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Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 held above a table.
Chase Bernath / SoundGuys

Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 review

I'll never let go, Jabra.
By

Published onJuly 8, 2024

8.6
Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2
The bottom line
The Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 are excellent workout earbuds. Beyond that, their extensive list of features make these great all-around wireless earbuds. There won't be stock for long, so grab these while you can.

Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2

The Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 are excellent workout earbuds. Beyond that, their extensive list of features make these great all-around wireless earbuds. There won't be stock for long, so grab these while you can.
Product release date
June, 2024
Price
$229.99
Dimensions
Case: 24 x 47 x 65mm
Earbud: 20 x 20 x 29 mm
Weight
Earbud: 5g
Case: 48g
Model Number
100-99161903-99
Waterproof
IP68 earbuds
IP54 case
What we like
Can connect to wired sources
Spatial audio
Good battery life
Extremely durable
Feature-packed app
Great noise canceling
What we don't like
Future updates uncertain
Lacking in the highs
8.6
SoundGuys Rating
6
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Isolation / Attenuation
7.0
6.0
6.0
Active Noise Cancelling
8.1
5.0
5.0
Durability / Build Quality
9.5
4.0
4.0
Value
9.0
5.5
6.0
Design
8.5
6.0
6.0
Connectivity
7.5
8.0
8.0
Portability
9.5
6.0
6.0
Battery Life
7.3
3.5
4.0
Feature
9.9
7.5
8.0
Comfort
8.0
8.5
9.0
MDAQS rating
Learn more
Timbre
4.9
Distortion
4.5
Immersiveness
4.1
Overall
4.8

Alongside the Jabra Elite 10 Gen 2, the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 are the last in the Jabra Elite line of earbuds. Does Jabra go out with a bang, or whimper? That’s what we’re finding out in this Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 review.

Editor’s note: this is the first version of the article. Updates will follow as the market changes.

About this Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 review: We tested the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 over one week. The earbuds ran firmware version 1.0.8, and the Jabra Sound+ app ran version 5.19.1. Jabra provided the unit for this review.

The Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 are for those seeking durable workout earbuds. They are also ideal for travel, given their noise canceling and ability to transmit from any 3.5mm connection or USB source.

What’s it like to use the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2?

Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 on a table with the extra ear tips and transmitter cable.
Chase Bernath / SoundGuys
You get three ear tip sizes and a USB-C cable with 3.5mm adapter alongside the earbuds.

The Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 retain the same form factor as the Jabra Elite 8 Active. The earbuds are covered in the ShakeGrip coating to prevent slippage, and I found the earbuds comfortable to wear for a few hours at a time. I would have liked to see some wings or hooks as are typically found on the best workout earbuds, but I didn’t experience any fit issues while lifting or running.

As with the prior generation, the earbuds get IP68 water and dust resistance. This means they can handle sweaty workouts in any environment, though for swimming you’ll probably want earbuds with onboard storage to avoid connection dropouts. The charging case has an IP54 rating, which means it should handle beach days without a problem.

Ear detection sensors automatically pause your music when you take an earbud out, and resume when you place it back in your ears. Each earbud has physical button controls that aren’t too difficult to press. Still, I would prefer tap controls to ensure the earbud doesn’t get pressed deep into the ear canal.

Below are the default button controls for the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2, though you can customize these controls from within the Jabra Sound+ app.

Left earbudRight earbud
Single press
Left earbud
ANC/Hear-Through, answer call, mute mic
Right earbud
Play/pause, answer call, mute mic
Double press
Left earbud
Voice assistant, reject call, end call
Right earbud
Next track, reject call, end call
Triple press
Left earbud

Right earbud
Restart track

Should you use the Jabra Sound+ app for the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2?

The Jabra Sound+ app is an essential part of the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 experience, as it provides a plethora of features and customization options. You’ll need the app to enable Dolby Spatial Sound for the earbuds. Within the Spatial Sound settings, you can also enable a Stereo Spatializer mode, which increases the perceived width of sounds.

To customize the sound of the earbuds, there is a five-band equalizer, as well as six presets to select from. Speaking of customization, you can fully customize the controls within the app. There are also many call controls to adjust such as the strength of the sidetone and even a microphone equalizer. If you lose your earbuds, there is a Find My tracker. The app even has soundscapes to help you sleep. This is one of the most comprehensive app experiences on the market, and it has every feature you would expect to see in a companion app.

How do the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 connect?

A hand holding a Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 earbud.
These earbuds have all the connectivity tech you could need.

The headline feature of the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 is the LE Audio smart case. You can plug the case into pretty much any source via 3.5mm out or USB-C out, and then transmit audio from the case to the earbuds. This is ideal for listening wirelessly on an airplane or from a TV or gaming console without the need for Bluetooth. I found the latency low enough to comfortably watch YouTube while streaming from the case.

For regular wireless connectivity, the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 have Bluetooth 5.3 with support for SBC and AAC. You also get Bluetooth Multipoint to stay paired to your phone and laptop at the same time. A few times I’ve experienced a single earbud drop out, but putting the earbuds back inside the case solves the problem.

Follow these steps to pair the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2:

  1. Place the earbuds inside the charging case, and ensure both the case and earbuds are charged.
  2. Press and hold the button on the case for a few seconds.
  3. Look for the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 within the Bluetooth settings on your device.

To use the case as a transmitter:

  1. Connect the included USB cable to the case, and the other end to your source. You can use either the USB-C connector or the 3.5mm adapter.
  2. Press the button on the charging case to tell it to start transmitting, and it will connect to the earbuds.

How long does the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 battery last?

Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 earbuds next to their charging case.
Battery life isn’t a concern with these earbuds.

In our battery testing, the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 lasted 9 hours and 3 minutes. This is significantly above average for wireless earbuds. The charging case also provides an additional three charges, for a total power capacity that hangs with the best. You can power up the case via USB-C or wirelessly.

Jabra states that fast charging for 5 minutes provides up to 1 hour of playback time. Fully charging the case and earbuds takes up to 3 hours.

How well do the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 cancel noise?

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The Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 have great noise canceling, though not quite as good as the Elite 10 Gen 2. Most environmental noise is reduced by 80%, with low-frequency noise below 100Hz attenuated by about 30 dB. This easily blocks out most of the rumble from an airplane engine and holds up against the best noise canceling earbuds when it comes to blocking out low-frequency noise. The Elite 8 Active Gen 2 aren’t as good as the best in the category like the Apple AirPods Pro 2 and the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds when it comes to attenuating mid-range noise such as the sound of people talking, but for most environments the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 handle ambient noise very well.

If you like to stay aware of your surroundings, you’ll appreciate the HearThrough mode. You can adjust how much the HearThrough mode amplifies environmental noise from within the Sound+ app, with the loudest setting making voices even louder than without the earbuds on. You can enable HearThrough mode with a single tap, and have your music pause when it is enabled which makes it a great feature for quick conversations.

How do the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 sound?

Most people will enjoy the sound quality of the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2. They come with the added bonus of Spatial Sound, and you can tweak the sound using the app equalizer.

Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Scores (MDAQS)

The chart below shows how the sound of the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 was assessed by the Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Score (MDAQS) algorithm from HEAD acoustics.

This chart shows the MDAQS results for the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 in Default mode. The Timbre score is 4.9, The Distortion score is 4.5, the Immersiveness score is 4.1, and the Overall Score is 4.8).
An Overall score of 4.8 is very high.

A simulated panel of listeners rates the default sound of the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 very highly, with a near-perfect rating in Timbre. Across Distortion and Immersiveness the earbuds also score well, leading to one of the highest Overall scores among wireless earbuds.

Timbre (MOS-T) represents how faithfully the headphones reproduce the frequency spectrum and temporal resolution (timing information).

Distortion (MOS-D) represents non-linearities and added noise: higher scores mean cleaner reproduction.

Immersiveness (MOS-I) represents perceived source width and positioning: how well virtual sound sources are defined in three-dimensional space.

See here for an explanation of MDAQS, how it works, and how it was developed.

Reviewer’s notes

Editor’s note: this review uses a hover-enabled glossary to describe sound quality based on a consensus vocabulary. You can read about it here.

Objective Measurements

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The chart above shows the default frequency response of the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 compared to our headphone preference curve. As you can see, the earbuds under-emphasize low-mid frequencies from 200-500Hz compared to our target, which makes some vocals and pianos sound quieter than you might expect. There is also an under-emphasis in the high frequencies above 8kHz, and a relative over-emphasis in the sub-bass below 100Hz. If you’ve experienced some age-related hearing loss, you’ll likely want to boost the highs in the equalizer to hear cymbals and other high-frequency sounds. Those seeking a boost in the low-end to power through workouts won’t mind this one bit though.

Bass Boost EQ Preset

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As expected, the Bass Boost preset provides more emphasis below 150Hz. It gives you about a 5dB boost to the low end, which is very noticeable.

Treble Boost EQ Preset

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The Treble Boost preset brings up the highs, but with a pretty big sacrifice in the lows and mids. You’re probably better off making your own EQ preset than using this one to boost the treble.

Smooth EQ Preset

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If you’re looking to bring up the mids, the Smooth EQ preset is a good place to start, though it does leave a lot to be desired in the highs.

Speech EQ Preset

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As expected, the Speech EQ preset focuses on the important frequencies for vocal clarity around 1-5khz.

Energize EQ Preset

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The Energize EQ preset brings up both the low and high frequencies. While it over-emphasizes the low-end, this preset follows our target closely above 200Hz.

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ANC has a very minor effect on the sound quality. You may notice a bit more bass with ANC, but that’s about it.

Can you use the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 for phone calls?

When it comes to putting microphones in headsets, Jabra tends to know what it’s doing. The Elite 8 Active Gen 2 is up for the task with six onboard microphones. In both quiet and loud environments, the microphones focus in on your voice, so the person on the other end of the line shouldn’t have a problem hearing you.

Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

67 votes

Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 microphone demo (Office conditions):

Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 microphone demo (Street conditions):

Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 microphone demo (Windy conditions):

Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 microphone demo (Reverberant space):

The Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 microphones sound pretty good in all environments. The noise rejection blocks out most of the simulated office, street, and wind noise so that every word is still understood.

Should you buy the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2?

A hand holds the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2.
Chase Bernath / SoundGuys
The Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 are great all-around earbuds.

It is a real shame that Jabra is shutting down its Elite division, as the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 are fantastic wireless earbuds. Beyond features for athletes, I would recommend these earbuds to almost anyone. They are extremely durable, have good sound quality, solid noise canceling, and a great app experience. The plug-and-play smart case also makes these some of the most versatile earbuds on the market, as you aren’t limited to Bluetooth-compatible devices for playback.

Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2
Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2
SoundGuys Editor's Choice
Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2
Can connect to wired sources • Spatial audio • Extremely durable
MSRP: $229.99
The Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 are excellent workout earbuds.
The extensive list of features on the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 make these great all-around wireless earbuds.

Since Jabra is looking to clear stock, expect big discounts on the Elite 8 Active Gen 2 towards the end of 2024. Once they run out of stock though, the Jabra Elite will be gone for good, so don’t hesitate to buy if you like what you see.

How do the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 compare to the Jabra Elite 8 Active?

A hand holds the Jabra Elite 8 Active from a birdseye view showing the open case.
Austin Kwok / SoundGuys
The Jabra Elite 8 Active are a great set of all-around earbuds.

If you can find the Jabra Elite 8 Active available for purchase, they are still a great option. While the first generation of the Elite 8 Active doesn’t have a transmitter case, it still has great durability, battery life, noise canceling, and sound quality. The Elite 8 Active was one of our favorite workout earbuds for a long time, and for good reason.

What should you get instead of the Jabra Elite 8 Active?

Bowers and Wilkins PI7 connected to 3.5mm audio jack.
The Bowers & Wilkins PI7 also have a transmitter case.

There aren’t many earbuds that come with a transmitter case. You can check out the Bowers & Wilkins PI7 for $299 at Crutchfield, but those earbuds make a few sacrifices in battery life, noise canceling, and sound quality. If you haven’t already checked them out, the Jabra Elite 10 Gen 2 are worth a look, $279.99 at Amazon. They share most of the same functionality as the Elite 8 Active Gen 2, plus some extras like spatial audio with head tracking and a more comfortable design.

If you’re seeking workout earbuds, the Beats Fit Pro are a good option, $159 at Amazon. They have great noise canceling, good sound quality, and some water resistance. Serious athletes may want to take a look at the Sennheiser MOMENTUM Sport, on the product’s website. These earbuds cost a pretty penny, but come with heart-rate and body temperature tracking.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 have an IP68 rating, which means they can handle submersion in water.

Yes, the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 have wireless charging.

Yes, I didn’t experience any major issues using the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 with my iPhone.

Yes, the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 support Bluetooth multipoint to connect to multiple devices.

Yes, the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 have great noise canceling.

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