Jabra Elite 8 Active reviewon September 13, 2023 at 15:02 Tech Advisor

At a glance

Expert’s Rating


Comfortable fitBuds durable and waterproofStrong ANCBalanced audioImpressive battery life


Materials pick up dirt easilyLong charging timesTinny call qualityNo hi-res codec support

Our Verdict

Whilst the Jabra Elite 8 Active have a few minor niggles, these buds are perfect for working out and provide great audio with strong ANC.

Price When Reviewed


Best Prices Today: Jabra Elite 8 Active


Jabra’s latest set of earbuds dedicated to exercise have been dubbed by the company as ‘the world’s toughest buds’. On paper, they do live up to that claim. They have some of the best waterproofing you can get on a product of this type and are made from durable materials to withstand knocks and drops. 

For that, you’ll have to fork out $199/£199. But are the Jabra Elite 8 Active headphones worth the steep price tag? I’ve tested these out whilst travelling, exercising and chilling at home to help you make an informed decision.  

Design and build

Four colour options 

IP68 rating on buds 

The Jabra Elite 8 Active come in four different colours: Black, Caramel, Grey and Navy Blue.  

They have a round design with a closed seal tip, and there are three different pairs of ear gels in the box to suit your ear shape. They’re small enough to fit under helmets without an issue, and they feel nice and lightweight at 5g per bud.

The Elite 8 Active buds have an IP68 rating, which is rare on earbuds. You could submerge them in water, or even wear them poolside, and not worry about them breaking. As they rely on a Bluetooth connection, you won’t be able to swim with them if you’re using a stroke that goes underwater, as Bluetooth basically stops working when submerged. You’d need headphones with dedicated offline music storage, like the H2O Audio Tri Pro Multi-Sport.  

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

These are comfortable to wear, even for long periods – I even ended up napping with them on. They stayed mostly secure in my ears when I found the right tips for me, though prior to that I had an embarrassing moment dancing around my kitchen where the buds flew right out, hit the wall and dropped to the floor. Fortunately, this yielded zero marks, showing the US MIL-810H certification is well earned (the buds are rated, not the case).

With the smallest ear tips, I wore them out on a jog in the rain and they stayed securely in place, and they were equally stable during a tough HIIT workout with burpees and squats. However, keep in mind that there are no wings or hooks included for extra peace of mind.

You could submerge them in water, or even wear them poolside, and not worry about them breaking

The rubberised material on the case and buds seems to pick up marks and gunk more than other buds I’ve used. The case isn’t quite as durable as the buds, with an IP54 rating. However, it has also survived a few knocks and bumps without picking up any marks or damage.  

Rather than touch controls, the Jabra Elite 8 Active have a button on each bud, with different clicks assigned to various commands. Whilst they are responsive, they can feel a tad uncomfortable as you end up pressing the bud further into your ear canal. 

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Smart features  

Six EQ modes 

Clean app layout 

Setting up the buds with my smartphone is as easy as pie. Simply remove the buds from the case, press the buttons for three seconds until the LEDs start flashing blue (indicating that they are now in pairing mode), and then go into your Bluetooth settings to connect them.  

To get the full usage out of the buds, there’s the Jabra+ app for iOS and Android. It’s where you can adjust the ANC, EQ levels and button controls.

There are six audio presets available: Neutral, Speech, Bass boost, Treble boost, Smooth and Energise. There also a customisable mode with sliders, so you can adjust the audio to manually suit your preferences.

Hannah Cowton / Foundry

The app even includes options for the output of your call audio, with a sliding scale for sidetone (hearing your own voice during a call), and the option to change the EQ levels to favour either treble or bass. There is also support for Spotify Tap, and for Google Assistant on Android and Siri on iOS. 

Jabra’s layout of the app is clean and customisable, with no space wasted and no issues with loading or crashing. It’s high quality, and one of the best user experiences I’ve had with an audio product.  

The Bluetooth range is up to 10m, and I had no problems with the connection dropping when I went upstairs in my house and left my phone downstairs. There’s also on-ear detection, so the audio you’re playing will pause when you remove one or both earbuds. You can toggle this auto-pause on or off in the app settings.

Jabra’s layout of the app is clean and customisable … and one of the best user experiences I’ve had with an audio product 

Sound quality

6mm drivers 

Adaptive ANC  

Dolby Spatial audio 

Whilst marketing for the Jabra Elite 8 Active focuses on their durable build, the sound is nothing to sniff about either. They have 6mm drivers, with a frequency range of 20 – 20000Hz. They have support for standard codecs such as SBC and AAC, but there is no hi-res codec support like you’ll find on earbuds such as the Sony WF-1000XM5.

Nonetheless, audio is solid on the Elite 8 Active, with a fair balance between bass, mids and highs. My signature track for testing, Sebastian Bohm’s remix of New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’, has bright strings and strong drums. The instruments are clearly distinguishable and create a fantastically blended listening experience.

On the standard mode, the bass hasn’t quite got that ‘thump’. This can be improved in the EQ settings, though you won’t get the same experience as you would with an over the ear pair of headphones. I found myself drifting to either the Smooth or Energise modes the most.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Rock tracks such as Beastie Boys’ ‘No Sleep Til Brooklyn’ has sharp drums and snares with no blowing out like you may find on cheaper earphones. Pop songs such as ‘Unwritten’ by Natasha Bedingfield sound warm and lively on these buds, whilst funk tracks such as ‘Cosmic Sans’ by Cory Wong and Tom Misch have a distinctive and playful bassline that accentuates the filtered lead guitar.  

Hans Zimmer’s ‘Planet Earth II Suite’ has a wonderful depth to it, with small details in the orchestra being highlighted. For podcasts, I utilised the Speech mode, though this does make intro soundtracks sound much quieter and a bit weird – vocals are just fine on Neutral mode anyway. I have noticed that a few Twitch streams also have a slight lag on dialogue.

Dolby spatial audio is supported on these buds. This improves the atmosphere in movie scenes designed with this type of audio, such as the the concert performance of Shallow in ‘A Star Is Born’. However, I’d avoid using it on normal music tracks, as otherwise it makes everything sound like its being broadcast down a toilet.

I’ve been impressed with the ANC on the Elite 8 Active. They’ve been strong enough to strongly muffle the sound of plane engines and make the sound of a screaming baby not as grating. Whilst they won’t provide complete silence as a pair of over the ear headphones would due to the bigger seal, they’re some of the best I’ve used.  

The Talk Through/Ambient mode is also a treat, though you will need your volume on the lower end to still hear conversations, such as if you’re ordering your first pumpkin spiced lattes of the year like me (no judgement please).

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

My only gripe with both modes is that sometimes, when no music/podcasts are playing, the filtering noise is audible, which is a little uncomfortable. However, I can’t imagine many people will be using ANC with nothing playing.  

There are six microphones on the Jabra Elite 8, three on each, which are used most during phone calls. Whilst the buds were quite effective in blocking wind noise and cars, my voice was quite tinny and not super loud to the person I was on the call with.

Battery life & charging 

Up to 32 hours battery life 

Around 2 hours and 35 minutes to charge 

Longevity on the Jabra Elite 8 Active is excellent. The buds will last up to eight hours on their own, which is extendable up to 32 hours with the case – that’s using ANC. This can be extended to a whopping 56 hours without ANC, which is 14 hours using the buds alone.

Those figures were accurate in my testing. Jabra includes the battery level in the app, and a constant notification on your smartphone also provides quick viewing. When the juice is running low, the buds will inform you with a voice prompt.

Charging for the Elite 8 Active is unimpressively slow at 2 hours and 35 from flat to full in my testing, though Jabra states that this could take up to three hours in total. There is a USB-C cable included in the box, but the case doesn’t support wireless charging.

Charging for the Elite 8 Active is unimpressively slow

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Price & availability  

The Jabra Elite 8 Active cost $199/£199. American readers can buy them from Jabra, Amazon and Walmart, whilst those in the UK can buy them from Jabra, Amazon and John Lewis. Jabra offers a two-year warranty, should anything go wrong. 

If you’re in the market for fitness focussed earphones, then you should also check out the Beats Fit Pro, which retail for the same price as the Elite 8 Active. There’s also the Shokz OpenFit. For more options, check out our chart of the best true wireless buds.  

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Should I buy the Jabra Elite 8 Active? 

Whilst the Jabra Elite 8 Active have a high price tag, it is just about justifiable – especially if you need earphones to accompany you during exercise. They are secure, comfortable and usable in rain and for sweaty workouts thanks to IP68 water and dust resistance. The military grade durability is nice to have, too.

The audio is just as impressive, suiting a wide range of genres. The ANC blocks out a good deal of noise, though just be aware that sometimes the microphones pick up a bit of ambient noise when nothing is playing. 

Combine all that with a long battery life, and you’ve got a stellar pair of buds on your hands – and in your ears. But there are a lot of excellent alternatives at similarly high prices.


6mm drivers

Six microphone array

Wireless: Bluetooth 5.3, A2DP v1.3, AVRCP v1.6, HFP v1.8, PBP V1.0, TMAP V 1.0

Button controls

Battery life: Up to 32 hours (with ANC and with case), up to 56 hours (without ANC and with case)

IP68 rating (buds only), IP54 water resistance (case)

Weight: 5g per earphone, 46g case

Works with Jabra Sound+ app

Supports Dolby Spatial Audio

Supports AAC and SBC codecs

Siri and Google Assistant support

10m range

US MIL-810H certification

Audio, Headphones

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