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Headphone Review: Jabra Elite 8 Active

Round 4 - Headphone Review: Jabra Elite 8 Active

Ring the bell. We've made it to Round 4 of the Six Minute Mile and Running With Music Headphone Review Series. Let’s take a quick step back, shall we? We’ve tested Back Bay Audio, Shokz, and Jaybird Sports so far.  In a nutshell, the Backbay Tempos are great for the price, the Shokz OpenRun Pros are a sure thing and a clear favorite for most runners (but a little odd for me personally) and the Jaybird Vista 2s fit like a glove but are totally unreliable. You can check out all three reviews in detail here. Alas, we are clearly not done with this quest. Today I’m reviewing the Jabra Elite 8 Active. Jabra is a Danish brand that specializes in a full range of audio equipment. They’ve been around since the ‘80s but started coming up as a regular option on lists for “Best Sports Headphones” around 2000. Back then I was using Jaybirds so I did not try them out, but I specifically remember hearing good things as they became more of a household name. So, for obvious reasons, when SMM and I decided to take on this challenge, Jabra was one of the first brands that came to mind. A quick reminder about my test process. I have worn every pair that I have tried in this series for a minimum of 50 miles. I have also made a point to wear them in different conditions and for different types of workouts.  For these specifically, I have done long runs, multiple track workouts and I raced a 4-miler with them. As far as weather, I've worn them in very cold temps (single digits), rain and sleet/snow. So you can trust that you are getting the full picture here when I break this down for you. Let’s get right to it. 


I’m admittedly not an expert on quality but I do feel after trying multiple designs that I can safely say this is a very high quality product. The earbuds are both light and durable and come in a sturdy but soft charging case that easily fits in a pocket. Jabra claims that the Elite 8s are waterproof, sweatproof and dustproof. I’ve yet to wear them in the desert but I can vouch for both the waterproof and sweatproof claims as I have worn them in both wet and sweaty conditions. Fully charged, they have eight hours of playback and have an additional twenty four hours of recharging from the case. This is huge as you can count on these to last for a full marathon or even an ultra if that’s your gig. In addition, they have what’s called “Adaptive Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation” so if you want to block things out when you’re on the move, this feature allows you to shut everything down but the music. I have used this a couple of times when it has been windy and it makes a huge difference. There is nothing worse than feeling like you are running in a wind tunnel with background music on. Well, there are some worse things, but you know what I mean. If and when you want to hear it, in this case, you’re good to go.


As I’ve mentioned in all of my reviews up to this point, I’m not a sound connoisseur. If I put them in my ears and press play and I can hear the music pretty well then I’m good to go for the most part. These do have what they call Spatial Sound powered by Dolby which I know is a tried and true audio technology. I have them in Noise Cancellation mode with the volume up and I am totally in the zone, these sound pretty freaking fantastic. That’s enough for me.


I confess that I do not tend to read manuals when I receive a new product. I tend to take them out of the box and hope that instinctually I will figure out how to set things up. (Don’t pretend most of you aren’t the same way.) Seriously, though, these were so easy to set up it felt like it was too good to be true. I put them in my ears and pressed the button, found them in my Bluetooth settings and I was off. I do run with my phone in a pocket but as far as the connection goes, it’s crystal clear and has not once broken up since I’ve used them. I have taken calls both walking and running without any issues as well. I don’t need fancy call technology but these do amplify your voice for the person on the other end when conditions are loud, like when you're running with full on wind in the face. And that’s a really nice feature. You can talk in your normal voice rather than yelling over the wind which likely looks pretty awkward to the outside observer.   


I’m not going to lie. I was skeptical of these. There are no wings and the bud shape is very rounded. Comfortable?  Yes. But I was worried they would not stay in my very small ears which is a frequent problem for me. That said, to date, these have not let me down. Unlike any other style I’ve tried, these are designed with what they call “Shakegrip technology” which in layman’s terms means they have a rubbery outer layer that gently grips the inside of the ear right after you put them in. And these babies do not fall out. If you’ve been reading these reviews so far, you’ll know that fit is sort of the game changer for me. Even if they’re top-notch quality, if they don’t stay in my ears they drive me nuts. As I write this, I’m smiling because these are a sure thing and I am pretty damn happy about it.

PRICE: $199.99 (Note: I have seen them on sale recently for $159.99.)

Let’s be honest. These are pricey. But they are worth every penny as far as I can tell. If you want a long term investment, knowing how good they are, the Jabras are definitely the way to go. I can honestly tell you that I have about 8 pairs in rotation at the moment and these are the ones I am using the most frequently. At one point I thought I lost them and I was ready to throw down and get a second pair despite the fact that I have multiple others to choose from. Thankfully, I found them so I didn’t have to bite that bullet. But I would if I had to. Just saying.



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