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Jabra Elite 3 Review: Downright Impressive for Under $100

Rating: 8/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $80
The Jabra Elite 3 earbuds in their case with the lid open on a table next to the box they came with
Kevin Bonnett / Review Geek

I’ve been a fan of Jabra’s earbuds for some time and love the newer 75t and 85t models, so I was stoked to get my hands on the latest buds from the company: the Jabra Elite 3. For half the cost of their predecessors, they’re a pretty awesome choice.

Jabra’s newest true wireless earbuds are an outstanding pick all-around and prove they’re ready to continue the company’s impressive legacy. While their sub-$100 price point means they lack some premium features, it’s honestly hard to believe they’re so inexpensive because they sound so good. If you’re looking for a go-to pair of earbuds for listening to music and podcasts, watching movies, or making video calls, you can’t go wrong with these basic (yet remarkable) buds.

Solid Design, Comfy Fit

Fortunately, Jabra kept things simple for the Elite 3s when it comes to design. Anyone already familiar with the company’s newer earbuds—the Elite 75t or Elite 85t—won’t be shocked by anything here. On their exterior, the only design element that’s changed on the buds is that they now rock a triangle-shaped button instead of one that’s circular.

These earbuds are made of a different material than the other two, but still feel high quality and plenty durable. Each bud weighs 4.6 grams and the case weighs 33.4 grams, making them both small and lightweight. They also rock an IP55 rating—meaning they’ll stand up to dust, sweat, and light water—so feel free to throw them into your gym bag or wear them if it’s drizzling outside.

As for fit, Jabra took over 62,000 ear scans to create a map representative of the average ear shape and used the data to create a better fit for everyone. In testing, I found the Elite 3s to be just as comfortable as their predecessors; they remained just as comfortable at the end of the day as they were when I first put them on in the morning. They also feel secure when wearing them during a workout or while going for a walk. Of course, they come with two extra EarGel tips sizes in the box, for those needing a more personalized fit.

The Jabra 75t and Elite 3 buds in their cases next to each other on a table.
The Jabra 75t buds (left) and the Jabra Elite 3 buds (right). Suzanne Humphries / Review Geek

The case is just slightly shorter and wider than that of the 75t, which is fine because it’s still quite small and slim. The only bummer is that the case is made of a flimsy material that has a little give when you squeeze it, which is unfortunate. Aside from that, though, the case maintains Jabra’s nice design with a flat top and bottom; it’s easy to hold, it can stand up on a flat surface, and it doesn’t take up much room in your pocket.

Thicc Sound for a Thin Price

Given that these buds cost well under $100, the audio they produce is awesome. Across all music genres, bass on the Elite 3s sounds decent, while mids and highs consistently sound crisp and bright. Though the bass is nowhere near as robust and physically present as it would obviously be in more premium earbuds, it’s still present and it sounds fine given its price point.

Jabra’s HearThrough ambient sound technology is okay here as well, but it could definitely be improved. I’d love to see it do more to hone in on voices and other important sounds instead of amplifying unwanted background noise so much. SideTone—the audio feedback you hear from your own voice while talking into the microphone on a call—could stand to sound more natural, too.

The Jabra Elite 3 on a surface next to the case and a smartphone with a song on Spotify pulled up
Kevin Bonnett / Review Geek

The biggest bummer in this category is the lack of a customizable equalizer. In Jabra’s Sound+ app (available on Android/iOS), you can choose from one of six music presets—Neutral, Bass boost, Smooth, Speech, Treble boost, and Energize—but if you’re not a fan of these pre-sculpted sounds you’re out of luck. If you do want customizable EQ, you’ll want to spring for a pricier pair of Jabra’s, like the 75ts.

One of the more noteworthy things about the Elite 3s is that they lack traditional active noise cancellation BUT have what Jabra calls a “noise-isolating design.” The company did put ANC into previous models, for what it’s worth, but likely omitted it here to cut costs. However, you can press the button on the left earbud once to turn on the noise isolation feature; surprisingly, it does a decent job at cutting out background noise (and is better than nothing).

Outstanding Battery Life, but …

Like many people, I am an all-day earbud user. I use them during my morning workouts; for video calls with coworkers and family members; to listen to music, podcasts, YouTube videos, and social media content throughout the day; during my commute or whenever I work from a cafe; and occasionally for gaming, movies, and some TikTok at the end of the day. Robust battery life is a must for me and the Elite 3s didn’t disappoint.

They last about seven hours out of the case and can go a total of 28 hours with the charging case before I have to plug them back in. You can also fast charge the buds for just 10 minutes and get another hour of playback out of them, which is perfect for when you just need a little more time. As I tested them, the Elite 3s more or less matched those specs, which was enough to get me through the day.

The rear of the Elite 3 case showing the USB-C charging port
Yay USB-C charging! Kevin Bonnett / Review Geek

The case charges via USB-C, as well, which is the same standard I use for the rest of my gear, so I didn’t need to dig up and add yet another cord to my setup. My only point of contention here is that the case doesn’t support wireless charging; given their price point, the omission is understandable but it still sucks. It isn’t a dealbreaker, though, and with the Elite 3’s healthy battery capacity, I can’t really find a good reason to complain about it.

An Easy and Pleasant User Experience

Earbuds can sound great and look pretty, but if they’re not easy to use it kind of ruins the whole experience. Fortunately, the Elite 3s are good overall—exactly what I’ve come to expect from   Jabra’s earbuds. They immediately power on and connect when they’re lifted out of the charging case, and turn off after either 15 minutes without a connection or 30 minutes without any activity on your end, which helps save the battery.

Thankfully, Jabra opted for physical buttons over touch controls on these buds, and their onboard controls work perfectly every time. For the right earbud, pressing once toggles play and pause, two skips forward a track, and three takes you back a track, while long-pressing turns the volume up a bit. With the left earbud, a single press toggles the noise-isolation and HearThrough features, and long-pressing it turns the volume down a little (though you aren’t able to control by how much, though) .

Android users have two options for double-tapping the left bud via Jabra’s Sound+ app: You can have it either activate your voice assistant or start playing random songs in Spotify. I’m not sure why anyone would choose the latter option over the voice assistant, but hey, maybe you’ll find a new song to love. Embrace the chaos. And speaking of which, Android users are limited to either Amazon Alexa or “Android default,” which means (ugh!) triggering Bixby for Samsung users. Also, this feature is flat-out not available for iOS users. C’est la guerre, I suppose.

Jabra's Sound+ app showing music presets and button-mapping options

Additionally, in Jabra’s Sound+ app, you can keep the headset’s firmware up to date, find your earbuds via the Find My Jabra feature, register them for the two-year warranty (against damage from water and dust), read the Quick Start Guide or Online User Manual, toggle HearThrough, and choose from six music equalizer presets.

Either bud works in Mono Mode, which is nice. This lets you multitask a little easier without using HearThrough, if that’s not your thing. While I love that this mode is supported for either bud, it does mean that whatever you’re watching or listening to won’t automatically pause whenever you pluck out a bud. You win some, you lose some.

The Elite 3 buds don’t support multipoint connection, which is a bummer, so I can’t seamlessly switch between listening to music on my phone and watching videos on my computer. It’s likely just another way to keep the cost down here, but multipoint is a huge convenience to lose once you’ve grown accustomed to it. My other annoyance with the buds is the annoying set of beeps and blurps it plays while connecting, disconnecting, and toggling various onboard features. Yes, this is more a matter of personal preference than device idiosyncrasy, but for me, these noises unnecessarily disrupt the media I’m trying to enjoy.

The Box, and What’s In It

Packaging for the Jabra Elite 3 is simple and minimal, and there’s no wasteful excess. It’s made of sustainable FSC-certified materials and uses eco-friendly vegetable-based inks. You can also toss the packaging in the recycling bin when you’re done with it. In the box is a Get Started guide, two extra sets of EarGel tips, a short USB-A to USB-C cord, and a tiny booklet with safety and warranty information.

It might not seem like a big deal, but it’s always nice to see a company show mindfulness about its impact on the environment. Excessive packaging—especially when it doesn’t come from a sustainable source or be recyclable—is just ridiculous at this point. While packaging materials don’t have much of anything to do with the sound quality of the Elite 3s, these measures go a long way toward helping you feel a little better about purchasing them and supporting Jabra.

Close-up shot of the Jabra Elite 3s in their case with the lid flipped up
Kevin Bonnett / Review Geek

Final Thoughts

It’s nice to see Jabra add a budget-friendly pair of earbuds to its fantastic lineup. It’s even nicer to see that the Elite 3 buds are the real deal and worth every penny. Despite missing a few luxuries and having a couple of quirks, it’s easy to recommend the Jabra Elite 3s to anybody looking for an outstanding feature-rich set of buds under $100.

Rating: 8/10
Price: $80

Here’s What We Like

  • Affordable price
  • Great battery life
  • Sound quality is solid
  • Super comfy all-day fit

And What We Don't

  • Case feels cheap
  • Limited to six music presets
  • No wireless charging
  • No multipoint connectivity

Suzanne Humphries Suzanne Humphries
Suzanne Humphries was a Commerce Editor for Review Geek. She has over seven years of experience across multiple publications researching and testing products, as well as writing and editing news, reviews, and how-to articles covering software, hardware, entertainment, networking, electronics, gaming, apps, security, finance, and small business. Read Full Bio »