Flashy flagships may get the most attention from tech media, but there’s something really satisfying about a product that does everything you need it to and nothing you don’t at a price that seems fair. The Jabra Elite 5 earbuds are just that. They offer good audio and ANC, long battery life, and great call quality, plus several convenient features that make them easier to use, all for a realistic MSRP of $150. I think I’ve found my new favorite midrange earbuds.
For a middle-of-the-road MSRP of $150, the Jabra Elite 5 earbuds offer good audio quality and noise cancellation, plus strong battery life of seven hours of music playback with ANC. They also support numerous convenient features like Google Fast Pair, multipoint connectivity, and wireless charging. They're not the absolute best earbuds on the market today, but for the price, there's very little to complain about here.
- Battery Life: 7 hours (buds, ANC on); 21 additional hours in case
- Noise Cancellation: Yes
- Bluetooth : 5.2
- Microphones: 6
- IP rating: IP55
- Supported codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX
- Charging: USB-C; wireless
- Driver size: 6mm
- Price (MSRP): $149.99
- Dimensions: 20 x 20.54 x 27 mm (buds); 26 x 38.9 x 64.1 mm (case)
- Weight: 5g (buds, each); 40g (case)
- Good audio and call quality
- Comfortable fit (in my ears, at least)
- Great feature set
- Sound isn't quite as full as some competitors
- No on-earbud volume control
Price and availability
The Jabra Elite 5 earbuds retail for $150, though they’ve been available for as low as $100 on sale. You can get a pair direct from Jabra or through Amazon.
Design, hardware, and what’s in the box
Available in Gold Beige, Black, and Titanium Black finishes, the Jabra Elite 5 are pretty low-key, visually. While I can appreciate the bold colors available in something like the Google Pixel Buds Pro, the Jabra Elite 5 are already small and fairly discrete, so I think subtler colorways work well here.
The Elite 5 are more compact than many true wireless earbuds, and they fit very comfortably in my ears; they’re so comfortable that it’s easy to forget they’re in, which isn’t typically how I feel about earbuds. They’re IP55 certified, too, so they’re safe to work out in. The Elite 5 don’t have any kind of fin to stabilize them in your ears, but they’ve felt secure enough when I’ve worn them during workouts.
Rather than the touch controls many earbuds use, the Elite 5 have physical buttons, one on each bud. I usually like capacitive touch controls on earbuds, but the Elite 5’s shape means the earbuds don’t work their way deeper into my ears when I press their buttons, so I don’t mind the control setup You can customize what single, double, and triple presses do using the Jabra Sound+ app, but strangely, there’s no long-press function.
The Elite 5’s case is a plain-looking flip-top number. It’s nice and flat, which makes it especially easy to stash in a pocket. Despite that fact, Jabra managed to fit wireless charging coils into the case’s bottom face — which is both impressive and convenient.
Along with the earbuds and their charging case, you’ll get the expected USB-A-to-C cable, two additional sets of ear tips, and startup literature.
Audio and ANC
Out of the box, the Jabra Elite 5 have a nice, flat sound — audio is clear, and bass isn’t exaggerated the way it is by default in many consumer-grade audio products. I listened to the Elite 5 with their default tuning for the majority of my time with them, but I’m a casual user at heart, and I eventually missed the warmer sound most of my other earbuds have. Nudging the low end up in the Jabra Sound+ app got things sounding the way I like.
The earbuds support AAC, SBC, and Qualcomm’s aptX codec. Sound comes through detailed and sharp, and music streams over Spotify (with quality set to Very High) sound lifelike on the Jabra Elite 5, with no unexpected compression muddying my media. My only real complaint is that sub-bass could come through a little stronger; tracks that lean on especially deep, rumbly low-end sound feel just a little thin. But that’s a big ask of such small earbuds, and as is, the Elite 5 sound quite nice.
ANC performance here is about what you’d expect out of earbuds in this price range. It does a fine job muffling droning sounds like distant traffic or running HVAC, but it has a harder time muting irregular sounds like conversation — especially when the people speaking have higher voices. But the sounds the Elite 5 can’t mute completely are still quieted, and with music playing at medium volume, the din of a coffee shop or city sidewalk is almost inaudible.
The Jabra Elite 5 are great for calls. I recorded myself using the Elite 5 in a noisy environment, and comparing that audio to recordings taken on the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II and the Pixel Buds Pro, I preferred the way I sounded on the Jabra buds. My voice, as recorded on the Elite 5, was louder than in the recording from the Bose earbuds, and clearer than in the audio taken from the Pixel Buds. That’s especially impressive given the Elite 5 are the least expensive of the three.
Features and app
Beyond the basics, there are a handful of features I’m always hoping to see on wireless earbuds: multipoint audio, Fast Pair, and wireless charging. The Jabra Elite 5 check all three boxes. There are plenty of pricier earbuds out there that lack one or more of these nice-to-haves, so I really appreciate them all here.
You’ll manage the Elite 5 using Jabra’s Sound+ app. With it, you can adjust the ANC to your liking, turn on the Elite 5’s transparency mode, adjust a five-band equalizer, and customize your earbuds’ control scheme. There’s also an ANC personalization feature that aims to fine-tune noise cancellation to your ears by changing the intensity of the effect in each earbud independently (I ended up using the default settings), plus a number of ambient noise “Soundscapes” you can play to help drown out the surrounding noise without listening to music.
Fast Pair support brings with it hands-free Google Assistant access, which is a big get. I’m a little annoyed with how Fast Pair is implemented here, though. With most Fast Pair earbuds, opening the buds’ charging case makes the earbuds visible to nearby phones. But here, you have to put the Elite 5 in pairing mode by pressing and holding both buds’ buttons before your phone will recognize them. This implementation of Fast Pair still eliminates having to fiddle with Bluetooth settings on your phone, but it’s not quite as seamless in the Elite 5 as in other earbuds.
Battery and charging
Jabra claims that the Elite 5 can last seven hours at a stretch with ANC on or nine hours with it off, and in my experience, that’s accurate — or maybe even a little modest. I’ve managed to make mine last an entire eight-hour workday with ANC on, though that was with some pauses sprinkled in.
The Elite 5’s case holds three full additional charges, which is better than most true wireless buds manage — many mainstream options pack closer to two charges in their case. When the case is tapped, you can charge it either with USB-C or wirelessly.
At an MSRP of $150, the Jabra Elite 5 are right in the thick of the true wireless market. They’re the same price at retail as the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2; compared to those earbuds, the Jabra Elite 5 manage longer battery life of seven hours with ANC (the Galaxy Buds 2 hit five hours), plus better water resistance (IP55 to Samsung’s IPX2). The Jabra Elite 5 also support Fast Pair and mutlitpoint audio; the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 don’t have either (though they do have similar features when paired with Samsung devices).
Jabra’s own Elite 7 Pro retail for $200, but they’re often available on sale for the same $150 the Elite 5 usually cost. Those earbuds offer better battery life (quoted at eight hours) and moderately more thorough water resistance (IP57, rather than the Elite 5’s IP55). The 7 Pro can also muster more robust bass than the Elite 5. The Elite 5 support the aptX codec, though; the Elite 7 Pro don’t. If you’re able to get a discount, the Elite 7 Pro are likely a better buy, but at MSRP, the Elite 5 are a better value.
Should you buy them?
The Jabra Elite 5 are very competent true wireless earbuds at a very fair price. They sound nice, they’re great for calls, and they’re really comfortable (in my ears, at least). They’re not the best earbuds you can get in any singular way, but the Elite 5 manage to be thoroughly good in every way that’ll matter to most users.
As a result, these are easy earbuds to recommend, with few caveats. Compared with other earbuds in this price range, the Jabra Elite 5 are a strong value without any deal-breaking flaws to speak of. If you’ve got $150 to spend on earbuds, you won’t be dissatisfied spending it on these.