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Jabra Elite 45e Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.3.1
Reviewed Nov 02, 2018 at 10:58 am
Jabra Elite 45e Wireless Picture
Test Methodology v1.3.1
6.6
Mixed Usage
6.4
Neutral Sound
6.6
Commute/Travel
7.7
Sports/Fitness
6.4
Office
5.6
Wireless Gaming
5.5
Wired Gaming
6.1
Phone Call
Type Earbuds
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

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.

Our Verdict

6.6 Mixed Usage

Okay for mixed-usage. Their sound quality isn’t the best, but you can EQ them with the Sound+ app. They also have a decent battery life and are more comfortable than most-in ears. Unfortunately, they do not have good isolation performance, so they are not a great pick for a daily commute, but they can be decent for a calm office space.

6.4 Neutral Sound

Average for neutral listening. The treble range is lacking detail and brightness while the bass is too overpowering, which can be good for bass-heavy genres but not vocal-centric music. The sound is decently balanced in the bass and mid range but a bit muddy. On the upside, you can EQ their sound with the app.

See our Neutral Sound recommendations
6.6 Commute/Travel

Mediocre for commuting. Their isolation performance is sub-par and too much ambient noise seeps into your audio, especially the lower frequencies like the rumble of engines. You’ll have to raise your volume to mask a decent amount of noise and you’ll be able to do so thanks to their good leakage performance. They are comfortable enough for shorter trips like bus rides, but in-ears and earbuds can get fatiguing after a while and might not be ideal for a flight.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
7.7 Sports/Fitness

Good sports headphones. The Jabra Elite 45e are stable enough for most sports if you can find the right tip and stability fins, so the earbuds don’t come out of your ear or break the seal because of physical activity. Even if they are considered around-the-neck headphones, they have a more flexible and portable design thanks to the neckband being a thick cable instead.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
6.4 Office

Average for office. The Jabra Elite 45e don’t isolate too much noise, but they don’t leak so you can listen to your favorite songs at a higher volume without bothering colleagues. They can also connect to 2 devices, so you can switch easily between your work computer and your phone. Their 7-hour battery life won’t be enough for a full work shift, but you can still use them while charging them with your computer.

See our Office recommendations
5.6 Wireless Gaming

Below-average for gaming. Their microphone isn’t great, and they have too much latency to be suitable for video games. They are also Bluetooth-only and can’t connect to consoles.

See our Wireless Gaming recommendations
5.5 Wired Gaming
6.1 Phone Call
  • 6.6 Mixed Usage
  • 6.4 Neutral Sound
  • 6.6 Commute/Travel
  • 7.7 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.4 Office
  • 5.6 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.5 Wired Gaming
  • 6.1 Phone Call
Pros
  • minimal leakage.
  • Portable and stable design.
  • Good wireless range and active features.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Mediocre-at-best dedicated mic.
  1. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

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.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.05 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

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.

8.0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
N/A
Ease Of Use Okay
Feedback Decent
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control Yes
Channel Mixing
N/A
Noise Cancelling Control N/A
Talk-Through
N/A
Additional Buttons No

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.

9.1
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 0.9 C

The Jabra Elite 45e have a breathable design like most in-ears and earbuds. They don’t make you sweat more than usual since only a small amount of heat gets trapped inside your ears, but this should not be too noticeable. This makes them a good option for sports.

7.5
Design
Portability
L 6.6 "
W 4 "
H 0.8 "
Volume 21 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required N/A

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.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

Unfortunately, they do not come with a case like the BeatsX.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

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.

7.5
Design
Stability

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.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Jabra Elite 45e headphones
  • 3x earbud tips
  • 3x stability fins
  • USB to micro-USB charging cable
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
2.08 db
Treble Amount
-4.89 db
8.7
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.27 dB

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.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.2
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.88 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
14.56 Hz
Low-Bass
1.86 dB
Mid-Bass
4.36 dB
High-Bass
5.31 dB

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.

8.2
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.36 dB
Low-Mid
3.62 dB
Mid-Mid
-0.59 dB
High-Mid
0.03 dB

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.

4.9
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
6.01 dB
Low-Treble
-5.32 dB
Mid-Treble
-6.66 dB
High-Treble
-2.18 dB

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.

7.6
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.37 db
Dips
1.67 db
9.0
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.16
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.63
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.47
Weighted Phase Mismatch
1.59

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.

1.9
Sound
Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
6.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.8

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.

7.7
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.350
WHD @ 100
0.113
Isolation
3.5
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-7.99 dB
Bass
-0.64 dB
Mid
-5.13 dB
Treble
-18.51 dB

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.

7.7
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
35.21 dB

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.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-line
Yes
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
N/A

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.

6.0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
446.06 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
3.0 dB
HFE
3517.32 Hz
Weighted THD
2.903
Gain
20.48 dB

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.

6.4
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
16.76 dB

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.

Active Features
6.9
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
6.9 hrs
Additional Charges
0
Total Battery Life
6.9 hrs
Charge Time
0.75 hrs
Power Saving Feature
Auto-Off Timer
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port micro-USB

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.

7.5
Active Features
App Support
App Name Jabra Sound+
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS N/A
Windows N/A
Equalizer
Graphic + Presets
ANC Control
N/A
Mic Control Yes
Room effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Sound N/A

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.

Connectivity
8.3
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices
NFC Pairing
No
Line of Sight Range
154 ft
Default Latency
218 ms
aptX Latency
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
N/A

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.

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.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
N/A
USB Audio
N/A
Detachable N/A
Length N/A
Connection N/A
Wired Latency
N/A

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.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
No
PC / PS4 Wired USB
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
N/A
USB Input
N/A
Line In
N/A
Line Out
N/A
Optical Input
N/A
RCA Input
N/A
Dock Charging
N/A
Power Supply
N/A

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.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

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, the best noise cancelling earbuds, the best neckband headphones, and the best budget earbuds.

Jabra Elite 25e Wireless
Unavailable
B&H

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.

Jabra Elite 65e Wireless
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

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 cancelling 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.

Sony WI-C310 Wireless
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Sony WI-C310 are better headphones than the Jabra Elite 45e Wireless, mainly because of their better audio quality. The Jabra have a very detail-lacking sound and an overemphasized bass, making them sound dark. On the other hand, the Elite 45e have a more comfortable earbud design, are noticeably better built, and come with stability fins that are great for physical activity. The Elite 45e also have a companion app with an EQ, which the Sonys are lacking. If you can EQ the Elite 45e to a sound you like, then they are the better choice.

Beats BeatsX Wireless
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Beats BeatsX are better headphones than the Jabra Elite 45e. Their design blocks as much noise passively as the Jabra Elite 65e, which greatly surpasses the isolation performance of the Elite 45e. The sound quality of the BeatsX is more neutral, but you can’t EQ it to your liking. 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.

Jaybird X3 Wireless
Unavailable
B&H

The Jaybird X3 are better and more versatile headphones than the Jabra 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.

Sony WI-C200 Wireless
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Sony WI-C200 are better headphones than the Jabra Elite 45e Wireless, mainly because of their better audio quality. The Jabra have a very detail-lacking sound and an overemphasized bass, making them sound dark. On the other hand, the Elite 45e have a more comfortable earbud design, they are noticeably better built, and they come with stability fins that are great for physical activity. The Elite 45e also have a companion app with an EQ, which the Sonys are lacking. If you can EQ the Elite 45e to a sound you like, then they are the better choice.

JBL Live 200BT Wireless
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

If sound quality is your main concern, then the JBL Live 200BT will be a better option over the Jabra Elite 45e Wireless. They sound more neutral and accurate. However, the Elite 45e are better-built, their design is more flexible and portable, and the earbud design is more comfortable to wear for long listening sessions. They also have customization options in their app, which the JBLs lack. On the other hand, the Live 200BT will be more versatile since their fit isolates more ambient noise and will be a better option for noisy situations.

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Jabra Elite 45e Wireless Price

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