Everyday life is hard, and with COVID-19 still hanging around like that uncle at Christmas who’s had too much to drink, it’s harder. It seems every time wired headphones come out of a pocket the things are so tangled, it’s a fight between person and machine to free them from themselves. Luckily, the Jabra Elite 4 Active earbuds are here to lighten the load.
The first thing I noticed when unboxing the Elite 4 Active is how well packaged the device is. Usually, I tend to struggle with freeing small items from a box, but it was very easy this time (see above the epic battle between wired headphones and pocket). The Elite 4 Active isn’t just packaged good, they’re a stylish bud too.
The small and sleek design feels great when filling your ears, and they cancel noise well enough. Sometimes I wear them without anything playing due to loud NYC street traffic noise polluting the air. The earbuds also come with 4 extra covers for the bud, allowing them to fit mostly any ear size. They also come with a User Manual (groan) and a USB-C cable. The USB-C cable is widely used now, so it’s a nice adaptive touch, but the length leaves a lot to be desired.
These aren’t a groundbreaking design, but they don’t need to be, they’re very effective at what they do. The small ‘R’ and ‘L’ on each earbud is also a godsend, because I get mixed up with which goes where without looking, which is a me problem. The User Manual asks the user to download the Jabra Sound+ App for compatibility with Bluetooth. Setup from there was very easy, and after a small update you’re on your way.
From the App, there are several services for the Jabra Elite 4 Active user. There are the options to engage noise-cancelling or “hear through”, which allows the user to hear everything around them. There is a custom music equalizer, with presets that I’ve rifled through. I just left the preset on a flat line though, directly in the middle, I felt they sounded better this way. For audiophiles, though, this is a must-have.
“The first thing I noticed when unboxing the Elite 4 Active is how well packaged the device is.”
The most impressive bit the Jabra Sound+ App offers is a type of ‘Find my Jabra’ through the App, and it is remarkably accurate. I left the headset over by my friends to walk to the store, and they sat there on a GPS. If the earbuds die, you can see the last recorded destination available, which is a seriously great addition for those who worry about losing things, and honestly, who doesn’t?
The Jabra Elite 4 Active promises 7-hours of battery and a fast charge through the slick little case that charges them while not in use. I pushed them as far as possible playing the e-book The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie, which is a long tome. The headphones went from 100% to 0% in around 6.5 hours, which is a long time, but the case does a fast charge which I also pressed. The headphones resurrected back to 100% in what felt like 40 minutes, which is great, considering they’re very usable at even 25%, so you must only wait a few precious minutes for them to return from death. Oh, and the case promises up to 28 hours of playback, I finished the First Law Trilogy and the buds still had power to spare. The case fully emptied at around 26 hours, not far off.
The key word in Jabra Elite 4 Active is ‘Active.’ So, I brought my buds with me to the gym to give it a whirl on their sweat resistance. All earbuds should have this. I’ve tried other non-sweat resistant buds at the gym before, and they fell out so many times it was criminal, these buds are there to spot you through an entire workout.
“The Jabra Elite 4 Active promises 7-hours of battery and a fast charge through the slick little case that charges them while not in use.”
The noise-cancelling feature on these buds works solidly, the background grunting and clanging of the other gym members wasn’t hearable while playing Disturbed’s The Sickness album at half volume. Which is awesome, because the sharp slamming noise of weights can be startling and blow up a set in easy fashion.
The Jabra Elite 4 Active earbuds are easy to wear for long periods of time without fatigue due to their lightweight nature, and their comfortability. The only issue I’ve had with these buds is the microphone that receives the user’s voice on calls. Every one I’ve tried them with can hear literally EVERYTHING that’s going on in the background, closing cabinets, setting down items on a table, even drinking a beverage can be heard with clarity through the microphone.
This isn’t the worst possible thing because voice calls are fantastic through the Elite 4 Active. Listening to the other person is crystal clear and communication works flawlessly, just talking to other people while performing tasks can annoy the other party. On top of that, there’s no easy way to pause music or answer a phone through headset controls without opening the phone’s screen. There is Spotify tap playback for Android OS 6.0 or higher, but this leaves other OS in the cold.
The Jabra Elite 4 Active are a godsend for those in the market for earbuds that won’t break the bank, and for those who spend gratuitous time at the gym. The earbuds don’t interfere with daily tasks and are able to withstand over a day of battery, which is far longer than the user.