Two years in the true wireless audio space feels like five. Throughout this time, Apple/Beats has put out three new models: the AirPods 3, Fit Pro, and Studio Buds. Bose and Sony took active noise cancellation (ANC) on wireless earbuds to the next level with the QuietComfort Earbuds and WF-1000XM4. Brands like Anker and Sennheiser are on their third-generation flagship models. You even have brands like Ultimate Ears that created the first-ever self-molding earbuds via the UE Fits.
As a reviewer, I’ve tested every one of these, and hundreds more. Several are fantastic additions to the category, but none have left a lasting impression on me like the Jabra Elite Active 75t. I reviewed them in February 2022 for Tom’s Guide, calling them the best wireless earbuds out, and I stand by that statement to this day.
But rather than geek out over its awesomeness, I want to present my case for the Elite Active 75t’s supremacy and why they’re the top true wireless model, as well as one of the best wireless earbuds deals available.
I’m such a fan of the product that I continue to use the CES 2020 review unit Jabra sent me weeks before launch. And it is still fully operational.
Still setting the true wireless standard for form, fashion, and function
Creating wireless earbuds that look, perform, and sound great is a hat trick not many earbud makers can pull off. Jabra was the first. Apple fanboys may disagree, but even if the AirPods are a fantastic rival with pleasant comfort and well-rounded performance anchored by iOS integration, there is no version that outclasses the Elite Active 75t in the looks department.
Jabra nailed the true wireless aesthetic from the get-go, as demonstrated by the original Elite 65t. Every entry after that improved on perfection – the Elite Active 75t being the series pinnacle. This is where Jabra mastered the portable design and crafted buds small enough to hide discreetly and rest pleasantly on the ear. The silicone EarGels provide stellar sweat absorption and optimal fit.
A variety of colorways – Copper Black, Dark Grey, Navy, Titanium Black, Sienna, and Mint – also gives these buds flair.
You want something this attractive to be well protected and Jabra didn’t half-step on the construction. The Elite Active 75t are durable and waterproof (IP57) in up to one meter of water. They remain my go-to for workouts and have yet to take on any moisture damage or scratches. The compact charging case is sleek and sturdy as well.
Performance is the Elite Active 75t’s most appealing attribute. Few rivals offer this level of deep functionality consisting of intuitive features, proprietary technologies, smart controls, and adaptive sound, which can be customized in multiple ways. And those offering it don’t get everything right. I’m not saying the Elite Active 75t are flawless, but they do everything at a high level.
The soundstage is crisp, detailed and energetic, making these buds excellent for casual listening and exercising. Bass has a lot of punch to it, mids are compelling, and highs come through clearly. Jabra’s built-in EQ is the Elite Active 75t’s killer feature, letting you create your own sound profile by manually adjusting frequencies or selecting from six well-engineered presets.
These buds also have their own sound technology called MySound that takes all the hard work out of personalizing audio. It’s basically a sound test to fine-tune audio to your hearing, and it works well. Having that many options to tweak sound is priceless.
I can’t forget niche features like Soundscape, which has 12 unique settings that produce nature sounds to help relax you. It has been very useful for relieving my anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s a reason everyone from indie names like 1More to luxury audio staples like Bowers & Wilkins have copied this feature.
Even battery life holds up well for two-year-old wireless earbuds. Getting 7.5 hours per charge and 28 hours total from the charging case is nothing to scoff at. Solid call quality, passive noise cancellation, and wireless performance highlighted by multipoint technology (pair to two devices simultaneously) complete the package.
If Apple taught us anything with the AirPods, it’s that wireless earbuds are only as good as their ecosystem. Look at the AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro: two models that came out in 2019 and continue to receive performance enhancements via iOS updates. Instead of rushing sequels out of the factory, Apple optimized the hardware in their current models to make the most of their software and extend those products’ lifespans.
Others finally caught on and started implementing the same strategy, but Jabra was one of the first to act on it. A few months after releasing the Elite Active 75t, Jabra announced what would become key features in the Jabra Sound+ app: MyControls (customize the controls) and the aforementioned MySound.
Shortly after, Jabra did something no one could have predicted; it added ANC via a firmware update. How was this possible if the Elite Active 75t didn’t originally launch with ANC? According to Jabra, the chipset inside of the Elite 75t and Elite Active 75t had the capabilities of performing ANC, so the engineers tweaked the algorithm to get it working. That was ingenious and a first for the category.
But the upgrades didn’t stop there. Jabra also brought wireless charging to the Elite Active 75t by re-releasing the model with a Qi-enabled charging case. Not the most groundbreaking achievement, but in hindsight, this set the stage for Apple to do something similar with the AirPods Pro. Yes, Apple’s noise-cancelling earbuds already supported wireless charging, but they were given a stealth re-release with MagSafe charging.
Jabra claims there are no planned updates for the Elite Active 75t. If there are, it would likely be trivial changes to the app like a redesign or navigation tweaks. Either way, we think these buds might still be a part of Jabra’s software update chain.
Even Jabra’s newest models have yet to dethrone it
The Elite Active 75t aren’t recognized as the company’s flagship wireless earbuds, but they should be. Jabra released a handful of new wireless earbuds over the past year and a half. None have proven more valuable than the Elite Active 75t.
Most critics figured that the company’s first-ever noise-cancelling earbuds, the Elite 85t, would take the reins. They are certainly Jabra’s best true wireless model for ANC. I’ve even recognized them as a “superb follow-up with exceptional noise cancellation and sound.” Unfortunately, a buggy launch, middling battery life, and an expensive price tag made them a less charming option. Not to mention Jabra announced the Elite 85t and the noise-cancelling software update for the Elite Active 75t on the same day, which stole some of the former’s thunder.
The Elite 85t’s success must have factored into Jabra’s decision to revamp its entire wireless earbuds lineup. Otherwise, why change what is already exceptional?
Well, we ended up getting not one, not two, but four new releases under the rebranded Elite series: the Elite 3, Elite 4 Active, Elite 7 Active, and Elite 7 Pro. As if the naming conventions didn’t already make things confusing, all these models were released within several weeks of one another. Each entry is a solid performer, but none have recaptured the Elite Active 75t’s magic.
It also doesn’t help that most, if not all, of Jabra’s high-end features are accessible on the Elite Active 75t, whereas they are spread out across all the latest Elite releases, with the Elite 7 Pro as the exception.
Can we get the Elite Active 85t now?
As much as I want it, as much as Jabra loyalists want it, such a model can wait. The Elite 85t boast a stronger spec sheet than the Elite Active 75t, but aside from having their own ANC chip, bigger drivers, and more mics, neither are dramatically different.
Let’s consider what upgrades would be introduced if a sporty Elite Active 85t ever came to fruition. I can say off the bat they need a higher IPX rating (e.g., IPX4 to IP57). Secondly, there needs to be stronger audio codec support (at least aptX). Longer battery life is a must. Lastly, the charging case needs a tougher exterior, something sturdy and smooth, like the soft-touch rubber material on the Elite Active 75t case.
Outlook — just buy the Jabra Elite Active 75t
The Elite Active 75t are becoming more scarce these days. Perform an online search and you’ll see that Jabra and most online retailers are either sold out, have limited supplies left, or sell certain versions at nearly double the MSRP (limited edition colors like Mint (opens in new tab) and Sienna (opens in new tab) go for as high as $325). That tells you a few things:
- It remains a hot seller
- Jabra is likely phasing out the model
- Supply chain issues could be at fault for the lack of restock across all retailers
At the time of this writing, Jabra is selling the Grey and Navy versions for $114, and that’s with the wireless charging case. This bundle normally runs for $179, so to get it that low is a bargain too good to pass up.
The market is flooded with AirPods alternatives and sports headphones. You have your pick of the litter. Still, none are as complete as the Elite Active 75t, which score high in every major vertical, from audio to battery life to design and special features. It’s all about value, and whether for the full price at $179 or their current sale price, these buds are unbeatable.