The world is full of earbuds that run you over a hundred dollars, and those are hard-pass for most people. However, some companies make a good case for shelling out that much, and Jabra is one of them. Here’s my review of the Jabra Elite 4 Elite Active earbuds, a set of premium earbuds that offer some powerful sound for a palatable price.
The audio quality is top-notch
What are premium earbuds without premium sound? The Jabra Elite 4 Active strike a balance between having a crisp open sound but with powerful bass. Compared to the Jabra Elite 3, the sound is a bit more airy and open, but it can still deliver a full and powerful sound.
As an added bonus, the Jabra+ app comes with an included 5-band equalizer that can be adjusted to finetune the audio. That’s an amazing addition, and the changes to the audio are applied within a second. If you don’t really want to adjust the EQ, then you can choose from six different EQ presets.
Overall, the audio quality is really good with these earbuds. There’s a lot of dynamic range that gives you tons of space to adjust the sound.
The build quality is premium
The second you pick up these earbuds, you can tell that they’re premium. The buds themselves are pretty lightweight but sturdy. They’re made from a soft matte material that gives them a nice feeling overall. While it’s a matte material, it’s still smooth and nice to touch. The charging case is made from a similar material, as well.
You see two large microphones on either side of both earbuds, and those are responsible for HearThrough and ANC modes. The microphones have small metal grilles that help add a nice touch to the aesthetic. The Jabra Elite Active not only feel nice, but they also look nice.
The Jabra+ app is great, with one main drawback
A lot of the Jabra experience is tied to the Jabra+ app. You will need this app in order to connect the earbuds to your device, and once you start it, the app will handle connecting your earbuds to your device. You won’t have to worry about going to your Bluetooth settings and pairing them.
From the app, you can adjust the EQ, toggle your hearing modes, and change the general settings. It’s a central hub for your earbuds and can be a big part of the whole experience.
There’s one main drawback to the Jabra + app that will disappoint some people: it’s only on iOS and Android devices. Since you need the app to connect the devices, you won’t be able to use these earbuds with any Windows, Linux, macOS, or Chromebook devices. A lot of people like to use their Bluetooth earbuds with their computers, so just know that you won’t be able to do that.
There’s HearThrough mode and ANC
Throughout my review of the Jabra Elite 4 Active, I’ve been able to test out its microphones. With them, you get two modes that do two very different things with outside sounds. First is HearThrough mode which passes audio from the outside world into your ears. This is a great feature if you want to hear what’s going on or have a conversation without having to take the earbuds out. The technology works very well, and it does a good job at eliminating the ambient noise that’s happening over the subject. I’m sure that Jabra is using some noise-canceling technology with this mode.
My only complaint is that the mode doesn’t pause the media you’re listening to when you activate it. When I activated the HearThrough mode, the music or video would continue playing over what I was trying to listen for. There is a setting that will mute the audio, which helps. However, I think pausing the media would be the best option.
On the other side of the spectrum, we have ANC (Active Noise Cancelation). This technology uses the microphones to cancel the ambient noise around you so you don’t hear it over your music. The technology works very well at getting rid of the sound of traffic, air conditioners, and other general noise you hear in the background.
Just know that the app has this feature to turn on automatically. ANC has an impact on battery life if you use it for a long time. The best thing to do is go into the settings and set it to manual. This is for people who really care about preserving the battery power.
The battery will definitely last you
The packaging says that you can use these for up to 7 hours on a single charge. In my testing, I was able to get just north of 6 hours and 30 minutes. That makes sense because I used a combination of HearThrough and ANC while testing. Other than testing, I was never able to kill these earbuds in one sitting, even while writing for multiple stretches of hours. The charging case should just about quadruple the earbuds’ life span, so battery life overall is really good.
As an added bonus, you can easily keep track of your battery percentage with the Jabra+ app. The home screen shows you the battery level of each individual earbud and the charging case as well. The level is displayed in increments of 5%. That’s better than that of the Jabra Elite 3 which show the battery levels in increments of 10%.
There are some more interesting features with these headphones
The Find My Jabra feature is fantastic to have if you go places all the time. This feature saves your earbuds’ location whenever they disconnect. When you access the feature, it will show you their last saved location on a map so you can find them if you leave them somewhere. As an added bonus, the location is saved locally on your device and doesn’t get sent to Jabra.
Most people use their earbuds to work out, and that makes the Elite 4 Active a great option. If you worry about sweat getting into your earbuds, these have an IP57 water and dust resistance rating. Now, an IP57 rating doesn’t mean that they’re waterproof. You should be ok if you’re caught in a light rain or if you get sweaty during your workout; that’s pretty much it.
To close out this review of the Jabra Elite 4 Active earbuds, $119.99 is a hard price to swallow for most average users; however, the price is perfectly justified. These earbuds deliver a clean and clear sound that also has great bass. The feel is nothing but premium, and that goes for the set of features. I highly recommend these earbuds to anyone who wants to take a step into the premium earbuds landscape.