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A hand holds the Jabra Elite 8 Active from a birdseye view showing the open case.
Austin Kwok / SoundGuys
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Jabra Elite 8 Active review

Grippy and waterproof, let's go for a run.
By

Published onApril 9, 2024

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8.1
Jabra Elite 8 Active
The bottom line
If you need highly durable earbuds, the Jabra Elite 8 Active deliver in spades. They will stay in your ears, provided you can get a good fit. The sound is good, and the noise canceling works well. Athletes who want something office-appropriate can rejoice.
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Jabra Elite 8 Active

If you need highly durable earbuds, the Jabra Elite 8 Active deliver in spades. They will stay in your ears, provided you can get a good fit. The sound is good, and the noise canceling works well. Athletes who want something office-appropriate can rejoice.
Product release date
08/31/2023
Price
Original: $199.99
Dimensions
Case: 24mm x 47mm x 65mm
Earbuds: 20mm x 20mm x 29mm
Cable length: 200mm
Weight
5g (per bud)
46g (case)
Model Number
100-99160703-98
Waterproof
What we like
ShakeGrip coating keeps the buds in place
IP68 (earbuds) IP54 (case)
Battery life
Frequency response
Useful equalizer
What we don't like
Three ear tips is not enough for workout earbuds
Buttons can be heard and felt when actuated
Deep in-ear fit is polarizing
8.1
SoundGuys Rating
7.9
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Isolation / Attenuation
5.2
8.0
8.0
Active Noise Cancelling
7.6
8.1
8.0
Durability / Build Quality
9.5
8.7
9.0
Value
7.0
7.1
7.0
Design
8.5
7.0
7.0
Connectivity
5.0
8.4
8.0
Portability
9.0
7.9
8.0
Battery Life
7.4
8.8
9.0
Feature
9.0
7.0
7.0
Comfort
8.5
8.2
8.0
MDAQS rating
Learn more
Timbre
4.9
Distortion
4.5
Immersiveness
4.2
Overall
4.9

Jabra adds an entry to the top end of its expansive line of true wireless noise canceling earbuds. The Jabra Elite 8 Active are durable buds aimed at serious athletes or weekend warriors who need wireless earbuds that can keep up or get through your workday. We put these buds through the ringer to see how they do.

What's new?

  • As of March 26, 2024, a firmware update has improved the Adaptive ANC on the Elite 8 Active. HearThrough mode is now more effective in windy conditions.
  • This review was updated on April 9, 2024, to answer more FAQs.

About this Jabra Elite 8 Active review: We tested the Jabra Elite 8 Active over one week. The Jabra Elite 8 Active firmware version 1.4.2. The company provided the unit for this review.

The Jabra Elite 8 Active are for ardent gym goers and outdoorsy folks, but they’re also for people who care about sound quality.

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

The Jabra Elite 8 Active share aesthetic traits with Jabra’s current earbud line, so looks familiar. They’re reasonably lightweight and pocketable at 5g per bud and 46g for the case. The earbuds are rated IP68, so they are effectively dust- and waterproof, and the case is rated IP54 as well. Choosing one of the three ear tips (10mm, 12mm, and 14mm), you can gently pop in the buds covered in a grippy ShakeGrip coating. The coating feels somewhat rubberized, doesn’t pick up dust, and doesn’t cause the buds to slip out when you work up a sweat.

A hand holds the Jabra Elite 8 Active earbud, showing the shape, with the case in the background.
Jabra models the bud’s shape off of thousands of different ear measurements.

Generally, if you look for workout earbuds, you’ll want something with stabilizers or over-ear hooks, but Jabra manages to get a solid fitting shape on the Elite 8 Active. If Jabra buds usually fit you, these should, too. They fit my ears relatively well without many pressure points and go pretty deep.

There are buttons on the flat of the earbuds, which do not require much pressure to actuate, but still more than touchpads. There’s also in-ear detection and thoughtful features like an auto sleep timer. You can take these buds for your workout, but they’re equally suitable for going about your days.

How do you control the Jabra Elite 8 Active?

ActionLeft earbudRight earbud
Action
Single tap
Left earbud
ANC mode / answer call / mute
Right earbud
Play / Pause / answer call / mute
Action
Double tap
Left earbud
End call
Right earbud
End call / track forward
Action
Triple tap
Left earbud

Right earbud
Previous track
Action
Long tap
Left earbud
Volume down
Right earbud
Volume up
Action
3 seconds press
Left earbud
Manual pairing mode
Right earbud
Manual pairing mode

Controls for the Jabra Elite 8 Active work effectively. The only irritation is that you are pushing your buds repeatedly into your ears for multiple presses. Otherwise, the Elite 8 Active has Spotify Tap and works with Google Assistant or Siri, which you’ll need to assign in the app.

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

You’ll want the Sound+ app to access updates. It costs you some privacy. One of the feature highlights of the Jabra Elite 8 Active is that you can enable Dolby Atmos for spatial audio. You also get an equalizer with some presets and the ability to add your own. Sound+ has some niceties for ANC and HearThrough, such as automatically switching to HearThrough for phone calls.

How do the Jabra Elite 8 Active connect?

The Jabra Elite 8 Active uses Bluetooth 5.3 with multipoint and offers LE Audio compatibility. Otherwise, the Elite 8 Active uses the basic SBC and AAC codecs. Apple users eke the most out of the AAC codec, though it’s not as well optimized on many Android devices like aptX. Overall, the connection is stable without dropouts.

To pair the Jabra Elite 8 Active, follow these steps. You can pair the Elite 8 Active without the app by enabling Bluetooth, removing the buds from the case, and selecting the device in the list. We had more reliable success by using the Jabra Sound+ app to pair.

  1. (Optional) Download the Sound+ app.
  2. Enable Bluetooth in your settings.
  3. Open Sound+ and remove the Jabra Elite 8 Active buds from the case.
  4. The app should “find” the earbuds and ask you to confirm the connection.
  5. Follow the instructions for completing the setup and anticipate a possible update.
  6. If you encounter trouble connecting the earbuds, remove them from the case and press and hold the controls on the buds for three seconds to manually enter pairing mode.

How long does the Jabra Elite 8 Active battery last?

The Jabra Elite 8 Active case, USB-C cable, and ear tips spread out on a wood surface.
What you get in the package is sparse but no less than what most folks need.

With ANC enabled the Jabra Elite 8 Active battery lasts 9 hours and 28 minutes on a single charge, according to our standardized testing. That’s above-average performance for noise canceling buds.

The case charges via a short USB-A to USB-C cable. You can also charge it wirelessly using a Qi pad, but it’s a bit fussy about placement (on its back). On the case, there are two LEDs: the outside one indicates the charging status of the case, and the inside one indicates the charge status of the earbuds — a nice touch. Red (low battery), yellow (partly charged), and green LED means charged up.

The Jabra Elite 8 Active take three hours to completely charge from empty.

If the battery is low, 5 minutes of fast charging can supply 60 minutes of charge, according to Jabra. The case must have a 30% charge for the fast charge to work. This can be checked with the app.

How well do the Jabra Elite 8 Active cancel noise?

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According to Jabra, there are four tiers of active noise canceling (ANC) in the lineup, and the Elite 8 Active has the third highest, what it calls Adaptive Hybrid ANC. What stands out is how effectively the ANC removes low-pitched rumbles and hums. Experientially, the effect is better than the measurement suggests where it counts. The 36dB of noise reduction at 100Hz effectively mutes low-frequency noises.

One downside is that the ANC does not handle high-pitched incidental noises well. For example, I wear the buds while cooking and dropping cutlery into a drawer. The system feeds back the sound into my ear a split second afterward, producing a very uncomfortable clang. Typically, that’s a job left to isolation, but Jabra has ANC covering high frequencies, which apparently has a weakness with clanging sounds.

The Elite 8 Active also passively isolates you from the environment fairly well. Your isolation relies on achieving an effective seal via a good fit. Overall, the isolation and ANC are good, but noises that land towards the middle frequencies (like traffic) still reach your ears to some extent.

How do the Jabra Elite 8 Active sound?

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It’s no secret that Jabra has really honed its house sound, and its products tend to measure very close to our headphone preference curve. The Elite 8 Active is no exception, with its frequency response exhibiting just a mild bass bump and some slight under-emphasis in the very highest frequencies.

Lows, mids, highs

Because these earbuds are intended for exercise, it makes sense to try an upbeat track with a strong bass emphasis; in this case, Love by Molecule and Johnny Clark does not disappoint. The propulsive bass line and loud kick are mixed prominently, almost too loud, but it’s great if you’re dancing or running.

There’s a slight under-emphasis in the topmost frequencies above 10kHz relative to our preference. You’ll miss some harmonic nuance up there with the cymbals or the (heavily affected) vocals, but it’s okay for casual listening. Overall, the fast panning synths adequately delineate left and right channels, and the synths parts all receive enough volume that you can hear them all. Most people will like this tuning.

Bass Boost EQ

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The Bass Boost EQ yields a good amount of bass emphasis without going too wild with it.

Energize EQ

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Energize EQ probably overdoes the treble for most people, but it’s a very consumer-oriented curve.

Smooth EQ

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Most people will enjoy the Smooth EQ; it’s not dissimilar from our headphone preference curve.

Treble Boost EQ

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The Treble Boost EQ does what it says basically and reduces the volume in the upper bass range.

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

The Jabra Elite 8 Active uses six microphones to capture your voice. The mic system relays voices of higher and lower registers rather well. You might hear some artifacts, but by and large, it sounds decent. In offices, the mics struggle a little with handling environmental sounds, but your voice is prioritized. When the Elite 8 Active encounters wind, your voice remains intelligible, if a little choppy. Overall, it’s entirely useable.

Jabra Elite 8 Active microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Jabra Elite 8 Active microphone demo (Office conditions):

Jabra Elite 8 Active microphone demo (Windy conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

2291 votes

Should you buy the Jabra Elite 8 Active?

The Jabra Elite 8 Active shown with the lid open propping up the case.
Despite the IP54 rating, the case feels pretty ordinary and plastic.

The Jabra Elite 8 Active is a good companion for workouts and going about your day. These buds sound good, have a secure fit, and the robust IP68 rating combined with an IP54-rated case makes them a solid choice. If you can’t abide by buttons instead of a touchpad, these might not be for you. Functionally, you get niceties like Dolby Atmos, in-ear detection, and sidetone when making calls.

The noise cancelation is good but can backfire with high-pitched incidental noises. The battery life is excellent, and the case is light and pocketable. The main detractor is the cost, which seems a touch steep at the regular price. Even so, if you need earbuds for exercising, these don’t require over-ear hooks or stabilizers and, therefore, fit into office settings well.

Jabra Elite 8 ActiveJabra Elite 8 Active
SG recommended
Jabra Elite 8 Active
ShakeGrip coating keeps the buds in place • IP68 (earbuds) IP54 (case) • Battery life
MSRP: $199.99
See price at Amazon
Jabra Elite 8
See price at Jabra
Jabra Elite 8

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

The Jabra Elite 10 come with 4 sizes of ear tips, a USB cable, a charging case, and your earbuds.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
Notice the unusually shaped ear tips for the Jabra Elite 10.

If you suspect that the Jabra Elite 8 Active fit isn’t exactly how you want, the Jabra Elite 10 offers a uniquely shaped set of earbuds with a very similar feature set. These have a lesser IP57 rating, which is still pretty robust by most measures. You get the same Sound+ app, Spotify Tap, Fast Fair, and in-ear detection. The battery lasts longer than the Elite 8 Active’s battery, and the Elite 10 can be had for $249 at Jabra.

If you’re looking for another workout alternative that doesn’t rely on over-ear hooks, the LG TONE Free Fit TF7 supplies a very comfortable fit with various-sized stabilizers. These stabilizers have enough give that they feel good without placing pressure anywhere. The buds are certified IP67, so you get a similar level of durability for the buds themselves. If you don’t care about spatial audio, they are a good alternative for ₹12989 at LG.

Frequently asked questions

Jabra Elite 7 Active earbuds inside the charging case on a wood table
The Jabra Elite 7 Active has a flatter case than the Elite 8 Active.

When you consider the depth of Jabra’s lineup, the differences between the Jabra Elite 7 Active aren’t going to be massive. Some differences to consider are that the Elite 7 Active has an IP57 rating, as opposed to the IP68 (and IP54 for the case) for the Elite 8 Active. You also only get 7 hours and 10 minutes versus 9 hours and 28 minutes on the Elite 8 Active.

Still, you have access to the same app and most of the same features. Both sound good and have comprehensive EQ. The noise canceling works slightly differently on these, as the Elite 7 Active is concerned primarily with lowest-pitched noises and isolates the highs, whereas the Elite 8 Active filters low frequencies and even some highs alongside the isolation. If you don’t need the most durable buds, the Elite 7 Active are also excellent earbuds. Check out our full breakdown of the Jabra Elite 8 Active vs Jabra Elite 7 Active.

Jabra Elite 7 ActiveJabra Elite 7 Active
Jabra Elite 7 Active
Great sound • ANC • IP57 rating
MSRP: $179.00
A great companion to any workout.
The Jabra Elite 7 Active is ideal for workouts and is a good pair of true wireless earbuds in general.

The Jabra Elite 8 Active and Elite 7 Pro have the same starting price; the Jabra Elite 8 Active is the superior product. That said since the Elite 7 Pro is older and frequently on sale, it is a good value option to consider. Learn more in our comparison of the Jabra Elite 8 Active vs Jabra Elite 7 Pro.

The main difference between the Jabra Elite and Jabra Elite Active true wireless earbuds is that the user priorities are shifted slightly. The Elite series are designed as all-around performers you can exercise while wearing, but they tend to have reduced IP ratings than the Elite Active buds. Additionally, the Elite Active buds come with ShakeGrip on the exterior to keep the buds in place. These are the main differences, but the performance is more case-by-case between individual Jabra models.

Yes, the Jabra Elite 8 Active support wireless charging.

With ANC enabled, the Jabra Elite 8 Active battery lasts 9 hours and 28 minutes on a single charge, according to our standardized testing.

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