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Hands-on review: Jabra Elite 4 Active Wireless Earphones

It’s been a little a while since I’ve tried a new pair of wireless earphones, mainly due to a couple of rough experiences with them in the past.

At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old-timer, I’ve found that the sound quality & battery life of most wireless earphones were major barriers for me, not to mention the fact that they’re notoriously easy to misplace.

So when I was offered this review, I approached it with a general air of scepticism. However, after just over a week of playing with the Jabra Elite 4 Active wireless earphones, I can happily say they’re not bad.

Now I still have a few minor complaints, but we’ll get there. I’ll start off by describing what Jabra promises to deliver with these earphones, and then I’ll let you know how well they actually hold up.

The Specs

The Jabra Elite 4 Active aims to be a good choice for any type of active lifestyle. With a secure fit and compact design, these headphones aim to keep your music going no matter the activity.

To that end, the device does come with a couple of neat features; ANC technology that blocks out background noises fairly efficiently, IP57 water and sweat protection, and a very comfortable fit with multiple size options.

Additionally, the Elite 4 Active also has a ‘HearThrough’, which is essentially a reverse noise cancelling, where the device amplifies outside noise so you can hear it more clearly.

Finally, the device’s Jabra Sound+ app allows users to tune the device to their preferences, find their earbuds if they go missing by pinging them, and activate Spotify’s Tap playback for an instant connection to their music library.

Here’s a quick look at some of the main specs of the device:

● Water and sweatproof rating of IP57 with a 2-year warranty

● Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) & HearThrough

● Customizable equalizer & 4 microphones for call clarity

● Up to 7 hours of charge in the buds, and up to 28 hours with the case + fast charge

● A mono mode so you can use one earbud at a time

● Fairly comfortable fit

● Speaker bandwidth of 20Hz - 20,000Hz

Personal use and experience

Now on to my experience with the Elite 4 Active, and it’s a bit of a mixed bag. The earphones arrived just in time to be put through a whole ringer of tests as I had a trip planned down to Auckland, which involved a short flight on an extremely noisy plane, a lot of zoom meetings and a remote game of D&D. 

When I first opened the packaging, I was very impressed by the care and quality of the box the device came in; despite its relatively cheap price tag, everything screamed quality. 

I was also happy to find that both the earpieces and their carry box were already charged so that I could get straight to the testing.

Now at first, the controls and setup of this device can seem a bit overwhelming, especially if this is your first experience with wireless earpieces; there’s an app to download, hidden buttons and all sorts of features.

However, all this becomes very easy to navigate after reading the short instruction manual and installing the app, so no major complaints there. 

So on to the actual performance. Firstly the noise cancellation is fantastic. The overwhelming scream of the aeroplane’s propellors transformed into a barely noticeable low drone. 

On that same note, the HearThrough feature is also wonderful. With it, I no longer have to take one earbud out to ensure I don’t accidentally yell at my colleagues during zoom meetings. As for the built-in microphones, my D&D players assure me I sound better than ever before. 

However, there are a few hiccups; the most glaring has been the sporadic and somewhat unpredictable breakups.

Now a quick disclaimer, that only happened twice over the week of heavy use, but it's worth mentioning since both the buds were fully charged, so shouldn’t have any reason to cut out. 

Another thing worth noting is the sound quality; for the price range, it’s pretty good. However, it’s not great. Tones will come across as flat from time to time, and depending on how well trained your ear is, these may be more or less noticeable. 

Overall, though, I can happily recommend these wireless earbuds for their price range. They’re comfortable, have a rich set of features, and decent sound, all in a smart & well-presented package.

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