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Jabra Elite 45h Overview: The Finest $ 100 Headphones You Can Purchase

“Great sound, convenience, and battery life set a new standard for $ 100 headphones.”

Very convenient

Very good sound quality

Incredible battery life

Pairing multiple devices

No analog input

Shifts easily with head movement

Shopping for $ 100 worth of wireless headphones is an almost impossible task. There are so many models to choose from, and so many styles and functions, that it is a wonder more people are not giving up on mere election paralysis.

The good news is that all of these choices result in fierce competition between businesses with buyers who are ultimately the winners.

While you might see the launch of another model – in this case, Jabra’s $ 100 on-ear Elite 100h – as something that makes that choice even more difficult, after reading our full review, you should still check out if you can still do.

Let’s get into that.

What’s in the box?

Jabra Elite 45h headphonesSimon Cohen / Digital Trends

Jabra has been getting minimal with its packaging (I think it’s like “Jumbo Shrimp”) and the Elite 45h comes in a simple box with an even simpler cardboard sleeve. The only reference to plastic is the small shelf hanging loop.

Inside is the Elite 45h, which is protected by the thin but stretchy carrying case provided and accompanied by a single accessory: a short USB-C charging cable.

design

Up until the Elite 45h, Jabra’s cheapest wireless headphones were the $ 99 Move-Style Edition – a highly respected on-ear model. The Elite 45h may have taken the price of the Move, but its style and design elements are as much influenced by Jabra’s flagship Elite 85h noise-canceling headphones as they are by the Move.

Regardless of which of the five color schemes you choose, these are really good looking on-ear cans.

With its ultra-clear lines and tasteful accents, the Elite 45h has a premium look that reminds me of Denmark’s other major audio brands: Bang and Olufsen.

However, all traces of fabric have been removed so that the Elite 45h is completely covered with plastic, silicone rubber and synthetic leather. This could have resulted in a drab, sterile atmosphere, except that Jabra uses anodized aluminum for the one-piece sliders and ear pegs.

Regardless of which of the five color schemes you choose (titanium black, gold beige, copper black, black, or navy), these are really good looking on-ear tins.

The Elite 45h doesn’t have flip hinges like the Beats headphones, but the earcups fold flat, making it easier to stow in a backpack, especially if you’re already using a flat device like a tablet or laptop. Oddly enough, the ear pads point up when worn around the neck rather than down when lying flat.

Perhaps the most distinctive element of the Elite 45h design, however, is the continuous ear pad surface. In contrast to practically all other on-ear headphones, which look like miniature versions of their larger over-ear siblings, the ear cushions of the Elite 45h have no defined edge – the synthetic leather cover simply moves all the way over. Only interrupted by circular perforations to let the sound through.

Why did Jabra choose this approach? Aside from the clear continuity they offer for the overall look of the Elite 45h, there are also comfort and sound benefits, which I will discuss below.

I can only find one flaw in the design of the Elite 45h: it lacks an analog headphone input. This may sound like a deal breaker, but as you’ll see in a moment, I doubt you mind.

Convenience, control and connections

Jabra Elite 45h headphonesSimon Cohen / Digital Trends

The Elite 45h weigh a little more than the Move Style Edition (160 grams versus 150 grams), but you will hardly notice any weight once on your head.

Their mass is very well distributed and the clamping force of the headband prevents the somewhat tight contact point with the top of your head from feeling tired.

The continuous surface of the ear pads shouldn’t have a big impact on how they feel. After all, beneath this surface are the same oval cushions that you find on all on-ear headphones. And yet they distribute the clamping pressure further, like a set of miniature trampolines for your ears. Once you have them positioned, they are incredibly comfortable.

With the exceptional running time of the Elite 45h of 50 hours between charging processes, fear of range should now be a thing of the past.

However, this wonderful pressure distribution has a disadvantage. Because the ear pads no longer have a defined comb, they can no longer grip your ears as well as a more traditional design. Because of this (and the narrow contact ridge of the headband), they shift more easily when you move your head.

While it’s not a problem if you’re at a desk or on your daily commute, it’s not ideal for jogging or activities where impacts or rapid head movements are part of the routine.

The Elite 45h has four physical button controls as well as a power / bluetooth switch, all of which are located on the right ear cup. Unlike many wireless headphones, including the Jabra Move, the four main buttons are located high on the outer edge of the auricle, near the slider.

This encourages you to grip the rim with your thumb and middle / ring finger while pressing down on the controls with your index finger.

Play / pause, volume up / down, answer / end call and skip tracks forward / backward are behind the slider, while the dedicated voice assistant button is in the front.

Now that I’ve gotten used to it, I’m a fan of the layout. I’ve found that not only is my index finger better at handling fine movements than my thumb (which is usually tasked with pressing headphone buttons), it is also more sensitive to small shapes and edges.

Pairing via Bluetooth is a breeze. Just follow the now familiar steps to turn on the headphones when you take them out of the box and find their name in your Bluetooth settings menu.

The real main attraction, however, is the Bluetooth multipoint function, which allows you to pair two devices at the same time. It’s not a feature that you often find on headphones at this price point (Sony just added it to their $ 350 WH-1000XM4), and it’s especially handy for those who don’t worry about switching between a phone and a laptop or a phone and a TV – it just works with Bluetooth Multipoint.

The Elite 45h offer excellent sound quality with a balanced EQ.

The Elite 45h doesn’t give you a long wireless range – just 30m under ideal conditions – but just like other Jabra products, it’s a stable, reliable connection that never falters.

Battery life

Jabra Elite 45h headphonesSimon Cohen / Digital Trends

Do you remember when I said I didn’t think you would mind that the Elite 45h doesn’t have an analog headphone jack? That’s because wired connections through wireless headphones really only exist to soothe the range anxiety of people who worry about the battery running out.

With the exceptional 50 hours running time of the Elite 45h between charging processes, this fear should now be a thing of the past.

However, let’s say you somehow manage to drain the Elite 45h’s battery – although a pleasant voice will tell you the battery status every time you turn it on and they can automatically turn off when not in use – don’t panic. If you can save 15 minutes on a quick charge, you’ll be rewarded with 10 more hours of listening time.

Not only are these statistics good, they are also true for world-class wireless headphones.

Sound quality

Jabra Elite 45h headphonesSimon Cohen / Digital Trends

The Elite 45h offer excellent sound quality with a balanced EQ.

Jabra likes to boast about the size of the drivers in these cans, but at 40mm they not only resemble many other models in this price range, but are also the same size as Jabra’s own Move Style Edition.

What matters a lot more than size is the design, materials and tuning of the riders, and luckily Jabra did a great job.

Unlike some of Jabra’s other products, like the true Elite 75t wireless earbuds, which put a heavy load on the bass, the Elite 45h targets the sweet spot where all frequencies coexist harmoniously.

As on-ear headphones, you don’t get quite the immersiveness of an over-ear set, but the unusual ear cushion design of the Elite 45h gives these cans a small advantage: They offer better passive noise isolation than I’m used to.

This gives the sound a better sense of intimacy and helps keep details clear that might otherwise drown out – not bad for $ 100 headphones with no active noise cancellation (ANC).

Find a quiet place to listen and the Elite 45h comes into its own. Whether it’s the deep groove notes leading Linkin Park’s new track She Couldn’t, or Adele’s signature high-flying vocals, these cans have managed to put a smile on my face.

I think they pretty much hit the mark, but if you disagree, that’s fine. Thanks to the free Jabra Sound + app for iOS and Android, you can tweak the Elite 45h the way you want with a decent collection of EQ presets and the ability to save your own.

Call quality

Jabra Elite 45h headphonesSimon Cohen / Digital Trends

Jabra is rightly proud of its call quality – its products have long been great for wireless calls in and out of the office.

The Elite 45h largely continues this tradition and offers a good mix of general speech quality and suppression of background noise. I wouldn’t describe it as the kind of experience you would get with high-end headphones from Bose or Sony (that would be a miracle given the five or more microphones these fancy cans have), but for their price are they ‘I’m very good.

What the Elite 45h lacks in most other headphones in this price range is a side tone option that can be set and turned on and off via the Sound + app.

When the side tone is on, you can more or less hear your own voice during a call. That way, there is a little less shouting and calls to sound like you are holding a phone to one ear.

It’s a great feature, but you have to be careful with how much side tone you use. I found that over 25% produced a noticeable high-frequency buzzing sound – presumably the result of two onboard microphones trying to amplify my voice without amplifying all of the noise around me at the same time.

I would also like to be able to activate the background noise when you are not on the phone. However, this may be fixed in a future software update.

Our opinion

In the crowded $ 100 wireless headphone market, few models sound as good as the Jabra Elite 45h, and none that can do it with the Elite’s combination of style and battery life.

Is there a better alternative?

I’m not sure if you’ll find anything better than the Elite 45h for $ 100, but there are definitely other options. The 100 dollars Status audio BT-1They’re great for sound and convenience, for example, and have an analog input that the Elite doesn’t have. For a bigger bass-oriented sound, The $ 120 WH-XB700 from Sony are also good choices and often sell for $ 100.

How long will they last?

Jabra products are some of the best-built you will find. The Elite 45h comes with a two-year manufacturer’s guarantee against dust and rain, although Jabra does not claim an explicit IP rating for these headphones.

You can expect the ear pads to occasionally need replacing, but they are inexpensive and can be ordered through Jabra itself or one of its retail partners.

Should you buy it?

Yes. The Elite 45h is a good buy unless you need it for jogging or other high impact, high movement activities.

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