JBL Everest Elite 750NC Headphones Review: Comfort Meets Great Sound

August 24, 2017 - Written By John Anon

Comfortable, durable, and great sounding. The JBL Everest Elite 750NC headphones are hitting all the right notes

The JBL Everest Elite 750NC headphones were announced back in June of this year and represent a next-generation product, following on from last year’s JBL Everest 700 series. As to be expected, this does mean that this new line comes with a number of improvements. Although, one area which has not changed is the price. With the JBL Everest Elite 750NC now available to buy, and priced at $299.95.

Specs

In terms of the specs, the JBL Everest Elite 750NC feature 40mm drivers, a frequency response listed as 10Hz-22kHz, a maximum SPL of 104dB, and a sensitivity of 92dB. The JBL Everest Elite 750NC makes use of Bluetooth (v4.0) to establish a wireless connection with Bluetooth-enabled devices. In addition, the JBL Everest Elite 750NC comes with various technology supports, such as JBL’s own Pro Audio Sound support, Adaptive Noise Cancelling (ANC), and TruNote Auto Sound Calibration.

In terms of the battery, the JBL Everest Elite 750NC is loaded with an 850 mAh capacity battery. One which is said to offer up to 20 hours of usage when Bluetooth is on and ANC is off. When ANC is activated however, the battery time is reduced down to a maximum of 15 hours. When the battery needs to be recharged, JBL lists 3 hours as the full recharge time. Last but not least, the JBL Everest Elite 750NC weigh in at 280 grams.

In the box

The unboxing process is a rather straightforward one, although also an enjoyable one. JBL always tends to up the quality of the packaging and with the JBL Everest Elite 750NC things are no different. Once opened, buyers will find all of the included bits housed within a carry case. This will include the actual JBL Everest Elite 750NC headphones, a detachable 3.5 mm jack cable, a USB charging cable, a flight adapter, and all of the usually paperwork.

One point to note about the carry case. This is the first clear upgraded difference buyers will encounter compared to the previous JBL Everest Elite 700. This time around, the carry case is of a much more superior quality and one which looks as though it will be much better at protecting the headphones during transit. Which was a cause for concern with the JBL Everest Elite 700 headphones, as while they did come with a nice carry case, it was a soft pouch case and one which certainly would have only provided limited protection. In contrast, this case is much more in line with what would be expected with a premium pair of headphones at this price point. Likewise, the interior of the case has those small details that JBL has become known for. Like an etched in version of the JBL Everest Elite 750NC.

Design & Hardware

The new Everest line includes a number of products which look to specifically appeal to certain users. So for instance, the new line consists of the Everest 110, 310, 710, and this one, the Elite 750NC. With each model accounting for different key design points, such as in-ear, on-ear, around-ear, and so on. Of the range though, the Everest Elite 750NC is pegged as the pinnacle. Adopting a premium design quality, user experience, and audio output. The first on that list, premium design, is evident on first appearance. As the Elite 750NC headphones coloring is significantly different compared to its predecessor. In total, these headphones are available in three colors – Gun Metal, Silver, and Steel Blue – and for reference, the color on show here is Steel Blue. However, this is a metallic looking blue and one which really does shine compared to the flatter colors that were used with the previous model.

Which represents just the start of the design changes. The next noticeable change comes in the controls. On the previous model, controls could be found on both ear cups, with one housing the likes of the volume and track controls, and the other housing the power and pairing button. On this latest model, all the controls now appear on the same ear cup – the right ear cup. In addition, they have been grouped together more neatly. With the exception of the power button which is placed further up, the rest of the controls now appear along the bottom of the ear cup. Adding to this, the buttons also now seem to be a lot more button-like. Meaning, it is much easier now to press them and know that you have pressed them.

Another notable change is that on the previous model, both ports (microUSB and 3.5mm jack) were located on the same side. This has also now changed with the microUSB taking central position (in between the button grouping) on the right ear cup, and the 3.5mm jack port adopting a solitary position on the left ear cup. While this might not seem like a big change, it is as the two ports were rather close to each other on the last model. With the additional benefit now being that when used in a wired mode, all of the controls are on the opposite ear cup to the 3.5mm cable. Which will make life a little easier.

Although one criticism that could be leveled at the button placement is that they are so compact and close now that it can be sometimes a little difficult to isolate select buttons. For instance, when trying to pair to a new device, it became much easier to simply take the headphones off, press the pairing button, then put them back on again. The same could be said for most of the other buttons as well – so do expect a learning curve to be in effect when adjusting to these headphones.

While the general look of the Elite 750NC is the same as the previous model, there are a few subtle changes in effect as well. For instance, the JBL branding has been removed from the headband, and the headband itself seems to have been improved for greater comfort and durability. Which is an aspect that also applies to the ear cup adjusters. As these also have been redesigned and now include a reinforced rubber aspect which will likely ensure they last longer than before.

Overall, when it comes to the design, how much had changed depends highly on how close you look. These headphones are on first appearance are almost identical in shape, design, and feel. However, the changes are much smaller and less obvious, representing more of an evolution than anything else. Although the accumulative effect of all these smaller changes is that the headphones are a significant improvement over the previous model. Not just in terms of comfort and functionality, but also simply in terms of durability.

Sound Quality & Performance

Nowadays, it would be more interesting if the sound quality on a JBL set of headphones was bad. As this is a company that time after time brings headsets to market which provide a very good overall sound quality. More recently, JBL has even started to up its entry-level game with products like the JBL E55BT Bluetooth headphones. Which at launch were priced at half the price of the Elite 750NC and punched well above their weight in terms of sound quality. So it is not going to be surprising to hear that the sound quality on offer with the JBL Everest Elite 750NC is nothing short of great. Although at a cost of $300 per unit, this is probably to be expected.

Whether the sound quality on offer is really worth $300, is a lot harder to answer, as there are a lot of good headphones available now which offer great sounding output. Whether they offer a better output than what the Elite 750NC offers is going to be based on individual differences. For instance, whether someone prefers a bassier output, a more rounder output, a louder output, and so on. One area where a noticeable difference between some of the premium options can be found is in the volume department. The JBL Everest Elite 750NC are certainly not the loudest headphones you can buy, and so if pure volume is a main concern then these might not be for you. That does not mean that they are not loud (as they are), but there are louder options out there. Of course, one of the benefits of this capped top volume is that the JBL Everest Elite 750NC headphones seem almost designed not to result in a damaged (read bad) sound. That is, a bass which struggles or tops which become so piercing that they are deafening. Instead, the JBL Everest Elite 750NC offers a very well-rounded sound and especially when played at top volume. During testing, it proved very difficult to push the headphones to any meaningful limit. They literally are able to handle just about any track and regardless of whether it is a bass or top-heavy track. So in reality, that top volume limit is likely by design – to guarantee a super consistent sound quality regardless of the volume level applied.

This is also a point that can be extrapolated to the performance in general. These are very consistent headphones in all respects and in every area the Elite 750NC performed exceptionally well. The truth is you would have to go out of your way to find a fault with their performance. While it could be argued some of the design traits (button positioning for example) is not ideal, when it comes to the sound quality and general performance, you are getting what you pay for here. Speaking of which, one of the selling points with the Elite 750NC is that you are getting more features for your money. As in addition to just being a pair of headphones, these are also ones which come with various supports. The most notable two are noise cancellation (ANC) and Ambient Awareness (AA). In reality, these two work in direct contradiction of each other, as while the first (ANC) looks to limit outside noise, Ambient Awareness looks to highlight outside noise. So for instance, if you want to hear when people approach you while wearing the headphones on, then you will want to make sure Ambient Awareness is activated and set to high. While those looking to cancel out the noise in public places, on planes, etc, will want to ensure ANC is activated and again, set to high. Both of which can be conveniently activated and set through the JBL Headphones app, available from the Google Play Store.

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This is the same app which was available with the previous Elite 700 model (as well as other select JBL headphones), so some users will already be familiar with the app, its appearance and general functionality. For those new to this app though, in addition to allowing you to set the ANC or AA feature, the app is also the place where you can update the headphones firmware, when updates become available.

In addition to the add-on software features, one important hardware feature to note is the ‘programmable smart button’ option. As these headphones come with a dedicated ‘smart’ button. This can be assigned to either the ANC function or the AA function. Thereby allowing the wearer to activate either the ANC or the AA by simply tapping the button and forgoing the app altogether.

In terms of the quality of both the ANC and AA, this is again, two aspects that JBL has been working on for some time. The Elite 700 model also came with these features and even back then they were working great. Little has changed since then. It hard to say for sure that these features have been improved in any user noticeable manner, and is likely much fairer just to simply say there were no issues with either feature when tested with both working exactly as intended. Noise cancellation in particular is very effective on the Elite 750NC with these headphones more than capable of significantly reducing outside noise when needed. In contrast, the AA feature is more subtle (as it should be) and so by design is less apparent. Although it is still there and you will notice the difference when the feature is activated.

Another feature briefing worth touching on in the app is ‘Enable voice prompt’ as this one relates to the Google Assistant. Once activated (is by default) and connected to a Google Assistant-enable device, the user can simply double tap the play button and it will automatically launch Google Assistant on the connected device. Which is a feature worth making use of and especially in respect of a smartphone. As an example, the user can carry their phone in their pocket or their bag, be listening to music, double tap the button, activate Google Assistant (including when the phone is locked), ask a question and have the information relayed back to them through the headphones, before resuming playback. Likewise, due to the Elite 750 NC’s built-in microphone, you could just as easily make a phone call mid-track by using the headphones to activate Google Assistant. The limits to this feature are simply limited by the user’s interaction with Google Assistant.

Battery Life & Connectivity

Due to the nature of the JBL Everest Elite 750NC, battery life is an aspect which varies depending on the user and their habits. The actual capacity of the battery inside is 850 mAh and the two aspects powered by that battery is the Bluetooth functionality and the ANC. Depending on whether one or both is in use will determine the length of usage which can be achieved while away from a wall socket. For instance, and according to JBL, Bluetooth and ANC active will result in about 15 hours of usage. In contrast, with ANC off and Bluetooth active, the battery life is expected to increase up to the 20 hour marker. In testing, these figures were generally in line with what was encountered. For instance, it was very difficult to drain this headphones completely within any one sitting, or for that matter on a daily basis. Even when running all day and at full volume. So you can certainly expect a minimum of 10-15 hours per charge, depending on whether ANC is used or not. When the headphones do need to be recharged again, JBL suggests three hours as the full recharge time – which again, was generally right in line with what was found during testing.

However, it is worth keeping in mind that the Bluetooth version in use here is Bluetooth 4.0. This is the same version that was in use on the BL Everest Elite 700NC and is a little disappointing as with the onset of Bluetooth 5.0, a lot has changed since the release of Bluetooth 4.0. So while it should not really be expected that these would come with Bluetooth 5.0 support yet, the issue here is that there are incremental updates in between 4.0 and 5.0 and that is where some features are missing. A prime example being that you can only connect to one device at a time with these headphones – a result of Bluetooth 4.0. Most recent and premium headphones now come with later versions of Bluetooth 4.x, and as a result provide support for connections to multiple devices – allowing the user to very easily switch between two different devices. So it is a little disappointing to see this new and certainly premium product lacking this support. As owners will need to continually disconnect and reconnect to different devices when switching.

Multiple device-support aside, the quality of the Bluetooth connection on offer is excellent. Once again, total distance is determined by this being Bluetooth 4.0 and when within range the quality of the connection is second-to-none. A common occurrence with JBL Bluetooth products nowadays. Bluetooth connection quality is often something that is widely overlooked and should not be, as it is one of the most important things to consider when buying a set of Bluetooth headphones, and this is one of the areas in which JBL really shines.

Wrap up

The JBL Everest line does represent some of the best personal audio products on offer from JBL and the JBL Everest Elite 750NC is the best of that line. So for those looking to JBL for a premium set of headphones, these are the ones to go for. They are extremely comfortable, seem durable, and the sound quality is very good. The only downside however is the price. With these being $300 headphones, they do automatically price a number of consumers out of contention. Likewise, some premium alternatives will offer you more for the same money. However, these are priced exactly the same as the previous model was at launch, and by a long way these are a better product. So in spite of the high price, you are getting more for your money now with the JBL Everest Elite headphones than you ever did before.

Should you buy the JBL Everest Elite 750NC?

It simply comes down to the price. If $300 is a price that you would normally pay for a pair of premium headphones, then the JBL Everest Elite 750NC are easily worth a recommendation.

Buy the JBL Everest Elite 750NC Headphones (JBL)