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Jabra Elite four Lively Assessment: Coaching Prepared, Pockets Pleasant

Jabra Elite 4 Active

RRP $ 120.00

“Budget-conscious fitness fans will have a hard time finding a better set of buds.”


  • Comfortable, secure fit

  • Completely waterproof

  • Very good sound quality

  • Effective ANC


  • No wireless charging

  • No wear sensors

It’s not difficult to find great true wireless earbuds for training that have a comfortable but very secure fit, lots of water and dust protection, and active noise cancellation (ANC). Jabras Elite 7 Active, JBLs Reflect Flow Pro and Jaybirds Vista 2 – to select just three current models – all qualify. But with prices starting at $ 150 and going up to $ 300, they’re not nearly as friendly to your bank account as they are to your morning runs.

That makes Jabras Elite 4 Active look really convincing: they’re completely waterproof, designed to be secure, and they even have a few handy extras like ANC, transparency mode, and customizable EQ. All for the much cheaper price of $ 120. Are these the training buds you’ve been waiting for? Let’s find out.

The Jabra fits

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Jabra’s Elite line of true wireless earbuds are some of the best-fitting, most comfortable we’ve tested, and the Elite 4 Active is no exception. They are almost identical in shape to the budget Elite 3 and are very similar to both the Elite 7 Pro and the Elite 7 Active, meaning they fit very well. With a choice of three sizes of silicone earbuds in the box, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a combination that works for you.

The part of the earbud that sits deepest in your ear is made of smooth plastic, while the part that sits right inside your outer ear has a lightly rubberized texture. It’s not as grippy as the finish Jabra used on the Elite 7 Active, but it has more texture than the Elite 3. Will they stay in place during your intense workouts? In most cases the answer is yes.

The combination of small size, ergonomic shape, structured surface and low weight makes them as safe as possible without the need to add physical aids such as ear fins, wing tips or ear hooks. But anything that changes the shape of your ear canal, such as speaking, laughing, sneezing, or just grinning because you’ve just beaten your personal best, can affect the fit of the Elite 4 Active and therefore requires adjustment.

Press a little harder

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Physical controls are still the way to go, and Jabra is still the master.

Jabra’s controls are also legendary in my opinion. Because the company always uses physical buttons and never touches sensors, you get a pleasantly tactile click when you press it. And that leaves no doubt as to whether or not you got it right. The controls on the Elite 4 Active share this heritage, but require more force than other Jabra models.

I attribute this to the fact that the button is hidden behind a thin rubber membrane on the outside of the earbuds (one reason they offer such strong IP57 protection), but the surface area itself is pretty small. The result is a key that is still very accurate and tactile, but requires almost twice as much force as the Elite 3 or Elite 7 Active.

That said, I’ll prefer the Elite 4 Active’s physical buttons over the touch controls of almost any other earbud, especially when you’re trying to focus on your workout. In addition, as with all physical buttons, you don’t need bare skin or special gloves to operate them – another advantage, especially in cold weather.

Unlike the Elite 7 series, Jabra doesn’t let you customize the controls on the Elite 4 Active, but the default settings give you everything you need including play / pause, skip tracks, answer / end calls, microphone mute, ANC / transparency, voice assistant and volume control. You can use each earbud independently, and if you’re an Android user, you even have the option to replace the Google Assistant with Amazon Alexa. Android users also have the option to use Spotify Tap instead of a voice assistant to get instant access to their Spotify Premium playlists.

Power songs

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A set of training buds is useless if they can’t give your favorite tracks the strength and presence to keep you motivated and moved. The Elite 4 Active definitely have what it takes here. They combine Jabra’s balanced sound signature with an extra helping of bass. We’re not talking about rattling bass here, but it’s exactly what you need to feel the rhythm of your music as you pound on the sidewalk or throw your fists on a punching bag. Whether you’re taking inspiration from AC / DC, Kendrick Lamar, or BTS, the Elite 4 Active are more than capable of keeping up.

I placed the Elite 4 Active head-to-head (ear-to-ear?) With the Elite 7 Active, and both models were surprisingly close. As expected, the Elite 7 Active had a bit more detail and a wider soundstage than the Elite 4 Active, but since neither model is aimed at critical listening, I think the difference isn’t enough to recommend the Elite 7 Active over 4 active – at least not from a tonal point of view. We’ll go into the other differences later.

With clear high frequencies and satisfactory mids, I found the default tuning to work fine on whatever genre of music I’ve thrown on these buds, but if it’s not entirely to your liking, the Jabra Sound + app lets you EQ through a range optimize presets and manual options. You can’t drastically change the sound signature, but there is more than enough headroom to add (or decrease) bass and treble for different listening preferences.

It’s worth noting that these buds don’t support the AAC bluetooth codec that Apple prefers for all of their phones and tablets – they use SBC on those devices instead – but they do support aptX on Android devices if yours is compatible with that codec . When switching back and forth between an iPhone 11 and a Google Pixel 5, I could hear a slight improvement in the pixel, but it was barely noticeable.

A little quiet, please

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Hear that No? That is the point.

Some Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) systems like Apple’s AirPods Pro can magically eliminate external noise to the point where it simply disappears when the ANC is turned on. The Elite 4 Active’s ANC system definitely reduces some of the outside frequencies getting into your ears, but it’s not that noise cone effect that Apple has achieved.

But who is complaining? Especially at this price point, any ANC system that kills unwanted noise is a good thing. And that’s exactly what you get. Switching from passive soundproofing to ANC provides a noticeable reduction in traffic, fans, background calls and other annoyances.

Best of all, with a click of the ANC’s left earbud, you can switch to transparency mode which brings in the outside world. Or you can use the app to decide whether you want to switch between ANC on and off with this button, switch transparency on and off, or all three modes one after the other.

You can also use a slider setting in the app to decide how much of this external sound should be recorded. Transparency mode lets you hear other people and sounds well, but your own voice remains a little muffled.

Delete calls

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Telephoning with the Elite 4 Active, like most Jabra earbuds, is very good. Your voice comes through very clearly and the microphones seem to have no problem keeping unwanted background noise from overwhelming your conversations. I ran into a bit of wind during testing – not a lot, mind you – but it was barely registered on my recordings.

You can enable sidetone (which is like transparency mode but for phone / video calls). This will allow you to hear your own voice more clearly which will reduce fatigue on some earbud calls.

All day battery

How much battery life do you need for a set of true wireless earbuds? I’d argue that more is always better, but the seven hours of playtime per charge of the Elite 4 Active plus the additional three charges in the charging case (for a total of 28) should be enough. If you want even more time, Jabra says you get 8.5 hours without ANC and a total of 34 hours with the case.

When testing with the ANC on and the volume set to 50%, I got closer to six hours of use, but that’s still pretty decent. A quick charge function gives you an additional hour of use for 10 minutes of charging.


Jabra includes a Find My Earbuds feature in the Sound + app that records the last known location when the Elite 4 Active was connected to your phone, making it easier to find lost earbuds. You can also have the earbuds play a tone so you can find out which sofa cushion they are under.

What’s not included

While the Elite 4 Active has a decent number of features, here’s what you’ll find on a few other earbuds, including the more expensive ones Elite 7 active:

  • Wireless charging
  • Wear sensors for automatically pausing music
  • Fully customizable controls
  • Hands-free voice assistant
  • Bluetooth Multipoint (for connecting two devices at the same time)

Our opinion

The Jabra Elite 4 Active are the perfect workout earbuds for anyone who wants great sound, great fit, and great protection from the elements without spending more than $ 150.

Are there any better alternatives?

The Elite 4 Active seems to have found a nice little niche. You can pay more for the JBL Reflect Mini NC for $ 150 and get wireless charging and voice-activated assistants, but overall battery life isn’t as good as that of the Jabra and the Reflect Mini NC is IP56 vs. IP57 for the Elite 4 Active.

You can also spend less and get the Anker Soundcore Spirit X2, a set of ear hook-style earbuds that have better battery life and even better water / dust protection, but have no ANC or transparency mode and there is no app-based one Adjustments for EQ.

So there are certainly plenty of alternatives when it comes to a set of wireless workout headphones, but we haven’t found any that combine the features of the Elite 4 Active with its affordable price.

How long will they last?

While it is never easy to predict such things, Jabra makes high quality products, and the Elite 4 Active looks well built and reasonably sturdy. Their IP57 rating protects them from most dust and waterfalls – even total immersion – and Jabra offers an extended two-year warranty for customers who register their earbuds through the Jabra Sound + app.

Should you buy it?

Yes. They don’t fit as securely as training plugs with ear hooks or ear fins, but they do Elite 4 active are a good choice for price-conscious athletes who do not want to miss out on the essentials.

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