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Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3: Which wireless earbuds win?

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3
(Image credit: Jabra/Sony)

Comparing the Jabra Elite Active 75t and Sony WF-1000XM3 is no mere exercise: this is a contest to find out which are the best wireless earbuds overall. The Elite Active 75t became one of our favorites as soon as it launched, and only got better with the post-release addition of active noise cancellation (ANC). The Sony WF-1000XM3, meanwhile, has dropped to a similar price — and also offers the pleasures of noise cancellation.

To find out which pair of ANC earbuds is better, this Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3 face-off will break down their individual qualities and determine which model is superior in each area. We know from our testing that both sets of buds are serious contenders, so it’s time to see how they fare head-to-head.

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3: Specs compared

Jabra Elite Active 75tSony WF-1000XM3
Price$149$178
Wireless Charging CaseOptionalNo
ChipQualcomm QCC5126Sony QN1e
Rated Battery Life7.5 hours (28 hours from charging case)8 hours (18 hours from charging case)
Water-ResistantIP57No
Case Size2.4 x 1.4 x 1 inches3.2 x 2.2 x 1.3 inches
Case Weight1.2 ounces2.8 ounces
Special FeaturesActive noise cancellation, transparency mode, companion app with customizable EQ, extra calling features, digital assistant support (Google Assistant and Siri), adaptive listening featuresActive noise cancellation, transparency mode, companion app with customizable EQ, DSEE HX upscales compressed digital music files, NFC connectivity, digital assistant support (Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri), touch controls

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3: Price

The Jabra Elite Active 75t launched at $199 and has since dropped to $149, even reaching $129 in certain sales. That makes it even cheaper than the Apple AirPods — which lacks noise cancellation or replaceable ear tips. This also makes Jabra’s buds much more affordable than similarly-specced “premium” true wireless earbuds like the AirPods Pro or Master & Dynamic MW08.

The Sony WF-1000XM3 has also benefitted from a big price drop since launch, falling from $229 to $178. That’s also cheaper than many of its noise-cancelling rivals, though as long as we’re counting dollars, there’s no escaping that the Elite Active 75t is even more affordable. First blood goes to Jabra.

Winner: Jabra Elite Active 75t

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3: Design

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3

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

While the WF-1000XM3 earbuds certainly look swish, with subtle copper accents and a distinct circular touch sensor, the Elite Active 75t takes this round as well.

For starters, Jabra’s buds are more compact, shrinking the Jabra Elite Active 65t’s design by about 22% while keeping the pleasant matte finish and more rounded shape than the WF-1000XM3. The Elite Active 75t earbuds are also dust-resistant and waterproof to the IP57 standard, meaning they can be fully submerged in water — never mind splashed with a bit of sweat — and emerge unscathed. The WF-1000XM3, by contrast, doesn’t even have IP-rated protection.

Winner: Jabra Elite Active 75t

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3: Comfort and fit

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Elite Active 75t also beats Sony’s buds on comfort. This isn’t a huge surprise, as the Elite Active 75t is designed to be a lot sportier than the WF-1000XM3; as such, the Jabra buds were always likely to sit more snugly in the ear, to avoid falling out during strenuous exercise.

In fact, the Elite Active 75t is one of the most securely-fitting pairs of true wireless earbuds we’ve ever tested, which is a big reason it’s currently at the top of our best sport headphones list. Moreover, it’s more than comfortable enough to wear for a couple of hours at a time.

The WF-1000XM3 unfortunately struggles here. The large, outwards-pointing earbuds make for some uncomfortable weight distribution, and while you can swap out ear tips to find a set that fits your ears — just as on the Elite Active 75t — the buds are still more prone to working loose and, at worst, slipping out.

Winner: Jabra Elite Active 75t

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3: Controls and digital assistant

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3

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

Instead of touch sensors, like the Sony WF-1000XM3 has, the Jabra Elite Active 75t has a multifunctional button on either earbud. This definitely provides a greater deal of tactile feedback compared to the WF-1000XM3’s sensors, and in our experience, the buttons always registered inputs correctly.

You can customize certain inputs on the WF-1000XM3, but its touch sensor isn’t anywhere near as reliable as Jabra’s buttons. And you can’t adjust the volume on the WF-1000XM3’s sensors, either: you’ll need to use your source device’s controls instead.

Sony claws some points back on digital assistant support, Both sets of earbuds support Google Assistant and Siri, and when using the former during testing, and there wasn’t much difference in how each pair parsed or executed our voice commands. The WF-1000XM3, however, also offers Alexa as a digital assistant option; the Elite Active 75t previously supported Amazon’s assistant, but cut support due to an App Store certification issue.

Winner: Jabra Elite Active 75t

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3: Active noise cancellation

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3

(Image credit: Sony)

We can’t say we’ve ever heard of a headphones maker using firmware updates to add ANC to a pair of earbuds after launch, but the Jabra Elite Active 75t is hardly worse for it. In fact, the noise cancellation effect is very respectable, cutting out the majority of ambient noise — even difficult-to-cancel sounds like speech.

Nonetheless, this is one area in which the Sony WF-1000XM3 impresses even more. Powered by its HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1e, and employing both feed-forward and feed-back mics for maximum frequency coverage, the WF-1000XM3 is even better at silencing sounds than the much more expensive AirPods Pro.

Winner: Sony WH-1000XM3

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3: Sound quality

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3

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

Both pairs of earbuds exhibit stellar audio performance. The Elite Active 75t can capable reproduce sound from deep bass all the way up to piercing treble, and the soundstage is considerably more balanced than it was on the original Jabra Elite 75t. The only problem with how the Elite Active 75t sounds is that the volume can extend beyond what’s comfortable, but you can keep this in check yourself.

The WF-1000XM3 has a somewhat more bass-forward profile, though we wouldn’t say this sounds worse. If anything it helps make musical genres like electronica, dance, rap and rock even more exciting. Few wireless earbuds offer this amount of low-end punch, and it never sounds muddy or unrefined either.

Winner: Draw

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3: App and special features

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

We’re big fans of the Jabra Sound+ app: it enhances the Elite Active 75t with full EQ customization, as well as a few sound profile presets you can try. The app also has a surprisingly compelling “Soundscapes” feature that plays soothing noises through the Elite Active 75t. It’s a bit incongruous with the “Active” part but hey, it’s nice to listen to.

The WF-1000XM3’s Sony Headphones app won’t help you relax much, but still offers a comparable range of EQ customization options, and will also let you set Sony’s 360 Reality Audio system. This analyses the shape of your ear  to play compatible songs with a neat 3D effect, though you’ll need to sign up for a premium music streaming service to find songs that are appropriately mastered for it.

Both pairs also complement their ANC with an ambient/transparency mode, which lets outside sounds in rather than blocking them out. Overall we’d say the Elite Active 75t’s other big bonus feature, waterproofing, helps it edge this round, but there’s very little in it.

Winner: Jabra Elite Active 75t

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3: Call quality

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3

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

The Elite Active 75t is a usable if imperfect calling headset. While your voice will come through clear on the other end of the line, the earbuds’ microphones can also pick up a lot of ambient noise, like click-clacking keyboards. We apparently also sounded distant when making calls in crowded areas, an issue that thankfully doesn’t appear in quieter settings.

Either way, the Elite Active 75t is better for calls than the WF-1000XM3. In addition to also picking up lots of background noise, Sony’s earbuds can make the wearer sound muffled, and sometimes cuts off speech entirely. Neither of these two pairs of buds will be joining the best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls anytime soon, but Jabra’s effort is clearly superior.

Winner: Jabra Elite Active 75t

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3: Battery life

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Whichever pair of earbuds wins on battery life largely depends on whether you’d prefer longer uptime per single charge, or more listening time overall via the charge case. The WF-1000XM3 lasts an impressive 8 hours without ANC (6 hours with it), compared to a maximum of 7 hours on the Elite Active 75t; however, Jabra’s charging case can provide up to 28 hours of additional charge, easily best Sony’s 18 hours.

So, if you want to charge your earbuds less often, the WF-1000XM3 has the advantage. If you know you’re going to be away from a power source for even longer, though, the Elite Active 75t and its case can keep you going for longer overall.

Winner: Draw

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3: Verdict

Jabra Elite Active 75t vs. Sony WF-1000XM3

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

Our overall winner is the Jabra Elite Active 75t, which you might have already guessed from a) it being top of our best wireless earbud rankings and b) the sheer number of rounds it won in this face-off.

Jabra Elite Active 75tSony WF-1000XM3
Design (15)1312
Comfort (10)86
Controls (5)33
Noise Cancellation (15)1114
Audio (20)1819
Special Features and Apps (10)98
Call Quality and Digital Assistant (5)33
Charging Case (10)97
Battery Life (10)88
Total Score (100)8280

To the WF-1000XM3’s credit, we still think it’s a great pair of ANC earbuds that’s well worth the money, especially if you just want a pair for casual use as opposed to a pair of the best running headphones. In fact, we prefer the noise cancellation on the WF-1000XM3, and don’t forget that its batteries last longer on a per-charge basis.

Nevertheless, if you only buy one pair of wireless earbuds, make it the Jabra Elite Active 75t. Even with a sporty focus it’s an outstanding balanced product, marrying high audio performance with effective ANC, lasting comfort and plenty of features.