Audio

JBL Reflect Flow PRO Vs Jabra Elite 7 Active Sports Earbuds

This review compares key differences between JBL Reflect Flow Pro vs Jabra Elite 7 Active, two of the latest, top sports earbuds released in 2021. The JBL Reflect Flow PRO True Wireless is also the winner of a 2021 Red Dot Product Design Award.

JBL Reflect Flow Pro Earbuds Colors
JBL Reflect Flow Pro Earbuds Colors

Key Design Differences Between JBL Reflect Flow Pro and Jabra Elite 7 Active

JBL Reflect Flow ProJabra Elite 7 Active
4 sizes of ear wingsNo ear wings
IP68IP57
2 hours charging time2.5 hours charging time
7.2 grams5.5 grams
24 hours battery life with charger30 hours battery life with charger
10 mins charge for 1 hour use5 mins charge for 1 hour use
JBL Reflect Flow Pro Vs Jabra Elite 7 Active
JBL Reflect Flow Pro Vs Jabra Elite 7 Active

Release Dates

JBL just announced the official release of the JBL Reflect Flow Pro sports earbuds on 25 Sep 2021, and will be selling them European and UK online stores. The Jabra Elite 7 Active sports earbuds are scheduled for release in early October and Jabra has already released some of its key features.

Jabra Elite 7 ActiveJBL Reflect Flow Pro
Release date15 Oct-2125-Sep-21

At this time, both the JBL Reflect Flow Pro sports and Jabra Elite 7 Active sports earbuds are officially released with full specifications available.

Compare IP Rating

Jabra Elite 7 ActiveJBL Reflect Flow Pro
Earbuds IP RatingIP57IP68

Both earphones are protected against water and dust ingress but to a different extent. The JBL Reflect Flow Pro has significantly better dust and waterproof protection than Jabra Elite 7 Active, as shown by the following table:

IP57Dust protected. Dust must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment. Protected from water for 30mins.
Depending on the size of the test sample, the highest point must be >150mm below the water surface, or the lowest point must be >1m.
IP68Dust-tight. Complete protection against dust ingress. A vacuum must be applied. Test duration of up to 8 hours based on airflow.Protected from long-term immersion up to a specified pressure and depth greater than 1m. 

Based on the IP Rating, both earbuds can withstand submerging underwater in a shallow depth, but JBL Reflect Flow should be able to go deeper than 1 meter. JBL did not indicate the actual depth that it is certified to. For example, the latest iPhones are certified to 6 meters depth for 30mins based on the IEC 60529:1989 standards.

In both cases, the concern is with IP rating is more about durability more than capability. In case if you drop the earbuds into the swimming pool, we hope they are resistant to damages caused by water ingress. However, we do not think the IP ratings are meant for swimming, diving or surfing activities. There are other concerns such as safety and risk of losing the earbuds in the water.

There is no point having a super durable earbud when they are lost in the seas or swimming pool. Anyone could have picked them up easily as well.

Winner: JBL Reflect Flow Pro wins with the highest IP68 rating, however, Jabra Elite 7 Active’s IP57 rating is good enough for most sports.

Buy Jabra Elite 7 Active
Buy JBL Reflect Flow Pro 2021

Compare Ear Fitting and Weight

Jabra Elite 7 ActiveJBL Reflect Flow Pro
Weight (each)5.4g7.2g
Ear Wings/Fins
NoYes, PowerFins
4 Sizes
Ear Tips
3 sizes3 sizes

The reason why we compare ear fitting with weight is because if the earbud is too heavy, it might fall out easily during sports if the ear fitting is not tight. This is especially the case for earbuds which do not have any ear wings like the Jabra Elite 7 Active.

The JBL Reflect Flow Pro’s is still lightweight even though it is 25% heavier than the Apple Airpods Pros. For heavier earbuds, we recommend those that come with wings or fins, or there is a risk where the earbuds might fall out accidentally during active use. Fortunately, the JBL Reflect Flow Pro has its own version of the earwings, which they call the Powerfins.

Below are the instructions on how to wear the Powerfins which come in 4 sizes, XS/S/M/L. As usual, there are 3 sizes of ear tips as standard.

JBL Reflect Flow Pro PowerFins Instructions
JBL Reflect Flow Pro PowerFins Instructions

Compare Controls

JBL Reflect Flow Pro uses Touch control which is easier to activate earbud functions while on the move or running.

JBL Reflect Flow Pro Controls
JBL Reflect Flow Pro Controls
Jabra Elite 7 Active Button Controls
Jabra Elite 7 Active Button Controls

For Jabra Elite 7 Active, the manual stated that it uses button control even though we cannot see any buttons. Basically the buttons are hidden below the thin flexible plastic. All the actions are based on pushing up to three times and holding to mute or increase volume. So far we find the button configurations are quite consistent with the latest earbud design including those on the Klipsch.

For example, Klipsch, JBL and Jabra all designed a single push on left side earbud to activate the hear through and ANC functions.

Winner: Tie

Buy Jabra Elite 7 Active
Buy JBL Reflect Flow Pro 2021

Compare Audio Specs

Tech SpecsJabra Elite 7 ActiveJBL Reflect Flow Pro
Driver6mm6.8mm (0.27″)
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)YesYes
Transparency (Hear Through)YesYes
Microphone per earbud3 Mics (6 Total)3 Mics (6 Total)

The JBL Reflect Flow Pro has 3 microphones per earbud, of which two are beamforming microphones while the third is for wind suppression. The 3-microphone design per earbud will have hybrid ANC with both feedback and feedforward ANC, however, this is not the case.

For the Jabra Elite 7 Active, the specifications confirmed that there are 3 mics per earbud and a total of 6 mics per set. Out of these, 4 earbuds are designed for dealing with noises:

Four carefully placed internal and external microphones, covered with a fine SAATI Acoustex® mesh for wind noise protection, deliver outstanding call clarity, whether you’re working out, or working from home.

So in terms of dealing with noise suppression or cancellation, both earbuds have the same 6 mics in total which makes them even. In general, if there are 4 mics for noise cancellation, it means there will be forward and feedback ANC.

Winner: Tie

Earbuds Stereo and Mono Mode

Both JBL Reflect Flow Pro and Jabra Elite 7 Active can operate in the “Stereo” or “Mono” mode.

  • Stereophonic or stereo refers to the effect of sound coming from two sources at the same time, so the stereo mode is the audio you hear from both earbuds simultaneously.
  • Monoaural or Mono refers to sound coming from a single source, so the mono mode is the audio you hear when only one earbud is worn.

In the ideal mono mode, either earbud can be used while the other is left in the charging case. This means that either earbud needs to be programmed to allow full control of its operation, such as playing and stopping music or answering a call.

JBL Reflect Flow Pro Dual and Mono Mode

Winner: Tie

Connectivity and Sensors

The connectivity for both earbuds is almost the same, except the JBL Reflect Flow Pro is an older BlueTooth 5.0. Nevertheless, we expect very little effect on the overall performance, perhaps maybe slightly higher battery consumption for the 5.0 versus the newer 5.2.

Buy Jabra Elite 7 Active
Buy JBL Reflect Flow Pro 2021

Tech SpecsJabra Elite 7 ActiveJBL Reflect Flow Pro
Bluetooth Version5.25.0
Operating Range10m10m
Multi-point Connection22
Proximity/Optical/Ear SensorYesYes
Bone Conduction SensorNoNo

In this section, the highlight is probably the much-talked-about “Bone Conduction Sensor”, which are found so far on higher-end earbuds like the Sony WF-1000XM4 and Jabra Elite 7 Pro. The bone conduction sensor allows the spoken sound to be transmitted via jawbone vibrations, which eliminates noise transmission totally. In fact, such a sensor may not be suitable for sports or outdoor activities.

Winner: Tie

Compare Battery Life

Tech SpecsJabra Elite
7 Active
JBL Reflect
Flow Pro
Music Time (ANC On)8h8h
Total Time + Charge Case (ANC On)30h24h
Charging Time 0-100% (Buds)2.5h (150mins)2h
Charging Case
USB-C ConnectorYesYes
Qi-Certified/Wireless ChargingYesYes
Fast Charge For 1-hour usage5mins10mins
Charging Case IP RatingNoNo

The Jabra Elite 7 Active has a faster charging and longer battery life for the earbuds, and also when combined with the charging case. Both Jabra Elite 7 Active and JBL Reflect Flow Pro is compatible with a Qi-certified wireless charging pad, which is sold separately.

Winner: Tie

Buy Jabra Elite 7 Active
Buy JBL Reflect Flow Pro 2021

There is one feature missing for almost most earbuds and it has nothing to do with the earbuds. Rugged sports earbuds should also come with a ruggedized charging case with IP Rating, such as the Logitech Zone True Wireless.

JBL Reflect Flow Pro Charging Mode
JBL Reflect Flow Pro Charging Mode

Price

The price of the JBL Reflect Flow Pro at launch is 179 Euro or about USD 210, while the Jabra Elite 7 Active is priced at $179.99, the same price as the Jabra Elite 75t when it was released.

JBL Reflect Flow Pro Earbuds with Casing Blue

Buy Jabra Elite 7 Active
Buy JBL Reflect Flow Pro 2021

Oddities

We are trying to figure out why the JBL Reflect Flow Pro has three instead of two contact points on the earbuds, unlike other brands. These do not matter as much as long as the earbuds do not have any issue connecting with the charging case.

JBL Reflect Flow Pro Showing Three (3) contact points

Our Verdict

Based on the above comparison for  JBL Reflect Flow Pro vs Jabra Elite 7 Active, it is surprising that the Jabra Elite 7 Active comes out as a very strong contender. Overall, we feel that JBL Reflect Flow Pro has two advantages that may or may not influence buyer decision.

  • IP68 Rating: The JBL Reflect Flow Pro is certified to the highest IP rating available. However, the Jabra Elite 7 Pro’s IP57 rating is more than adequate for most sports usage.
  • The Powerfins: Some users may prefer the ear wings for better ear fitting and security. For sports earbuds, we always recommend going to the stores to try out the samples there. If you read users’ reviews claiming that they have no issues with earbuds falling out during a run, they are referring to their ears, not yours. 

The Jabra Elite 7 Active is not the flagship but it has very strong specifications. We are also fans of Jabra but we prefer it if the design includes ear wings option like the JBL, especially for sports.

Buy Jabra Elite 7 Active
Buy JBL Reflect Flow Pro 2021

 

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