I’ll say it right away. I received my Jabra Elite 10 review set last Monday and half an hour later, I was blown away by the sound quality.
Yup, blown away. The experience was especially dramatic because two days earlier, I received delivery for a pair of planar IEMs; I’ve been inching back to wired music after attending some audiophile events. Surprise, surprise. While I wouldn’t say the Jabra Elite 10 uniformly sounds better or is more sonically accurate than those planars, the sound quality is at least just as attractive and enjoyable. Given the wireless convenience, the Elite 10 stands far higher of becoming my next go-to for audio indulgence too.
So there you have it. My review of the new Jabra Elite 10. In one line: These ultra-comfy wire rocks.
But … you expect more from a written review, don’t you? In today’s context, sound quality alone isn’t enough to justify a premium price too; I know.
Well, the Elite 10 delivers in other areas too! It might not be the absolute best with every feature, but as a whole, these latest Jabra flagship earphones are clear winners. In short, they are well worth your attention and that extra buck.
- Jabra Elite 10 Key Specs and Features
- Unboxing, Design, and Comfort
- Earbud Controls
- Jabra Sound+ App
- Advanced Active Noise Cancellation™
- Spatial Sound Powered by Dolby, With Head Tracking
- Jabra Elite 10 Sound Quality
- Review Conclusion: An Ace All-Rounder for Work and Entertainment
Jabra Elite 10 Key Specs and Features
A quick look at the basic specs and key features to kickstart this review.
Jabra Elite 10 Key Specs
- Driver: 10 mm
- Speaker Response (Music): 20Hz – 20000Hz
- Speaker Response (Talk): 100Hz – 8000Hz
- Bluetooth Version: 5.3
- Bluetooth Multipoint: Yes (Up to 10 devices)
- Supported Audio Codecs: AAC, SBC
- Battery (Case and Earbuds): Up to 36 hours (ANC off), Up to 27 hours (ANC on)
- Battery (Earbuds): Up to 8 hours (ANC off), Up to 6 hours (ANC on)
- Fast Charge: 5 minutes for 1 hour
- IP57 Rating
Jabra Elite 10 Key Features
- Jabra Advanced ANC™. Up to 2X times stronger compared to earlier generations of Jabra earphones. With HearThrough (Transparent) mode too.
- ComfortFit Eartips.
- Dolby Atmos Spatial Sound with Dolby Head Tracking.
- Dedicated Jabra Sound+ App (Free download).
- 6 Precision-Placed Mics for Crystal-Clear Calls.
- Auto Pause and Resume
- Available in 5 Neutral Palette Colours.
As far as specs are concerned, I think the Elite 10 very much delivers what one would expect from a later-2023 pair of premium wireless earbuds. Of note here would be Bluetooth 5.3 and the 36-hour total battery capacity. Not exactly unique features or the best across the board, but nonetheless attractive capabilities befitting a top-tier model.
More of interest would be the key features, or should I say, the summation of. Generally speaking, I think Jabra positions this latest flagship model as an all-purpose gear, equally capable for work, home entertainment, or music on the move. To quote Jabra sales literature: Their “most advanced earbuds for work and life.”
This proclamation attracts me but I suspect some interest groups might prefer a more focused direction. The good news, though. Just because it aims to be an all-rounder doesn’t mean the Elite 10 is not outstanding with each capability. Like I hinted earlier, sound quality alone is enough reason to fall in love with these earbuds.
Unboxing, Design, and Comfort
Further on the ComfortFit Eartips, or Ear Gels as Jabra terms them, I’ll admit it, I was sceptical when I first read about them. Like many reviewers, I wondered too whether the oval shape would compromise sealing.
Well, if there’s any noise seepage inwards, it doesn’t matter. The Advanced ANC feature (see below) quite effectively dealt with that.
They are undeniably comfortable too. Let me put it this way. My (overly sensitive) ear canals still itch now and then after wearing the Jabra 10 Elite for over two hours, but they itched far less often. On one evening, I was even able to go for almost hours without having to readjust.
I think for most people, the Elite 10 will be a joy to wear.
These aren’t really must-knows since you can do everything, and more, on the connected phone/device, especially if you have Jabra Sound+ (see below) installed. But I’ll just share Jabra’s official visual guide for the record.
To highlight, the Elite 10 uses physical push buttons. If you’ve read my other audio gear reviews, you’d know that this is a huge plus for me. I hate touch buttons and how easy it is to accidentally activate those.
Jabra Sound+ App
Like most higher-end audio gear nowadays, the Jabra Elite 10 comes with a dedicated app that can be downloaded for free from the iOS App Store or the Android Play Store. Installing the app and detecting the Elite 10 was a breeze for me.
This app is a necessity too. Yes, an absolute necessity and not just an enhancement because without it, you wouldn’t be able to access the best of the Elite 10. HearThrough (transparent) levels can only be adjusted via the app. The same goes for toggling Spatial Sound/Dolby Head Tracking on and off.
Overall, I think this app is thoughtfully designed. It allows you to customise the interface, create button shortcuts, listen to pre-installed soundscapes, directly access Spotify, and even control Jabra video conferencing devices.
I generally dislike having more apps on my phone but in this case, I welcome Jabra Sound+ with open arms. I love the soundscape feature. The same goes for direct Spotify access. (Why not Tidal too, though) The find-my-earphones feature will undoubtedly be useful down the road given my scatterbrain habits.
If any, my only complaint is that EQ presets are on the stingier side, with a couple of them not really doing much magic . But since the app allows you to create your own EQ settings, I suppose this don’t matter.
Advanced Active Noise Cancellation™
Advanced Active Noise Cancellation™ (ANC) is the star feature of the Jabra Elite 10, described by the Danish manufacturer as twice as strong as the standard ANC on the Elite 4 and 1.3 times more powerful than the hybrid ANC of the Elite 5.
It’s also an intelligent system, in the sense the earbuds actively scan environments to measure noise leakage. They also use infrasonic sound waves to determine ear canal shapes. With such info on hand, the ANC filter is then dynamically applied to achieve the most effective ANC levels.
It’s impressive just to read about, quite worthy of the description of “bespoke sound experience” that Jabra uses. That being said, these words and numbers don’t really make sense unless you have several pairs of older Jabra earphones and other models to compare with, yes? Thus, I’ll try to contextualise everything by sharing the following experiences:
- As expected, the Jabra 10 Elite is most effective at cancelling lower frequencies.
- I attended the Singapore launch of the earbuds a few weeks ago and on activating the Advanced ANC of my test unit, I could barely hear Jabra’s representative speaking. His voice was reduced to a whisper. He was also less than half a foot away from me and music wasn’t streaming over the earphones.
- To be very honest, I don’t feel Jabra’s Advanced ANC is markedly stronger than the noise-cancelling abilities of other higher-end 2023 wireless earbuds. However, it does seem more comfortable. As in, the typical pressured sensation and hiss created by noise cancellation feels milder. This might be because of the semi-open ComfortFit eartips, though.
- Activating Advanced ANC while beside a TV resulted in nearly all environmental din and farther away voices being suppressed. (What’s not cancelled is heavily muffled) I could still hear and discern the words of the TV presenter but the fellow’s voice was softer and thinner.
Coming back to auto-adjustments, this is most easily experienced by swiftly moving through areas with very different levels of din. Or simply by turning your head while in a room with a lot of different sounds.
For most parts, you will feel the noise cancellation effect actively segueing through changes. Certain scenarios could also sometimes result in a rather strange imbalance, i.e., with the pressured sensation way stronger in one ear than the other. When that happens, I find the simplest solution is to just turn your head again or reset using the app.
In short, I’m satisfied with the Elite 10’s Advanced ANC capabilities. It’s probably not the best in the market at the moment. However, it does what most needs to be done with efficiency. With simplicity too.
PS: For many users, the most demanding test of ANC is a flight test. I’d be traveling in November and so yup, I’ll be doing an inflight test. I will update this section accordingly.
Spatial Sound Powered by Dolby, With Head Tracking
Dolby Atmos Spatial Sound experience is the other big thing about the Jabra Elite 10 and it is indeed something to get excited about. But before discussion, we need to first define the terms Dolby Atmos and Spatial Sound.
As far as I know and with the Elite 10 in consideration, there are at least three types of “Dolby Atmos” sounds. I’ll list three relevant to this review.
- You’d know this if you’re a Samsung phone user. The Samsung Music app comes with a Dolby Atmos switch. Turning it on immediately makes the audio louder, richer, and more spaced out, no matter the track you’re playing. To share, I no longer listen to music on my Samsung Galaxy phone without this switched on. More importantly, you do not need special earphones to enjoy this effect.
- The Jabra Sound+ app has a widget that allows you to toggle Spatial Sound on and off. The same widget allows you to toggle Head Tracking on and off too. Curiously, though, it doesn’t quite do the same as Samsung’s app. It still “pushes” the music away from your head, creating that sensation of space. But in practically all cases, everything becomes quieter too.
- Netflix, Tidal, etc., have tracks/shows labeled as Dolby Atmos or Spatial Sound. Presumably, the audios of these are mastered to feature the best of Atmos’ 3D sound capabilities.
The following are my findings. Bear with me. It’s a bit messy.
- Listening to Samsung Music Dolby Atmos enhanced tracks with the Elite 10 is heavenly. You indeed feel as if you’re surrounded by music. Music that flows above you too.
- Not going to hide it. I don’t like what the Jabra Sound+ App’s Spatial Sound feature does to the tracks on my phone. I feel it removes the energy of the music.
- Listening to a track with both Samsung Dolby Atmos and Jabra Sound+ Spatial Sound switched on creates a weird compression effect. Bass is powerfully boosted while everything else is crushed. It’s also as if the soundstage was instantly shrunk. (Nope. Don’t like this too.)
- Listening to a Tidal/Netflix Dolby Atmos labelled track with Jabra Sound+ Spatial Sound switched on, now that’s where it goes beyond heavenly. Close your eyes and you can easily imagine yourself in the recording studio, especially if you have Head Tracking switched on. The first track I tried was the 2013 remastered version of Art Blakey’s Moanin’ and oh gosh, I felt transported in space and time to 1959.
My conclusion: Dolby-powered Spatial Sound is something you’d want to have but to enjoy the very best of it, you need to have access to the right tracks. Which I guess isn’t much of an issue since streaming services are affordable.
The above said, even if you have no access to, what’s the term, true Atmos tracks, it doesn’t matter much. The Elite 10 still sounds wonderful. Consider it a case of, the Elite 10 equips you with the ability to enjoy the best of streaming services when you’re ready to subscribe.
Watching Netflix “Spatial Sound” Movies With the Jabra Elite 10
Netflix has quite an extensive selection of movies with the Spatial Sound label. For example, 2019’s Klaus. The multi-award-winning All Quiet on the Western Front. And so on.
Watching these with the Jabra Elite 10, and with Sound+ Spatial Sound switched on, is quite the cinematic experience. To be clear, switching on Spatial Sound in the middle of such shows is not going to make you jump up in joy; the difference is not that dramatic. But give it time and you will sense a more natural and immersive soundscape. One that comes with superior stereo imaging too.
Update Oct 18: Watching YouTube Vlogs
I’ve further experimented with Elite 10’s Spatial Sound function using different YouTube vlogs, and the results are interesting.
The outcomes vary but in general, with well-produced/tuned vlogs, the main dialogue becomes slightly softer and recessed while ambient sounds are magnified.
Spatial Sound also creates a roomier effect. As in, there will be a noticeable but controlled increase in reverb, and because of that, a stronger sensation of space (and distance) is generated.
The more important question: do I like the effect? It’s tough to say. With travel documentaries and vlogs, I appreciate the richer audio impression of the place being introduced. However, with tutorials and the like, I definitely prefer no spatial effect as that makes the narration easier to focus on.
Luckily, switching Spatial Sound on and off is but a matter of toggling a switch.
Jabra Elite 10 Sound Quality
I began this review by mentioning sound quality. Let me return to it by stating these true wireless earbuds are easily the best I’ve tried this year, as far as sound quality is concerned.
They have a neutral profile by default. A genuinely neutral profile that doesn’t contain odd spikes at extreme frequencies. Basses are fast, crisp, and with character, while highs are energetic without losing cleanliness. Together with defined, forward mids, we have a natural-sounding signature that’s rich with enjoyment. Especially suitable for Spatial Sound too. (Which is probably why Jabra tuned the Elite 10 that way?)
Soundstage invokes impressions of a sizable bar, while imaging is nothing short of excellent, with distinct separations between voices and instruments.
To cite some examples, I streamed Captain & Tennille’s Love Will Keep Us Together and the strutting synth bass was prominent and snappy without ever mudding the bright piano accompaniment or Toni’s exuberant vocals.
Miles Davis’ So What is a superb test of bass nuances and definition. I’m happy to say the Elite 10 passed with flying marks in both areas. Made me remember how I was once fascinated with the sound texture of the Double Bass too.
Listening to random recordings of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos provided a clear idea of the superior dynamics the Elite 10 is capable of. As well as their control over trebles.
Streaming Megan Thee Stallion’s Body made me feel … she’s right behind me! Rapping over my shoulder, amid a dreamy bass wonderland with … that’s enough. I shall not share my more unbecoming thoughts. I’m sure you get the idea I really love the sound quality of the Elite 10.
Review Conclusion: An Ace All-Rounder for Work and Entertainment
Before I sum up, let me briefly discuss the features that I did not devote sections to.
With 6 precision-placed mics enhanced with noise-reduction tech, calls and recordings with the Jabra Elite 10 are as one would expect. Environmental din is not drastically removed, to be clear, but recorded speech is forward and crystal clear. For work and conferencing purposes, I see no areas for complaints.
The Bluetooth 5.3, multipoint feature will excite some users. For a start, the superior sound quality is obviously partly due to the higher version. As for the multipoint capability, well, I don’t see myself needing it but I guess it would be useful in certain situations.
The IP57 is not at the top of the chart; if you need a higher rating, you should be looking at the Elite 8 Active. But IP57 is still a very decent rating and so you can gym/jog with the Elite 10.
Moving on, I think the best summary for the Jabra Elite 10 is that these are premium all-rounders. In other words, what Jabra markets them as. Each respective feature might not be the top among the competition, but as a whole, these hard-working earbuds rank top in their class with very few, if any, major shortcomings.
I currently have different earbuds and IEMs for conferencing, daily commuting, music entertainment, recording, etc. With the Jabra Elite 10, I can reliably use just one pair for all purposes without any major compromise. In some cases, it would even be an improvement.
And then there’s the superior sound quality. Quite frankly, I think this alone is much worth the price tag.
With a sizable battery capacity, the Elite 10 is great for traveling too! You can be sure they will be accompanying me on my next holiday.
- Superior sound quality
- Compact & elegant design
- Superbly comfortable new eartip design
- Bluetooth 5.3 with multipoint connection capability
- “Advanced” noise cancelling that’s stronger than older Jabra models
- Dolby Atmos powered spatial sound capability
- 6 mics with noise reduction for clear calls & recordings
- Noise cancelling is on par but not superior to competitors
- Spatial sound function on app is a little iffy. Requires suitable tracks to fully enjoy too
Jabra is offering attractive gift-with-purchases to celebrate the Singapore launch of the Jabra Elite 10, with the final promotion ending on Nov 5, 2023. (Same goes for the Elite 8 Active) Check my earlier article about the launch to know more. Details are at the bottom of that article.
The official product page is here.