The Jabra Elite 8 Active buds feature useful upgrades on Jabra’s other headphones, including improved ANC and a more durable design.
- Great sound and ANC
- Secure, comfortable fit
- Long battery life
- Easy-to-use controls
- Cheaper Jabra options are tempting
- You can get better sound and ANC
- Wingless design won’t suit everyone
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I preferred the Elite 4 Active to the more expensive Jabra Elite 7 Active because the extra features on the 7 Active weren’t compelling enough to tempt me. The Jabra Elite 8 Active are a clear upgrade on the 4 and 7 headphones, and are one of the top sets of sports headphones on the market. Even so, there remains the option to go for Jabra’s cheaper buds, or perhaps spend more to get better sound and ANC from the Apple AirPods Pro 2 or Bose QC Earbuds II.
Jabra Elite 8 Active Review: Price And Availability
The Jabra Elite 8 Active headphones launched in August 2023 and cost $199.99 in the US and £199.99 in the UK. The Jabra Elite 7 Active and Elite 4 Active buds are cheaper options in the range at $179.99/£169.99 and $119.99/£119.99 respectively.
How I Tested These Headphones
I used the Jabra Elite 8 Active for two weeks, putting them in for several runs, as well as a strength workout. I also used them when traveling and in the office. I’ve tested Jabra’s other sports headphones, and most of the best workout earbuds on the market from other brands.
Design, Controls And FIt
The Jabra Elite 8 Active have a similar look and feel to other buds from the brand. There’s an in-ear design with a multifunction button on each bud, and Jabra’s ShakeGrip coating to create a more secure fit. This also appears on the Elite 7 Active buds, but not the Elite 4 Active.
Jabra’s earbuds have consistently been the most secure-fitting in-ear buds I’ve tested, while most wingless buds from other brands squirm out of my ears when running. I’ve no such problems with Jabra’s headphones, and the Elite 8 Active remained secure no matter how sweaty I got. This is partly because they don’t have wings. The Elite 8 Active are comfortable to wear for long periods, and I could use them for a run and then a few hours of work without discomfort.
The Elite 8 Active have an IP68 rating, which means they’re waterproof, sweatproof and dustproof. Jabra says they are drop-resistant and backs up this claim with a two-year warranty against dust and water damage. The case is IP54 rated, so it’s not completely waterproof, but will withstand sweat and rain if shoved into a backpack or running belt. The case is small and pocketable, if not as small as some, such as the case of the Apple Airpods Pro 2.
Jabra deserves credit for the controls on the Elite 8 Active buds. Both have a button that allows you to control playback and volume easily during workouts, and it’s hard to hit this button accidentally—a problem I frequently encounter when using sports headphones with a touchpanel instead of a physical button. You can also turn the buds off without having to put them back in the case, a rare feature with truly wireless in-ear buds.
The Elite 8 Active are Jabra’s first sports-focused buds to have Dolby Spatial Audio, and this delivers an upgrade in sound quality over the Elite 4 Active and Elite 7 Active buds. It’s not available on all audio, but I tested it with Apple Music and it added depth to all genres of music. You can adjust the EQ in the partner app using five sliders, and save your settings to add to the presets.
Having tested many sets of Jabra buds in the past, the Elite 8 Active are the best for sound quality. I’ve not come across any headphones that sound better for less than $200/£200. If you spend more on the Apple AirPods Pro 2 or Bose QC Earbuds II you get an upgrade in sound quality, with buds that sound clearer and brighter to me.
ANC and Awareness
Jabra has improved the ANC on the Elite 8 Active buds compared with the Elite 7 Active and Elite 4 Active. I found that the new buds filtered out more sound, in particular when traveling. The ANC is 1.6x stronger than standard Jabra ANC, according to Jabra.
The buds have a button-activated HearThrough feature that allows you to hear external noise when it’s necessary or safer to do so, which is handy when running in built-up areas. Thanks to the ANC and HearThrough modes the buds do a good job of filtering out wind noise most of the time when exercising outdoors, though I’d occasionally get a sudden and strange blast of wind, perhaps owing to the adaptive ANC changing a setting.
As with the sound quality, the Elite 8 Active’s ANC is as good as, if not better than, anything I’ve come across on buds under $200/£200. However, once again, you will get notably better ANC with the Bose QC Earbuds II and the AirPods Pro 2.
The Jabra Elite 8 Active buds are listed as lasting for eight hours with the ANC on and 14 hours with it off. In their case and with ANC off you get 56 hours, which is huge. It’s then 32 hours total if you are using ANC. A fast-charge feature nets you an hour of playback on the buds from five minutes in the case.
I had the ANC or HearThrough mode on throughout my testing and found the battery drained a little faster than the listed numbers—perhaps because I had the volume fairly high with bass ramped up on the EQ. The buds still lasted around seven hours, though. The battery life is an impressive feature, especially with the ANC off.
Are The Jabra Elite 8 Active Worth It?
The Jabra Elite 8 Active are excellent workout headphones. They are the best you can get at their price, with a durable design that fits well, great sound quality and ANC, long battery life and useful controls.
I prefer them to their main rivals at the price—the Beats Fit Pro—which are less comfortable and have annoying controls, though some may need the extra security of fit you get from the wing tip on the Beats buds.
You can upgrade on sound and ANC by going for more expensive headphones like the Apple AirPods Pro 2 or Bose QC Earbuds II, though I prefer the fit of the Jabras for sport, and you get a higher IP rating and longer battery life with them too. For me, the Elite 8 Active were better workout and running headphones, but for cross-over use outside of workouts as well the Apple and Bose buds are tempting.
The harder question might be whether it’s worth getting the Elite 8 Active over the cheaper Jabra buds that are available. The Elite 8 Active buds are better in almost every way, but the price difference to the Elite 4 Active is $80/£80, and the Elite 4 Active are still great workout headphones with similar features. The Elite 8 Active’s ShakeGrip coating helps with the security of the fit compared with the smoother Elite 4 Active buds, but the latter still stayed in place for me during workouts.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.