Editor: Welcoming Matt Downey as our guest editor on his first rodeo for DRN. Check out his very thoughtful review of the Jabra Elite 4 Active earbuds.

The Jabra Elite 4 Active Earbuds are designed for people who like to exercise, but also for that downtime. With a promise of great sound and clear calls, these are designed for an active lifestyle with sweat proof and IP57-graded water protection and a comfortable yet secure fit. But how did they go with me?

Jabra Elite 4 Active Box

I am not normal. At least, that’s the impression I get from almost every in-ear headphone I have ever used. Irrespective of what size rubber cushion I use, or how hard I cram them into my ear (pretty certain I’ve damaged my ear drums from this) I continued to see every little bump or movement of my head, such as the simple act of walking, sending them dangling at the end of the cable around my knees, or plummeting to the ground to mingle with the detritus of humanity.

So, call me a cynic, but I was a little sceptical that I’d experience anything different when I was given a set of the Jabra Elite 4 Active wireless earbuds to review. Now, if you’d like to skip the detailed review to hear the outcome of my experience – I was pleasantly surprised that these fit comfortably without any hacks, and without having to surgically alter the shape of my ear.

But skipping a detailed review is not really why you’re here reading this. So let me dive a little deeper into the good, the great, and the not-so-good.


First Impressions of the Elite 4 Active Earbuds

Inside the rather stylish (if I do say so myself) box you get the earbuds themselves, safely stored within the plastic charging case. Two spare sets of silicone earbud tips (1 set larger, 1 set smaller than those already attached to the earbuds), a USB-A to USB-C cable (used to charge the battery in the case), warranty booklet, and a quick-start guide that simply tells you to download the Sound+ app to get started. Helpful!

They’ve got a bunch of features that are relatively uncommon at this price point, especially in a product of a well-established high quality brand. The Elite 4 Active appear targeted at those who want an all-rounder, something that is suitable for the gym or while exercising, but has good enough sound quality and comfort for everyday use (both outdoors and indoors).
As such, it’s got almost everything that the average person would want, including active noise cancelling, adjustable HearThrough transparency, aptX codec support (something that isn’t available on the premium models), IP57 dust and water resistance for those heavy workout sessions or when caught in a rain shower, fast charging capability, and plenty of battery life.
Jabra Elite 4 Active box contents


Battery Life and Charging

The Elite 4 Active earbuds themselves are listed as having up to 7 hours battery life, with up to 28 hours if you take the case with you. In my testing, I have to say with constant usage, these figures are surprisingly accurate. Charging the earbuds is as simple as popping them back into the case, with 10 minutes charge providing an hour of playtime.
Given the small size of the case, which is easy to fit into even the smallest of pockets, and the smooth, sturdy construction of the case itself, taking the case with you is something that you’ll usually be happy to do to allow you to charge on the run. Bringing the case with you also gives another advantage: you can also place just one earbud back into the charging case while continuing to use the other. The Elite 4 Active will automatically switch itself to mono mode, playing the sound only through the chosen earbud.

Unfortunately the Elite 4 Active case lacks wireless charging capability, so the only way to charge it is via the USB-A to USB-C cable. As the box doesn’t come with an adapter for a wall power point, you’ll need to occasionally subvert one of your other wall plugs or plug it into a computer. Thankfully for the vast majority of people, this won’t be an issue.

Elite 4 Active Charging Case

Software Support

Of course, being a Jabra product, it also has app support with the Jabra Sound+ app (available on both Apple and Android) that, besides using 239 MB of your device’s internal storage, also lets you customize the sound quality to your personal preference by using a graphic EQ, or EQ presets, and a number of other helpful settings. Downloading the App is also required for firmware updates for the earbuds, and to enable use of Google’s Fast Pair on Android OS 6.0 or higher.
I found the app to be straightforward to use, quick to load (test device was a Samsung Galaxy S10+), and with the default screen (once connected to the earbuds) providing easy access to all of the settings you’ll find yourself using frequently.

Unfortunately, one thing that is missing from the Sound+ App for the Elite 4 Active is the MySound calibration found on the higher end Jabra products (like the Elite 7 Pro), in which an audio test is performed to create a personalized audio profile for you that in turn optimises your experience when listening to music. It’s not a deal-breaking loss, but it’d have been nice to have.




Handling the Elite 4 Active Earbuds

The Elite 4 Active earbuds lack custom button controls. For me this was a blessing, as I have a terrible habit of assigning a button a custom setting, and then forgetting which button does what, leaving me pressing half a dozen buttons several times until I find the one I was initially after. However, that said, even if you’re not as forgetful as I am, it’s honestly a reasonable trade-off given the cheaper price point of the Elite 4 Active.

The earbuds of the Elite 4 Active are quite similar in shape and size to the Jabra 3, with a few cosmetic differences, but are more easily distinguishable from the Elite 7 Pro and Elite 7 Active models. They fit snug and comfortably in your ear without needing to be crammed deep into your ear canal, and feature a smooth flat bottom edge that makes it both easy to grip when placing them into, or taking them out of, your ear, as well as functioning as an excellent reference for alignment within your ear.

They definitely are something you can do light work outs with, or that last minute dash to the train as the doors are closing without having to worry about losing one (or both).

Elite 4 Active Earbuds


Getting Active isn’t all sprints and marathons

When compared to the cheaper Jabra Elite 3, the Elite 4 Active gain just enough justify the extra AUS $60 (approx.) that you’ll need to fork out. For example, in addition to an improved IP rating, you will also get Active Noise Cancelling. As a personal anecdote, I found this to be so good on the Elite 4 Active that I wear them while mowing and whipper-snipping my lawn as it reduces the background noise levels far better than the pair of safety earmuffs I own (with the added benefit being I can listen to music through them at the same time.)

The HearThrough transparency mode on the Elite 4 active is also adjustable. That means you can adjust just how much background noise you want it to allow through, a really helpful feature if you’re jogging late at night and want to be able to fully hear everything going on around you.


The Sound Quality

As far as sound quality, while I do have an expensive pair of headphones I use for gaming on my PC, I am by no means an audiophile. As such, I lack the equipment and knowledge to enable me to reference frequency ranges or decibel limits.

That said, I found that the Elite 4 Active does have a relatively light sound signature in the bass ranges (even when using the bass boost preset), which definitely didn’t align with the “punchy bass” description written on the box.
Now, that’s not to say the bass is weak or non-existent, it does have a reasonable level of impact and is ‘punchy-enough’ while listening to music when considering both the speaker size and the price point for the earbuds. It just would have been nice to see a little bit more in terms of bass extension.

In mid-range it’s certainly able to do what it needs to do. However, the Elite 4 Active does sound best when left at around 60-70% of max volume, as they seem to suffer some mild distortion when bumped beyond that.


Getting the microphones up and running

There are four microphones in total on the Elite 4 Active earbuds (each earbud has one positioned at the front, and one positioned at the back). They do an excellent job at picking up your voice in a quiet area like an office, but there’s a noticeable distance to your voice when used in noisier environs. It’s still perfectly acceptable quality for everyday use, and certainly far better than when speaking directly into your phone handset in a noisy environment.
Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I did have some difficulty straight out of the box where the microphones weren’t picking up what I was saying while on a phone call. A bit of troubleshooting found I hadn’t quite aligned them correctly for how they prefer to be positioned, so the Active Noise Cancellation was in effect erasing what I was saying from the microphone input as background noise. Once the user error was adjusted for however, they’ve functioned without issue.


Final thoughts on the Jabra Elite 4 Active Earbuds

The Elite 4 Active from Jabra are one of the most affordable earbuds from Jabra. They retail for about AUS $179, come in three colours – black, navy and mint – and slot in between the Elite 3, and the more feature-packed Elite 7 Pro and the sporty Elite 7 Active.

The Elite 4 Active by Jabra sound decent, have good call quality even in noisy places, great specs and features for the price point, and overall provide some amazing bang for their buck. While wireless charging for the case would be nice, the large battery means you’re not doing it that often anyway.

With a 2 year warranty on the product, it is easy to recommend the Elite 4 Active to anyone who wants a decent, reasonably priced wireless earbud set for everyday use. You can pick one up from Amazon or directly from Jabra, and other major retailers.

I’d like to thank Jabra for providing me the Elite 4 Active earbuds, these will certainly become part of my every day usage.



Main unit dimensions: (WxHxD) 20.85mm x 20.49mm x 27.3mm
Charging case dimensions: (WxHxD) 28.4mm x 38.9mm x 64mm
Earbud weight (each earbud): 5g
Weight (charging case): 37.5g
USB cable length: 0.2m
IP rating: IP57

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC): Yes
Adjustable HearThrough: Yes
Noise isolating fit: Yes
Noise reduction on calls: Yes
Size of speakers: 6mm
Speaker bandwidth (music mode): 20Hz – 20000Hz
Speaker bandwidth (speak mode): 100Hz – 8000Hz
Audio codecs supported: Qualcomm® aptX™, SBC
Microphone type: MEMS
Number of microphones: 4
Microphone bandwidth: 100Hz – 8000Hz
In-ear pressure relief: Yes

Music time total (earbuds and charging case): Up to 28 hours
Music time (earbuds): Up to 7 hours
Sleep mode: Yes
Charging time: Up to 180 minutes
Fast charge: Up to 1 hour use, when charging earbuds for 10 minutes in charging case
Standby time: Up to 275 Days
Battery type: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery

Connectivity: Bluetooth
Bluetooth version: 5.2
Bluetooth profiles: A2DP v1.3, AVRCP v1.6, HFP v1.7, HSP v1.2
Operating range: Up to 10m | 33ft
Paired devices: Up to 6 Bluetooth devices
Auto power on: Yes
Auto power off: Yes