gritty, let’s go over some general information about the headphones.
Ticking all the boxes
The Elite 7 Pro is considered Jabra’s flagship TWS headphone model, being the newest, most expensive, most feature-packed model in their lineup. They’re also soft-tipped, which not might be everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoy how soft-tipped buds fit nicely into my ears. It ticks all the boxes you want in a TWS headphone model. The Elite 7 Pro has some impressive specs and features, with both active noise cancellation (ANC) and HearThrough mode (ambient mode), and IP57-rated dust and water resistance.
To customise the controls on the earbuds, you can use the Jabra Sound+ app, available on both Android and iOS. You don’t need the app to use the earbuds, but it’s helpful if you want to customise the sound (boost the highs, lows, etc.), update the firmware, or simply see the battery percentage for the buds and case. The app also has a feature called “MySound” which performs sound tests with your ears to determine if you need any sound adjustments. When I tried it, the app deemed my hearing flat enough that it didn’t need to apply any adjustments, but it might be a useful feature if your hearing is unbalanced.
With ANC on, Jabra claims an above-average battery life. However, the main thing Jabra boasted about with the Elite 7 Pro is its “ultimate call clarity”. It uses a bone conduction system as well as four microphones to capture your voice, and I definitely think it makes a difference.
When I first tried the Elite 7 Pro, it did not have Bluetooth multipoint support. Connecting to multiple devices was a hassle and involved ‘forgetting’ the earbuds on my devices every time I wanted to reconnect them. However, Jabra rolled out a software update at the end of January 2022 that added multipoint support, three months after its launch. It’s important to note that this doesn’t enable automatic audio switching between devices. It does however make manual switching much easier and increases your quality of life tenfold if you plan to use it with multiple devices.
A microphone that does not disappoint
The microphone on these headphones is great. Compared to the Sony WF-1000XM4’s microphone which makes you sound like you’re talking from five meters away, the Elite 7 Pro’s mic seems to sound more full-bodied, like you’re closer to the mic. I first tested them by going on Discord with my friends, and they didn’t seem to mind the quality at all. I also listened back to a voice recording I made with the Elite 7 Pro and was surprised at how decent it was. Don’t get me wrong, compared to the microphone on my 2019 MacBook Pro, the Elite 7 Pro still struggles with capturing a wide frequency range, but it’s leagues ahead of my laptop’s microphone when it comes to noise isolation. This means that Jabra’s microphone truly shines in noisy environments, as its noise isolation is quite good.
Simple and sleek design
I’m a big fan of the design of both the buds and the charging case. The buds fit my ears comfortably, they’re easy to wear, and putting them back into the case is fairly easy compared to the Redmi Buds 3 Pro which stumped almost everyone in the office. It also comes with three different sizes of silicone ear tips in the box. The case, on the other hand, is quite small and very pocketable. The case material is quite durable, as I’ve thrown it into my backpack multiple times and it seems to have no scratches at all. I also like how satisfying it is to open and close the case, and am currently doing it intermittently as I am writing this review.
The controls are also great. I like the tactile feel of the buttons on the side of the buds, and the controls are very intuitive to learn. They use physical buttons instead of touchpads, which might turn some people off of them, but I don’t mind at all. Even mid-run, I can double-click on the right bud to skip a song and it won’t fall out. Speaking of falling out, it stays in my ears pretty well, but it has fallen out once during a workout. It’s great the other 99% of the time, but I just had to mention that it wasn’t perfectly fit for my ears, no matter how comfortable it was. If you’re unsure if the ear tip size is right for you, the Jabra Sound+ app can measure how well the ear tips fit in your ears. Fortunately for me, the default tips fit my ears just fine, so I did not need to switch them out to another size.
Impressive battery life with a fun surprise
Jabra claims that the Elite 7 Pro provides 9 hours of playback with the buds alone and a total of 35 hours including the charging case. Personally, I have not had to worry about this thing running out of juice throughout my entire experience of using it. Just to give you some context, I used these earbuds for an average of four hours a day, most of the time on full volume with the ANC mode off. Given my usage, I had to charge the case about once a week to keep them at a comfortable battery level.
One funny thing that happened was that I accidentally placed the case on my charging pad, and it lit up! Jabra didn’t prominently display the wireless charging feature on their website so I didn’t expect it to work, but it was a pleasant surprise. I did find out later that the logo on the bottom of the case was in fact a Qi wireless charging logo, so maybe I was the only one surprised by this.
Premium sound quality
The overall sound of the headphones is good. I prefer when devices are neutral-sounding, so you can really appreciate the mix of the music you’re listening to. The Elite 7 Pro achieves that goal fairly well. Although the high-end might seem loud to something like the WF-1000XM4, the Elite 7 Pro’s overall frequency response is quite flat and balanced. They avoid the classic ‘smiley-face’ frequency response of exaggerated highs and lows that many headphones have, for which I’m truly grateful.
Listening to Caprisongs by FKA Twigs in an MRT station was one of my favourite recent experiences. The Elite 7 Pro does not compromise in sound quality, with a responsive low end and decent mid-to-high clarity. As far as TWS headphones go, I am thoroughly impressed. Of course, it has the hallmarks of soft-tipped earbuds, both the good and the bad. This kind of headphones often shines in the bass range compared to over-ear headphones because it makes direct contact with your ear canal.
They also often have a limited soundscape or width compared to over-ears, which the Elite 7 Pro unfortunately follows. Still, I personally am in the belief that sound quality is not the main thing you should be looking for in a TWS headphone. When you start using headphones for a long period of time, your ears get adjusted to them and the exact nuances of the frequency response do not matter as much. After over a month of using these earbuds, I am perfectly happy with the sound quality with what I use it for. I wouldn’t use these to produce, mix, or master music, but no one uses TWS headphones to do that because that’s not how they’re intended to be used.
I absolutely love the HearThrough mode
One of the modes the Elite 7 Pro comes with is HearThrough or ambient mode. This allows you to hear your surroundings so you can hear when your co-workers call you and so you won’t get hit by a car on the road. I absolutely love the HearThrough mode. It’s so effective that I can hear more of my surroundings with HearThrough on compared to if I didn’t have them in my ears. Unfortunately, I like to set my volume to the max and blast my ears with music, so I can’t hear much of my surroundings when I do that, but it’s great when you’re listening at a normal, respectable volume.
Another thing I found quite impressive was the passive noise isolation. I’m not talking about the ANC; I’m talking about the natural noise muting you get strictly from the buds being in your ears. Listening to Dltzk’s Frailty in the car during a road trip made me really appreciate how good it is at blocking external sounds. Combined with loud noisy music, the Elite 7 Pro can block out almost any tire noise, talking, or even music playing from car speakers.
In addition to loud, energetic music, the Elite 7 Pro can handle soft, acoustic music as well. The flat frequency response lends itself to natural-sounding live instruments. They’re also quite comfortable, which makes them the perfect napping headphones. Near the end of a long workday, I was able to take a nap while listening to Jeongmilla’s Cheongpa Sonata and not feel like I’m wearing earbuds at all. The nap is definitely a domain where the Elite 7 Pro shines.
Apart from that, it was generally quick to connect to my devices and start listening. I like how it switches from stereo to mono if you place one bud into the case, and I like how it automatically stops and starts playing when you take it off and put it back on. Little things like that made it an enjoyable experience to use.
The Elite 7 Pro’s weaknesses
Of course, it can’t all be peaches and cream. Even though the Elite 7 Pro is mostly great, it does have some weaknesses.
Firstly, there is a noticeable amount of latency which can be quite annoying at times. For example, typing on my phone became quite irritating as I hear the typing sound effect with a noticeable delay. The problem is exacerbated when playing rhythm games, which are unplayable with the delay. I think the Elite 7 Pro’s latency isn’t terrible, but it’s definitely something I want to see improved in the future.
The model also features some minor sound glitches. I can sometimes hear a quiet, high-pitched sound on the right earbud, almost sounding like tinnitus. Another minor issue I had was a mismatch between each earbud. For instance, when I pause a YouTube video, the right earbud might stop the audio a few milliseconds before the left earbud, causing a momentary glitch.
Now for the Elite 7 Pro’s biggest weakness: ANC. The ANC is absolutely atrocious. It does not cancel the surrounding noise at all. The only thing I notice when I turn the ANC on is a high-frequency noise. It gets even more laughable when you consider that they offer multiple ‘levels’ of ANC, meaning I can turn down the incredibly weak effect to a weaker level. If you even get this model, I strongly recommend that you disable the ANC, making the mode-switching button just cycle between HearThrough and off.
My final verdict
Let’s talk about the price. The Jabra Elite 7 Pro has a retail price of RM999 and comes in black, gold beige, and titanium black. Cool colours aside, the price puts this in the ‘premium’ category alongside the Apple AirPods Pro and the aforementioned Sony WF-1000XM4. The AirPods Pro supports easy switching between devices (albeit, only for other Apple devices), but the WF-1000XM4 does not support multi-point.
I loved a lot of things about the Elite 7 Pro, including the microphone, the design, how it fits into my ears, the battery life, the sound quality, and the passive noise isolation. The only thing that disappointed me was the ANC, which feels almost non-existent. Overall, I think it’s a great pair of TWS headphones if you don’t use ANC.
I would recommend this to the sporty audience as well as casual music lovers. For premium TWS headphones, it’s definitely one of the best models you can get right now. However, if you want to use this to cancel out surrounding noise at work or on a plane, then this isn’t the one for you. If you value ANC, the AirPods Pro and the WF-1000XM4 will be more up your alley.
You can get the Jabra Elite 7 Pro at authorised stores or Shopee for RM999.