The Danish company Jabra has steadily gained a very respectable position in the consumer audio industry with amazing offerings, especially in the true wireless space such as the Jabra Elite Active 75t† However, the company is not just a one-trick pony and has consistently delivered quality products in a variety of form factors, at different price points. The on-ear or supra-aural headphones category hasn’t experienced much love in recent years, but Jabra recently launched the Elite 45H, a pair of supra-aural cans that are reviving the category. The cans, priced at Rs 9,999, don’t come with a range of features, but they do have amazingly long battery life, a solid and robust build and also app support. The question remains, how do these relatively affordable cans perform in real life? Read on to find out.
Construction and comfort
Weighing only 160 grams, the Jabra Elite 45H are not only lightweight, but also comfortable on-ear headphones with a minimalist and stylish look. Not much happens in the way of accents and highlights, but the polished matte texture and shiny metal headband extenders, hidden within the headband itself, give the cans a touch of elegance. While the headphones are mainly made of plastic, they don’t look cheap at all and there are no irritating creaks or moans coming from the frame.
The headband is plenty comfortable, but ditches the traditional foam padding instead of a rubberized material that still has plenty of padding. The ear cups, on the other hand, use the more traditional combination of memory foam and PU leatherette, which is undoubtedly extremely comfortable. The faux leather material has small perforations on the inside that not only look eye-catching, but also cleverly mark the left and right earcups. The ear cups rotate just over 90 degrees and can lie flat on your chest when not in use.
Overall, the lightweight plastic and metal construction and choice of materials for the headband and earcups provide an extremely comfortable experience for hours on end. However, you may have to fiddle with the headphones a bit to get them to sit flat on your ears, but once they’re on the cans they are extremely comfortable and even quite breathable. Jabra also included a soft carrying case for the cans, which are relatively portable due to their small form factor. Unfortunately, the headphones don’t fold inwards, which is somewhat disappointing as it would have made the cans even more portable.
We also have some issues with the clamping force. Even on the tightest setting, the earcups were unable to apply enough clamping pressure, inadvertently leading to a slightly poor fit. If you sit up straight, without tilting your head too much forward or back, the headphones feel like they fit just fine, but if you tilt your head only 30 degrees forward or back, the headphones fall prey to gravity and slides right off, which is quite disappointing and annoying, especially when you’re laying on your bed, with the headphones on.
As for controls and ports, everything is placed on the right earcup. There is a slider that can be used to disable, enable and enable Bluetooth pairing. Right next to it you’ll find the USB-C charging port, for the rare occasions when you need to charge these cans. On top of the cup is a three-button array that allows controls such as pause/play, take/reject calls, volume up/down, and skip tracks forward/back. There is also a solo button which is used to summon your device’s voice assistant.
Overall, the buttons are pretty easy to find (once you get used to the positions) and have a satisfying tactility. There are little nuances that Jabra has added that we love, such as the music that flows in or out slowly when you pause/play the music, and the pleasant clicking sounds that not only sound good, but also indicate whether you’re pressing the button. have pressed. the correct number of times on the button 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 don’t get access to bells and whistles like ANC, Ambient Sound, auto-pause/play and touch controls, which is expected at this price. These cans also omit some features that would be nice to have at this price, such as an IP rating and high-end codec support (AAC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX LL), which is somewhat disappointing.
However, with these cans you do get access to the Jabra Sound+ app and support for voice assistants (Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri). The Jabra Sound+ app comes with useful features such as a five-band customizable EQ, music presets and even customizable presets that can be named. You can also play around with headset settings and sidetone intensity (ability to hear your own voice) in calls and configure sleep mode. There’s even a MySound feature that tailors the equalizer to your hearing, which is helpful for the hearing impaired.
Plus, you get USB-C charging, multiple pairings with up to 8 devices, multi-connect functionality that allows you to connect to 2 devices simultaneously, and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity that gives you approximately 10 meters of uninhibited wireless transmission range. The headset also has a massive 50 hours of battery life and Fast Charging capabilities, with 15 minutes of charging giving you a whopping 10 hours of juice. In our tests that lasted over a week, we couldn’t completely drain the battery even with moderate use at around 50 percent volume, which is seriously impressive.
With a vibrant and energetic sonic signature, the Jabra Elite 45H is possibly one of the best sounding supra-aural mid-range headphones on the market today. There’s plenty of power and drive across the board and most genres sound fantastic on the headphones. The mids seem to be the most prominent frequency, but that doesn’t detract from the almost equally lively bass and treble. Bass enthusiasts will also be pleased with the punch in the bass response, but don’t expect it to be as thumping as Beats or Skullcandy headphones. The Jabra Elite 45H is all about energy and relative balance.
For most songs, the bass response is punchy and even quite detailed. Songs like Billie Eilish’s villain where vocals are often engulfed by thumping bass in most headphones, especially budget and mids, the bass response is plenty punchy but it doesn’t distort those high volumes and there is minimal aural masking in the mids. In mind street by means of motherjanethe bass guitar flourishes but does not diminish the clarity and prominence of the vocals and other instruments.
The cans are also excellent for handling vocally focused songs such as: Hey by means of Adele† The mids and highs rise elegantly in most scenarios with little to no hiss, even in female voices. Lead instruments cut beautifully through the track, and tracks like pull me under by means of Dream Theater sounds divine with clear vocals and lead guitar.
The highs, while quite detailed, can get a bit chaotic and aggressive due to the lively sonic signature aggressively pushing the high-frequency instruments such as cymbals in some songs. Selkies by means of Between the buried and me sounded downright chaotic even at 50 percent volume, and we were forced to lower the volume considerably and sacrifice some clarity. Nevertheless, most genres don’t have this problem, it’s only heavy metal and rock songs with crowded high-frequency instruments that suffer from this problem.
The soundstage is quite limited on these headphones and you won’t be as shrouded in an auditory bubble as you would be with over-ears. Imaging, on the other hand, is quite good and most of the instruments and vocals are accurately placed in the limited stage.
Now, coming to the microphone, Jabra uses an excellent two-microphone array in the right earcup, which does a great job on calls and even recording voice memos. During conversations, the receiver could hear our voice clearly without sounding muffled and distant. Microphone intelligibility is also good, with the notes app picking up most of what we said accurately.
At Rs 9,999 (and Rs 8,999 on Amazon as of the writing of this review), the Jabra Elite 45H are one of the easiest on-ear headphones to recommend in this price range. Not only do you get a great battery life of around 50 hours, but you also get solid sound quality, good microphone performance, a comfortable design and access to the handy Jabra Sound+ app with a five-band EQ and music presets. At less than 10K, the Jabra Elite 45H gives you very little to complain about and they are solid headphones in almost every way. However, if you want ANC, you might want to consider the Sennheiser HD 450BT, which costs about 5K more.