The Jabra Elite 45e are around-the-neck earbuds that are decent for mixed usage and everyday use. Their performance is relatively in-between the Elite 25e and Elite 65e models. However, they have a different neckband as it isn’t a thick plastic band but a flexible cable, like the BeatsX, which makes them more portable. They are comfortable headphones and have a good build quality. Unfortunately, they isolate less noise than the other headphones in the Elite series. The sound quality is also average-at-best. On the upside, they are compatible with the Jabra Sound+ app for customization options.
The Jabra 45e are around-the-neck headphones that don’t have a thick neck support like the Elite 25e and Elite 65e. Their style resembles more the BeatsX. Their build quality also feels in-between the cheaper Elite 25e and the higher-end Elite 65e, finding a good middle ground, except for their thinner cables. The control scheme is great with good feedback, except for the multi-purpose button, which is disappointing. They are comfortable headphones and are stable enough for most sports, and without the rigid neckband they are portable enough to put in pockets and always keep them on you. The earbuds are also magnetic for easier cable management. Unfortunately, they don’t come with a case.
Even if they are technically the mid-range option between the Elite 25e and Elite 65e, they have a different style than the rest of the around-the-neck Elite series. They don’t have a plastic neckband but are still designed to be worn around the neck. They look good and adopt a more low-profile look than the similar models in the Elite series. They look more like normal wireless earbuds, with a similar design to the BeatsX.
The Jabra Elite 45e have a comfortable design that some will prefer over in-ears since they don’t enter your ear canal as deeply. The buds are also small, so they don’t stick out too much and don’t put pressure on the inside of the ears. They come with 3 options for tips and stability fins for you to find the most comfortable fit. Also, since they don’t have a thick plastic neckband like the Elite 25e and Elite 65e, their weight is about half of these models.
The control scheme is good but one of the four available buttons is disappointing. You get a volume rocker, a multi-purpose button for play/pause, calls and track skipping, and a microphone button. Everything about the control scheme is good except for the feedback on the multi-purpose button. It feels small and stiffer than the rest. You need to use the tip of your finger or your nail to push it, which is especially annoying for multi-presses actions. There are also no notches on the volume buttons to differentiate them, but they are positioned accordingly and intuitive to use.
The Elite 45e don’t take too much space thanks to the flexible cable that replaces the plastic neckband of the Elite 25e and Elite 65e, which makes them more foldable. They can easily rest on your neck. The earbuds are magnetic, so they don’t move too much and cable management is easier. You can also fit them in your pockets if you compress them in a small format.
Unfortunately, they do not come with a case like the BeatsX.
The build quality is good and feels like it’s right in-between the Elite 25e and Elite 65e. They also feel less cheap than the similarly styled BeatsX, but their flat cables aren’t as thick as the higher-end Elite 65e model. The earbuds are dense enough and should not get too damaged when dropped and the flexible neckband is also a nice addition and it has a thicker cable. The magnetic earbuds are also useful if you don’t want them to flop around when you’re wearing them around your neck and makes cable management easier.
The Jabra Elite 45e are suitable for most sports. They come with tips and stability fins, so you can find the most stable fit. However, you need to find the perfect fins for you since movement seems to get rid of the air-tight seal without them. They won’t completely pop out of your ears, but you can definitely feel them moving.
The Jabra Elite 45e is an average-at-best sounding pair of closed-back earbud headphones. They have a consistent and powerful bass, a very good and balanced mid-range, but a sub-par treble. Also, their bass is overpowering and boomy which could drown out vocals and lead instruments, their mid-range is a little bit muddy on vocals, and their treble is lacking detail and brightness. Overall, they are a decent choice for fans of heavy bass, but won't be ideal for vocal-centric music.
The bass of the Elite 45e is decent. The LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10hz, which is excellent. Low-bass, responsible for thump and rumble, is over our target by about 2dB and has a tilt favoring higher frequencies. The response throughout mid-bass and high-bass is flat and even, but consistently overemphasized by more than 5dB. This makes the bass of these headphones quite heavy and boomy, and could drown out higher frequencies like vocals and lead instruments.
The mid-range is good. Low-mid shows the continuation of the bass overemphasis and is over our neutral target by about 3.5dB. This thickens the vocals a little and makes the overall mix a bit cluttered. Mid-bass and high-bass are well-balanced and flat, within 0.6dB of our neutral target.
The Elite 45e have a sub-par treble performance. The response throughout the range is consistently underemphasized by more than 5dB. This results in a treble that sounds veiled and lacks detail and brightness, especially since the bass of these headphones is quite pronounced.
The Jabra Elite 45e have a great frequency response consistency. If the user can achieve a proper fit and an air-tight seal using the assortment of tips that come with the headphones, then they should be able to get consistent bass and treble delivery every time they use the headphones.
The imaging performance is excellent. Their weighted group delay is 0.16, which is very low. The GD graph also shows that the group delay never crosses the audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were exceptionally well-matched, which is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects (instruments, voice, footsteps), in the stereo image.
The soundstage is poor. This is because creating an out-of-head and speaker-like soundstage is largely dependent on activating the resonances of the pinna (outer ear). The design of in-ears and earbuds is in such a way that fully bypasses the pinna and doesn't interact with it. Also, because these headphones have a closed-back enclosure, their soundstage won't be perceived to be as open as that of open-back earbuds like the Apple AirPods, Google Pixel Buds, or the Bose SoundSport Free.
The Jabra Elite 45e have a good harmonic distortion performance. The overall amount of harmonic distortion is within good limits throughout the range. There is not a big jump in THD at 100dB SPL compared to 90dB SPL either, which is good.
The isolation of the Elite 45e is poor; even worse than the 25e and nowhere near close the noise canceling 65e. Since they do not have an ANC feature, they only passively block noise, which they don't do very well. They are not good for noisy environments since lots of noise seeps into your audio, making them a bad choice for traveling and commuting. But if you are able to achieve a better and tighter fit with the provided tips, their isolation performance could be slightly better. On the upside, like most in-ears and earbuds, they barely leak, so you can mask more ambient noise by raising your listening volume. They can be decent headphones for the office if your work environment isn't too loud.
The Jabra Elite 45e have a sub-par isolation performance. Due to the earbud design and lack of active noise cancelling (ANC) they provide very little isolation in the bass range, compared to in-ears like the Jaybird Tarah. This means they will let in all the rumble of airplane and bus engines that occupy the bass range. However, in the mid-range, important for blocking out speech they achieve about 5dB of isolation, which is good. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts, they isolate by about 19dB, which is above-average.
If you are able to achieve a better and tighter fit with the provided tips, their isolation performance could be slightly better.
The leakage performance is good. These headphones don't leak in the bass and mid ranges, which results in a thin-sounding leakage. The significant portion of their leakage is between 2KHz and 7Khz, which is relatively broad. However, the overall level of the leakage is quiet. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at about 35dB and peaks at 56dB SPL, which is just above the noise floor of an average office.
The Jabra Elite 45e have a mediocre microphone. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound thin, muffled and lacking in detail. However, it will be decently intelligible. In noisy situations, they are able to separate speech from background noise in moderately loud environments like a busy street, but will struggle in louder places.
The recording quality the microphone is sub-par. The LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 446Hz, indicating a speech that sounds noticeably thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3.5KHz results in a recorded/transmitted speech that is muffled and lacks detail. However, it will still be decently intelligible since speech comprehensibility is mostly dependent on the 500Hz-4KHz range.
The in-line microphone has an average-at-best noise handling performance. It achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 17dB in our SpNR test. This means they will be able to separate speech from ambient noise in moderately loud environments, but will struggle in louder places and are therefore best suited for quite situations.
The Jabra Elite 45e have a decent battery life of about 7 hours for 2 hours of charging time according to the specs sheet (but we measured only 45 minutes of charging time). This should be enough for most casual listeners and they also have an auto-off setting to save battery life. You can also use them while charging which can be great when you’re near a power source like a computer at work. The Elite 45e are compatible with the Jabra Sound+ app like the Elite 65e and it offers good customization like a 5-band EQ and presets.
The Jabra 45e have decent battery life. They last about 7 hours, which should be enough for most listeners, but you might have to charge them on a daily basis. They also have an auto-off timer that will shut down the headphones after an hour of inactivity, even if they are still connected to your audio source, which is useful if you forget to turn them off manually when taking them off. The specs sheet of the Elite 45e lists the charging time at less than two hours, but during our test (that we tried three times, with different power sources), they got a full charge in only 45 minutes. The 2 hours of charge time isn’t too long (and 45 minutes is even better) and you can also use them while they are charging. This is very convenient when you are near a power source like your personal or office computer.
They are compatible with the Sound+ app that offers decent customization on the Elite 45e. You have access to a good 5-band EQ, some sound profile presets, and mic controls. However, this app is not the most intuitive with lots of menus and tabs, but since the Elite 45e have less customization options than the Elite 65e, it should be easier to navigate the app.
The Jabra Elite 45e are Bluetooth-only headphones that do not have a dock or a wired connection. They can pair simultaneously to 2 devices, which can be useful if you often want to switch between your phone and computer. They have great wireless range, both in line of sight and when obstructed. However, they also run on Bluetooth version 5.0 and our current test bench only supports Bluetooth 4.2, so they might have an even better range and latency performance than what we measured if you have a Bluetooth 5.0 source.
The Elite 45e have a Bluetooth connection and support version 5.0, but our current test bench only supports up to version 4.2 for now. They can connect easily to 2 devices, but do not have NFC.
These are Bluetooth-only wireless earbuds with no wired option. If you want a similarly designed in-ear but wired, check out the Bose SoundTrue Ultra In-Ear.
These headphones do not have a dock. If you want a headphone that's versatile and has a dock, try the SteelSeries Arctis 7. However, they won't be as compact or as easy-to-carry around on your person.
The wireless range of the Elite 45e is excellent with 59ft of range when the source is obstructed by walls, and 154ft when in direct line of sight. These numbers measured with our Bluetooth 4.2 test bench could be higher if you have a Bluetooth 5.0 source.
They have quite a bit latency which is not ideal to watch video content or for gaming, but the performance might be better if you’re using a Bluetooth 5.0 source.
The Jabra Elite 45e are decent mixed-usage headphones with good design and great Bluetooth connectivity. However, their sound quality is average-at-best, but they are compatible with the Jabra Sound+ app, so you can use the presets and the 5-band EQ to customize a sound profile that fits you. Unfortunately, they do not offer good isolation like the other headphones in the around-the-neck Elite series but are more portable than the rest of them thanks to the flexible neck cable. See our recommendations for the best in-ear headphones and earbuds and the best budget earbuds.
The Jaybird X3 are better and more versatile headphones than the Elite 45e. They are more portable since they don’t have an around-the-neck design and also come with a pouch. The default sound quality is also better on the X3. For sports, the X3 are more stable and have a better fit, on top of having good isolation performance, great for crowded gyms or commuting. On the other hand, the Elite 45e are more comfortable than the X3 since they don’t enter the ear canal as deeply. They also have better wireless range.
The Jabra Elite 45e are better headphones than the Jabra Elite 25e. They have a more portable design, thanks to the flexible cable instead of a rigid plastic neck support, and they also feel less cheap than the Elite 25e. The Elite 45e are also compatible with the Jabra Sound+ for sound customization, while the Elite 25e are not. However, the Elite 25e have twice as much battery life than the Elite 45e, and have surprisingly better passive noise isolation results in our testing, which make them a better pick for long commutes.
The Jabra Elite 65e are better headphones than the Jabra Elite 45e. Their build quality feels more high-end and their sound quality is slightly more balanced, so it will cater better than the Elite 45e to most music genres. The Elite 65e also have a noise-canceling feature that makes them better headphones, especially for commuting and for the office. They also have slightly better battery life. On the other hand, the Elite 45e are more portable, thanks to their flexible neck cable, and their wireless range is excellent. Both models are compatible with the Jabra Sound+ app for sound profile customization.
The Beats X are better headphones than the Elite 45e. Their design blocks as much noise passively as the Elite 65e, which surpasses greatly the isolation performance of the Elite 45e. The sound quality of the Beats X is more neutral, but you can’t EQ it to your liking, just like on the Jabras. On the other hand, the Elite 45e have better wireless range and if comfort is the most important factor when you’re buying headphones, the Elite 45e are more comfortable and are the better pick.