Money is worth buying which gives you little to complain about
The Danish company, Jabra, has consistently achieved a highly-respected position in the consumer audio industry with stunning offers, especially in true wireless spaces, such as the Jabra Elite Active 75t. The company, however, is not just a strategy pony and has consistently delivered quality products in a variety of form factors at different price points. The on-year or supra-oral headphone category hasn’t experienced much love in the last few years, however, Jabra has recently launched the Elite 45H, a pair of supra-oral cans that revive the segment. Priced at Rs 9,999, the cans are not only proud of an array of features but also have a great-long battery life, tough and powerful build and app support. The question remains, how do these relatively affordable cans work in real life? Read on to find out.
Construction and comfort
Weighing in at just 160g, the Jabra Elite 45H is not only lightweight but also comfortable on-ear headphones with a minimal and sophisticated look. Not too much goes into accents and highlights, however, the polished matte texture and the glossy metallic headband extender, which is hidden within the headband, give the can an air of elegance. Although the headphones are primarily made of plastic, they do not seem to be cheap at all and there are no annoying screams or wails from the frame.
The headband is comfortable enough, but it rips off the traditional foam padding in favor of a rubberized material that still features adequate padding. Ear cups, on the other hand, use a more traditional memory foam and PU leather cover covering combo, which is undoubtedly extremely comfortable. The material of the leatherette has small holes in the interior which not only looks attractive but also cleverly conveys the cups of the left and right ear. The ear cups rotate slightly above 90-degrees and may flatten your chest when not in use.
Overall, the choice of lightweight plastic and metal build and materials for headbands and ear cups gives an extremely comfortable experience for hours on end. However, it may be uncomfortable for you to flick the headphones on your ears for a while, but once they are mounted on the can, it is extremely comfortable and even quite breathable. Jabra also includes a soft portable case for cans, which are relatively portable due to their small form factor. Unfortunately though, the headphones do not bend inwards, which is a bit disappointing as it makes the cane more portable.
We also have some problems with the clamping force. Even in the tight setting, the earcups were unable to apply adequate clamping pressure which inadvertently fits somewhat weakly. When you sit up straight, without tilting your head too far forward or backward, the headphones seem to fit perfectly, however, if you tilt your head 30-degrees forward or backward, the headphones are attracted to gravity and slip instantly. Off, which is quite frustrating and irritating, especially when you are lying in your bed, with the headphones on.
Coming to control and port, everything has been placed in the right ear cup. There is a slider button which can be used to turn on power off, power on and bluetooth pairing. Right next to it, you’ll find a USB-C charging port, for rare occasions when you need to charge these cans. Above the cup, there is a three-button array that allows controls such as pause / play, call acceptance / rejection, volume up / down, and skipping tracks back / forth. There’s also a single button that is used to call your device’s voice assistant.
Overall, the buttons are fairly easy to find (once you get used to the location), and they have a satisfying strategy with them. The zebra has some subtleties that we like, such as the music fades slowly when you pause / play the music, and the pleasant sound of clicking a button that not only sounds good, but also indicates if you have pressed. Exact number of buttons for the command you want to execute.
Unlike premium cans, these relatively affordable on-ear headphones offer users a select few features that enhance the usability of the device. So, you won’t get access to bells and whistles like ANC, Ambient Sound, Auto-Pause / Play and Touch Control, which are expected at this price. These cans also omit some features that would be nice to have at this price point, such as an IP rating and high-quality codec support (AAC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX LL), which is a bit disappointing.
However, you can access the Jabra Sound + app and voice assistant support (Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri) with these cans. The Jabra Sound + app comes with Nifty functions such as a five-band customizable EQ, music presets and even customizable presets that can be named. You can also play with the headset settings and configure the intensity of the sidetone (ability to hear your own voice) in call and sleep mode. There’s even a MySound feature that builds your hearing evenly, which is useful for hearing impaired people.
Additionally, you’ll find USB-C charging, multi-pairing with up to 8 devices, multi-connect functionality that lets you connect up to 2 devices at the same time, and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity that allows you up to about 33 feet of free wireless transmission range. The headset has a huge battery life of 50 hours and fast charging capability, where 15 minutes of charging gives you 10 hours of juice. In our week-long test, we were able to completely drain the battery using a medium at about 50 percent volume, which is seriously impressive.
With a lively and energetic sonic signature, the Jabra Elite 45H is probably one of the best-sounding mid-range supra-aural headphones on the market right now. There is enough power and drive across the board and it sounds great on most genre headphones. Mids seem to be the most prominent frequency, however, it does not move away from almost equally vibrant lows and highs. Bus-lovers will also be satisfied with punches in the bus response, however, don’t expect these to be as overwhelming as Beats or Scalcandy headphones. It’s about power and relative balance with the Jabra Elite 45H.
For most of the track, the bass response is poignant and even quite detailed. Tracks such as Billy Ilish’s bad guy, Where most headphones, especially the budget and mid-range vocals are often pressed by a booming base, the bus’s response is sufficiently pushy but it does not distort the high volume and has minimal auditory masking in the middle. Inside Mindstreet By MotherfuckerThe bass guitar evolves but does not shy away from the clarity and uniqueness of the vocals and other instruments.
Cans are also great for handling vocal-centric tracks Hello By Adele. The mid- and high-mids fly beautifully in most situations, even with the slightest hint of a female voice. Lead instruments cut neatly through the track, and such tracks Pull me down By Dream Theater Divine sound with clear vocals and lead guitar.
The altitude, though quite detailed, can be somewhat chaotic and aggressive due to the lively sonic signature that aggressively pushes high-frequency instruments like symbols on some tracks. Selkis By Buried and between me Even 50 percent of the volume sounded completely chaotic, and we were forced to reduce the volume substantially and leave some clarity. Nevertheless, most styles do not encounter this problem, it only suffers from the problem with heavy metal and high-frequency instruments crowded with rock songs.
The soundstage on these headphones is fairly limited and you won’t be as overwhelmed by the auditory bubble as you would be above the ear. Imaging, on the other hand, is quite good and most instruments and vocals are placed correctly at limited levels.
Now, coming to the microphone, Jabra employs a nice two-mic array inside the right earcup that works great for recording calls and even voice notes. On calls, the receiver could hear our voices clearly, without the thud and distant sound. The microphone’s comprehension is also good, the Note app highlights most of what we’ve said.
The last row
At Rs 9,999 (and Rs 8,999 on Amazon as of the writing of this review), the Jabra Elite 45H is one of the easiest on-ear headphones to recommend in this price range. Not only do you get a Starler battery life of about 50 hours, you get access to the Nifty Jabra Sound + app with solid sound quality, good microphone performance, a comfortable design and a five-band EQ and music preset. Below 10K, the Jabra Elite 45H gives you very little to complain about and they are a solid pair of headphones in almost all directions. If you want ANC, you can consider Sennheiser HD 450BT which costs around 5K more.