Jabra’s Elite 5 vs Samsung’s Galaxy Buds FE are excellent true wireless headphones embodying opposing philosophies. Although both products are successful they display neither the same strengths nor weaknesses.
Jabra Elite 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Buds FE
Jabra Elite 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Buds FE: strong points
|Beautiful general sound reproduction, versatile and clear (after equalization).
|Powerful and not very aggressive sound.
|Good respect for dynamics, and good stereo reproduction.
|Good active insulation.
|It is very intuitive and pleasant to use many useful features (including multipoint).
|It is very comfortable and stable.
|Careful and robust design of the headphones (IP55 certification).
|Quality of microphones in hands-free mode.
|Solid battery life (8 hours with RBA).
|Excellent total autonomy.
Jabra Elite 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Buds FE: weak point
|Perfectible restitution of treble (limited extension, slight lack of hairline).
|Treble is slightly recessed.
|The action of active noise reduction too localized, and insulation could be improved.
|Incomplete touch controls.
|In-ear design that can cleave.
|Unnatural Transparency mode.
|No iOS app.
Manufacturing and comfort
True antagonists in terms of style, the two headphones opt for an in-ear format with physical buttons on the Jabra side, and for a semi-intra layout with touch controls on the Samsung side.
Unsurprisingly, the Elite 5 is a continuation of recent devices from the Danish manufacturer, such as the Elite 3 or Elite 7 Pro. Relatively compact and light (5 g), these triangular (or “water drop”) shaped headphones rely on a simple and robust design.
IP55 certified, they have a matte plastic body with a soft touch. If these headphones do not reach the heights of robustness, they are above average. A little more classic, the charging box is no less effective.
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Small enough to slip into small pockets, it allows an easy grip on the headphones. Its only flaw lies in the hinge, which is a little squeaky.
Very different from their rivals, the Galaxy Buds FE has a much more rounded design but is also a little bulkier (5.5 g). Serious enough, the construction quality is unfortunately hampered by an IPX2 certification, which only ensures minimal resistance to splashing water.
The case follows the good example initiated on the first Galaxy Buds Pro with a very discreet square format with good assembly. If the Jabras are more convincing in terms of construction quality, things are reversed with comfort.
The manufacturer’s in-ear formula may well be proven, with good balance in the ear and not too pronounced pressure in the concha, the experience remains divisive. Some users remain and will remain impervious to this intrusive format.
Without being perfect, Samsung headphones can count on a very short cannula, inevitably less penetrating. The good feeling of comfort provided by the Samsung Galaxy Bubs FE is accentuated by the presence of a removable silicone rim with a small support wing, which optimizes the fit.
Like their shape, the ergonomics and connectivity of the Jabra and Samsung have little in common. Jabra, as usual, favors a 100% button experience, less technological but easier to use.
The manufacturer manages here to group, via an asymmetrical arrangement of the keys, all the classic functions on its Elite 5: navigation, volume control, and switching between noise reduction modes.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds FE are more limited in comparison since although the touch zone of each earpiece is responsive, it is not possible to control the volume or call the phone’s voice assistant.
Slightly frustrating limitations, which go hand in hand with the management of the dedicated application, Galaxy Wear, which is a little simpler than with the Galaxy Buds Pro type headphones.
This application, only available on Android, is very intuitive. It accommodates classic settings such as a dedicated equalizer but does not allow you to go in depth.
Conversely, the Jabra Sound+ application has many more and more diverse settings. Above all, Sound+ is available on iOS.
Finally, the more complete side of the Jabra Elite 5 is expressed in their connectivity. Powered by a Bluetooth 5.2 chip, the headphones are compatible with multipoint connection and support the AptX codec, in addition to the classic SBC/AAC duo.
Without really demeriting, the Samsung headphones are more locked. There is no real multipoint connection since this function is only available between Samsung products.
Regarding latency, no difference in practice. In both cases, we are around 200 ms–250 ms, which is already too high for use without delay between sound and image.
Small dynamic transducer versus a small dynamic transducer, our two competitors finally meet on a precise point. But even here, Samsung and Jabra’s sound choices differ.
Samsung headphones, to maintain a certain versatility, and without risking becoming aggressive, choose to accentuate the bass quite significantly, via a regular slope, while being quite timid at the top of the spectrum.
When listening, the Galaxy Buds FE is pleasant, quite good technically, and indeed very soft. If the bass is more rounded than punchy, a sign of the transducer’s limits, the technical quality holds up.
The sound is rather detailed without being either very large or very open; the headphones never venture beyond their limits.
A little more demonstrative, the Jabra Elite 5 also displays amplification at the bottom of the spectrum but is more contained. Above all, high frequencies do not present the same shyness as on the Buds FE, on the contrary.
A certain coloring is felt, symbolized by an emphasis on high voices and certain instruments. Listening is more impactful, but also more open. The bass is also less ample and more dynamic than on Samsung headphones.
This difference in personality allows the Jabras to be clearer, and a little more detailed, but also more tiring at high volume. If the quality of the bass can be improved in both cases, it is above all in the treble that the biggest improvements could be made: a little more smoothness and linearity on the Jabra side, and greater presence on the Samsung side.
Without being a major player in active noise reduction, Samsung has proven from its first Galaxy Buds Pro that it has finally mastered this technology. Conversely, Jabra has rarely been convincing on this point at least before the arrival of the very good Elite 10.
Thus, despite their in-ear format, more intrusive and therefore more isolating (in theory) the Elite 5 is overall less effective than the Galaxy Buds FE regarding sound attenuation. Their hybrid RBA system without being ineffective is practically ineffective at low frequencies it only really starts from the mids.
Conversely, the Buds FE are quite surprising for affordable headphones since their active noise reduction starts very early and demonstrates real effectiveness up to the high-midrange. From there the in-ear format of the Jabra redistributes the cards a little.
The onset of treble is more attenuated on the Elite 5 which better cuts the listener off from some hissing sounds. However, the Danish headphones do not drive the point home that Samsung is quite close to its competitors in terms of frequency. From an overall point of view, the result remains favorable to Samsung.
In either case, the sound feedback (or Transparency mode) leaves us a little unsatisfied. The Galaxy Buds FE and the Elite 5 suffer a fairly logical attenuation in the treble, which veils the sound representation, but they do not demonstrate exemplary regularity in the mids either.
A specialist in hands-free kits via its professional headsets and its consumer products Jabra is however not untouchable in the entry and mid-range. The Elite 5 is very effective in this respect but not superior to Samsung headphones.
Our two adversaries provide the essentials and manage to never collapse in a noisy environment. Intelligibility is guaranteed in virtually all circumstances, even though we are seeing increasingly masked voice recordings.
As such, the Galaxy Buds FE does not stand out in noisy environments, but precisely in quiet environments. In such conditions, the pickup is a little more natural, marked by a slight withdrawal of the treble. The Jabras are also very good, but the voice seems a little more distant.
Less energy-consuming than their big brothers in the Pro range, due to their single-transducer architecture, the Galaxy Buds FE have very decent endurance, measured at 6 h 15 min with RBA, and around 8 h without RBA (under AAC codec).
The charging case provides three additional charging cycles, resulting in good total autonomy. On the other hand, this case is not compatible with induction charging, unlike its competitor.
If the Samsungs offer more than adequate autonomy, the Jabras raise the level a notch. The Elite 5 lasts a little over 8 hours with RBA, and up to 11 hours 15 minutes without RBA. Add to this the three additional charges of the case, and the difference is quite significant.