Jabra’s Affordable New Fitness Earbuds Might Be Worth the Trade-Offs

Jabra’s Affordable New Fitness Earbuds Might Be Worth the Trade-Offs
Photo: Jabra

Jabra’s Active wireless earbud lineup has always been one of my favourites for workouts. They’re actually impervious to sweat, they fit perfectly, and the smartphone app allows for plenty of customisation, which is great for people like me who love a bass-forward EQ for running outside. Now Jabra has a new addition to the lineup, the Elite 4 Active, which is much more affordable than the company’s sport-focused earbuds typically are — but you do make some sacrifices.

At $US120 ($167), the Elite 4 Active are cheaper than Jabra’s other Active earbuds, which include the $US180 ($250) Elite 7 Active and $US180 ($250) Elite Active 68 T (which is a few years old now but still very good). You get active noise cancellation, same as with the Elite 7 Active (the Active 68 T only offer digital ANC), and Alexa integration, along with the IP57 rating that makes both the Elite 7 Active and Elite 68 T Active so durable. For comparison, Apple’s AirPods Pro and activity-minded Beats Fit Pro are IPX4, which means they’re splash-resistant, but an IP57 rating means Jabra’s earbuds can take water submersion, dust, you name it. I haven’t been able to kill a pair of Jabra Active earbuds with sweat ever (which I can’t say for AirPods Pro) so this bodes well for the Elite 4 Active.

You also get support for Google Fast Pair, which offers a more seamless pairing experience for Android phones that’s akin to the way AirPods pair to an Apple device. (Obviously you don’t get that magical iPhone integration with these Jabra earbuds.)

The Elite 4 Active also promise solid battery life — seven hours on the earbuds themselves and 28 total when the ‘buds are stored in their charging case — and support fast charging.

All of this sounds pretty great for $US120 ($167), right? Well, you lose a few features to save money. Unlike the Elite 7 Active, the Elite 4 Active lacks an adjustable equaliser and adjustable ANC, so you’re stuck with EQ presets and can’t customise the transparency of the earbuds’ noise cancellation.

Jabra is also bringing the ability for the Elite 7 Pro to pair to multiple devices at a time — an oversight when those earbuds’ launched — via a firmware update, but the Elite 4 Active won’t be getting that feature, and neither will the Elite 7 Active. That’s a bummer, given that the feature is common to other Jabra earbuds and sets it apart from many of its rivals.

But those trade-offs don’t sound too bad for the price, especially when most fitness-focused earbuds with ANC cost well more than $US150 ($209).

The Elite 4 Active are available to buy today in navy, mint, or black. Stay tuned for a full review.