The Jabra Elite 25e earphones are a pair of water/dust resistant, long lasting comfortable earphones with good sound.
With radio and news stories always being so negative, I have grown to love the Audible app. I choose to listen to books as I commute each day, during my 30-minute drive. Additionally, as I drive my motorhome to our campgrounds, an hour each way, and to my parents home in North Carolina 11-12 hours, I listen to audible books. Music is incredibly enjoyable, but the books keep my interest strong and help to focus my attention. Thus, I have found books to be more engaging at the gym/during workouts and while driving. Car listening is possible with a Bluetooth connection and auxiliary input. However, other people may not like to listen to the same things that you desire. In this instance, using earphones (only one ear while driving) can allow you to have an individualized listening experience.
The Jabra Elite 25e earphones arrived in a classic retail package. The grey cover has a small image of the device along the middle of the cover. Although visually appealing, the image does not do the device justice. The yellow accents along the top and bottom of the box, as well as the font color, are well utilized. The contrasting color scheme of grey and yellow is a little different when compared to the clean white or the silky black colors of many tech gadgets. The cover promises Best-in-Class battery for wireless calls and music, claiming up to 18 hours of battery time, superior sound, wind and water resistance and improved/comfortable fit. The back and sides of the packaging provide additional details: dust resistance, one-touch Siri/Google access, optimized neckband design, Bluetooth 4.1, and a Jabra Assist app. The app has limited features on iOS but on android can help to find the headset, manage battery life and read text/email/social media messages. Lifting the magnetic front flap, you will see why I mentioned the tiny image on the cover. The clear window and grey plastic container allow you to see the Jabra Elite 25e as you would an item in a museum. Utilizing my favorite method of product display, Jabra did a great job with these earphones.
Remove the thin plastic shell from the box and you will find the headset, 3 sets of ear gels (S, M, L), a well-worded quick-start-guide and a short one-foot long USB-A to USB-micro cable. The manual provided very succinct instructions on how to connect and utilize the headset. The most useful information was the diagrams on the first two pages of the manual. There are three buttons on the right side of the neck of the headset. The middle button “0” is the multi-function button (MFB), which will turn on/off the device and will allow you to connect via Bluetooth. Hold the button for five seconds and a female voice will state: “Go ahead and connect me, use the Bluetooth setting on your phone.” There is a magical sound (similar to special effects in movies) when you turn the device on and off and before the voice. Navigate to settings on your device and then select Jabra Elite 25e V1.0.0 from the list. The female voice will then state “connected.” There are 4 buttons on the device, three located on the right side of the neck for volume up “+”, MFB “O” and volume down “-” and one on the left neck for Siri/Google Voice assist. The microphone is also located just distal to the voice button on the left side of the neck loop. To charge the device, open the Micro-USB port along the underside of the back of the neck loop. In addition to English, the manual also provides instructions in French, Spanish and Portuguese.
The ear gels of the headset are a little different than the typical in-ear system. Most earphones are round and will wedge into the ear canal. It is not uncommon to have some degree of fatigue, as these tend to continuously press on the ear canal. The Jabra Elite 25e provides a very comfortable hybrid in-ear earphone/earbud feel. The oval-shaped ear gel rests just inside the ear canal but does not wedge into the canal. The shape of the round plastic base of the earbud will fit into the concha (bowl of the ear) very well. Combined with the vertically oriented, oval-shaped, ear gel, the Jabra headsets were the most securely fitting earphones I have used to date. Whether I shook my head, jumped, ran, etc., the headphones did not dislodge. I was able to listen to the headphones for 6 hours straight without even realizing that they were on my neck. The solid neckband rests comfortably on the neck and works great for reducing the downward drag on the earphones. The battery of this unit is outstanding, lasting 16 hours before they started to beep, alerting me to charge the device. The instructions state that they can last up to 18 hours and this proved to be an accurate statement. After two hours of charging, you will be able to utilize the earphones again.
The device supports Bluetooth 4.1 and uses very little energy. It supports the most recent Bluetooth configurations and works well to control the volume and Siri activation of the iPhone. It is rated at IP54 and you can expect the Jabra headset to work in most environments. These headphones will do just fine in rain but are not meant to be used for swimming, bathing etc. They are not waterproof, nor dustproof. However, they are quite resistant to dust and water. The website states that each of the earphones contains a 10mm speaker, designed to give a full spectrum of music. Turning to audiocheck.net, I was able to complete my standard headphone tests. I was able to hear sound at 20Hz and up to about 15 kHz, which is typical for my hearing ability (adults lose upper-end hearing first). The Left and Right channels were appropriate and the earphones proved to be stereo. Using my standard bass selections, Cee Lo Green “Bright Lights Bigger City,” Dark Knight Rises Joker Theme “Why so Serious?” and the Gladiator Soundtrack, I found the bass to be acceptable. Testing the upper sounds and the rich/full instrumentals using “Far and Away” Soundtrack and “Braveheart” Soundtrack, I found the sounds to be acceptable. Audible was crisp and clear, movie sounds were crisp and clear. I did not experience any muddy sounds with increased volume nor did I get harsh, tinny sounds either. I found the sound to be overall high average to above average.
The sound did not seem as full as my 1MORE LTNG ANC earphones, as there was less of a seal with my ear canal than the 1MORE. This experience was improved after I changed the ear gels from medium to small. This allowed the Jabra Elite to sit a little deeper into my ear canal and improved the overall sound. Most earphones provide a good sound at about 1/4 to 1/2 volume on my iPhone, but I found I needed to listen at about 60% volume on my iPhone for better sound. Again the Jabra earphones have more of an earbud feel than an earphone. Do not misunderstand my statement, the sound is good, the bass is full and presents down to 20 Hz (lower range of hearing for humans). Remember, 85 decibels is the typically recommended maximum to prevent hearing loss. At 85 DB you can listen for about 8 hours without any permanent damage. For every three decibels that the sound increases above the 85 level, you can expect half the listening time before hearing damage (example 88 decibels for four hours, 91 decibels for 2 hours, etc.).
The listening experience was very pleasurable with the Jabra Elite 25e earphones. The app did not prove to be very useful for my iPhone as message readout is not possible on iOS. I tried to set up the email readout but continued to get an error (only supports IMAP protocol) when setting up GMAIL and YAHOO accounts. I thus deleted the application. Phone calls were acceptable and the one-touch button accessed Siri easily. The microphone placement was very intelligent, located near the mouth. The wind did cause some background noise and ambient noises. I contacted a few friends, my mother, and wife and they felt it worked decently well. In the car, it worked fine. Outdoors the microphone seemed to pick up too much static. Occasionally while listening to music or a phone call, there was some static during pauses and lulls. The static was not problematic and was not noticeable when sound was present.
The sound output proved to be reasonable, but the highlight of the device was the comfort and the battery duration. The 48 gram earphones were rather light. The neckband style set moves the weight from the ears to the neck and you may only feel like you have a collared shirt. To summarize, I would give the sound a 3.5/5 and I would rate the comfort a 5/5, battery life 5/5, button response 5/5, microphone 4/5. Overall, I would rate the earphones at 4/5 stars. The sound was very close to a 4 after changing the ear gels from medium to small and it was incredibly convenient to have the two other sizes. I actually loved the oval shape of the ear gel tips and believe that I now prefer that shape to the round or multi-flanged types. Working out in these headphones was amazing, I did not experience any bounce or pulling on my ears with any movement/activity. I would highly encourage this for anyone looking for a long lasting sub $100 headset.
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