Jabra Elite 75t vs. Apple AirPods Pro: Who makes the better buds?

In 2018 and 2019, it seemed that no matter which true wireless earbuds we compared to Apple’s AirPods, we always found the AirPods lacking in some way. But Apple’s $249 AirPods Pro are an order of magnitude better than the original AirPods, and this changes everything. It even creates a conundrum for Jabra, the maker of the superb Elite and Elite Active line of true wireless buds.

In the past, the Jabra Elite 65t handily beat the AirPods by offering a lot more for less money. But the AirPods are no longer Apple’s top dog, which could leave Jabra’s new $179 Elite 75t looking like it’s fallen behind before it even gets started. Does the Elite 75t make a strong argument that you don’t need to spend $70 more on the Apple AirPods Pro, or have they been outclassed? Let’s find out as we put these two true wireless earbuds head-to-head.

Battery life

jabra elite 75t review true wireless headphones rs 5
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We’ll start with an area that’s of particular interest to travelers. Even though true wireless earbuds can be easily topped up by slipping them back into their charging case for a spell, the longer you can go between naps, the better. The Jabra Elite 75t have an impressive 7.5 hour battery life on a single charge, while their charging case ups the total amount of charge to 28 hours before you need to find somewhere to plug in. For those who are keeping score, that’s way better than the 75t’s predecessor — the Elite 65t — despite the 75t’s smaller size.

Apple’s AirPods have always been decent performers at 5 hours between trips to the charging case, but the AirPods Pro haven’t improved on that number. It’s the same story for the AirPods Pro’s wireless charging case: It extends the total time to 24 hours. Jabra was already a leader in battery life and the Elite 75t extends that lead even further.

Winner: Jabra Elite 75t

Sound and call quality

Apple AirPods Pro
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As popular as Apple’s AirPods are, most would agree that their sound quality was acceptable but hardly noteworthy. The AirPods Pro make a dramatic leap forward in this area, partially due to their in-ear design. which does a much better job of sound isolation. Their adaptive EQ also makes a difference. The result is so good that we’re willing to put the AirPods Pro up against the very best true wireless earbuds in terms of sound quality. They’re clear, smooth, and balanced.

The Jabra Elite 75t will definitely please those with a taste for big-time bass, but if you prefer a more balanced audio experience, you may find that bass overwhelming at times, even though the Jabra Sound+ app gives you full control over the 75t’s EQ and lets you create presets for different activities.

But the AirPods Pro didn’t just surprise us in terms of sound quality — they also performed better than the Elite 75t for phone calls too. We found that the AirPods did a better job of canceling out competing sounds in busy locations, something that has normally been one of Jabra’s greatest strengths.

Winner: Apple AirPods Pro

Noise cancellation and transparency

Apple AirPods Pro
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This one’s a bit of a no-brainer. The AirPods Pro feature active noise cancellation (ANC) and it’s amazing. With an ability to silence the outside world that is almost as good as Sony’s class-leading WF-1000XM3, the AirPods Pro truly impress. A long-press on the earbud lets you switch between ANC and transparency mode ,which is also very well executed, giving the impression you’re not wearing the earbuds at all. There’s still a tiny bit of ANC hiss noticeable in quieter locations, but it’s minor.

The Elite 75t do not have an ANC feature, relying instead on passive noise isolation to keep the outside world from intruding. As noise-isolating designs go, it’s very good, but it can’t compete with the AirPods Pro’s brilliant ANC. The Elite 75t also sports a transparency mode, which Jabra calls “HearThrough.” Unlike Apple’s transparency mode, which can only be turned on and off, Jabra lets you fine-tune HearThrough to let more or less sound in, which could be useful depending on your situation.

With a superb ANC feature that the Elite 75t simply can’t match, Apple takes this round.

Winner: Apple AirPods Pro

Fit, form, and function

Jabra elite 75t true wireless headphones
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How a true wireless earbud fits, feels, and functions can be as (or more) important than all of the other areas combined. If they’re not comfortable for you, or you simply hate the way they work, you won’t be a happy camper no matter how good they may sound or perform in other areas. While both the AirPods Pro and Elite 75t are very small in terms of their overall size — which will help more people find a good fit — the Jabras are just a bit smaller. They both come with three sizes of eartips to help further customize the fit.

Apple’s iOS settings app for the AirPods Pro includes an Ear Tip Fit Test function that guides you through a simple process to help you identify the right eartip size for your ears. Even if you ultimately decide that a different size than the one recommended feels more comfortable, it’s a good way to determine which ones to use. Of course, if you’re on Android, you’ll have to go by feel.

The Elite 75t use physical buttons (one on each earbud) as opposed to the AirPods Pro touch/squeeze control scheme. We found that the Elite’s buttons were easy to use in all situations and provided an excellent tactile “click” to let you know you pressed them correctly. Unless you wear thick mitts, you should have no problem using them. The AirPods Pro work well too, but it’s easier to accidentally trigger a touch command when trying to adjust the fit or take them out of your ears.

Once again, the AirPods Pro get their full convenience factor when used with an iPhone. Hands-free Siri is available, and you can adjust what the touch controls do. However, regardless of iOS or Android, the volume can only be controlled on your phone (or via Siri on iOS).

The Elite 75t won’t let you change what the button clicks do, but once you have the sequences memorized, you probably won’t want to mess with them. With a total of eight functions including volume control, there’s very little you can’t do with those two buttons. They also let you speak to Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri, depending on your smartphone, but none of these are hands-free options.

When it comes to their charging cases and overall portability, these two products are evenly matched. Both offer some of the smallest cases you can find, and they’re a pleasure to use.

We think Jabra takes this one by a nose, but these are both very well-designed true wireless earbuds.

Winner: Jabra Elite 75t

Durability

Jabra elite 75t true wireless headphones
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The AirPods Pro now finally offer the IPX4 water and sweat resistance that the AirPods have been missing. That’s a big plus. However, Jabra’s Elite series have always done well in this regard and the Elite 75t have an IP56 rating that offers significantly more protection from both water and dust. On this point alone, the Jabras make a better case for long-term reliability.

But there’s another thing to consider: Apple has been put on the hot seat in the past for its poor battery longevity in the AirPods. We can’t say for sure how the AirPods Pro will fare on this topic, but Apple hasn’t offered any specific statements claiming that it has made changes to its battery tech. Jabra’s products have never been singled out for similar criticism. While that’s no guarantee the Elite 75t will avoid battery problems, it’s clear which company has a better track record so far.

Winner: Jabra Elite 75t

Conclusion

The Jabra Elite 75t are tiny, comfortable, durable, easy to use, and have a good battery life. At $180, they’re not the cheapest true wireless earbuds, but they’re still a lot less expensive than Apple’s AirPods Pro, Sony’s WF-1000XM3, and the Sennheiser Momentum true wireless. While their sound and call quality might not be as well-executed as these other products, much of this will come down to personal taste — their bass-heavy style will still win them many fans. If you’re an Android user, look no further.

However, iPhone users should definitely consider spending the extra $70 on the AirPods Pro. For that extra cash, you get almost everything you could ask for: Sound quality, superb ANC, and access to iPhone-only features like hands-free Siri, customizable controls, and the fit test.

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