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Sony WF-1000XM4 vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t: Which noise-cancelling earbuds should you buy?

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t
(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

This Sony WF-1000XM4 vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t face-off focuses on two of the best wireless earbuds, helping you decide which pair best suits your needs and budget. 

Recently launched, the Sony WF-1000XM4 is a powerhouse carrying the Sony V1 chip: an upgrade that welcomes better active noise cancellation (ANC), clearer sound and faster performance. This pair also brings more features, longer battery life and newly revamped design for optimal fit. It's comfortably one of the best noise-cancelling earbuds.

The Jabra Elite Active 75t may seem old compared to its newer rival; it was released back in March 2020. However, this sporty set of buds continue to leave a lasting impression with well-rounded performance across the board. Jabra has also done a tremendous job of extending the buds’ feature set, even adding ANC via firmware update, something we’ve never seen done elsewhere.

Hands down, these are Sony’s and Jabra’s best true wireless offerings to date. As for which is the better investment, our Sony WF-1000XM4 and Jabra Elite Active 75t comparison will fill you in.

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Specs compared

Sony WF-1000XM4Jabra Elite Active 75t
Price$279$199
Wireless chargingYesOptional
ChipSony V1Qualcomm QCC5126
Battery life (rated)8 hours (ANC on), 12 hours (ANC off), 24 hours (with charging case), 36 hours (with charging case and ANC off)5.5 hours (ANC on), 7.5 hours (ANC off), 28 hours (with charging case)
Water resistanceIPX4IP57
Case size2.4 x 1.5 x 1.1 inches2.4 x 1.4 x 1 inches
Case weight2 ounces1.2 ounces
Special featuresActive noise cancellation, transparency mode, Speak-to-Chat, customizable EQ, 360 Reality Audio, DSEE Extreme upscaling, LDAC, Bluetooth 5.2, digital assistant support (Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri)Active noise cancellation, adjustable ambient listening mode, adaptive sound, customizable EQ, extra calling features, Soundscapes, digital assistant support (Google Assistant and Siri),

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Price

Even at its original launch price of $199, the Jabra Elite Active 75t severely undercuts its competitor. The buds are currently being sold for as low as $179 on Amazon and Best Buy. A wireless charging version is also available and normally runs for $229, but you can snag it right now for $199 on Amazon.   

The Sony WF-1000XM4 sells for $279, which is $50 higher than the preceding Sony WF-1000XM3. It falls in the same price class as the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, but is listed higher than market favorites such as the AirPods Pro ($249) and Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro ($199). Simply put, these buds don’t come cheap.  

For all of the latest headphones sales, be sure to bookmark our best headphones deals pages.

Winner: Jabra Elite Active 75t

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Design

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t

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

Jabra is one of the few brands that knows how to blend form, function and fashion exceptionally well. Note the Elite Active 75t. The original Elite 75t was an attractive creation, with sleek and minimalist details like a flush multifunctional button, tiny grilles and shiny matte finish. This version adds IP57 to the equation for waterproof, dust- and sweat-resistant protection. The buds also sit handsomely and discretely on your ears. On top of that, Jabra sells them in a variety of colors: Navy, Titanium Black, Dark Grey, Copper Black, Mint, and Sienna.

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Taking in the mixed reception behind the WH-1000XM3’s design, Sony chose to give the WF-1000XM4 a complete makeover, going for something more compact and oval shaped versus flat and elongated. The end result is quite stunning in appearance. A smooth matte texture combined with unique details like copper ANC mic housings and wider touch panels give it a luxury, business-class look. An IPX4 rating ensures these buds can withstand sweat and light splashes.

Sony WF-1000xM4 vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Both charging cases are chic and conveniently portable, but the Elite Active 75t feels a bit more durable, which is ideal for one of the best sport headphones. Neither set of buds will spill across the floor if dropped in their respective cases, thanks to strong magnets that keep the lids tightly shut. Each case feels super-light, to easily carry in any denim pocket or gym bag.

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Comfort and fit are where the Elite Active 75t highly differs from its adversary. The silicone tips produce a nice, tight seal and absorb sweat well to prevent any slippage, especially during lateral-heavy workouts.  Depending on your pain threshold, sensitive types may find the buds uncomfortable after an hour of use, while others will be fine wearing them for about 2 to 3 hours.

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Sony focused on making the WF-1000XM4 more ergonomic with the new shape billed to provide a stabler fit. If only that were true. First off, the sound port feels too long and must be shoved deep into the canal to fill the ear cavity. This causes the buds to apply unwanted pressure on the concha. Adjusting them requires a few tries and all that twisting starts to feel fatiguing after a while. The memory foam tips don’t create the best seal either. We recommend using the silicone gel tips in the box, as well as Sony’s Optimal Earbud Tips test, to achieve a proper fit.

Winner: Jabra Elite Active 75t

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Controls and digital assistant

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Decide what works best for you: physical or touch controls? If it’s the former, then the Elite Active 75t should serve you well. The multifunction button on each bud has great tactile feedback that reassures users of intended commands being met with every press. Jabra did an admirable job of programming several operation methods: single, double, triple and long presses. One of the latest updates added MyControls, a new feature to assign the controls on both ear buds for preference.

If you prefer buds with more intelligible controls, then the WF-1000XM4 is right up your alley. Touch accuracy has not only been improved, but so has the list of media controls accessible. You get a full suite that can be assigned and activated on either bud through the same operation methods as the Elite Active 75t, only instead of presses, you’re employing taps.

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t

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

On-ear detection is included on both products and works well to automatically pause music when removing the buds from your ears. However, the WF-1000XM4 has two extra tricks that let you control playback: Quick Attention to drop volume down to 10 percent (long press the left bud) and Speak-to-Chat to pause music every time the buds recognize your voice.

Digital assistance also comes part of each package, though the experiences are slightly different. For the Elite Active 75t, you need to manually enable Google Assistant or Siri, depending on the device you’re using. The Sony WH-1000XM4 comes with Google Assistant and Alexa integration, so you can access either AI bot by speaking their action phrases (“Hey Google” or “Alexa”) or do so manually on the buds. Siri can be accessed as well, but not the “Hey Siri” feature, which is exclusive to Apple wireless earbuds. The good news is that both pairs of earbuds pick up vocals with precision and register commands as quick as they answer them.

Winner: Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Active noise cancellation

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The WF-1000XM4’s ANC is far superior. These buds are great at diminishing background hum and rumblings, while also keeping high-frequency noises to a minimum. You won’t notice loud commuters unless they’re speaking into a megaphone from two blocks away, nor will you be distracted by everyday sounds like iPhone timers and whisking cars. Blaring noises like baby cries and leaf-blowers will creep their way onto the soundscape, but they won’t pull you away from whatever is playing on your device. 

We also appreciate that Sony developed an Automatic Wind Noise Reduction feature to decrease wind presence, which helps a tad when walking through gusty conditions.

Keep in mind that the Elite Active 75t did not launch with ANC. Jabra figured out a way to make it part of a software update, free of charge. It turns out the chipset inside these buds has the capability of performing ANC, which engineers were able to optimize through algorithm tweaks. It’s pretty impressive, but don’t be fooled into thinking these buds will replace top-tier ANC selections like the AirPods Pro, QuietComfort Earbuds or the WF-1000XM4. At best, the feature will block out most low frequencies (like AC units and vehicle engines) and common distractions (like co-worker chatter or keyboard clatter). Furthermore, the 10-minute process to personalize ANC to your hearing is long.

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The transparency modes on both the WF-1000XM4 (Ambient Noise Control) and Elite Active 75t (HearThrough) are great, though we prefer the former because of its 20 levels of adjustable ambient noise. Sony’s buds also give you an option to focus on voice if you want the mics to pick up speech clearly, along with an automatic switching setting that adjusts transparency based on your actions in frequented locations. 

Winner: Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Sound quality

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

If you’re thinking about purchasing the WF-1000XM4 for head-rattling audio, you may want to reconsider. Sony scaled back on the bass this time around to give the WF-1000XM4 a more balanced and dynamic sound profile. 

Your ear drums will still be on the receiving end of some deep and punchy lows, though — only this time they don’t come off too boomy, and they blend superbly with detailed mids and accurate highs. Turning on DSEE Extreme in the app improves fidelity on low-fi recordings, while 360 Reality Audio produces 3D-like sound that you can enjoy on compatible hi-res streaming services like Deezer and Tidal.

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The Elite Active 75t comes highly recommended for fitness buffs who want energetic and vibrant sound. Jabra fixed the overemphasized bass levels that were present in the Elite 75t’s sound profile, giving these buds tighter lows that play nicely with mids and highs. Listening with ANC won’t compromise audio quality either. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to compete with the WF-1000XM4’s overall sound performance.

Winner: Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: App and special features

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Features are Sony’s forte, and the Sony Headphones Connect app is absolute loaded with them. Standouts like 360 Reality Audio, ANC, ambient listening, DSEE Extreme, speak-to-chat, and Quick Attention were already discussed. So, let’s move onto some of the other gems you’ll find accessible on the WF-1000XM4.

At the forefront is the Equalizer, something bass lovers will flock to for bass enhancement. You’ll be able to adjust and create your own sound profile or select from eight well-engineered presets: Bass Boost, Bright, Excited, Mellow, Relaxed, Treble Boost, Speech, and Vocal. Below the EQ is a Bluetooth Connection Quality setting to prioritize connectivity or sound quality. A music player, battery level indicators for both earbuds and the charging case, toggle controls for multiple functions, and firmware updates round out the app.

Jabra Sound+ has been considered one of the best companion apps since it launched and continues to roll out new and innovative features. The built-in EQ is more user-friendly than Sony’s, and you can create and save your own sound profiles or select from six different presets: Neutral, Speech, Bass Boost, Treble Boost, Energize, and Smooth. All of them work well. There is also a Soundscape mode with 12 unique settings that produce nature sounds to help relax you.

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The addition of MyControls for expanded control customization is appreciated, as is MySound, which uses adaptive sound technology to create a sound profile tailored to your hearing. We’re also fond of Call Experience, a function designed to enhance call quality by increasing how loud and deep your voice sounds on calls. Other notables include the Find My Jabra mode for locating misplaced buds, firmware updates, toggle controls, and the Moments setting that has three different profiles (My Moment, Commute, Focus) you can personalize for different scenarios. 

Connectivity is stronger on the WF-1000XM4, thanks to Bluetooth 5.2 support. This combined with the V1 chip gets faster and steadier wireless performance. Android users can also take advantage of one-touch pairing via Google Fast Pair. Unfortunately, Sony left off multipoint technology and NFC from the spec sheet.

Despite running on standard Bluetooth 5.0, the Elite Active 75t instantly pairs to devices and gets you up to 50 feet of wireless listening. Multipoint technology also lets you connect the buds to two devices at the same time, though ultimately it's the Sony model that's better-equipped.

Winner: Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Call quality

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

If you’re seeking the best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls, it won’t be either of these. Granted, the Elite Active 75t is slightly better and more functional in most environments. Voices come through clearly during calls and video chats; those on the opposite end should be able to make out full sentences. The mics are overly sensitive to interference and will pick up even the slightest ambient noise. You will also sound distant when making calls in crowded areas, according to some of the feedback we received during testing.

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The old WF-1000XM3 left much to be desired as a calling headset. So does its successor. Muffling is a huge concern for the WH-1000XM4, not to mention the mics capture lots of external sound, especially wind. It’s tough to hold a conversation with these on your ears. You should be fine using them for video chats, but it requires being indoors and in a completely silent setting.

Winner: Jabra Elite Active 75t

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Battery life

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs. Jabra Elite Active 75t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Battery life is decent on both, though the WF-1000XM4 has an edge over the Elite Active 75t in several ways. The first is longer ANC playtimes – Sony’s buds pull off about 7 to 8 hours, while Jabra’s buds fall somewhere between 5 to 5.5 hours. Disabling the feature extends use on both models, but the WF-1000XM4 (12 hours) still offers more than the Elite Active 75t (7.5 hours).

As for the charging cases, the WF-1000XM4 holds between 24 to 36 hours, depending how often you use ANC, while the Elite Active 75t maxes out at 28 hours. It is remarkable that Jabra’s case holds that much playtime considering its compactness.

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t

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

Sony also offers stronger quick charging (5 mins = 1 hour of use), and wireless charging is part of the purchase. Jabra’s quick charging technology gets you the same playtime, but requires 15 minutes to do so, and wireless charging comes at a premium.

Winner: Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4 vs Jabra Elite Active 75t: Verdict

The Sony WF-1000XM4 is a sonic juggernaut that delivers on numerous fronts. All of the changes made to the sound profile were for the better, awarding listeners crisp, full-bodied audio that complements all media formats. Sony’s adaptive noise-cancelling technology is highly effective and gives both Apple and Bose a run for their money. 

The numerous ways you can personalize these buds is endless, courtesy of the feature-laden Sony Headphones Connect app. And then there’s the lengthy battery life that affords you sufficient ANC playtimes, something that none of the category’s top performers can match.

Sony WF-1000XM4Jabra Elite Active 75t
Value (5)45
Design (15)1113
Controls (10)87
Noise Cancellation (20)1814
Audio (20)1918
Special Features and Apps (15)1312
Call Quality (5)34
Battery Life (10)98
Total Score (100)8481

More than a year on the market and the Jabra Elite Active 75t is still a pair of ANC buds that's not to be trifled with. These fitness-centric buds take everything that made the Elite series a category staple and redefined them, from customizable sound to intelligible functionality to stylish and sturdy aesthetics. Many will also find its design and call quality to be more accommodating. 

Still, the Elite Active 75t is dealing with a different kind of beast in the WF-1000XM4, one that just overpowers it in specs and sound features.