Jabra Elite Sport Earbuds 2017 Update
- Outstanding battery life
- Very comfortable
- Great microphone
Could be better
- Sound quality
- Included app
Jabra’s truly wireless sports earbuds get a hefty battery update.
Jabra’s Elite Sport headset is the flagship model of their sports line-up, and its latest update is a leap in the right direction when it comes to battery life. Jabra claims the new model has a total battery life of 13.5 hours when the portable charging case is used.
Beyond the extended battery life, this headset mixes high comfort levels with heart-rate analysis and decent sound quality.
The Elite Sport earbuds are truly wireless, with nary a cable in sight. They also have a low profile when worn, unlike other wireless headsets like the Apple Earbuds.
The earbuds themselves have a utilitarian and simple design, but look great when worn. They only come in black, but have a tasteful aesthetic similar to most of today’s sports headsets. Like any good sports headset, the earbuds are also waterproof with an IP67 rating.
All good sports headsets come with a case, and Jabra has outdone themselves with theirs. The included case doubles as a portable charger (more on that later), is sturdy and shares the same attractive styling as the headset itself. Overall, it’s an elegant package and an important accessory for anyone packing these in their gym bag.
The Elite Sport earbuds are hands-down the most comfortable headset I’ve reviewed all year. I forgot I was wearing these earbuds on many occasions, and they were comfortable regardless of whether I was running, lifting weights, stretching or sitting at my desk.
Jabra gives you the option of three different size adapters in both silicon gel and foam, and three different size ear wings to keep the earbuds hooked into your actual ear. This means you’ll have a few different sizing and texture options to get the right fit.
The earbuds never felt like they were going to fall out during runs, stretches or heavy weights sessions, which is crucial for sports headsets.
The one downside of the truly wireless design is that if you want to take these earbuds out mid-workout, you can’t really hang them off your ear like a regular headset. I found this to be slightly annoying when approached by a friend in the gym, but they were well worth it when going for a solitary run.
Jabra’s Hear Through technology somewhat addresses this problem by allowing you to boost external sounds. This is great for hearing your surroundings when running or biking outside. Unfortunately, it doesn’t totally address the issue of a mid-workout chat because while I could hear my friend speaking clearly, I couldn’t hear my own voice very clearly.
The heart-rate monitor works well but the accompanying Jabra Sport app can be restricting. I had no problems getting it to detect my heart rate, but it was missing many types of different workouts. The app comes with many pre-planned circuits, which I didn’t try, but I couldn’t find an option to track a regular weights routine.
I was able to overcome this later quite easily after a little digging by building a custom workout, but overall the app doesn’t have the ease of use of a competitor like the Record app included with the Under Armour Sport Wireless Heart Rate.
Set up and sound quality
Setting up and using this headset is easy. Once you’ve paired it with your device, you’re ready to go.
The Jabra Elite Sport earbuds sound good but not great. They weren’t as bassy or loud as the recently reviewed Bose SoundSport or the Sennheiser PMX-686 Sports, but still provided clear, decent sound when playing music or podcasts.
The microphone included in these earbuds is also a standout feature. Jabra includes two microphones on each bud to filter out background noise, and they are very effective. I was able to have a phone conversation while running on a treadmill in a noisy gym complete with music in the background and never had to repeat myself.
Jabra’s biggest claim with their latest update to the Elite Sport is that the new version has a 50% longer battery life. According to their claims, you’ll get 13.5 hours of battery life with one charge. This is made up of 4.5 hours of battery life on the headset and 9 hours of extra charge through the case.
The charging process is simple. Once you’ve completed your workout, put the earbuds back into the case to charge them using the case’s battery. When the case is out of juice, plug it into your computer using the included micro-USB cable.
So did they actually live up to this claim? Impressively, they did.
I monitored the battery life of these earbuds over 10 days and was able to get just under 14 hours of use.
With one charge, I was able to listen to music and podcasts during five workouts, listen to over four hours of music while working at my desk and listen to some guided meditation sessions while at home.
The one fault with the battery life is in how it’s communicated to the user. The Bose SoundSport has a great feature where it’ll automatically tell you the remaining battery life of your headset when you turn it on. This gives you a heads up as to when you’ll need to recharge it.
The Elite Sport earbuds don’t do this. Instead, you’ll have to either press the volume button on the side of the left earbud or open the Jabra Sport app to check your remaining battery life.
Pricing and verdict
With an RRP of $349, Jabra has placed the Elite Sport Earbuds in the expensive side of town.
If you work out with intensity and frequency each week, these are well worth it for the beefy battery life, true wireless design, high comfort levels and great microphone. If you also want guidance and data when working out, then the heart-rate monitoring and app will also come in handy.
If you’re only working out infrequently, there are many budget headsets that might present better value. Similarly, if you value sound quality above all else, models from manufacturers like Bose might also warrant a closer look.
Overall, Jabra has managed to take a great product and make it even better.