JABRA ELITE ACTIVE 75T vs. JAYBIRD VISTA vs. POWERBEATS PRO
JABRA ELITE ACTIVE 75T
DESIGN & BUILD
Jumping straight into it, we will start off with the design and build quality, the Jabra Elite Active 75t and the Jaybird Vistas have a much more compact case and has a matte rubber coating on the outer layer. Meanwhile, the case on the Powerbeats Pro is notoriously huge and bulky, not to mention it is rather slippery to hold in the hand and gets scratched up easily if you drop it. The Jabra’s case is definitely the smallest, followed by the Jaybird’s and lastly, the Powerbeats. The look and feel of the case of the Jabra’s is the most premium out of the three. While, the Jaybird’s case is the cheapest feeling, giving off a loud click when you shut the case. On the Jaybird’s case however, there is a strap attachment and a strap included with it so that you can attach it to your gym bag securely. For charging, none of these sports earbuds offer wireless charging, the Powerbeats Pro charge via a lightning port while the rest charges via a USB-C Port. Moving on to the earbuds themselves, we start off with the Jabra’s who yet again has the best feeling of the three. The Jabra’s does not rely on any ear hooks or ear wings to keep it in place when doing vigorous exercises. The Jaybird’s meanwhile uses the ear wings attachment to help them stay in place. The Powerbeats Pro however, utilizes ear hooks that go over your ear to hold the buds in place. All 3 earbuds are constructed with a plastic finishing but are coated with matte rubber finishing to keep water out.
Moving on to comfort and fit, the Jabra’s have taken the crown again as being the best in stability, durability as well as fit. All three earbuds have done really well in staying in place during intense workouts and never did they managed to drop out. However, the Powerbeats Pro do cause wearing fatigue after about 2 hours of use where I start to feel my ears hurting from the grip of the ear hooks. This is a rare situation of earbuds actually causing pain but it isn’t as painful as those of over-ear headphones. It definitely is a little bothersome and makes you want to re-adjust or stop wearing them eventually. The ear hooks are bendable and adjustable but no matter how I adjust it, the issues of ear pain still persist. While, the Jaybirds does not cause any discomfort, finding a right fit is really important as the Jaybird’s ear hooks will also create some ear pain. In my case, I used the smallest eartips that has barely any hooks and it still stayed in place during my workouts. Durability wise, the Jabra’s are IP57 dust and water proof, the Jaybird’s are IPX7 waterproof and the Powerbeats Pro are claimed to be water-resistant even if they don’t have any official IP rating. That is layman terms, mean that the Elite Active 75t and Jaybirds can be submerged in 1m of water without damage for 30 minutes while the Jabra’s take it to the next level to include dust-resistance. That simply means that the Jabra’s are ready for the beach. The Powerbeats on the other hand are the weakest with only light water resistance. On the feature of auto playing and pausing your music, the Jabra’s as well as the Beats do offer that function but not the Jaybird’s.
Next, we got the most important factor, sound quality. Now, before we go in further. There is no active noise-cancelling feature on any of these earbuds, only passive noise isolation the Jabra’s and Jaybird’s. The Powerbeats Pro however, do rely on the fit to let in external ambient surrounding sounds. For those who exercise on the street, this may be an advantage so that you can always stay aware of high-volume traffic. But in recent years, technology has caught up. The Jabra’s have HearThrough+ which lets in your environmental sounds through its microphones and it seems to work as naturally as it could be. You can even alter the amount to let in via the Jabra Connect+ App, available of download in the App & Play Store. For now, we will stay focus on the passive noise isolation and talk about overall app experience in the later part of this review. Now, the Jaybirds are disappointing, not for the fact that the noise isolation is bad but because they don’t have such feature to begin with. They seal the world out really well but for those who want to look out for themselves in traffic. They don’t have such a feature. As with all sports earbuds, there is definitely a bias on the bass response straight out of the box. Now, for bass heads looking to blow their eardrums with bass, the Jaybirds are the way to go. The bass is really deep, tight and punchy. It also resonates and lingers in the song. The mids are clear and the bass does not bleed into the mids. However, the mids are not as pronounced and forward as they should be. The highs are decent and did not really stand out or shine much in part due to the bass. But not to worry, the Jaybird’s sound signature is also customizable with the Jaybird App. Next, the Powerbeats Pro are also as bass heavy but they managed to maintain a significant amount of clarity in the rest of the frequency response. The Beats bass is deep and tight but it is fast and does not resonate as much. This is a good thing since the mids sound forward and loud, being careful not to take away from the surround and soundstage. The highs are bright and clear with vocals being in the forefront. Distinct left and right channel could be heard as well. However, with the Beats, you do lose the ability to tune your sound signature to your liking since there is a lack of a built-in equalizer in the Beats app. Going third party is always an option if you really want to. Lastly, we have the Elite Active 75t which does not have a sound quality as great as the Beats. In term of bass, it falls in the middle of the Jaybirds and the Beats. It resonates but it did not manage to keep its clarity and tend to bleed into the mids. Out-of-the-box, it can be really distracting especially when the bass resonates too much and becomes muddy and boomy. The highs sound decently bright and filled with plenty of details. The mids do sound very crisp but sound tuning is definitely needed to help the improve its clarity. You may do all of that in the Jabra Connect+ App as mentioned above. Moving on to the call quality, let’s look at the Jabra’s first because as always, Jabra did it again. They blew the rest out of the water with its superior call quality, leaving only your voice audible to the caller on the other hand. The Powerbeats Pro are second in line but they do let in a small amount of environmental noise but my voice is still always clear. Last in line is the Jaybird Vista with its muffled down voice capture that really isn’t worth using even if you need to answer a quick call.
Last but not least, the connectivity of these 3 earbuds. Starting off with the Powerbeats Pro, the Beats app isn’t anything to write home about. It works all the time detecting the earbuds on the Android side. But the only useful features are for checking the battery life of the buds as well as update the firmware. Next, the Jaybird Vista with a decently well curated app. In the app, you can fine tune the sound signature, trace your buds location, update the firmware and customize its button controls. It is by far the most comprehensive app until you use the Jabra’s app. The Jabra Connect+ App is the best of the best app that is not only filled with features like sound tuning, setting Moments, listening to calming masking noises and more but also adds additional function like tracing the earbuds, changing the microphone capture, enabling SideTone and HearThrough+ as well as updating the earbuds. On Bluetooth connection, the Powerbeats Pro features Class 1 Bluetooth and the AAC codec while the Jabra’s and Jaybirds feature Bluetooth 5.0 with SBC and AAC codecs. So definitely no high-quality audio codecs support but a strong connection with its current Bluetooth standards. Both the Powerbeats Pro and the Jaybird Vistas allows for listening with one ear with either bud but the Jabra’s only support the right earbud single ear listening. Comparing battery life, the Beats lasts the longest with 9 hours on a single charge, the Jabra’s second with 7.5 hours and the Jaybirds with 6 hours. The Jabra’s case however holds the most charge with a total of 28 hours, the Beats with 24 hours and lastly the Jaybird’s with 16 hours.
THE BOTTOM LINE
All in all, the three earbuds excel in various areas. But if I were to rank them, I would definitely go for the Jabra Elite Active 75t first, the Jaybird Vistas second, followed by the Powerbeats Pro. The Jabra’s may have their bass bleeding into the mids but it is still fixable in the app. The rest of its features like call quality, app user experience, total battery life, compactness of case and buds as well as dust and water resistance all beat the rest of the competition. Next, the Jaybird Vista are not too far behind with an app experience as great as the Jabra’s, customization of sound and button controls, durability and compactness of case and buds are still compelling factors for those who really love the deep resonating Jaybird bass sound as well as form factor. Lastly, the Powerbeats Pro with the least features and multiple limitation. It is definitely better than the rest of the competition for its to be in top 3, but if we are nitpicking here; the case is too bulky and Jabra just proved it wrong that having a larger case does not equate to longer battery life. Its app is barely useful and the ear hook design cause wearing fatigue. For Apple users, it is definitely the way to go if you prefer charging the buds and your phone with the same Lighting cable as well as take advantage of its H1 chip capabilities for Hey Siri. But for the rest of us, I will say that the Jabra Elite Active 75t is the way to go.