The Elite Active 45e Bluetooth sports headphones from Danish manufacturer Jabra are an enticing alternative to in-ear systems due to their comfortable, pressure-free fit. The open earbud design will allow a natural perception of the surrounding environment, enhancing safety while you’re out on the go. The free to download Jabra Sound+ app can also be used to customise the sound settings using a 5-band equaliser.
Since the earbuds are not worn in the ear canal, but rather the auricle, these headphones are a contrast to conventional in-ear models. On the one hand, no pressure problems should arise, making them ideal for pressure-sensitive users. On the other, the challenge to develop a design that also delivers reliable stability for sporting activities is put to the test here. To accommodate this extra requirement, the Elite Active 45e have short wings, providing support within the auricle, while earhooks provide additional support and protection. As far as stability is concerned, the solution is a successful one here, offering a secure hold when running, hiking, cycling and more. The comfortable, looser fit of the design offers a further advantage over in-ear systems, as the outside world itself is not shielded. The fact that the ear canal is not sealed means that the environment can still be perceived, even when listening at higher volumes. This means there’s a significant level of overall safety when wearing these.
A lot of praise and criticism can levelled here, largely down to the fact the wings of the earbuds are not interchangeable and are delivered in a standardised size. Obviously, this might not prove suitable for some people. Competitors usually offer at least two different sizes, increasing the chance of an appropriate fit. Children, as well as people with small or large ears, face the potential of problems when it comes to wearing these. Otherwise, these headphones are extremely robust in appearance and build, with a high level of workmanship. A certified water resistance rating (IP67) means these are protected against sweat and dust, promising a longer operational life. The cable also has optimal length, ensuring no clip should be necessary for most sporting applications. Battery life has a maximum performance time of nine hours, with a quick recharge possible in as little as 15 minutes. You can use the included USB cable for this purpose, with said 15 minute quick charge providing an hour of battery life. A full charge takes approximately two hours.
These headphones support Bluetooth 5.0, as well as multiple connections with two devices concurrently. In a practical test with various Android and iOS systems, stable ranges of seven to eight metres were recorded within an urban environment. Pairing is carried out by holding down the multifunctional button on the right of the headphones, which switches the system on and then switches directly to pairing mode. When a connection is established, the button then controls Play/Stop functionality, as well as call acceptance/termination. For volume control, separate plus and minus buttons are available on the underside of the right side of the device. These can also be used for track navigation by pressing and holding down the plus button to skip forwards, and the same with the minus button to skip back.
To activate your chosen virtual assistant, there is an additional button on the left side which can be used to mute the integrated microphone technology during a call. In total, two microphones are installed, ensuring a good speech quality, even with noisy surroundings. Ambient noise and wind noise is suppressed with particular efficiency.
Jabra Sound+ App
The Jabra Sound+ app, optimally available for iOS and Android systems, can be used to update the headphones. Personal preferences such as listening behaviour, incoming calls and more can also be defined. The voice guidance option for these headphones, available in multiple languages, can also be switched on and off at any time with the use of the app. In-so called situation profiles such as “My Moment” or “Pendulum”, sound adjustments can be made using pre-configured settings (e.g. with amplified bass) or via a 5-band equaliser. In addition, the “Focus” situation profile offers the option of masking ambient sounds with the help of soundscapes such as wave or waterfall sound elements.
The Elite Active 45e boasts clear, bright sound with dry basses that show some real presence in the upper frequencies. Powerful mids are deftly used to bring vocals to the foreground, while the highs appear somewhat overemphasised and have a tendency to draw hissing sounds at higher volumes. Although the sound is definitely assertive, it lacks a sense of depth in the basses when powerful playback is desired during sporting activities, for example. However, this shortcoming can be compensated for with app functionality, with the option to raise the bass range accordingly. If
the treble is too dominant for you, it can be slightly modified which, in combination with a strengthened bass foundation, can work real wonders. As such, driving beats can be easily realised on request.
A slight point of contention is the operational background noise of the headphones. It’s not really perceivable when you’re outdoors in the midst of activities, but it can limit everyday enjoyment. Lack of support for high-quality audio codecs such as aptX (HD) and AAC also goes against these headphones. The difference between these and SBC standard might be hard to perceive when using these for sports outdoors, but the sound quality won’t meet the highest demands when listening inside.
Jabras Elite Active 45e sets new standards in terms of safety with its open design, while it also makes an enticing option for users with pressure-sensitive tendencies. The wireless earbuds convince as sporting headphones with personalisation potential, although their suitability for everyday use is hindered slightly thanks to noticeable background noise and limited sound quality.
- Ear couplingEar Buds
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 14.000 Hz
- Impedance16 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)107dB±3 dB
- Weight with cable29 g
- Weight without cable23,4 g
What's in the box
- USB charging cable
- Available in black, mint and blue
- BT version: 5.0
- BT codec: SBC
- BT profiles: HSP, HFP, A2DP, AVRCP, PBAP, GATT Range: ca. 8 m
- free iOS/Android App