The Jabra Elite 4’s good basic sound and boosted bass range make listening fun, and useful everyday features such as noise cancelling, multipoint and mono modes complete the overall package. It would be even more complete, however, if the Elite 4 had an auto-pause function, and as they don’t use the AAC codec, iOS users have to make do with SBC.
If you can do without noise cancelling and don’t need Multipoint, then you should get the Jabra Elite 3. These are currently available at a considerable discount.
- wearing comfort
- noise cancelling & transparency mode
- no AAC support
- no auto-pause function
Good sound, active noise cancellation and great wearing comfort – the Jabra Elite 4’s list of features already sounds good. But are the perfect headphones for work and leisure, as promised by Jabra? Well, as is often the case, it’s all in the details…
The Jabra Elite 4 are the new wireless earphones from the Danish company GN Group and also the successors to the Jabra Elite 3 (review). New features include active noise cancelling, multipoint and an adjustable equaliser.
Features of the Jabra Elite 4
Available in four colours grey, beige, purple, as well as navy-blue, the Jabra Elite 4 come with three pairs of silicone ear moulds (“Eargels”) in sizes S, M and L, a charging case, an approx. 20 cm USB-C to USB-A cable, a warranty statement and a leaflet with all the usual warnings.
The workmanship is typically good as you’d expect from Jabra, even if the small and light plastic charging case (approx. 33 grams) feels a bit “cheap” like that of the previous models. The in-ears themselves weigh only 4.6 grams each and do not protrude from the ears due to their pleasantly narrow design – ideal if you wear a hat! Their passive noise cancellation is very good, and thanks to IP55 protection, they can withstand dust and splash water without any problems.
Jabra has equipped the new Elite 4 with Bluetooth version 5.2, including SBC and aptX codec. This is not an ideal solution for iOS users because neither the iPhone nor the iPad supports the higher-quality aptX codec. So you will have to tolerate the lower-quality SBC variant.
Pairing with smartphones and other players is quick thanks to Fast Pair or Swift Pair: Either press both buttons on the earbuds for three seconds or directly establish the wireless link via the appropriate pop-up. One criticism of the Elite 3 was their lack of multipoint: their successors can now be connected to two devices simultaneously. The Elite 4 can remember up to six devices and automatically connect to the last active source. If this is not found, the Jabras work their way through the list. In an open space, we heard the first interruptions in the wireless link after about 33 metres; inside rooms, it wasn’t until moving into the third room – so these are very good values.
Battery life of the Jabra Elite 4
The Jabra Elite 4 can last up to seven hours without ANC on a single charge and up to 5.5 hours with it. The charging case can then fully charge the headphones up to three times, giving a total runtime of 28 hours without ANC and around 22 hours with it. The manufacturer has also included a quick-charge function for the case: one hour of additional battery life is available after only ten minutes of charging. The charging case itself needs about 3.5 hours before it is full.
Operating the Jabra Elite 4
Touch controls always have advantages and disadvantages. Jabra seems to struggle with this, so here it’s back to classic buttons to press. Accidental triggering of commands is considerably reduced, but you inevitably trigger some functions when you push the little earbuds into your ear.
The left button switches between noise cancelling, HearThrough mode and “Off” and – depending on the configuration – starts Spotify or Alexa or reduces the volume. If the Jabras are paired with iOS devices, the Spotify/Alexa shortcut does not work; a double press activates Siri (or Google Assistant if nothing else has been configured for Android). The right side takes care of playback while listening to music (play, pause, track forward/backwards and increase volume).
During phone calls, both sides react in (almost) the same way: answer, hang up, reject, mute or arm the microphone and change volume.
Of course, if you want to use the Elite 4 individually, you can: if one earpiece is left in the case, the second will continue to play without interruption. Unlike the previous models, the control options on both sides remain the same.
It is a pity that the Jabra Elite 4 do not support automatic pausing. When removed from the ears, the headphones, therefore, simply continue to play – a convenient feature that we would have expected at a price of almost 100 euros.
Jabra Sound+ App
The same applied to the Elite 3 as applies to the 4s: Thanks to app connectivity, the headphones can be configured, at least in part. Among other things, the free app for iOS and Android allows you to swap the left double-press command between Spotify and calling up Alexa/voice assistant (Android only!). You can also decide whether you want to switch between ANC and HearThrough, between HearThrough and “Off”, or between all three functions.
In addition, the noise cancelling can be set to nine levels, and you can choose between six EQ pre-sets; it is also possible to manually change and save the 5-band EQ here. Sidetone, i.e. hearing one’s own voice during a phone call, is activated by default and can also be switched on/off. If you have misplaced your headphones, you can use the “Find My Jabra” function to find them again using a map and tones. The range of functions is completed by the option of downloading firmware updates, reading the battery status or learning about the basic functions of the headphones via a quick guide.
How does the Jabra Elite 4 sound?
Sound-wise, we were reminded of the Jabra Elite 4’s predecessors: this successor model also has a modern tuning with a boosted bass range that makes listening to modern music tracks fun. It didn’t seem overdone and allows the range above it to breathe. Even at full volume, the 6 mm drivers didn’t have much trouble adequately implementing the high energy of low bass, tonality was maintained and nor could we detect any distortions. However, the separation between the upper bass range and the lower mids seemed slightly washed out on some tracks – which was exactly the same impression we got from the Elite 3.
The mid-range was nicely unobtrusive, and together with the treble, which sounded detailed but not sharp, this resulted in an overall picture that was well worth listening to and never seemed exhausting. For our taste, the high mids as well as the treble could have done with a little more radiance and could have been a little snappier. The finest, overtone-rich details of a mix tended to be swallowed up by the Elite 4. Therefore, they are not audiophile connoisseurs.
Noise cancelling of the Jabra Elite 4
You can personalise the Jabra Elite 4’s active noise cancellation (ANC) via the app using a nine-step slider. To do this, slide it to the desired position; this is then retained and becomes immediately active.
The ANC of the Jabra Elite 4 does not come close to the effectiveness of the Apple AirPods Pro 2 or Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II . Low-frequency rumbling, such as might be experienced on a train ride was nevertheless suppressed well, as were mid-heavy conversations, whereas the high-frequency range was lowered much less. All in all, a solid performance, but if you need more, you’ll have to look to the competition. It was pleasing that the background noise was agreeably subdued, and the sound was not affected.
In contrast to their sports version, the Elite 4 Active, the perception of external noise cannot be fine-tuned with this model. We didn’t miss this in our test because the built-in transparency mode worked reliably well. However, the background noise was audibly raised – although we only really noticed this in silence or very quiet sections of the music we were listening to. The Jabra Elite 4 don’t achieve the naturalness of an Apple AirPods Pro 2, but fortunately, they don’t sound artificial like some other competitors.
Making phone calls with the Jabra Elite 4
Finally, we turn our attention to telephony because Jabra has once again installed four microphones in the Elite 4, which are supposed to ensure crystal-clear sound with little background noise. In practice, however, this does not always work perfectly. Although our conversation partners never had problems with intelligibility and our voices always sounded natural, typical sound distortions or background noise still came through to the other side of the call- albeit muffled. Of course, this also depends on your network coverage. One thing was nicely done: When making a phone call, your own voice can be faded in thanks to sidetone (here called “monitoring tone”), which enables much more natural speech.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
- Weight without cable4,6 g each; case 33,4 g
- Cable length20 cm
What's in the box
- 3 pairs of ear tips (S, M, L)
- USB-C to USB-A cable
- charging case
- available in gray, beige, purple, blue
- BT codecs: SBC, aptX
- BT version: 5.2
- BT profiles: A2DP v1.3, AVRCP v1.6, HFP v1.8, HSP v1.2