Jabra Elite 45h wireless earbuds review
A lot of attention is paid to true wireless headphones these days, but that hasn’t reduced the demand for traditional affordable over-ear headphones. Superior battery life, an easier and less intrusive fit, and a more substantial product package are just a few of the reasons people may have to prefer headphones. If you’re looking for a new pair of wireless in-ear headphones, the Jabra Elite 45h has impressive specs on paper.
Priced at Rs. 9,999 but available for about half that price online at the time of writing this review, the Jabra Elite 45 hours is an affordable pair of wireless headphones that has a battery life of up to 50 hours, much longer than most wireless headphones offer. The Elite 45h also promises comfort, along with Jabra’s typically clinical approach to sound and connectivity. Find out how these wireless headphones work in our review.
The Jabra Elite 45h is a comfortable pair of on-ear headphones
Personally, I’m not a fan of the in-ear type of headphones, preferring an in-canal or over-ear fit as they don’t put as much pressure on my ears. Fortunately for me, the Jabra Elite 45h has a very comfortable fit, with lots of soft padding in the ear cups and under the headband, and a lightweight supportive feel. The headphones have a decent range of movement, ensuring that the headphones will fit most people comfortably.
Because of this, I was able to use the Elite 45h for hours at a time without any of the discomfort that I often encounter with on-ear headphones. The setting does not provide good noise isolation, but there is not much loss of sound either; the sound can only be heard outside of the headphones at the highest volume level. The headset is not rated for water resistance, which is a bit of a disappointment.
Although it’s made entirely of plastic, the matte finish makes the Elite 45h look and feel pretty good. The indicators on the left and right sides are stamped on the ear pads for easy reference. The buttons and USB Type-C port for charging are on the right. A slide switch controls power and Bluetooth pairing, while three separate buttons near the top control playback and volume. There are two microphones on the right ear cup, which are used to reduce ambient noise from the outgoing voice signal.
The Jabra Elite 45h has 40mm dynamic drivers and a frequency response range of 20-20,000 Hz. For connectivity, the headphones use Bluetooth 5, with support for the SBC codec only. There is multipoint connectivity for up to two devices simultaneously. Included in the sales package is a USB Type-C cable for charging and a carrying bag.
You can use the Jabra Sound + app (available for Android and iOS) to see the exact battery level, change the equalizer settings, or play any of a number of ‘Soundscapes’ – soothing ambient sounds intended to mask noise at your around. It is also possible to locate the headphones (when the required permissions are active) and activate or deactivate the ‘local tone’ function (to be able to hear your own voice in calls), among other things. I quite liked everything the app had to offer.
The Jabra Elite 45h has an impressive 50-hour battery life per charge, and my testing indicates that this is indeed the case. I was able to use the headphones for over 30 hours, and the battery dropped from 100 percent to just under 40 percent, with the volume level hovering around 70-80 percent throughout. This suggests that the headphones could offer around 50 hours of battery life, as claimed. This is quite an impressive figure, especially for headphones at this price point.
Decent sound quality on the Jabra Elite 45h
While the Jabra Elite 45h is impressive when it comes to battery life, comfort, and app compatibility, the most important parameter to test is sound quality. Fortunately, it offers reasonable performance in this regard, with acceptable sound quality and good voice call performance. Despite being limited to the Bluetooth SBC codec, good tuning helps the headphones achieve comfortable quality.
I didn’t find anything special about the sound, beyond the strong, punchy bass that was familiar to me from a Jabra headset. However, this is not a bad thing for affordable wireless headphones like this one; the focus is on comfort, and the Jabra Elite 45h delivers both through fit and sound. No surprises, no shrill high peaks, no uncomfortable sonic characteristics – the Jabra Elite 45h delivers safe and pleasant sound for the most part.
Using only the basic Bluetooth SBC codec meant that hi-res music didn’t actually sound much different from compressed audio streams, with only the punchy bass showing any improvement. When listening to The Stranglers’ Golden Brown on Tidal Masters, the lows seemed a bit more calculated and refined, while the same track on Spotify sounded relatively aggressive with the lows dominating the rest of the range. The level of detail, the quality of the mids and highs, and the overall focus of the track were largely identical otherwise.
The hard-hitting bass aside, the mid and high ranges sounded decent on the Jabra Elite 45h too, and there’s a reasonable amount of detail in the sound. The soundstage was about as spacious as you would expect from a pair of headphones in this price range. The touches of detail managed to shine through at the most unexpected moment, making for an overall enjoyable listening experience.
The light adjustment may be great from a comfort perspective, but it took away from the sound quality due to the lack of adequate noise isolation and the resulting distance between the leads and my ears. Despite its good qualities, the sound always felt a bit distant and imprecise, reminding me why I prefer the over-ear or in-canal models. That said, the Jabra Elite 45h sounded decent for a pair of on-ear headphones.
As with most of the Jabra wireless earbuds I’ve tested, voice call performance is excellent on the Elite 45h. The sound was excellent at both ends of the call, and the ‘sidetone’ feature made the sound feel a bit more natural and less closed. Even at low volumes, the sound was clean and the callers were audible. Connectivity was stable at distances of up to 15 feet between the smartphone and the headphones.
Although the Jabra Elite 45h has an MRP of Rs. 9,999, it is widely available for less than Rs. 6,000. At its retail price, this is a very good pair of wireless earbuds and does it well when it comes to comfort, call quality, battery life, and of course sound. There are little issues here and there, but this is largely a reliable pair of headphones that gets the job done at a reasonable price.
The loose fit and support for the basic Bluetooth codec hold it back a bit. It’s also worth considering that you can pick up a pair of active noise-canceling true wireless headphones, such as the Oppo Enco W51 or Realme Buds Air Pro, even for less. However, if you prefer the style and fit of over-ear headphones, this is one of the best options available in its price segment today.
Price: Rs. 5,499 (at the time of review)