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The versatile Jabra Elite 4 Active make for great workout & chill-out buds on a budget

My go-to pair of true-wireless (TW) earbuds lately has been the Jabra Elite 7 Pro, the brand’s most premium pair of TW earbuds in 2021. In fact, it was this pair of earbuds that convinced me that active noise cancellation (ANC) was the way forward.

The Jabra Elite 4 Active is part of the brand’s 2022 lineup for TW earbuds.

Going into this review, I had high hopes, having never been disappointed by Jabra’s audio devices thus far. Safe to say, the Elite 4 Active met my expectations.

Out of the box

Like Jabra’s predecessors, the box came with the earbuds in Navy, three different EarGels (earbud tips), a USB-A to USB-C charging cable, and a warning and declarations booklet. There is no user manual is included, but you can find it in Jabra’s Sound+ app.

The shape of the Elite 4 Active’s case is most similar in size to the Jabra Elite 85t, but behaves more closely to the Jabra Elite 3. The LED to display the battery status is sensibly positioned on the front, as opposed to older Jabra earbud cases where it was on the back.

Charging was straightforward and took a rough two hours to bring it to a full charge that promises seven hours of uninterrupted playtime, and 28 hours with its charging case. I’ve only had to bring the case’s battery up to 100% when I first received it, and I haven’t needed to do so after two weeks of daily usage (averaging about two hours/day). 

The earbuds had to of course be charged more often by being placed in the case. Jabra claims that it can fast-charge up to one hour of use in just 10 minutes. From my testing, this has been accurate.

Because the case is pill-shaped and taller in height, its lid can be easily flipped open and closed with one hand, fitting for those who are a little fidgety. 

Functionality-wise, nothing much has changed with the Elite 4 Active. Button controls are still tangible to easily adjust volumes of your music, trigger voice commands, or switch between ANC and HearThrough.

How do they sound?

In line with most of Jabra’s TW earbuds, the Jabra Elite 4 Active can be customised through the  Sound+ app, which automatically connects when you take the earbuds out of their case.

Here, you can adjust the equalisers, find your earbuds when they’re missing, view the battery percentage, and update the device.

Like the Elite 3 though, there’s no Moments feature with the Elite 4 Active to personalise your music’s settings depending on your surroundings.

Listening to my usual playlist of musicals and pop music, the bass sounded rich and well-controlled, and there was a good level of clarity in the trebles and vocals. I mostly kept the preset EQ at the Neutral setting since I appreciate well-balanced levels.

Although, I can’t sing the same praises about this pair’s music quality as I did for the Elite 7 Pro. It may be due to the fact that while the Elite 4 Active does come with ANC functions, they don’t block out external noises as well as the Elite 7 Pro does.

Other than the Elite 4 Active’s lower price point, perhaps Jabra has a practical reason for making it so. 

This model is mainly marketed as a workout companion. For joggers and cyclers using the sidewalks or main roads, it is important for them to be able to hear their surroundings from vehicles on the streets.

When it comes to calls, the Elite 4 Active boasts four-microphone call technology, protected by a mesh covering for added wind noise protection. Testing this, my caller reported that they could hear me loud and clear, even with the wind from a wall-mounted fan blowing close by, and some music playing next to me. 

Fit for fitness?

As mentioned above, this pair of TW earbuds are designed for workouts, claiming to have a secure active fit with an ergonomic, wing-free design. To add, the Elite 4 Active comes with certain features that are fitting for active habits.

Sporting ​​an IP57 water-resistance rating, it’ll keep the earbuds well protected from sweat and rain.

Running is the worst form of exercise for me, so I won’t be judging the earbuds’ fit based on this. But since graduating from home workouts amidst lockdowns, I’ve been playing badminton frequently, and also went for a couple of golf sessions with friends.

In terms of the Elite 4 Active’s fit, it wasn’t the easiest to comfortably secure the earbuds in my small ears, even when using the smallest EarGels (it may be just me). This problem never came up with the previous models I’ve reviewed since I didn’t use the other models to work out with, just mainly for listening to my media. 

While the Elite 4 Active were able to stay put in my ear canals when playing golf (the driving range kind), I can’t say the same about them for badminton games since I hopped around so much (and needed to clearly hear my doubles partner scream instructions at me).

Verdict

There is a mono-mode present on the Elite 4 Active. It’s where you can use just one earbud to watch videos while lying down, keeping the other earbud safe in the case.

It’s a shame there’s no auto-pause function when you remove the buds from your ear, but for an RM579 pair of Jabra TW earbuds, it’s a small sacrifice rather than a deal-breaker.

Overall, I liked my experience with the Jabra Elite 4 Active for its clear, well-balanced audio, call quality, and ANC. To add, the long-lasting battery was dependable as well because charging my earbuds is something I neglect.

The earbuds’ connectivity range was also reliable. I could walk around the house, far from my phone, and still have music playing in my ears.

ProsCons
Crisp, well-balanced sound qualityANC leaves more to be desired
Great call quality even with background noiseNo media auto-pause when one earbud is removed
Fully waterproof
Dependable battery life
  • Learn more about the Jabra Elite 4 Active here.
  • You can read more of our VP Verdict series here.

VP Verdict is a series where we personally try and test out products, services, fads, and apps. Want to suggest something else for us to try? Leave a comment here or send the suggestion to our Facebook page.

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