AirPods 3 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Which wireless earbuds win?

The AirPods 3 pitted against the Jabra Elite Active 75t
(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

This AirPods 3 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t face-off compares two of the best wireless earbuds, helping you decide which pair best suits your needs and budget.

New to market, the AirPods 3 continues to earn universal praise, even receiving a 4.5-out-of-5-star rating from Tom’s Guide. Apple made minor, but effective upgrades to the design, while bringing some of the AirPods Pro’s biggest features into the picture, including Adaptive EQ, Spatial Audio, and a few new iOS 15 features. It also welcomes new hardware that enhances call quality and functionality.

Nearly two years on from its release, the Jabra Elite Active 75t remains a TG favorite. An extensive feature set, dynamic sound, long battery life, and waterproof protection in a chic package gives these sporty buds mass appeal. The inclusion of active noise cancellation via software update and a recent price drop to $99 sweetens this deal even more.

Both are considered prime models, but only one makes for the better true wireless investment. Our full breakdown of the AirPods and Jabra Elite Active 75t will pick a winner.

AirPods 3 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Specs compared

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Header Cell - Column 0 AirPods 3Jabra Elite Active 75t
Wireless chargingYesYes (optional)
ChipH1Qualcomm QCC5126
Battery Life (Rated)6 hours, 30 hours (with charging case)5.5 hours (ANC on), 7.5 hours (ANC off), 28 hours (with charging case)
Water ResistanceIPX4IP57
Case Size1.83 x 0.84 x 2.14 inches2.4 x 1.4 x 1 inches
Case Weight1.34 ounces1.2 ounces
Special featuresAdaptive EQ, spatial audio, automatic switching, audio sharing, announced messages with Siri, Enhance Find My, head tracking, “Hey Siri” voice-activated assistance, Live Listen, Lost Mode, MagSafe chargingActive noise cancellation, adjustable ambient listening mode, adaptive sound, customizable EQ, extra calling features, Soundscapes, digital assistant support (Google Assistant and Siri),

AirPods 3 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Price

What’s interesting about the AirPods 3 is that as a new release, Apple launched it at a relatively affordable price: $179. This places it right in the middle of the flagship $249 AirPods Pro and recently reduced $129 AirPods 2. Color options are limited to white.

The AirPods 3 also launched with a lower MSRP than the Jabra Elite Active 75t ($199). However, Jabra’s set of buds has seen several markdowns over the past year and we've seen it available for as low as $99 in recent weeks, making it the more enticing purchase. The regular version is sold in six colors: Copper Black, Dark Grey, Navy, Titanium Black, Sienna, and Mint. There is a wireless-charging-enabled version that comes in Dark Grey or Navy and is sold for the same price on Amazon.

For the latest Apple and Jabra headphones deals, bookmark our best cheap AirPods deals and best headphones deals pages. Furthermore, be sure to check out our best Black Friday headphones deals to see what other audio products go on sale this holiday season.

Winner: Jabra Elite Active 75t

AirPods 3 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Design

The Jabra Elite Active 75t and AirPods 3 wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The Elite Active 75t is the company’s most attractive creation to date, coming in 22% smaller than its predecessors and showcasing both stylish and sturdy traits. The two-tone colorways (on certain models) and matte finishes are nice touches, while the IP57-rated exterior protects the buds from dust, sweat, and water. We also love the compact charging case, which is conveniently portable and feels nice in hand.

The charging cases for the AirPods 3 and Jabra Elite Active 75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

From an aesthetic standpoint, Apple’s long-stem design has never been our cup of tea, though we acknowledge its functional merits and improvements with every new iteration. The AirPods 3 has been shrunken down 33% from the AirPods 2, boasting shorter stems that come with Force Sensors, along with other new details like an extra mic grille on the top and longer sound port. Even the charging case has been downscaled, looking like a smaller version of the AirPods Pro case.  The entire package is sleek, but not as sleek as the opposition.

Winner: Jabra Elite Active 75t

AirPods 3 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Comfort and fit

Our reviewer wearing the Jabra Elite Active 75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Apple tweaked the AirPods 3's open design by making the sound port more ergonomic to rest snugly on the concha and nestle into the canal, though it doesn’t insert all the way. This results in slippage. Since the Elite Active 75t comes with tips, the buds form a tight seal around the canal. Jabra’s tips also come with surprisingly good sweat absorption, keeping the buds locked in when exposed to moisture. You’ll find that each model is comfy to wear for several hours, though the Elite Active 75t has the advantage with better fit.

Winner: Jabra Elite Active 75t

AirPods 3 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Controls

The Force Sensor being pressed on the AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Future)

The Elite Active 75t has a solid control scheme made up of multifunctional buttons, on-ear detection, and digital assistance (e.g., Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa, Bixby). Functionality is responsive on all four. Jabra’s MyControls feature also makes it simple to assign functions to any input method. However, nothing beats the killer duo of Apple’s Force Sensors and “Hey Siri” voice activation. These, along with the new skin-detect sensors for auto-pause/play, operate flawlessly.

Winner: AirPods 3

AirPods 3 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Sound quality

Spatial Audio enabled on the Apple AirPods 3

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Apple’s new low-distortion driver gives the AirPods 3 “powerful bass and crisp, clean high frequencies,” while the inclusion of Adaptive EQ balances out sound by adjusting frequencies to hear music more precisely. In addition, you can personalize sound by selecting from over 20 presets in the Sound settings on iOS. 

Then there’s the killer feature: Spatial Audio with head-tracking. Apple’s 3D sound tech brings multidimensional audio and clarity to select content, and positions sound with the direction your head turns for an immersive listen. And yes, it works just as well on these buds as the AirPods Pro.

Nina Simone's "I Put A Spell On You" played on the Jabra Elite Active 75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The Elite Active 75t may not have the same cutting-edge audio tech, but it can still deliver energetic sound. Bass is at the forefront, producing punchy lows, along with smooth treble and striking highs. Distortion doesn’t come into play when listening at high volume, a problem Jabra fixed in previous updates. 

You can also personalize the soundstage in different ways. MySound uses adaptive sound technology to create a sound profile that’s tailored to your hearing. The EQ in the companion app lets you select from a few well-engineered presets or create your own sound profile by manually adjusting the frequency levels. Music and movies sound superb on these buds, but Spatial Audio alone gives the AirPods 3 the sonic edge.

Winner: AirPods 3

AirPods 3 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Special features

Auto-connect on the Apple AirPods 3

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Apple and Jabra offer equally great feature sets for their respective wireless earbuds. Preference will be based on your performance needs.   

For the AirPods 3, we already touched on several hallmark features like Adaptive EQ, “Hey Siri” voice integration, skin-detection sensors, and Spatial Audio. One new feature worth keeping top of mind is Enhanced FindMy to track down lost AirPods while they are within close distance of iDevices or a MacBook via the FindMy app or Lost Mode. Other standouts include automatic switching, audio sharing, Announce Messages/Notifications with Siri, and one-touch pairing with iDevices.

AirPods Pro features that didn’t make their way onto the AirPods 3 include ANC, Transparency Mode, and Conversation Boost, a new mode that debuted on iOS 15 to hear voices better during chats.

As for the Elite Active 75t, we’ve already touched on EQ, MyControls, and MySound.  What else is left? Let’s start with ANC, which, originally, was not available, and was added several months later through an OTA (over-the-air) update. The technology performs a lot better than expected, blocking out about 75% of ambient noise. You can use the Personalize ANC setting to tailor noise suppression to your hearing. HearThrough is clutch for increasing environmental awareness and lets in a lot of external sounds that you’ll hear clearly and distinctively.

ANC calibration on the Jabra Elite Active75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Another unique feature that deserves attention is the Elite Active 75t’s passive noise cancellation. According to Jabra, it repositioned the four-microphone system to cancel ambient sounds from different angles when ANC is turned off. Bear in mind that this was already in place before Jabra released the ANC update. 

Jabra has a Call Experience feature to enhance call quality by increasing how loud and deep your voice sounds during calls. The Find My Jabra mode is self-explanatory. Soundscapes is another fun feature that plays nature sounds to mask ambient noise; it’s relieving for when you want a mental break. Other extras like battery level indicators, toggle controls, and firmware updates round out the Jabra Sound+ app.

Connectivity between the two models is strong and steady. You’ll achieve about 40 feet of wireless listening, along with fast pairing to devices, though the H1 chip makes the process seamless when connecting the AirPods 3 to iDevices.

Winner: Tie

AirPods 3 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Call quality

A video call being taken on the Apple AirPods 3

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

You'll only find one of these on our list of the best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls. That would be the AirPods 3. Besides delivering the clear-sounding call quality that the series is known for, Apple went the extra mile to ensure performance remained consistent, integrating acoustic mesh on the mics that reduce background and wind interference, along with AAC-ELD speech codec for HD voice quality on FaceTime calls.

We’ve found the Elite Active75t to be a serviceable calling headset for indoor calls and video chats. Conversations were loud and clear, though there were times when others on the opposite end could hear background noise.

Winner: AirPods 3

AirPods 3 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Battery life

The Jabra Elite Active 75t held in hand

(Image credit: Reagan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Apple finally got around to increasing playtime on the AirPods, upping the battery life from 5 to 6 hours. The MagSafe charging case holds up to 30 hours and supports both wireless charging and quick charging, generating up to 1 hour of use on a 5-minute charge.

The Elite Active 75t’s battery life is more versatile, sitting between 5.5 hours (ANC on) and 7.5 hours (ANC off), depending on how you use the buds. Jabra’s charging case holds up to 28 hours, and though the standard version doesn’t support Qi-enabled wireless charging, there is another version available that can be purchased as a bundle (revisit the Amazon deal we previously mentioned) or standalone for $59. A quick charge gets you 1 hour on a 15-minute charge.

Winner: Jabra Elite Active 75t

AirPods 3 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Verdict

With terrific all-around performance, up-to-date features, and a stylish, yet sturdy design to boot, the Jabra Elite Active 75t proves to be the better pickup. Audio is detailed and vibrant, giving music, movies, and podcasts a lively presence. Battery life and call quality hold up well. Jabra’s ability to add decent ANC into the mix via update is even more impressive, along with other calibration settings like MySound and MyControls.

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Header Cell - Column 0 AirPods 3Jabra Elite Active 75t
Price and value (5)45
Design (10)610
Comfort and fit (10)78
Controls (10)109
Audio quality (25)2120
Special features and apps (20)1616
Call quality (10)98
Battery life (10)78
Total score (100)8084

Apple did an incredible job of making the AirPods 3 a vast upgrade over the AirPods 2, giving it most of the AirPods Pro’s functionality minus a few omissions. Adaptive EQ and Spatial Audio bring a more precise and immersive listening experience to the standard AirPods. Adding Force Sensors into the mix enhances the user experience, which is already magnificent, thanks to “Hey Siri” and several H1-operated functions (e.g., automatic switching, instantaneous connectivity). We also appreciate the increase in battery life. 

However, in the end, the lack of certain features such as ANC and ambient listening holds it back from being the better model.

Alex Bracetti

A lifestyle journalist with an affinity for consumer products, Alex has over a decade of experience and has worked with popular publications such as Complex, Thrillist, Men’s Health, Gear Patrol, AskMen, and Hoop Magazine. He currently focuses on audio, reviewing the most coveted headphones in the market for both Tom’s Guide and Laptop Magazine.