Jabra Elite 4 Active review

I review many true wireless headphones, so I’m always curious about what the next trends will be when companies come up with their annual refresh for new products. In recent years, smaller sizes, better battery life, and hands-free functions have become the norm, but there’s not much you can do on such a small device.

In 2021, Jabra set the new standard for affordable wireless headphones with. At $ 80, it covers most of the bases pretty well. Now the company is improving its mid-range option with. It’s a more training-oriented model with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and enough moisture protection for the sweatiest sessions. As it did last year, Jabra is not only looking to make its true wireless range convincing in terms of features and performance, but also to make the price more competitive. This model at $ 120 offers a lot of options that we typically see on headphones that range from $ 150 to $ 180.


  • Affordable price
  • Comfortable fit
  • Solid sound quality
  • Customizable ANC

The inconvenients

  • Noise cancellation is good
  • Bulky controls
  • No automatic pause
  • No wireless charging

The Elite 4 Active carries the new design from Jabra which debuted on the Elite 3, Elite 7 Active and Elite 7 Pro last year. Instead of a predominantly circular earpiece with an elbow that holds the microphones in place, the company has switched to a rounded triangular shape that provides a sharper look. More importantly, all of the latest Jabra headphones are significantly smaller than their predecessors and the Elite 4 Active continues this trend. The smaller size not only means these buds don’t protrude as much from your ears, but they’re also lighter and more comfortable.

I wouldn’t fault you for confusing the Elite 4 Active with the Elite 3. Aesthetically, the main difference is that the outer panel of 3 is a big button, while this area of ​​4 Active is transparent. The button is there, but it’s sealed. Jabra has increased the water resistance to IP57 for this model, and on-board controls is an area where it has had to increase protection. Of course, Jabra has always designed its headphones with the Active label for workouts. Better sweat protection is usually part of this formula.

Jabra continues to revamp its true wireless lineup with attractive options at affordable prices.  With the Elite 4 Active you get upgrades like ANC and better water resistance over the base Elite 3. The sound quality is good and the battery life is solid. , which helps to compensate for the lack of high-end amenities.

Billy Steele / Engadget

Lacking a defined panel or button turned out to be a problem for me when accessing the controls. I had to practice remembering to press the middle of the earpiece because going too far up or down wouldn’t register my actions. The exterior surface of the Elite 4 Active is completely smooth, without even a raised point to indicate you’re in the right place. Over time I might get used to it, but after a few weeks of testing I still can’t seem to master it consistently.

Like all other Jabra models, you can tailor the Elite 4 Active to your needs through the company’s Sound + app. Since this bundle is Jabra’s mid-range option, you get more features than the entry-level Elite 3, but not as much as the Elite 7 Pro or Elite 7 Active. First of all, there is ANC and it is customizable. Notice I didn’t say Adjustable. Specifically, the app allows you to set a noise cancellation level during the initial setup. You can also change the scale if you need more on one side than the other. Jabra will let you repeat this process if you need to, but there is no easily accessible slider like the Elite 7 models.

The company’s transparency mode, HearThrough, can be controlled in the app via a slider. In fact, you can even set what the built-in control does for sound mode (one press on the left side). You can make it cycle through HearThrough and ANC, HearThrough and off or HearThrough, ANC on and off. The app also lets you turn Sidetone on and off, so you can hear your voice when you’re on a call. Unlike some Jabra models, it’s not adjustable – just all or nothing. Still, being able to get along so that you are a little less garish on Zoom is better for everyone. The company’s Find My feature also returns, helping you locate a misplaced earpiece if you’re willing to give it the proper permissions. And on Android, you can opt for direct access to Spotify if it’s your favorite streaming service.

Jabra continues to revamp its true wireless lineup with attractive options at affordable prices.  With the Elite 4 Active you get upgrades like ANC and better water resistance over the base Elite 3. The sound quality is good and the battery life is solid. , which helps to compensate for the lack of high-end amenities.

Billy Steele / Engadget

For a $ 120 set of headphones, I wouldn’t blame you for not expecting too much on the sound side. However, Jabra has a solid audio background in its true wireless range. With the Elite 4 Active, the company maintains its reputation of good-sounding, but not great-sounding faces. There is decent clarity and nice detail, but they lack the wider soundstage and more expensive models in depth to the likes and offerings.

The Elite 4 Active has a pretty good sonic range, but big, bombastic tracks like Gojira’s Run The Jewels “Mean Demeanor” and “Another World” sound too compressed. The bass is solid and not muddy, so keeping the energy going during workouts with hip hop, or EDM is no problem. It’s just that overall the songs don’t have the dimensional oomph that you can find with a bigger investment. For $ 120 though, the Elite 4 Active gets the job done in most cases.

If you fancy tweaking the EQ, you can do so in the Sound + app via a set of sliders. If one-click audio changes are more your style, Jabra also offers a collection of presets for quick customization. It’s not the most rugged set of options for composing sound, but it’s more than what you get on the ultra affordable Elite 3.

One of the advantages of the Elite 4 Active over the Elite 3 is active noise cancellation. As I mentioned, you can customize the functionality to a certain extent, but it is not as powerful as that of the Jabra headphones. Still, the ANC here will help block out some distractions, but don’t expect it to do a lot of work.

The Elite 4 Active has four microphones for calls. Jabra says they’re covered with a “special mesh” to reduce wind noise when you’re outside. Typically, mileage varies widely depending on the quality of the calls with real wireless headphones. Most of the time, you end up sounding like you’re on speakerphone. With the Elite 4 Active, call quality is slightly better, but still not as good as if you had a microphone closer to your mouth – or even pointed more towards your face. Background noise is reduced when you’re speaking, but any ambient roaring is annoying when you’re not.

Gallery: Jabra Elite 4 Active review | 7 photos

Jabra says 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 doesn’t say if it’s with ANC turned on, but in my testing I managed seven and a half hours with the noise cancellation active. It’s by no means the best battery life you’ll find in true wireless headphones, but it’s certainly enough to get you through a day’s work if you take a break or two. If you run out of juice before going out, a quick charge feature gives you an hour of use in 10 minutes.

At $ 120, Jabra offers solid midrange specs at the same price as some companies’ economy models. Plus, most of them don’t offer ANC, let alone a transparency mode or customizable sound. Samsung has made noise cancellation its cheapest true wireless model with the. These headphones are tiny and comfortable and wireless charging is included, but the ANC performance is decent. Additionally, the Galaxy Buds 2 are only rated IPX2, so you’ll have to be careful with how you get them wet. Full price they are $ 150, but we saw them.

If you are looking to maximize your dollars, I suggest you look to Anker’s Soundcore line. You can find a lot of value and features there. Additionally, the company’s top-of-the-line ANC flagship model is only 170 $. And if you’ve got a handle on passive sound insulation, you can get the job done for $ 60.

If Jabra’s new mission is to deliver the same overall quality as its previous headphones at more affordable prices, that’s what I’m here for. With the Elite 4 Active, as it did with the Elite 3, the company has managed to deliver a compelling feature set at a great price. It didn’t cut corners to do so, improving details like design and fit while maintaining its standard of sound quality. There are a few omissions, but all the basics are covered and for the most part well done. Again, we’ve got more evidence that you don’t need to spend over $ 150 to get a set of great, true wireless headphones.

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