Jabra Elite series has been around for years and now we are seeing the company show some ambition and challenge the Goliath’s of the audio segment. The Elite 8 Active is a breath of fresh air in the sub-20K market, mostly because of its Active nature that helps it stand out from the rivals. It has an IP rating which isn’t a big deal except in this case, Jabra has gone the extra mile to make it extra durable.
But does that come at the cost of quality sound and other features? We tried to find out those answers over the past few weeks using the Jabra Elite 8 Active earbuds and this review gives you all the details.
Comfortable design and fitting
Effective noise cancellation
Good overall soundstage
Long battery life
Physical buttons for controls on the buds
Average for calls
Jabra Elite 8 Active Review: What’s Cool?
You have to like the overall dimensions of the charging case unit that you get with the Jabra Elite 8 Active earbuds. It isn’t the smallest nor the biggest, it sits right at the sweet spot where you get the ease to fit in a pocket and also use them judiciously.
The case is a solid touch to it and you can pick them up in different colours, we got the blue variant for review. Jabra offers IP68 rating on the earbuds which makes it one of the strongest in its segment that also gets military-grade durability so that you don’t damage the buds by dropping it on the ground or even in water.
The most important benefit of the IP rating is that people can use it for workouts and long running sessions without having to worry about the sweat. Jabra clearly focuses on the functional aspects of the earbuds and that’s always a good sign. But the Elite 8 Active are not just about durability, you also get reliable active noise cancellation out of the buds.
We tested the earbuds in all kinds of conditions, which includes office space, metro, and even while walking on the road. The noise is isolated quite nicely, helped by the snug fit of the earbuds. In most situations, the Elite 8 earbuds will satisfy with its effectiveness and that counts for something.
Now, onto the major part of doing this review. How is the sound quality? We found the earbuds produce the right level of bass which doesn’t overpower the vocals in any way. And that is vital when you like to listen to audiobooks and podcasts, where the preference for clarity in voices is vital.
We tried playing all genres of music to get a taste of its strengths and to be fair, we felt that the Elite 8 Active can handle most of them quite well and that’s what most people want in a quality pair of earbuds. Added bonus is the support for spatial audio which widens the soundstage further.
The other good thing about the Jabra’s earbuds is that they last really long. The brand claims you get 8 hours of playback support and during our time, we didn’t really need to hog the charger to juice up the case. In fact, with the charging case around, you get three rounds of full charging done. Battery life has been a major issue with wireless earbuds but Jabra shows us that’s not really the case with everyone.
Jabra Elite 8 Active Review: What’s Not So Cool?
Jabra has gone with a dual-thronged strategy with the new Elite series. The Active 8 focuses on durability, while the Elite 10 gives you the premium sound and noise cancellation, including better quality for calls. The Active 8 feels like an entry point for people who mostly want earbuds for working out but without any major compromise in audio.
That seems to be its strong and weak point. The other thing we didn’t like is the actual physical buttons to control volume, music playback.
These controls are embedded into the buds and if you want to change the track, or even pause the song, you have to hard-press the button to make it work. While we’re not a big fan of gestures on the earbuds but soft-touch option would have been a smarter choice.
And finally, these earbuds aren’t the best for taking calls. Make no mistake there are no major issues here but still we have used others and felt they are a notch better than what Jabra has to offer with these earbuds.
Jabra Elite 8 Active Review: Should You Buy?
Jabra has made a decent attempt with the new Elite 8 Active earbuds and succeeds in more than one aspect. The durability is where the Activeness shines through and making it shockproof couldn’t have been easy.
The noise cancellation delivers in most situations, blocking out the outside noise and letting you focus on the workout while listening to your favourite tracks. The charging case allows you to use the buds for a longer period, and the soundstage is wide enough to let you enjoy music of all genres.
Having said that, the calling quality leaves us wanting and the physical buttons might not be of liking to most of you. For the price of Rs 17,999 the Jabra Elite 8 Active delivers on most fronts but there are some drawbacks which could push you to consider other brands like Sony, Sennheiser or even Apple.