Gadget Review: Sweet sound sans ear fatigue

The Jabra Elite 10 wireless earbuds offer great comfort and good sound, with some added tech to enhance your audio experience

By Anirban Bagchi

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Published: Mon 12 Feb 2024, 6:24 PM

Last updated: Tue 13 Feb 2024, 4:37 PM

With its new Elite 10 Bluetooth earphones, Jabra is fighting the good fight on behalf of our ears, which are saddled with buds, earphones and headphones almost all the time these days. For those of us whose ears feel the pain and discomfort of having an audio device stuck to them for hours on end, the new Elite 10 comes as a breath of fresh air.

With the Elite 10, Jabra is trying to make sure that your ears feel as little of the discomfort as possible that having on a pair of ear buds can cause. The device defies the laws of earbud physics with its remarkable comfort and secure fit. It also comes with multiple ear tip options, ensuring that even the most peculiar ear shapes find their audio haven.

The Elite 10 has a semi-open design and is ideal for people who are not fans of having ear tips jammed in their ears. They are still silicone ear tips but in a unique lightweight design and ergonomic oval shape, designed to nestle in your ears and disappear. Whether you're running or just pretending to work while secretly vibing to your favourite tunes, the Elite 10 stays put, allowing you to immerse yourself in your auditory escape.

Speaking of an immersive musical escape, quality sound is a requirement for this – and the Jabra doesn’t disappoint here either, delivering a sonic punch that rivals more illustrious contenders. Jabra has no doubt benchmarked the Elite 10 against the likes of Bose’s QuietComfort Ultra and Sony WF 1000XM5, and the Elite 10’s sonic capabilities are not too far off these stalwarts.

The Elite 10 offers a deep and resonant bass, while the mids and highs dance gracefully, creating a well-balanced audio landscape. Whether you're into the thumping beats of hip-hop or the delicate notes of classical music, these earbuds handle it all with finesse. The sound stage is surprisingly expansive, immersing you in your favourite tracks and revealing all the nuances. Jabra has managed to cram a concert hall into these tiny earbuds.

The noise cancelling and impressive Dolby Spatial Sound with head tracking also help the Elite 10’s cause. It does an admirable job in damping down ambient noises, isolating the user from the background din of, say, an office environment. Voices do slip through, however, along with sudden highs in sound levels – someone sneezing, for example – but whatever slips through is dampened enough to not be intrusive. There is also a HearThrough mode, which proved itself well when tested on the Dubai Metro, letting through announcements and voices with clarity.

The other trick up this Jabra’s sleeve is the Dolby Atmos Spatial Sound with head tracking. Switching the spatial sound feature on provides a clear difference in the audio. Listening to some sonically complicated live recordings of classical pieces from the Berliner Philharmoniker, I was immediately struck by how the positioning of the instruments in the sound stage became clear when using this feature.

Meanwhile, with the head tracking feature, your audio source is pinned to a single point, no matter how much you move or tilt and shake your head. This feature works especially well with videos and movies, creating a virtual surround sound effect in which the dialogue seems fixed at the centre of the screen you’re watching the movie on.

For all its advanced features, there was one area in which the Elite 10 felt a bit of a let-down. While almost every competitor offers touch controls for play, pause, volume, etc. in the Elite 10 you have to actually press and click the side of the buds to control these features. This seemed a rude analogue intrusion into the modern world of swipes and touch controls, especially for such an advanced product.

However, this and the battery life – which promised over six hours but delivered only around five and a bit with the noise cancelling on in our test mule – do not detract from a great product, which offers good value for money at around Dh900 on the retail market. It is definitely a wireless earbud that you should consider.

Jabra Elite 10 wireless earbuds

Hits:

- Comfort and design

- Audio quality

- Dolby spatial sound

Misses:

- Controls

- Battery life

Price: Dh849

Rating: 4 stars


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