Jabra Elite 4 Active Review
I will review a lot of true wireless headphones, so I’m always aware of what the next trends will be when companies offer the annual update for new products. Over the past few years, smaller sizes, better battery life and hands - free features have become the norm, but there's only so much you can do on such a small device.
In 2021, Jabra set the new standard for wireless headphones at an affordable price. At $ 80, it covers most the basics well. It is a model with a greater focus on exercise, with active noise elimination (ANC) and adequate moisture protection for the most sweaty sessions. As it did last year, Jabra is trying not only to make their true wireless line robust in terms of features and performance, but also to make the price more competitive. This $ 120 model delivers a lot of options that we typically see on earbuds that go for $ 150- $ 180.
- At an affordable price
- Very fitting
- Strong sound quality
- Custom ANC
- Turning off sound is just fine
- Challenging controls
- Non-automatic stop
- No wireless charge
The Elite 4 Active carries a new Jabra design that ended up on the Elite 3, Elite 7 Active and Elite 7 Pro last year. Instead of a mostly round earbud with an angle that holds the microphones, the company turned into a rounded triangle shape that gives a cleaner look. More importantly, Jabra's latest earbuds are much smaller than their predecessors and the Elite 4 Active continues that trend. Not only does the smaller size mean that these buds do not stick out of your ears as much, but they are also lighter and more comfortable.
I would not blame you for mistaken the Elite 4 Active for the Elite 3. In terms of beauty, the main difference is that the outer panel on the 3 is one big button, while that range on the Active 4 unknowingly. The button is there, but it is closed. Jabra upgraded water resistance to IP57 for this model, and the onboard controls are one area where it needed to increase protection. Of course, Jabra has always designed his headphones with the Active label for workouts. Improved sweat protection is usually part of that formula.
The lack of a highlighted panel or button was an issue for me when accessing the controls. I had to train myself to remember pushing in the middle of the earbud as getting too far to the top or bottom would not record my actions. The outer surface of the Elite 4 Active is completely smooth, with less than a raised dot to show you are in the right place. Over time I may become accustomed to this, but after a few weeks of testing, I still do not stretch regularly.
Like all other Jabra modules, you can customize the Elite 4 Active to your needs through the company's Sound + app. Since this set is Jabra's mid - range option, you get more features than the entry - level Elite 3, but it's not as big as the Elite 7 Pro or Elite 7 Active. First, there is an ANC that can be customized. Note that I did not say responsive. Specifically, the app allows you to turn off volume during the initial installation. You can also change the balance if you need more on one side than the other. Jabra lets you repeat this process if you need to, but a slider is not as easily accessible as the Elite 7 models.
The company's publicity mode, HearThrough, can be controlled in the app via a slider. Of course, you can even set the on-board control for sound mode (single press on the left). You can cycle through HearThrough and ANC, HearThrough on and off or HearThrough, ANC on and off. The app allows you to turn Sidetone on and off, allowing you to hear your voice when on call. Unlike some Jabra models, it cannot be changed - just all or nothing. However, it's best for everyone to hear yourself so you can be a little less excited about Zoom. The company's own Find My feature also returns, helping you to find the wrong one if you are willing to give it the right permissions. And on Android, you can choose one - touch access to Spotify if that's your favorite streaming service.
For a $ 120 set of earbuds, I would not blame you for not expecting too much in the audio department. However, Jabra has a good track record of strong audio over its true wireless line. With the Elite 4 Active, the company maintains its reputation for buds that feel good, but not good. It has a reasonable brightness and nice detail, but it lacks the wider sound-level and depth models from such and tender.
The Elite 4 Active has a good enough sonic range, but big bomb tracks like Run The Jewels “Mean Demeanor” and Gojira’s “Another World” sound are too compressed. The bass is hard and not muddy, so maintaining the energy during work with hip hop, EDM, or not is a problem. That's just that, the punch is not the size you find with a bigger investment in songs. For $ 120 though, the Elite 4 Active gets the job done in most cases.
If you find you want to tweak the EQ, you can do so in the Sound + app via a set of sliders. If one-tap audio adjustments are more than your style, Jabra also offers a collection of pre-orders for quick customization. This is not the strongest set of options for dial in the sound, but it's more than you can find on the affordable Elite 3.
One advantage of the Elite 4 Active over the Elite 3 is that it eliminates active noise. Like I said, you can customize the feature to some extent, but it's not as powerful as what Jabra's pricer earbuds are. However, the ANC here will help to stop some distraction, just do not expect it to do a lot of heavy lifting.
The Elite 4 Active has four microphones for calls. Jabra says they are covered with a "special mesh" to reduce wind noise when you are out and about. Thousands typically vary greatly depending on call quality with true wireless headphones. Most of the time you just feel like you are on a phone. With the Elite 4 Active, call quality is a bit better, but still not as good as having a microphone closer to your mouth - or even more pressure on your face. Background noise is reduced when you speak, but any environmental oar attracts attention when you are not.
Gallery: Jabra Elite 4 Active Review | 7 Pictures
Gallery: Jabra Elite 4 Active Review | 7 Pictures
Jabra states that you can expect up to seven hours of battery life on the Elite 4 Active, with three additional charges in the case for a total of 28 hours. The company does not specify whether that's with ANC on or not, but in my tests I managed seven and a half hours with active shutdown sound. This is by no means the best battery life you'll find in a true wireless headset, but it's certainly enough to get you through a work day if you take a break or two. If you run out of juice before heading out the door, a quick charge feature will give you an hour of practice in 10 minutes.
At $ 120, Jabra offers mid-range hardware specs at the same price as some companies' budget models. In addition, most of these do not offer ANC, let alone custom visibility or sound mode. Samsung stopped sounding inside its cheapest wireless model with the. These earbuds are tiny and comfortable and have a built-in wireless charge, but ANC performance is okay. Plus, the Galaxy Buds 2 are only IPX2 rated, so you'll want to be careful how wet you get them. Total price they are $ 150, but we have seen them.
If you want to increase your dollars, I would recommend looking into Anker's Soundcore line. You get a lot of value, and features, there. Plus, the company's main ANC model, only costs $ 170. And if you're good with passive sound isolation, you can get the job done for $ 60.
If Jabra's new mission is to deliver the same overall quality as previous earbuds at more affordable prices, I'm here for it. With the Elite 4 Active, as it did with the Elite 3, the company has been able to offer a solid set of features at a great price. It has not cut corners to do so, advancing details such as design and fitting while maintaining its sound quality. There are some shortcomings, but all the basics are covered and mostly well done. Again, we have more evidence that you do not have to spend more than $ 150 to get a set of genuine wireless headphones.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include related links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may receive an affiliate commission.