Jabra expands its top-of-the-range in-ear headphones with the Elite 8 Active and Jabra Elite 10, designed to deliver first-rate sound performance under all circumstances, especially during sports activities. Complete waterproofing, adaptive noise reduction, a spatial sound processor, and impressive battery life make the manufacturer’s offering quite compelling. As for audio performance, it’s a pleasant surprise.
Following the release of the Jabra Elite 4 Active and Elite 7 Active, the Danish manufacturer ups the ante with the Elite 8 Active. These wireless earbuds are more robust, completely waterproof, and equipped with a more effective noise reduction system than their predecessors. They also feature a sound spatialization function co-developed with Dolby. We have listened to them attentively.
- Punchy sound reproduction
- Excellent transient response
- High sound resolution
- Effective active noise reduction
- Waterproof (IP68)
- Top-notch control app
- Good battery life
- Comfortable and stable fit
- Excessive treble by default (can be corrected with the equalizer)
- Disappointing Dolby spatial sound
- Call quality
|Jabra Elite 8 Active
|Earbud weight (each earbud)
|5g | 0.2oz
|IP rating (main unit)
|Military Standard (MIL-STD-810h)
|Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
|Adaptive Hybrid ANC
|ANC on calls
|Number of microphones
|Yes - Dolby Audio
|Music time total ANC off (earbuds & chargingcase)
|Up to 56 hours
|Music time ANC off (earbuds)
|Up to 14 hours
|Music time with ANC (earbuds)
|Up to 8 hours
The Jabra Elite 8 Active earbuds are notably small and lightweight, featuring a button-like form factor. Coated with slightly adhesive silicone, they provide excellent stability in the ear. Employing what Jabra calls “ShakeGrip technology,” these earbuds stay in place even when you shake your head. The silicone tips sit gently at the entrance to the ear canal without penetrating it, eliminating any mechanical strain on the ear. As a result, the Elite 8 Active is comfortable to wear for extended periods. In summary, the comfort is exceptional, even during sweaty physical activities.
Each earbud is equipped with a large, easy-to-use push-button for control. Importantly, pressing the button doesn’t push the earbud further into the ear, thereby not compromising either comfort or tonal balance during playback.
Despite the presence of micro-grids in front of the conversation and active noise-cancelling microphones, the Jabra Elite 8 Active are waterproof and dustproof. Their IP68 certification ensures they can be used in any weather conditions and even underwater, as they can be submerged up to 1.5 meters. According to Jabra, the Elite 8 Active have undergone a series of military-grade tests to withstand shocks, extreme temperatures, and corrosion. In short, it would be possible to listen to music in the middle of the desert or under acidic rain.
The charging case, on the other hand, comes with an IP54 certification and is merely splash-resistant. Compact in design, it offers charging via a USB-C port or with a wireless induction charger (Qi).
Usage and Application
Jabra has crafted a top-notch user experience. Using the Elite 8 Active is incredibly intuitive, and you quickly get used to the various button-press combinations for controlling music playback or switching from active noise cancellation to transparency mode.
The Jabra Sound+ app is a benchmark in its field, well-organized and full of usage tips. You can program the buttons for each earbud and access options related to the wear detection feature (such as play, pause), as well as settings for voice guidance (multilingual, can be turned off in favor of simple tones). The Jabra Elite 8 Active also support the Spotify Tap feature, which starts playing your favorite tracks on Spotify with a simple button press.
Jabra offers several equalization profiles, along with the ability to create your own by adjusting five frequency bands (60 Hz, 250 Hz, 1 kHz, 4 kHz, and 7.6 kHz). The app also includes relaxation sounds (like ocean waves, bird songs, etc.).
Disappointing Spatial Audio Mode
Jabra has partnered with Dolby to integrate their expertise in sound spatialization. By default, this post-processing is not active and must be launched from the Jabra Sound+ app. The results are disappointing. No matter what track you’re listening to, it feels like the music is coming from the end of a long corridor. In short, it adds nothing.
Ready for Bluetooth LE Audio
The Jabra Elite 8 Active comes with a Bluetooth 5.3 controller, compatible with simultaneous connection to two smartphones (multipoint mode) and Google Fast Pair protocol. Thus, the earbuds automatically show up on the nearest Android smartphone and only require one click to pair. They also support the Bluetooth LE protocol, which will allow them to use LC3/LC3+ audio transmission once it is integrated into Android smartphones. Until then, you’ll have to make do with standard SBC and AAC codecs. As for Bluetooth transmission latency, it is clearly noticeable when gaming—the sound effects are almost a second behind. However, there are no issues when watching films, series, or videos, as synchronization is restored by the used app.
The transmission range goes up to a maximum of 10 meters, and I was able to listen to the Jabra Elite 8 Active up to that distance through a wooden floor and thin partitions. In short, when it comes to Bluetooth, it’s flawless.
Active Noise Cancellation
These earbuds offer an adaptive noise-canceling system, which adjusts its intensity based on surrounding noise conditions. To test it, I used the Jabra Elite 8 Active in a car, on a tram, and walking alongside busy roads. Low-frequency noises are remarkably well reduced (even eliminated most of the time), while higher-pitched noises are reduced to a lesser extent. While they don’t offer the tranquility of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 or Apple AirPods Pro 2, the results are very good and sufficient for isolating the listener during music playback or phone calls.
Jabra Elite 8 Transparency Mode
The HearThrough mode allows for conversations without removing the earbuds, using the built-in microphones. Its performance is decent, although I would have preferred a bit more emphasis on mid-range frequencies and a more distinct focus on my conversation partner’s voice. They still lag far behind the Apple AirPods Pro 2, which are the benchmark in transparency mode. However, the Elite 8 Active do allow for decent conversation and also alert you to approaching cars when crossing the street, which is what really matters.
Jabra has integrated 6 mm diameter dynamic drivers into the Elite 8 Active, which are significantly smaller than the 10 mm ones found in the Jabra Elite 10. Despite this, these tiny speakers are, to my taste, far more dynamic. The bass is round and well defined, even if it might lack a bit of depth at times. The midrange is very clear, ensuring vocals are easy to listen to. On the other hand, the treble seems a bit excessive in the factory setting but can be easily corrected by adjusting the equalizer.
The Jabra Elite 8 Active earbuds excel in many aspects, starting with their acoustic performance. Although their sound signature leans toward the brighter side, the overall sound quality is pleasantly balanced and, most importantly, very dynamic. There are better-balanced earbuds that might leave you indifferent; the Elite 8 Active make you want to move to the music. They are very comfortable to wear and should please those seeking earbuds that energize their sports outings—even in the pool, thanks to their IP68 rating. Their effective ANC makes them suitable for braving the noise of public transport. It’s just a shame that the call quality falls short.
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