When debating the best wireless earbuds for fitness, two brands always seem to dominate the conversation: Beats and Jabra. And that battle continues in our Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t face-off.
The Beats Powerbeats Pro has become the ideal sporty alternative to the AirPods. It shares the same seamless iOS performance and water resistance, but in a sleeker, more fitness-friendly design. Beats’ cordless buds happen to carry the same $249 price tag too.
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Our current market favorite, the Jabra Elite Active 75t, builds on everything that made the Elite Active 65t a critical darling. This includes longer battery life, tighter bass response, more features, and stronger waterproof capabilities in a tinier form.
These are two of the best sport headphones money can buy, but only one will be recognized as the true category leader. Read on to find out which is the better fitness investment.
Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t: Specs compared
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Beats Powerbeats Pro||Jabra Elite Active 75t|
|Wireless Charging Case||No||No|
|Rated Battery Life||9 hours (24 hours with charging case)||7.5 hours (28 hours with charging case)|
|Water Resistance||IPX 4 (can withstand sweat and water, but not for use in water sports)||IP57 (can be submerged in 3 feet of water, come; dust- and sweat-resistant)|
|Case Size||Undisclosed||2.4 x 1.4 x 1 inches|
|Case Weight||4.58 ounces||1.2 ounces|
|Special Features||Audio sharing, announced messages with Siri, customizable fit, Fast-Fuel Charging, control music and calls on both earbuds, “Hey Siri” voice-activated assistance||Passive noise cancelation, transparency mode, companion app with customizable EQ, extra calling features, tri-digital-assistant support (Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri), adaptive listening features|
Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t: Price
You’re looking at a $50 difference between the two models. Take everything into account, starting from design and ending with battery life, and you’ll find the $199 Elite Active 75t offers more bang for your buck. A fully waterproof shell and the promise of more features ups its value. Also, keep in mind that Jabra’s pretty generous with markdowns, so there is a good chance you’ll find these buds on sale in a few months.
The Powerbeats Pro shares the same premium as the AirPods Pro ($250), yet also lacks some of the standout features (e.g. noise cancelation, small charging case) that make its dangling sibling the more enticing Apple earbuds purchase. That same argument can be made when compared to Jabra’s sporty buds as well. I suggest waiting until it goes down to $199, which happens time and again.
Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t: Design
Attractive, well built, and ergonomically designed, both of these models are equally appealing to fashion-forward exercisers. However, the real difference maker lies in waterproof protection, which is only found in the Jabra Elite Active 75t.
Jabra definitely flexed its creative muscle by squeezing lots of powerful circuitry (e.g. Bluetooth 5.0, four-microphone system, passive noise cancelation) into a tiny design; the Elite Active 75t is 22% smaller than the last-gen version. Craftsmanship is a great balance of svelte and sturdy, which gives the buds a ruggedly handsome look. But their biggest selling point is IP57 certification. That means they are waterproof, dust- and sweat-resistant. It takes a lot of damage to destroy the Elite Active 75t.
Surprisingly, Jabra’s charging case has also been shrunken down a tad. It’s so lightweight and slim that you won’t even notice it in your pocket. I appreciate its sturdiness, along with how well it safely stores the buds inside, thanks to powerful magnets that lock each one into their respective storage slots and shut the lid tightly.
Beats’ penchant for stylish designs is demonstrated on the Powerbeats Pro. Series hallmarks like the embossed brand logo on the front of each bud, which is also a multifunctional button, and wrap-around-the-ear hooks are unique details that will draw eyes at the gym. The buds and charging case are both reinforced with the same solid plastic casing, keeping them fully protected from environmental hazards. There hasn’t been any confirmation from either Beats or Apple about the buds IPX rating, but they are sweat- and water-resistant.
Color options for these two models are abundant for the product category. Jabra sells the Elite Active 75t in Navy, Titanium Black, and Copper Black, while newer colors (Grey, Mint, and Sienna) are expected to launch this Spring. Beats offers the Powerbeats Pro in four earthy shades: Ivory, Moss, Navy, and Black. Although, if the company’s track record is any indication, we can expect to see some new colors in the form of fashion collaborations and special edition releases; my heart is set on a (PRODUCT) RED version.
Winner: Elite Active 75t
Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t: Comfort
These two sets of earbuds offer some of the best fit in their class. Regarding comfort, well, one does it better than the other. The Elite Active 75t is the one you’ll find to be the more pleasant wear for commuting and exercising.
At 0.19 ounces, the Elite Active 75t practically weighs nothing and won’t fatigue your ears during long workouts. I’ve actually worn the buds for extended periods throughout the day (2-3 hours daily) with no issues. It’s also quite remarkable how steady Jabra’s buds remain on the ears when looking at their smaller form. The redesigned sound port easily slides into the ear, while the gel tips produce a tight seal around the canal. What I find most impressive is the sweat absorption, which is superb at preventing slippage.
Beats’ integrated hooks vastly contribute to stability, latching around the ear and keeping the Powerbeats Pro in place, which is perfect for lateral movements. These buds aren’t going to fall out when performing burpees or crunches. Weight-wise, they’re airy at 0.72 ounces. Unfortunately, the angled front cavity sits firmly on the concha and feels stiff after an hour, while pressing the buttons only pushes the buds further into your ears causing more discomfort.
Winner: Elite Active 75t
Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t: Controls and digital assistant
Jabra does a tremendous job of streamlining functionality on the Elite Active 75t, from the accurate on-ear detection to the responsive, flushed MF buttons on the front. You get some great playback versatility between the two control schemes that is spot-on. The click sound made when pressing either button offers reassurance when executing intended commands.
The Powerbeats Pro may seem more simple to operate with a MF button and volume rocker on each bud, but the setup isn’t so practical in hindsight. As I’ve already stressed, pressing each button applies unwanted pressure to your ears; managing volume and skipping tracks becomes frustrating. In addition, the MF buttons often require an extra press or two to execute commands, which is a shame since the rockers produce great tactile feedback.
Those who prefer using voice commands to operate their smartphone will find the digital assistant support on each device terrific. The Elite Active 75t has the big three (Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa) available and delivers trustworthy speech recognition to pick up vocals verbatim. However, nothing is more rewarding than the hands-free “Hey Siri” feature that works flawlessly on all current Apple earbuds, including the AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro. It’s a joy to have Apple’s AI bot pull up playlists and read back messages without a hitch.
Winner: Elite Active 75t
Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t: Special features and apps
A companion app loaded with personalized audio settings, innovative listening modes, and a Find My Buds feature, Jabra wins this round easily. It all starts with the built-in EQ to fine-tune and create your own sound profiles. Users also have access to several music presets that cater to different genres. Select the settings icon and you’ll discover some other hidden gems like Call Experience that increases how loud and deep your voice sounds on phone calls.
Thanks to Apple, Sony, and Master & Dynamic, it’s looking more like active noise cancelation will become a common feature on true wireless earbuds. Jabra may offer the lower-tiered option in passive noise cancelation, but the Elite Active 75t is effective at neutralizing external sounds to enjoy music peacefully at the gym. It won’t silence a construction site, but when listening at a high volume, the technology does a reliable job canceling out 80% of noise. Outdoor runners will also find HearThrough Mode useful for being aware of their surroundings, whereas special modes like Soundscapes serve as a great recovery tool to calm and relieve the body by listening to soothing sounds.
That should be more than enough to work with. Right? It turns out Jabra has plans of launching more features in the coming months. MyControls will let you personalize the controls on both buds and use one bud for mono listening, while MySound employs adaptive sound technology to create a sound profile tailored to your hearing.
I’ve always admired Apple’s approach to streamlining the user experience, even if it’s been at the expense of less practical features. The company’s H1 chip is the engine running the Powerbeats Pro and it affords listeners much of the same functionality found on the AirPods Pro. This includes modes like Announce Messages to have Siri read off incoming messages and Audio Sharing to share audio from one iOS device to two pairs of Beats headphones or AirPods. Other perks include 50% more talk time, instant connectivity to iOS devices, and “Hey Siri” support.
Having no built-in EQ already hurt the Powerbeats Pro coming into this round, but the exclusion of other standout AirPods features like ambient audio passthrough and a Find My Buds mode really does these buds in on the features front.
Winner: Elite Active 75t
Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t: Audio quality
Sound is everything for workout buds, wired or wireless. You want energetic, impactful audio that is going to boost your momentum during warmups and trigger a second wind when you’re nearing the finish line. The Elite Active 75t and Powerbeats Pro deliver these results, but it’s the former that offers the more detailed listening experience.
The Elite Active 75t showcases great sonic range, lending itself well to songs across all genres. “Boom” by Royce da 5’9” is considered a masterclass in boom-bap hip hop, and it had my adrenaline raised right from the clock-ticking intro. Bass was punchy, but what really stood out to my ears was how prominent the background effects (e.g. explosions, record scratches) sounded over the banging snares and intensified strings. Transitioning into something more melodic, I pulled up Wes Montgomery’s “West Coast Blues,” which made for some fine Jazz listening during recovery mode. Reproduction was wonderful and gave every instrument a consonant feel.
Noise isolation is another area where the Elite Active 75t excels. Its ability to block outside noise from leaking into your ears makes music sound fuller. I also like that the buds bleed very little sound when listening at max volume; no one in the stretching area at the gym noticed I was blasting 2Pac’s “California Love.”
Beats has come a long way with its audio, which is exemplary on the Powerbeats Pro. Sure, it’s still big on bass, but at least the low end isn’t as overbearing as it has been on older Beats models or fake AirPods knockoffs. The thunderous bassline on The Throne’s “No Church in the Wild” is well balanced and remains powerful throughout the track without distorting any of the rappers’ vocals. Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” maintained it punchy resonance with the record’s percussive elements leading the sonic charge.
It’s when playing boomy records like Foo Fighters’ “Learn to Fly” where you’ll notice a dip in highs. The crashing cymbals and hi-hats aren’t as distinguishable as they are on the Elite Active 75t. The buds also underperform with low-fi recordings. Listening to several tracks on Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the 36 Chambers, nuances like the Kung-Fu voiceovers and sword effects sounded recessed.
Winner: Elite Active 75t
Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t: Call quality
The Powerbeats Pro is Beats’ best calling headset. Each bud is equipped with beamforming mics that make taking calls and interacting with Siri a breeze. Every call I took sounded loud and clear, though drafty conditions muffled my voice just a tad. I was still able to engage in full conversations with friends across different platforms on calls and over Skype.
The Elite Active 75t is a major step up in call quality from the Elite 75t, but a step below what the Powerbeats Pro offers. I could hear callers on the other end clearly and had fun chats on the move, but that was mainly the case in quiet settings. Speaking in high traffic areas like Rockefeller Center caused some interference, as my fiancée pointed out on a few occasions; gusty winds and loud commuters interrupted our discussions.
Winner: Powerbeats Pro
Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t: Charging case
More portable power in a much smaller design, Jabra’s charging case wins this round. A fully powered case gives you 28 hours, which equates to 4 full charges. Those committed to their fitness regimen should get about two weeks of use before having to recharge the case. Also, Jabra programmed its case with an intelligent power management system that preserves power and doesn’t overcharge the buds when not in use. I found the case’s unsung feature to be its super-compact size, which made for a comfy and featherweight carry.
squeezing this hunk of plastic into your back pocket, you’ll probably tear the denim in the process. On the plus side, it holds up to 24 hours of playtime and is extremely durable, which keeps the buds locked in and secured whenever dropped to the ground. FYI, it will take you several tries to figure out how to dock the buds onto the awkwardly designed charging slots.
Winner: Elite Active 75t
Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t: Battery life
Beats edges out Jabra here, but by very little. The Powerbeats Pro is rated at 9 hours, which is more like 8 hours when factoring in music streaming and loud volume. It’s a great amount of playtime for fitness buffs who live at the gym; I got nearly a full week out of the buds (1 hour daily for 6 days). Fast Fuel technology was also clutch for quick charging the device when rushing out of the door, netting me 4.5 hours on a 15-minute charge.
While slightly shorter, the Elite Active 75t isn’t far behind with a 7.5-hour-rated battery that is realistically 7 hours on a full charge. Features like HearThrough and Soundscapes do shorten playtime, though it’s unnoticeable. This got me through 5 days (1.5 hours daily) of training before having to toss them in their case. If only Jabra’s fast charging technology was as powerful as Beats; a 15-minute charge only generates 1 hour of battery.
Winner: Powerbeats Pro
Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t: Verdict
The Jabra Elite 65t was nearly perfect, so to see the Jabra Elite Active 75t improve on almost every facet is worthy of a standing ovation. Any pair of fitness earbuds that can house dynamic sound, dependable noise cancellation, stable battery life, and a plethora of features in a super-tiny, personalized, and waterproof design must be considered No. 1 in its class. It turns out the Elite Active 75t isn’t just the best pair of sport earbuds out there – it’s the best wireless earbuds. Period.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Beats Powerbeats Pro||Jabra Elite Active 75t|
|Controls and Digital Assistant (5)||3||4|
|Special Features (15)||11||14|
|Call Quality (5)||4||3|
|Charging Case (10)||7||9|
|Battery Life (15)||14||13|
|Total Score (100)||80||87|
Judging by the scorecard, it looks like the Beats Powerbeats Pro didn’t present much of a challenge. That’s a farce. Outside of special features and the charging case, every lost category was a neck and neck battle between the two. These buds are arguably the brand’s best audio product to date and serve their purpose incredibly well by blessing listeners with great sound and battery life in a bold, tenable design. But the $50 extra that Beats wants for them is a bit too much, especially when Jabra is offering more performance for less.
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