Jabra Elite 4 Active BT/ANC earphones for sporty types (review)

The Jabra Elite 4 Active BT/ANC earphone with an IP57 rating and generous 2-year warranty is a standout for those who like to work up a sweat. At $179, they won’t damage your hip pocket, and most importantly, it sounds great too.

Jabra has always been a favourite at CyberShack. You can count on great sound, long life (quality) and a high level of user satisfaction.

These are mid-range, sitting below the Jabra Elite 7 Pro (review) and the Active version and above the Jabra Elite 3 earphones (review). You may want to look at the Jabra range because at present (9 May 2022), the Elite 7 Active (usually $279) is on discount at $179 – the same price.

Although in some ways, the Elite 4 Active may be more appealing as it supports the Qualcomm aptX codec and uses Qualcomm’s Hybrid ANC. Sound signature-wise, it uses the same 6m driver and can access Jabra’s excellent App and EQ.

Let’s talk first about Jabra

It is part of the GN Group, established over 150 years ago. It is the only company sharing advanced audio tech to create consumer headphones, professional headsets, and hearing aids. The single-minded purpose – is to make your life sound better.

It is not necessarily a brand you consider against Samsung, Sennheiser, Apple Airpods, Bose, or Sony. But if you don’t, you will miss some class-leading features, great neutral sound signature, and effective ANC (where applicable). They’s fighting words – be warned, it is your peril if you don’t include them.

Jabra Elite 4 Active earphones

ItemJabra Elite 4 Active
WebsiteProduct
Price$179
FromHarvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks or Jabra online
Warranty2-years (requires registration)
Country of originDesigned and engineered in Copenhagen and assembled in China
ColoursBlack, Navy, Mint
BluetoothQualcomm True Wireless
V5.2 to 10m
SBC and Qualcomm aptX
Multipoint x two devices (remembers six)
Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux devices
Battery (claims)Up to 7 hours (ANC off)
21 hours extra in the USB-C charge case
10 minutes charge for 1 hour
Charge time (case)USB-C 5V/1A/5W 180 minutes

AppJabra Sound+ for Android or iOS
Firmware update
ANC (Active noise cancellation)Hybrid requires passive isolation via a good ear tip fit and Qualcomm software reduction from external mics.
ControlsPhysical button on each ear is better than touchpads
SidetoneYes. adjustable
Hear throughYes
Voice guidanceYes
In-ear detectionNo
Speakers6mm 20Hz to 20kHz
Mono modeEither bud
Personal sound profileYes
EQFull plus pre-sets
Ear tipsEar Gel S, M, L
Mic4 x MEMS
IP57
Weight (g)5
Voice assistantsAlexa, OK Google, Siri
SpotifyTap playback
Fast pairGoogle fast pair

First impression – it is a Jabra with similar design cues to the rest of the Elite Family

The key difference to the similarly styled Jabra Elite 7 Pro and Active is full adaptive noise cancelling versus the Elite 4 Active Qualcomm’s hybrid approach. But for 99% of us, full ANC is unnecessary.

Sound – neutral, so it won’t change your music – Exceed

It is a closed-back design that, while it lessens the sound stage width, helps noise cancellation via sound isolation.

The sound stage is in your head (typical of all closed-back) with good separation between left and right. But one thing to note about neutral signatures – they neither add nor subtract from the sound, so if you feed it garbage MP3s, you get garbage sound unless you play with the pre-sets or EQ.

The App EQ works very well with a neutral signature – while you can’t increase the native signature, you can tailor it to a clear vocal or several other pre-sets.

Low-bass 20-50HzNone
Mid-bass 50-100HzSlowly building to 75Hz
High-bass 100-200HzFlat
Low-mid 200-400HzFlat
Mid 4000-1000HzFlat
High-mid 1-2kHzFlat
Low-treble 2-4kHzFlat
Mid-treble 6-10kHzSlight decline
High-treble 10-20kHzSteep decline

You can read more How to tell if you have good music (sound signature is the key)

ANC – PASS

We can only be subjective, but it is most effective with low-mid to mid – it won’t drown out heavy bass rumble. That is where the Elite Pro 7 comes into its own with adaptive noise cancellation across a wider range, including crying babies and errant, annoying loud children.

Latency – fine for music and movies but not games – Pass

Even though it has a Qualcomm aptX codec, its latency is a little too high for gaming. You need earphones that use the aptX LL (low latency) codec for this.

Hands-free – Pass

The Elite 4 Active is quite good – not excellent – at hands-free in the office, gym, or outdoors. Callers commented on the natural voice. One mic per bud beam forms, and the other feeds in background noise for software reduction. Wind noise is an issue.

Comfort – Pass

We test for eight hours of continuous use and during daily walks and exercise. These are comfortable, and while they don’t have stabiliser fins, they won’t easily pop out.

They require a firm fit, and some may find that a little hot.

Battery – Pass

Jabra’s 7-hour claim (and a further 21 in the case) is accurate and reduces to about 5.8 hours with ANC on it. Charge times are correct.

Jabra Sound+ App – Pass

The Elite 4 Active reflects the capabilities of an entry-level Qualcomm Bluetooth True Wireless chip.

Where it leads is the App, as well as excellent sound isolation. Music quality is on a par with Sony WF-SP800N sports or BlueAnt Pump Air 2 and a lot better than the Pod styles that litter this price bracket.

CyberShack’s view – Jabra Elite 4 Active is perfect for sport

Hell, the entire range is IP57, so they are all good. We love the quality and the App.

Jabra Elite 4 Active BT/ANC earphones

$179
9.1

Festures

8.5/10

Value

10.0/10

Performance

9.0/10

Ease of Use

9.0/10

Design

9.0/10

Pros

  • IP57 is perfect for exercise
  • Plenty of battery life and reasonable charge times
  • Qualcomm chip offers reasonable hybrid ANC but hear through is more important for exercise
  • Reasonable hands-free in quite environments
  • Excellent App and EQ

Cons

  • No AAC codec
  • The Elite 7 Active are currently the on discount to the same price – grab them


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