One of the most exciting trends in the personal audio marketplace in recent years is the emergence of what are known as “true wireless” earbuds. As the name implies, true wireless models offer complete freedom from cables or other tethers. There isn’t even a cord of collar connecting each of the earpieces. As such, many people find them to be a more comfortable, more convenient, less constrictive listening experience, whether at the office or on the go.
Given the complete lack of cords or collars or any other encumbrances, true wireless earbuds deliver a completely self-contained listening and communication experience. Everything from batteries to wireless transmitters to microphones is contained within the two little cases that slip right into your ears, and charging is handled via the same carrying case used to store your true wireless ‘buds when they’re not in use.
Unsurprisingly, due to the explosion in popularity of this new design, you have quite a few models to choose from when shopping for true wireless earbuds, with prices ranging from as little as $50 to upwards of $1,000 or more. Understandably, it can be difficult to determine what makes one true wireless offering a better value proposition than the rest, especially across such a broad price range. So, in this post, we thought it would be helpful to compare Phiaton’s new BOLT BT 700 True Wireless Earphones ($139.99) with some of their most popular competitors, the Jabra Elite Active 65t ($189.99) and see how they stack up in terms of features, functionality, convenience, and control.
First thing’s first, let’s dip into what both the Phiaton BOLT BT 700 and Jabra Elite Active 65t have in common.
- Both feature Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connectivity for longer range, lower energy consumption, and double the data transfer rate compared with Bluetooth 4.2.
- Both feature a handy charging carrying case.
- Both deliver up to five hours of playback time between charges, and take only two hours to reach a full charge.
- Both offer easy access to digital voice assistants: Siri or Google Assistant for the BOLT BT 700; Amazon Alexa, Siri, and Google Now for the Jabra Elite Active 65t.
- Both allow you to hear the world around you without removing your earbuds thanks to “HearThrough” in the case of the Jabra and “Audio Transparency Function” on the Phiaton, both of which work with music playing or in standby mode.
- Both offer extensive playback and call controls, including volume up/down, play/pause, answer/end call, reject call, next track/previous track, and more.
- Both offer iPX4 rated sweat and water resistance.
- Both are backed by a one-year warranty (although Jabra does extend dust and water resistance coverage to two years with in-app registration).
There are some noteworthy differences between the two offerings, though. The Phiaton BOLT BT 700 benefits from a few features that the Jabra Elite Active 65t lacks, including:
- Its portable charging case serves double duty as a portable Bluetooth speaker.
- Its case can recharge the earbuds more times, extending overall battery life to 20 hours, as compared with 15 hours on the Jabra.
- It features balanced armature drivers instead of dynamic drivers, which are smaller and generate louder sounds using less electricity than dynamic drivers. If you remember from our previous post, less power used means longer playtime between battery charges.
- It comes with four different sizes of silicon ear tips (XS, S, M, L) instead of three, which may be handy if you have trouble finding eart tips that fit.
- It features multifunction touch pad controls on both earbuds, instead of the asymetrical mix of buttons found on the Jabra.
- It’s a much better value at $139.99 retail (versus $189.99 retail).
Of course, it’s to be expected that different true wireless earbuds from different manufacturers would differ in terms of their feature sets. It really comes down to what features matter most to you as a consumer, and how much you want to spend to be freed from the tether of wires and headbands and neck collars altogether.