Plenty of folks dump on Apple for making pretty-but-expensive products that are almost all the way good. When measured head to head against other competitors’ products, there’s often been something missing. Jabra, on the other hand, has a great reputation for making functional but less flashy devices that may look more utilitarian, but they often run circles around competing headphones.
In this article we’re going to put two true wireless earbuds to the test: Jabra’s Elite 7 Pro truly wireless earbuds are up against Apple AirPods Pro to see which buds reign supreme when it comes to features and sound quality.
If you want to see how these headphones stack up against some other competitors, check out our comparison Jabra Elite 7 Pro vs Bose Quiet Comfort, or the AirPods Pro versus Jabra Elite 75t.
Let’s get price out of the way early, since that’s where a lot of decisions get made. After all, as much fun as it would be to drop the rent money on some sweet buds, it’s just not practical.
The Jabra Elite 7 Pro is priced at a wallet-friendly $199, while Apple AirPods Pro will cost a bit more at $249.
By the way, you can dig deeper on each of these earbuds by checking out our full reviews of the Jabra Elite 7 Pro or the Apple AirPods Pro by clicking the links.
Winner: It’s always good to save a little dough so we’ll hand the price trophy to Jabra.
Read our full review of the Jabra Elite 7 Pro
The importance of battery life to you will depend on what you do with them. Travelers or commuters will want to worry less about recharging, but if you use your buds only for the occasional conference call or an hour-long workout you might be less concerned about the battery dying. For this comparison, we will look at listening time.
The AirPods Pro give you up to 4.5 hours of listening time with a single charge and you can get an additional 30 minutes with Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode off. The case’s power will deliver an additional 24 hours of listening, perfect for the aforementioned traveler or commuter. Additionally, the AirPods Pro’s fast charging will provide 1 hour of listening time after just 5 minutes in the case.
The Jabra Elite 7 Pro by contrast gives you nearly double the listening time with 8 hours in the buds and a further 30-hours in the case. A 5-minute fast charge also gives the Jabra Elite’s up to 1 hour of playback, too.
Winner: This comparison also has a clear winner: the Jabra Elite 7 Pro just gives you more battery life for your money.
Sound and call quality
Even the longest-lasting wireless earbuds are only going to take you so far if the sound quality sucks.
Apple has touted the quality and special audio features of the AirPods Pro (Spatial Audio, anyone?), and the AirPods Pro certainly sound good and are well balanced, providing solid audio across multiple listening experiences.
Even so, we find the sound quality is much better on the Elite 7 Pro. This is true across frequencies, but especially noticeable in the low-end where the Elite 7 Pro offers bigger, warmer, and punchier bass, something you just don’t get with AirPods Pro. You also get way more EQ options with the Jabra Elite 7 Pro, while Apple’s AirPods Pro merely allows you to choose from a few lackluster sound and EQ presets.
When it comes to call quality, in quiet environments they’re very similar, but the Elite 7 Pro keeps your voice much clearer, particularly when competing with external sounds or wind.
Winner: The Jabra Elite 7 Pro again comes out on top, thanks to better bass, better call quality in tough environments, and more customization.
Noise cancellation and transparency mode
Both the Jabra Elite 7 Pro and the Apple AirPods Pro have noise cancellation and an ambient listening mode, though they go by different names. AirPods Pro have Transparency Mode, while Jabra calls it HearThrough.
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is the act of using digital algorithms to listen for and digitally erase noise bleed. Transparency Mode, or HearThrough on the other, hand allows you to let in background noise you may want to hear, enabling you to keep an ear on the doorbell, the kids, or traffic if you’re a runner or cyclist.
When it comes to the ANC, we think the Jabra Elite 7 Pros are better here, too — they seem to get quieter than the AirPods Pro.
However, when it comes to Transparency Mode vs. HearThrough, we will hand the crown here to the AirPods Pro, which made it much easier to hear that outside noise more clearly. So depending on which feature seems like it’s more important to you — that cone of silence versus knowing when the dog is into the trash again — you can make the call here.
Design and fit
As mentioned in the intro, Jabra’s headphones tend to be a bit more utilitarian, so we can probably say that if we’re judging earbuds based on looks, Apple wins — Jabra’s headphones are definitely meant to deliver quality and features over form and design. As far as how they fit, the Elite 7 Pros are quite secure and comfortable, even after long listening sessions.
The soft, rounded, smooth plastic shape of the AirPods Pro, however, allows the earbuds to hover delicately yet firmly in your ears without applying any pressure. They’re so comfortable you forget you’re wearing them. The downside to that is that they don’t feel quite as secure in the ear as the Elite 7 Pros.
Winner: We’ll cast this ballot for Apple, since the overall design, fit, and security checks all the boxes.
I can say for a fact, having reviewed numerous Jabra headphones, that each one is like a tiny tank; they feel extremely well-made, durable, and have served me well through multiple drops, spills, and various mishaps.
Similarly, though they appear to be a little more delicate, I’ve had my butterfingers moments with the round and slippery AirPods Pro also. Both my Jabra headphones and my AirPods Pro are all still going strong.
So that’s the anecdotal answer. When it comes to the specs, the Jabra Elite 7 Pro are IP57 rated while Apple AirPods Pro are IPX4, the difference being that the Elite Pros could be considered water and dustproof even after full immersion, while the AirPods are more water-only resistant.
Winner: This one is a no-brainer. If you need headphones that are more durable for all types of situations, you need to choose the Jabra Elite 7 Pro.
After adding up our scorecard here, there is a clear winner. When it comes to price, sound and call quality, battery life, and overall durability, Jabra Elite 7 Pro comes out on top.