Thu. Jun 13th, 2024


Key Takeaways

  • Jabra Elite 8 Active earbuds are designed to be tough, with an IP68 rating against dust, water, drops, and sweat. They are built for outdoor activities.
  • The earbuds may not have the most secure fit while running and the call quality is mediocre compared to other options.
  • The earbuds offer long battery life, a 2-year warranty, and good sound quality, although they lack some depth in bass compared to high-end earbuds.


While the new Jabra Elite 10 earbuds are aimed at the stationary crowd, these new Jabra Elite 8 Active earbuds are squarely focused on the adventurous type. The goal was to wrap excellent sound quality and ANC performance in a durable shell. It was an ambitious plan that mostly panned out.

Elite 8 Active in a blue color

Jabra Elite 8 Active

The Elite 8 Active are Jabra’s latest tough earbuds that are positioned to combat dust, water, drops, and sweat.

Microphone?
6

Audio codecs
AAC, SBC

Bluetooth
5.3

IP Rating
IP68 (earbuds); IP54 (case)

Solo bud mode?
Yes

Driver Size
6mm

Wireless Charging
Yes

Dimensions (case)
1 x 1.8 x 2.6in (24.4 x 46.9 x 65.4mm)

Charging Port
USB-C

Noise Cancellation
Adaptive Hybrid ANC

Earbud weight
0.2oz (5g)

Charging case weight
1.6oz (46.4g)

Frequency response
20Hz – 20,000Hz

Max playback time
8 hours with ANC on, 14 hours with ANC off

Charging time
5 minutes for 1 hour listening time; 3 hours total charge time

Maximum play time (overall)
32 hours with ANC on, 56 hours with ANC off

Pros

  • Rated to guard against dust, water, sweat, and drops
  • 2-year warranty
  • Long battery life
Cons

  • Not the securest fit while running
  • Call quality mediocre compared to other options

Running With the Jabra Elite 8 Active

I can verify that the Elite 8 Active are at least somewhat durable because, within three minutes of leaving my house to go on a run, one fell out of my ear and hit the ground. It still worked fine after I picked it up. Unfortunately, they always felt on the verge of falling out without any rubber wings or mechanism to secure the Elite 8 Active in my ears.

Jabra has tried to address this insecure issue with what it calls ShakeGrip. As the name implies, the rubber material is supposed to keep the earbuds from falling out when shaken. This wasn’t my experience. However, I wouldn’t call ShakeGrip false advertising. I also don’t think everyone will have the same insecure experience.

Ears are shaped differently. Plenty of earbuds have fallen out of my ears while running. That’s why I tend to use Beats Fit Pro, which have little rubber hooks. Even after I got the Elite 8 Active back in my ears for that first run, I spent most of my 3-mile trek constantly pressing them in and checking on their fit.

I had a feeling going into the running test that I would have the same experience I’ve had in the past. If you know earbuds tend to fall out of your ears, you probably shouldn’t expect anything different here. If you don’t have that issue, however, these should be just fine.

Design and Fit

Jabra Elite 8 Active in blue showing the ear tip
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

The above was my experience with the Jabra Elite 8 Active while running and exercising. My experience with the earbuds while sitting at my desk or standing in my kitchen was much different. They sat in my ears fine and rarely felt like they would fall out. People’s mileage will vary for fit, obviously, but especially during more intense activities.

In terms of overall comfort, I appreciated the soft-touch rubber material coating the earbuds. This is mostly for durability, but it felt nice too.

Most Jabra earbuds over the last several years have been comfortable. They generally have soft edges with nice contours. The Elite 8 Active were no different.

Like most traditional wireless earbuds with silicone tips, my ears did feel closed off and plugged up. This was accentuated this time around because I have also been testing Jabra’s other recently released earbuds, the Elite 10. Those earbuds feature a different semi-open design, which was much more comfortable to my ears.

If you don’t need the toughest durability ratings against sweat, water, dust, and dropping, then I would recommend considering the Elite 10. If you want a more rugged pair of earbuds, then the Elite 8 Active are still the way to go.

Durability in Tough Environments

Elite 8 Active earbuds dripping with water from going in a pool
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

Prioritizing durability doesn’t only mean making a product for people planning to scale Everest. It could be as simple as working in the garden and not wanting to worry about getting earbuds muddy or sweaty.

Having good-sounding earbuds that you don’t need to baby or put effort into caring for is absolutely a valid purchasing consideration.

Elite 8 Active earbuds resting at the bottom of a shallow pool
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

Elite 8 Active earbuds resting at the bottom of a shallow pool.

Not only do the earbuds have an IP68 rating, but the wireless charging case has an IP54 dust and splash rating. I haven’t seen many cases that protect against the elements. It seems warranted as the case could just as easily slip out of a pocket and get dirty or wet.

If you do want to get more extreme than a bit of mud in the backyard garden, Jabra says the Elite 8 Active passed Highly Accelerated Corrosion Testing (HACT) and passed all U.S. military 810H tests. The crux of this means the earbuds should be able to survive and tropical vacation—or go through the washing and drying machines.

I dropped the earbuds in their case in a shallow pool as well as dropped them in individually. Afterward, music played just fine from them and sounded like it had pre-soak.

Sound and Call Quality

Showing the Jabra Elite 10 earbuds next to the Elite 8 Active
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

The cocoa-colored Elite 10 have an oval ear tip compared to the more traditional circle tips on the blue Elite 8 Active.

Music sounded very good on the Jabra Elite 8 Active, but not quite at the top tier level. Only when directly compared to high-end, premium earbuds did I notice some of the ways they felt sonically lacking. Otherwise, they were impressive.

I wished the Elite 8 Active had a little fuller sound when it came to the low and high ends. The mid-range with vocals was present and clear, but the earbuds lacked some of the depth of bass that the Elite 10 were capable of. Enabling the Jabra Sound+ EQ set to Bass Boost helped display more dimensions of songs like “Summertime Magic” by Childish Gambino.

I felt like all music genres performed well, without any bias towards one style over another. These worked well for energetic runs with pop music as well as mellow times of folk music trying to be productive at a desk.

For those curious, the Elite 8 Active feature 6mm drivers—compared to the 10mm ones in the Elite 10.

There are six microphones across the two earbuds to handle active noise cancelation, HearThrough transparency, and calls. The ANC blocked plenty of outside noise while HearThrough provided good awareness while running on the street. While the call quality was decent, the clarity sounded a little lacking for the $200 price point. That, however, is not the point of these earbuds, and they can absolutely handle taking a call while leaving the gym.

Microphone Test: Inside a Quiet Room

Microphone Test: Noisy Cafe Environment

Battery Life and the Jabra Sound+ App

At the top end, the Jabra Elite 8 Active are rated for a total of 56 hours of listening time, using the charging case. More practically, the earbuds should get around 8 hours of listening time while using ANC—or 14 hours with ANC turned off.

There’s no Dolby head tracking for the Elite 8 Active, like there is on the Elite 10, but there is still Dolby Audio support. Inside the Jabra Sound+ mobile app, available for iPhone and Android, is where you can turn this on or off.

The companion app also features music EQ, nature soundscapes, and the ability to configure all the settings and controls.

Much like recent Jabra earbuds, the Elite 8 Active have clicky buttons to control audio. They were responsive and easier to use than touch controls. I hate using touch controls on earbuds while running. These ones handled pausing audio and skipping track well while on the road.

Price and Availability

The Jabra Elite 8 Active went on sale on August 31, 2023, for $199. They’re available on the company’s website as well as at retail locations like Best Buy and Amazon.

Should You Buy the Jabra Elite 8 Active?

Jabra Elite 8 Active sitting in an open charging case
Tyler Hayes / How-To Geek

One of my past complaints about Jabra’s earbuds has been about product differentiation. A lot of their offerings have overlapped significantly, to the point that even good products don’t stand out. The Jabra Elite 8 Active at least have a compelling narrative—they’re meant to be tough and durable. People who want that should be well served by these earbuds.

I can’t say whether they’re the world’s toughest earbuds, which seems hard to prove, but they did keep working for me through several drops and lots of sweat. If nothing else, the company’s longer two-year warranty at least puts some credence to the claim.

Elite 8 Active in a blue color

Jabra Elite 8 Active

The Elite 8 Active are Jabra’s latest tough earbuds that are positioned to combat dust, water, drops, and sweat.

Microphone?
6

Audio codecs
AAC, SBC

Bluetooth
5.3

IP Rating
IP68 (earbuds); IP54 (case)

Solo bud mode?
Yes

Driver Size
6mm

Wireless Charging
Yes

Dimensions (case)
1 x 1.8 x 2.6in (24.4 x 46.9 x 65.4mm)

Charging Port
USB-C

Noise Cancellation
Adaptive Hybrid ANC

Earbud weight
0.2oz (5g)

Charging case weight
1.6oz (46.4g)

Frequency response
20Hz – 20,000Hz

Max playback time
8 hours with ANC on, 14 hours with ANC off

Charging time
5 minutes for 1 hour listening time; 3 hours total charge time

Maximum play time (overall)
32 hours with ANC on, 56 hours with ANC off



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By John P.

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