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Jabra Elite 8 Active

True Wireless in-ears with Noise Cancelling for sports use

In a nutshell

The new Jabra Elite 8 Active aims to offer a lot for a price of just under 200 euros: With robustness tests that certify them according to US military standard (810H), in-ears with IP68 certification, active noise cancelling, transparency mode, fat sound or app connection – all in all, the Elite 8 Active are good sports headphones. However, they also have some limitations …

Pros:
  • Dolby Audio
  • Driving sound
  • In-ears certified to IP68, charging case certified to IP54
  • Wearing comfort
Cons:
  • Sidetone function could work more distinctive
  • No high-resolution Bluetooth codecs
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Not only have Jabra introduced their top model Elite 10 at IFA 2023, they have also added the Elite 8 Active sports headphones to their range. The manufacturer emphasises the robustness of these headphones, which they claim have passed all the necessary tests for the US military standard for durable electronics (810H). This means they should be able to withstand everything from humidity and high temperatures to rain and extreme altitudes. They are consequently completely waterproof when submerged up to 1.5 m.

The Jabra Elite 8 Active – the basics

The Jabra Elite 8 Active are available in Black, Navy Blue, Grey or Caramel (exclusively from Jabra.co.uk). The package consists of the earphones themselves (approx. 5 grams each), the charging case weighing 46.4 grams, three pairs of silicone ear tips (S, M, L) plus a short USB-A to C charging cable (approx. 15 cm).

The built-in 6 mm drivers reproduce frequencies from 20 Hz to 20 kHz and support Bluetooth 5.3 as well as the codecs SBC and AAC. High-resolution codecs such as aptX or LDAC are not included, but the Jabra Elite 8 offer Active Dolby Audio. However, this comes without head tracking, unlike the top model, the Jabra Elite 10.

Initial pairing was quick: you can either press both buttons on the earbuds for three seconds or, thanks to Google Fast Pair on Android smartphones, you can establish the wireless connection directly via a corresponding pop-up. These headphones also support multipoint, as well as a useful auto-pause feature.

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In an open space, the first interruptions to the wireless link came after about 30 metres; inside an apartment of over 100 square metres, it was only interrupted when we were on the first floor at the opposite side from the feed – these were very good values.

How good are the Jabra Elite 8 Active to use?

Jabra has provided some good solutions with these headphones: The manufacturer does not use touch-sensitive surfaces with the Elite 8 Active, instead relying on classic buttons, so there are no mistakes. However, when you press the buttons, you inevitably always press the small earbuds a little way into your ear, but this is not very noticeable, thanks to the button’s good pressure points.

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In essence, operating these headphones with single, double and triple clicks was quite usable, albeit limited. They also have a volume control, which can be increased or decreased by pressing and holding the left and right buttons.

If you are expressly looking for sports headphones that can be adjusted in detail to suit your own preferences, then you should take a closer look at the LG TONE Free Fit DTF7Q.

You can also use the Jabra Elite 8 Active in mono mode. Simply park an earbud in the case, and the single in-ear continues to play without interruption – but only if Auto Pause is deactivated in the Sound+ app. This does not change the control options, however.

In practice

Thanks to IP68 certification, the Jabra Elite 8 Active are very well protected in wind and weather, and they sit almost flat in the ears due to their design. We found the wearing comfort to be comfortable and, despite the pressure, pain-free even after many hours of use. Fortunately, there was no need to make adjustments due to slippage, but impact and wind noise did reach the ears – albeit slightly reduced. Due to their fit, these earphones close tightly and offer a high passive noise suppression. For safety reasons, the HearThrough mode should, therefore, always (!) remain activated, and we used it at the highest sensitivity level (see below) in all our tests.

Since the charging case also has (IP54) certification, it is fine if you get it dirty or damp. This deserves some praise as it is a feature that is rarely found in devices from competitors. You do, however, need to make sure that the headphones are not wet when you put them back into the case.

Battery life

Jabra claims a runtime of up to 14 hours (without ANC) on one charge, and the case can fully charge the headphones up to four times, which gave us 56 hours of total runtime. The manufacturer has also thought of a practical fast charging function: An hour of additional battery life is available after just five minutes of charging in the case. The case can then be recharged via USB-C or wirelessly via a charging mat.

Corresponding LEDs in and on the charging case provide information about the charging status. To save battery power, the headphones automatically go into sleep mode when they have not been active for a period of time, and you can define the length of this period yourself.

Jabra Sound+ App

Jabra put a lot of emphasis on the possibility of integrating their products: To this end, the modern design of the “Sound+ App” offers a range of tuning options.

The free app for iOS and Android should definitely be installed on any end device that you intend to use with these headphones, as it allows, among other things, the option to use the left double press to switch between Spotify and Alexa/voice assistance or the activation/deactivation of audio playback while using the HearThrough mode. In addition, you can switch on Dolby Audio, choose between six EQ pre-sets, and manually change and save the 5-band EQ.

Sidetone, i.e. hearing your own voice during a phone call, is activated by default and can also be switched on/off and set in five levels in the app. 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 getting to know the basic functions of the headphones via a quick guide.

And as with the Jabra Elite 10, there are a lot of nature sounds (birdsong, noise, etc.) listed under “Soundscape” that aim to provide a calm space. But here, as with the Elite 10 top model, there is a hitch: the selection list of sounds occasionally remains empty in the iOS app, and this problem can only be solved by (re)registering the headphones with Android or iOS, or by restarting the app. We also noticed that the Sound+ app did not always reliably find the headphones after they had been brought out of standby or did not react to more commands. If this happens, only a restart will help fix it.

How good is the noise cancellation of the Jabra Elite 8 Active?

The noise cancelling (ANC) of the Jabra Elite 8 Active does not work in multiple stages. However, in our test, we achieved a satisfactory result.

The Jabra Elite 8 Active’s ANC was not as effective as that of the Apple AirPods Pro or Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, but low-frequency rumble was still suppressed well, as was midrange-heavy noise, whereas the high-frequency range was lowered much less. All in all, a solid performance; if you need more, you’ll have to check out the competition.

HearThrough mode

The built-in transparency mode also worked solidly and offered a five-step adjustment of external noise perception via Jabra’s app. However, the background noise was audibly raised – this might be perceived as annoying during quiet passages of music. The Jabra Elite 8 Active do not achieve the naturalness of the Apple AirPods Pro. We think this mode should work more effectively because you can hear your own voice quite clearly.

The sound of the Jabra Elite 8 Active

Let’s start down in the lower frequencies: The Jabra Elite 8 Active reproduced low-frequency material with presence and radiated into the lower mids with particularly energetic bass. Despite this boost, tonalities could still be captured satisfactorily, although some bass drums sounded slightly washed out.

Extreme low bass rumbles were therefore not lacking in punch, and this can help provide the right motivation, especially during training sessions. There were no distortions at the highest volume, and the mid-range, together with the treble, produced a successful overall impression that did not become too loud; nasty ear-sawing electric guitars or lead synths were absent here. Even spiky songs seemed to be tamed so that hours of fatigue-free listening were possible. However, we missed a certain airiness and playfulness from the drivers; picking out fine, quiet details from overloaded music tracks was not one of this Jabra model’s strengths.

But it’s important to remember that these headphones were primarily intended for sporting activities, and you can certainly understand the manufacturer’s tuning measures for that environment: The bass was present and driving, while the mids and treble neither annoyed nor tired the listener.

In terms of stereo width and depth, you should not expect audiophile miracles, yet panning and other “sound journeys” on the virtual stage could be clearly understood.

The support for Dolby Atmos is certainly one of the highlights of the Jabra Elite 8 Active. However, they come without the head tracking feature, which is reserved for the top model, the Jabra Elite 10.

And what is true of the Jabra Elite 10 was also true here: Dolby Atmos content demonstrated an enhanced spatiality, which did not work equally well with all content, and sometimes the bass range seemed slightly washed out. Nevertheless, details that were not noticeable before could be increased, provided the content had been prepared accordingly. For films with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack, however, we would have hoped for even more increased spatiality – but here, our expectations were perhaps a little too high.

Telephony

Jabra has installed six microphones in the Elite 8 Active that are supposed to ensure crystal-clear sound with little background noise. My own voice always remained intelligible and quite natural. Thanks to Sidetone, when making calls, my own voice could be faded in, and this allowed me to speak much more naturally. I would have liked a more effective result here because while speaking, even at the highest level, I had the feeling that my own voice sounded a little too sonorous in my own head.

Conclusion

The Jabra Elite 8 Active impressed me during sporting activities: The extremely robust construction of these True Wireless in-ears includes upscale certification as well as a fit that gives no cause for criticism. This verdict also applied to the integration of the Sound+ app, which felt modern but has its limitations in some quarters and still has a few bugs.

If you’re looking for present bass that pushes you to the limit even in heavy rain and at the same time you can manage without the best noise cancelling, you’ve come to the right place. When it comes to robustness and wearing comfort, the Jabra Elite 8 Active are second to none.

5 months ago by Pete Schloßnagel
  • Rating: 4.13
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingIn-ear
  • Typeclosed
  • Transducer principledynamic
  • Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
  • Weight without cable5 g each, Case 46,4 g
  • Cable length15 cm

What's in the box

  • 3 pairs of ear tips (S, M, L)
  • USB charging cable
  • Charging case

Special features

  • available in black, gray, blue and caramel
  • BT version: 5.3
  • BT codecs: SBC, AAC
  • BT profiles: A2DP v1.3, AVRCP v1.6, HFP v1.8, PBP V1.0, TMAP V 1.0

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