Forget the AirPods Pro: These $249 earbuds are my new go-to for just about everything



Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Many of my fellow engineers enjoy having large headsets resting on or over their ears while working, but for some reason, my ears generally hurt after prolonged use of these types of headsets. I also like to travel light during my daily long train commute and frequent airplane travel. Thus, wireless earbuds are my preferred form factor.

Also: I tested the ‘world’s toughest earbuds’ and now I don’t run without them

I’ve tested many earbuds over the past twenty years, and Jabra has earned my respect as one of the leaders in this market with a focus on high-quality audio experiences, comfort, and call quality. Many headset manufacturers tend to excel at just two of those three factors, give or take. 

So for the past couple of weeks, I have been testing the new Jabra Elite 10 earbuds and, many times, I have actually been caught up in emotions listening to how pure the audio experience was. Seriously.

To start, the Elite 10 offer a new ComfortFit design that Jabra says was developed after analyzing 62,000 ear scans. The unique oval ear gels are a key part of the new fit and finish, and the earbuds rest on my head with no problems at all. The entire surface that touches your ear is made of soft silicon, so the earbuds stay in place while not causing much discomfort. 

Also: Best noise-canceling earbuds for deep work and quiet studying

The Elite 10 also feature a unique semi-open design that’s meant to relieve ear pressure. From my extended wear, as I flew cross-country after my Jabra briefing, I cannot express in writing just how comfortable the earbuds were.


Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The Jabra Elite 10 sport Jabra’s most advanced level of active noise cancellation, called Jabra Advanced ANC. The noise cancellation technology inside adjusts using infrasonic waves that measure your individual ear canal while algorithms detect noise leakage and wind conditions. The earbuds adapt and optimize your ANC experience accordingly, and that makes a big difference.

One feature that makes the earbuds extremely compelling is the Dolby Atmos support with head-tracked spatial sound. The experience of turning my head from side to side and hearing the music around me is fascinating. I’ve often found myself getting lost in the music while commuting and have enjoyed immersing myself in videos just as much.


Matthew Miller/ZDNET

For battery life, Jabra says the earbuds play for up to six hours with ANC on and eight hours with ANC off. That’s in line with what other earbuds in this price range offer. Fast and wireless charging are also supported. 

Review: Jabra Elite 85t: Powerful ANC in an earbuds form factor, six mics for calls

The Jabra Sound Plus application is available for the Elite 10 on Android and iPhone devices. I highly recommend that you install and use this software for the most optimized audio experience. The application provides battery status, sound mode toggles, spatial sound toggle, equalizer settings, button control settings, firmware updates, and warranty registration. 


Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The outside flat surface of each earbud serves as a button that can control functions with a single press, double press, and triple press. The Sound Plus application provides settings to customize these button presses for audio sessions and phone calls. You can also select which sound modes to toggle through in the settings.

ZDNET’s buying advice

The Jabra Elite 10 are now available for $250 in Cream, Cocoa, Titanium Black, Gloss Black, and Matte Black colorways. I had the opportunity to try out the unique Cocoa color that looks like a mix of burgundy and brown depending on the lighting. They are as lovely as they are capable, and I highly recommend them.

Also: Sony’s new WF-1000XM5 may just be the best premium earbuds right now

Buying a pair of wireless earbuds may be overwhelming as there are lots of options available. Just remember that it is important to take care of your ears and purchasing the cheapest earbuds may not always be the best decision for long-term health. The Jabra Elite 10 are clearly the flagship earbuds from the company, and from what I’ve heard, they’re one of the better investments you can make in terms of audio.


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