This article reviews wireless sports earphone and earbuds from Jabra and Klipsch based on actual usage over a period of time ranging from one to two years. We will be covering the Jabra Elite Active 65t, 65e and 75t, and Klipsch T5 II Wireless Sports.
Jabra Elite Active 65t
Two years ago, we wanted to try out new sports wireless earbuds and found good reviews for the Jabra Elite Active 65t. Overall, it was a very good earphone and fits quite well despite not having any ear wings to support.
- The earbuds fit fine and do not drop off easily if just sitting around or walking. However, it does not feel secure during light jogging.
- Even as we are not experts in earphone sound quality, we can feel that the sound quality is not that great.
Eventually, I tripped once while walking back home in the evening and lost the left ear bud. I contacted Jabra to try and buy the left ear bud alone, but was told to purchase a completely new set at a good discount. Due to the good pricing, I decided to purchase another set for replacement and it is still in use today.
However, although its a sports (active) ear bud, I learnt my lesson and decided to go for an over-the-neck earphone for all outdoor, active uses. This is when I found Jabra Elite 65e after checking out several options from Sony, JBL, JVC.
Eventually, I selected the Jabra Elite 65e, after testing out a test earphone at the airport duty free store. The ear fitting is very important for sports earphone and the Elite 65e was very comfortable and feels more secured than the Active 65t. I also tested the Sony WI-1000XM and although the sound is excellent, they do not fit my ears well. Other brands were not selected due to lack of free sample to test.
(hint: it is important to provide a sample in the store for users to try out)
Jabra Elite 65e
The Jabra Elite Active 65e was one of our favourite over-the-neck sports earphone. The benefits of an over-the-neck design are:
- It has the potential to have a longer battery life than the wireless earbuds due to a larger battery.
- In case you rub your ears, the earphones will not fall to on the ground or get lost in the drain.
- When not in use, you can simply remove the earphones and let them hang around your nect. The earphones will be held by magnets and stick together like a pendant.
The ear buds of the Active 65e fit snugly on the ears, and the ear wings help to further secure the ear buds from falling off. The sound quality of the Jabra Active 65e is good for both music and calls, the buttons work fine and battery life is 8 hours. It is certified IP54 which means protected from limited dust ingress and water spray from any direction. It should not be soaked in water.
I realised later that the Jabra Elite 65e was not listed under the sports wireless earphone section.
Overall, we would recommend the Jabra Active 65e for active sports than wireless earbuds. After using for more than a year, the Active 65e suddenly stopped charging. As the model was out of stock, Jabra provided the Active 75t Ear buds as a replacement at no additional cost. We have a review of this earbud further below.
At this time of writing, the Elite 65e appears to be replaced by the Elite Evolve 65e (released 26 Mar 2019) and a higher version Evolve 75e (released 2 May 2017), and both has up to 13 hours battery life and comes in MS and UC model. We will review these two newer models in another article as they deserve their own space. Surprisingly, all the models in the “Evolve” series also do not appear under their “Sports Wireless Section” except for the Evolve 45e.
Another issue that baffles me is why I did not think of replacing my Elite 65e with the Evolve 65e or 75e instead. I would gladly pay the price difference. Nevertheless, we continue to insist that over-the-neck earphone is best suited for sports and outdoor activities, unless you are happy to keep losing buying new earbuds all year round.
Jabra Elite Active 75t
I am going to take this opportunity to thank the Jabra Customer Service for replacing my Jabra Elite 65e with the newer Elite Active 75t. The reason for selecting this model is because at the time of the request, they are both within the same price range.
So far, we have tested the Elite Active 75t for a 11.6 km run without any major issues. The earbuds remain secure throughout the entire run without the need to fiddle with it like the Active 65t. There was no threat or signs that the ear buds would fall off at any time. However, we still prefer if Jabra could include ear wings like the Evolve series as not everyone has the same ear size.
It is clear from the photo below that the Active 75t (top) is slightly smaller than the 65t (bottom), which could explain why it has better fitting on my ears.
As an amateur, we can still discern the quality of sound is superb and noticeably better than the Active 65t.
Below is a comparison of the charging case for Active 65t (left) and Active 75t (right). The Active 75t can stand upright with the USB-C charging connector at its side, whereas Active 65t lies on the side with the Micro-USB connector at the base.
Active 75t comes with two versions, with and without wireless charging. The one with wireless charging cost more, but we are unable to find the difference in look between the two from the looks alone. Wireless charging applies to both the earbud and the charging case.
Klipsch T5 II True Wireless Sport
I have always come across Klipsch products in the store but never purchase any of their products. Then one day while checking out over-the-neck earphones in the store, a Klipsch salesman came to let me test their Klipsch T5 II True Wireless Sport. I always like to test earphones to see if they can be securely fit for a run. It turns out that the T5 II was comfortably secure in my ears. The sound was great, and I loved their charging case as it comes with both USB-C and wireless connectivity and built-in desiccants.
There are several design flaws with the Klipsch T5 II True Wireless Sport
1) The original earwings keep coming off during a run. Klipsch eventually modified the earwing design and shipped the replacement earwings free of charge for existing customer.
As shown in the photos below, the new earwings added add a “return” which wraps around the earbud to prevent it from slipping. The replacement earwings come in all the 3 sizes.
2) The quality of the batteries are questionable, as both earbuds may have different battery life by as much as 10 – 20%.
3) The app on Andriod always show “Disconnected” even when the earbuds are already connected to the phone. The app is working normally except that it is not showing the battery information on this page, which it should.
4) Last but not least, the worst problem is the poor connection between the earbuds and charging case. The earbugs do not sit tightly inside the charging case, and the allowable space seems to exceed the size of the connecting points on the earbuds.
Everytime we dropped the earbuds into the charging case, we have to adjust the earbuds to the optimal position (+/- 1MM) in order for the earbuds to charge problem (red lights on). The charging case cannot be closed, because the earbuds might shift and lose contact with the pins inside the charging case.
There was was we left the earbuds inside the charging case overnight, and the batteries were drained the next day when we took it out for a run.
The Jabra earbuds do not have any charging problems because the connecting points are much larger than the Klipsch earbuds. This is very obvious in the bottom photo, side-by-side comparison.
In conclusion, we are surprised that the Klipsch earbuds have so much design flaws considering that this is a newer version 2 of the Klipsch T5. Any design issues should have been ironed out in the second version. We do not recommend buying the Klipsch T5 II at this time. We will be on the lookout if there is going to be a T5 III or any new Klipsch earbuds.