Jabra Elite 4 Active review: Workout buds that won’t make your budget sweat

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Jabra Elite 4 Active.

Jabra Elite 4 Active

MSRP $120.00

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score details

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

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professionals

  • comfortable, secure fit

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    completely waterproof

  • very good sound quality

  • Effective ANC

Shortcoming

  • no wireless charging

  • no wear sensor

It’s not hard to find great true wireless earbuds for workouts that have a comfortable yet very secure fit, great protection against water and dust, and active noise cancellation (ANC). Jabra’s Elite 7 Active, JBL’s Reflect Flow Pro, and Jaybird’s Vista 2 — the only three recent models to choose from — all qualify. But with prices that start at $150 and can go as high as $300, they’re not as good for your bank account as they are for your morning run.

made of Jabra’s Elite 4 Active Look really attractive: They’re completely waterproof, designed to fit securely, and they also rock some handy extras like ANC, transparency mode, and customizable EQ. All for the more reasonable price of $120. Are these the workout buds you’ve been waiting for? let’s find out.

Jabra fit

Man wearing Jabra Elite 4 Active.
Simon Cohen / Nerdshala

Jabra’s Elite line of true wireless earbuds are some of the best-fitting and most comfortable we’ve reviewed, and the Elite 4 Active is no exception. Their size is roughly the same as the budget-priced Elite 3 and both the Elite 7 Pro and Elite 7 Active, which is to say, they fit pretty well. With a selection of three sizes of silicone ear tips in the box, it shouldn’t be difficult to find the 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 inside your outer ear has a slightly rubbery texture. It’s not as grimy as the Jabra’s finish used in the Elite 7 Active, but it has more texture than the Elite 3. Will they stay seated during your intense workouts? For most of the time, the answer is yes.

The combination of their small size, ergonomic shape, textured finish and light weight make them as secure as you can get without physical aids like earfins, wingtips or ear hooks. But anything that changes the shape of your ear canal like talking, laughing, sneezing, or just smiling ear-to-ear because you’ve beaten your personal best can affect how the Elite 4 Active sits. Type adjustment is required.

press hard

Jabra Elite 4 Active with included accessories.
Simon Cohen / Nerdshala

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

Jabra’s controls are also the stuff of legend, as far as I’m concerned. Since the company always uses physical buttons and never touches the sensor, you get a pleasant tactile click when you press them. And it leaves no doubt about whether you did it right or not. The Elite 4 Active’s controls share this legacy, but they require more force to use than Jabra’s other models.

I chalk it up to the fact that the button is hidden behind a thin rubber membrane on the outside of the earbuds (which is why they offer such strong IP57 protection), but the surface itself is quite small. The result is a button that, while still very precise and tactile, required almost twice as much effort to press as the Elite 3 or Elite 7 Active.

Still, I’d take the Elite 4 Active’s physical buttons over the touch controls of almost any other earbuds, especially when you’re trying to focus on your workout. Plus, like all physical buttons, you don’t need bare skin or special gloves to use them—another advantage, especially in cold weather.

Unlike the Elite 7-series, the Jabra doesn’t let you customize the Elite 4 Active’s controls, but the default settings give you everything you might need, including play/pause, track skip, call answer/ End, Microphone Mute, ANC/Transparency. , voice assistant and volume control. You can use each earbud independently, and if you’re an Android user, you also get the option to replace Google Assistant with Amazon Alexa. Android users also get the option to use Spotify Tap instead of the voice assistant for quick access to their Spotify Premium playlists.

power tunes

Jabra Elite 4 Active.
Simon Cohen / Nerdshala

A set of workout buds is useless if they can’t give your favorite track the power and presence to keep you motivated and moving. Here, the Elite 4 Active definitely has what it takes. They combine the Jabra’s well-balanced sound signature with an added serving of bass. We’re not talking rattle-your-feels bass, but it’s just what you need to feel the rhythm of your music as you pound the pavement or throw your fist at the punching bag. Whether you take your inspiration from AC/DC, Kendrick Lamar, or BTS, the Elite 4 has been able to keep active.

I put the Elite 4 Active face-to-face (ear to ear?) with the Elite 7 Active, and both models were surprisingly close. As you might expect, the Elite 7 Active has…

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