The TWS segment witnessed an unprecedented boom in the last few years, and if you want to get your hands on a pair of wire-free earbuds tailored for your needs, you’d be spoilt for choice. Jabra recently announced the Elite 4 Active in India, which is geared towards athletes and gym-goers. At the same time, the earphones don’t forego the creature comforts associated with premium TWS earphones and come toting features like ANC too. So, are the earphones worth your bucks or should you look elsewhere? Well, let’s find out in this review.
Design and Comfort
I’ve always fancied Jabra’s products, primarily because most, if not all the TWS earphones under the brand’s umbrella leave no stone unturned in the design department. To wit, despite their wallet-friendly and competitive price tags, Jabra earphones seldom come across as cheap or flimsy. Take the Jabra Elite 4 Active, for instance, which has been constructed in its entirety using plastic. Despite that, the earbuds tout an upmarket feel and sit snugly in my ears, which can be accredited to the pair’s two-toned finish. That is to say, the bit that sits flush against your ears employs a soft-touch plastic finish whereas the outer casing features a rubberised texture.
Consequently, I never felt the earphones itch or bite against my ears. It also helps that the earbuds weigh just five grams each. Add to that the unit’s ergonomically designed housings and the Elite 4 Active are quite possibly, the most comfortable TWS earphones I’ve used to date. Heck, you can even wear the pair to bed as the housings don’t protrude outwards all that much. Rest assured, if you were on the lookout for a pair of buds to take to the gym, your search ends here.
Now, design-wise, the pair look quite similar to the Jabra Elite 3 launched a while ago. That said, unlike their predecessors, the Elite 4 Active shrouds its physical toggles within the earbud’s housings. What’s more, the pair also ships with a superior IP57 ingress protection rating and consequently, the earphones should outlast your sweatiest workouts without any hassles. As for the I/O, the earphones feature a physical toggle on either earbud which can be programmed to control your music playback, answer calls, increase or decrease the volume, and the works. That said, the toggles are a tad stiff and consequently, the earpieces might bite against your ear when you’re, say, changing a track.
Much like most TWS earphones, the Elite 4 Active comes bundled inside a carrying/docking case too. The unit features magnetic latches to secure the earbuds in place and even touts a pocketable design, ensuring you can stow away the case in your jeans comfortably when you’re out and about. And, for anyone wondering, the case ships with a USB Type-C port for charging.
Sound Quality, Features, and Battery Life
The Jabra Elite 4 Active ships with a pair of 6mm drivers positioned inside each earpiece. The unit can operate across a frequency spectrum of 20Hz-20KHz and comes with support for SBC and Qualcomm’s aptX HD codecs.
Right off the bat, you’ll find the Elite 4 Active lacking in the bass department. Now, that’s not to say that the unit cannot reciprocate tight, punchy beats. However, compared to say, the OnePlus Buds Pro (review), the Elite 4 Active’s low-end output sounds quite tame. Take Porter Robinson’s Goodbye To a World and here, the drop ensuing shortly after the track’s first chorus sounds feeble, at best. Similarly, the bass tab in Kanye West’s Heartless is overshadowed by the vocals too. Don’t get me wrong – the bass is audible and it offers minimal decay, ensuring the Elite 4 Active’s low-end doesn’t muddy the rest of the frequency spectrum. If anything, I wish that the slam from the beats was a bit more pronounced.
Thankfully, the earphones reciprocate the mids to a tee and you’ll revel listening to acoustic blues from your favourite singers. What’s more, I didn’t find the Elite 4 Active sibilant either, so you can use the pair to listen to podcasts as well. As for the highs, the earbuds handle treble reasonably well, with songs like Creep by Radiohead being relayed over to the listener’s ears in an energetic fashion. That said, the unit’s imaging leaves a little to be desired and chaotic rock ballads like Wolfmother’s Love Train might sound a tad distorted, especially at high volume levels.
Moving on, you can tweak various aspects of the Elite 4 Active via the Jabra Sound+ app. The app offers a neat interface and even comes loaded with a bunch of EQ presets that can be used to finetune the Elite 4 Active’s sound output. Furthermore, the app also allows users to vary the amount of ambient noise they want to let in when using the pair of buds in hearthrough mode. I was more than satisfied with the pair’s ANC chops too and during my testing, the earphones could comfortably drown out the noise of a mechanical keyboard, air purifier and vehicles, among other things. The pair’s ANC tech isn’t as capable of hushing environmental noise as say, the Sony WF-1000XM4 (review), but for the price, it doesn’t get any better.
As for the battery backup, the Jabra Elite 4 Active managed to last me a little over six and a half hours off a single charge, and that’s with the ANC enabled and the music blasting at around 60-70 percent volume levels. What’s more, the bundled case allows users to refuel the earphones around three more times, so you should be able to get away without having to charge the earphones for a couple days straight.
The Jabra Elite 4 Active retail for Rs 10,999 in India. For the price, the earphones get a lot right and offer a comfortable, all-day wear design that can withstand a hard day at the gym. That’s not all, as the pair drowns out the noise remarkably well and offers a beefy battery backup too. Having said that, the Elite 4 Active’s sonic performance, while good, isn’t otherworldly and those looking for the best sounding TWS around Rs 10K will find better value in the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (review), the OnePlus Buds Pro or even the OPPO Enco X (review). That’s not to say that the Elite 4 Active sounds bad – it’s just that the competition offers a slightly more refined sound palette that will be appreciated by enthusiasts more. Regardless, if you spend a good number of hours working out, then you’ll find plenty to like about the Jabra Elite 4 Active.
Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5
- Superbly comfortable
- Excellent ANC chops
- Reasonably detailed sound
- No autopause for music
- Bass output not the best
- No wireless charging