Jabra Elite Sport

As technology progressed over the last century, the way in which people listened to music changed drastically. At first, people could only listen to professional musicians live in concert, but the advent of recording technology allowed them to start listening in the comfort of their own home. Then came radio and other forms of wireless communication, which allowed music listening devices to become even smaller, which allowed people to listen to their music wherever they went, which led to the advent of private listening devices like the headphones. As music players became smaller and more powerful, these headphones changed with them, but not to nearly the same degree. Now, the cutting-edge headphones are the wireless earbuds: finally, the devices used to listen to music are as small as the devices that store it.

The Jabra Elite Sport is a new entry into the world of wireless earbuds. It provides its own unique take on the portable listening experience based on its unconventional design to the point where it really feels as though the manufacturers of these earbuds are trying to pioneer the next stage in the evolution of headphones. However, the way in which the Elite Sport approaches this task comes with its share of drawbacks, in spite of its numerous benefits.

Join our private, growing community of passionate runners.

Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Impressive waterproofing
  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Compatible with many different activities
  • Decent sense of style
  • Affordable price
  • Cons
    • Mediocre battery life
    • Limited color options
    • Key Features
      As one might expect from the name of this product, the Jabra Elite Sport offers many features that make it highly compatible with a variety of strenuous physical activities. While it wouldn’t be a good idea to wear these wireless earbuds while participating in an actual sports game like soccer or football, the Elite Sport can be easily worn while training for a sport of some kind. Whether the wearer is interested in some casual jogging or serious speed drills, these earbuds will keep up with them every step of the way.

      Something similar can be said for this product’s ability to function in a gym setting since they can easily accompany an individual while they perform weightlifting exercises, gymnastics, plyometrics, and calisthenics. In fact, these earbuds are also fully waterproof, meaning that they can be worn while swimming as well. The lack of any cordage helps them to provide this impressive level of versatility, as does its waterproofing which makes it resistant to damage or odor from sweat.

      Basic Features
      As a pair of earbuds, wireless though they may be, the Jabra Elite Sport offers portable music listening as its most basic feature. Since they are designed to function with modern smart devices, these earbuds are compatible with Bluetooth and pair to any device that supports this form of connectivity. Additionally, both sides of these headphones contain features that allow them to function as a headset for taking calls, with an inline volume remote and microphone.

      Since these Jabra earbuds are wireless, they derive their power from an internal power source that needs to be charged regularly. They claim to offer approximately 4 1/2 hours of play time and around 13 ½ hours of standby time, which is reasonable but not necessarily impressive. Using any of the advanced features outlined in the section below will likely further shorten its active play time on one charge, but Jabra has fortunately included a convenient charging case to alleviate this design shortcoming. With this case, owners of the Elite Sport can easily and safely store their headphones and charge them at the same time.
      Advanced Features
      While the two microphones that are attached to both buds of the Jabra Elite Sport are mainly intended to be used for speaking to people over the phone, they serve additional purposes that provide greater convenience for the wearer. For example, the ability to analyze audio from two microphones over one allows these earbuds to isolate and remove excessive noise while the wearer is talking on the phone, ensuring that the person listening on the other end hears them clearly. This technology can also be used by the wearer to drown out background noise while they listen to their audio, be it music or podcasts or audiobooks.

      Although this is incredibly useful for training or running in relatively safe environments with a great deal of background noise, it doesn’t help people who want to wear the Jabra Elite Sport in unsafe environments, such as the side of a busy road, where situational awareness is important. To meet the needs of these individuals, Jabra offers a feature they call ‘hear through’ that disables this active noise cancellation, which then allows wearers to hear things going on around them. It isn’t as effective as bone conduction listening devices, but it’s passable and will meet the needs of most customers.

      Aside from this, Jabra supplies a few additional advanced features that are less conventional in the world of headphones. One of these features is an in-ear heart monitor which can track the wearer’s cardiovascular rhythm while they exercise. This data can then be synchronized with devices and apps that track statistics like these, such as a FitBit or Apple Watch. Jabra even offers compatibility with their own sports-related app, naturally referred to as Jabra Sport Life.
      Sound Quality
      The quality of the sound played through these wireless headphones could be considered above average. According to reviewers, any audio they listened to through the Jabra Elite Sport was clear, thanks in no small part to the aforementioned noise isolation and cancellation features. On the other hand, this device doesn’t provide sound quality as good as some other wireless headphones and earbuds on the market. In particular, one reviewer mentioned that Apple’s AirPods offered a much more impressive range of lows, mids, and highs than the Elite Sport. Additionally, some users may have difficulty with maintaining a solid connection with their smart device if it is an older product, is too far away from the headphones, or is in an area with signal interference. These are all common problems that can occur with any Bluetooth device, but they’re worth mentioning regardless since they can affect the user’s experience.
      As was mentioned in the above section, the Jabra Elite Sport connects to compatible music players via Bluetooth. In particular, this product uses Bluetooth 4.1, which is a relatively recent incarnation of the ubiquitous technology that allows it to provide convenient features such as better communication with 4G devices. Bluetooth has its share of haters and fans, and both sides of the argument have some merit. Those who prefer Bluetooth connectivity in products like wireless headphones like that the technology is almost universally adopted by modern smart devices and believe it to be passable in terms of connection quality and power consumption. Others dislike Bluetooth because they find it to have fickle connectivity, consider it to be a power hog that drains their battery, and would vastly prefer newer forms of wireless connectivity such as NFC. Ultimately, these headphones should work for the vast majority of users, even if they don’t perform as well as they may like.
      Due to the fact that these are earbuds designed to be placed inside the wearer’s ears, many individuals will find the Jabra Elite Sport to be less comfortable than some alternatives. Aside from the highly specialized bone conduction style of headphones, over-the-ear cup style headphones are considered the most comfortable option that still delivers excellent sound quality. However, Jabra makes a solid effort to alleviate any potential discomfort by providing many different types and sizes of ear tips. And while it still might not be enough to ensure an adequate level of comfort for those who have the most sensitive ears, having the ability to choose between silicone gels, foam tips, or wing-style buds in three different sizes of each will likely ensure that a significant majority of people who try these wireless earbuds will find a comfortable fit for them.
      The kind of style that Jabra attempts to provide with their Elite Sport is an extremely low-profile one. These earbuds have been designed in a way that emphasizes subtlety over ostentatiousness to the point that a casual observer wouldn’t be able to tell that someone was wearing them unless they were uncomfortably close. Some wireless earbuds will have a more significant visual presence due to the addition of a band between the two earpieces, which can stretch over the front or back of the wearer’s neck. However, even earbuds that don’t provide any kind of connecting band like the aforementioned AirPods from Apple tend to stand out because of their bright color palette. The Jabra Elite Sport comes in either solid black or grey with splashes of highlighter yellow, but even the bright color accents of the latter choice are obscured when these earbuds are worn. While this may make these listening devices easy to misplace, the particular style chosen by Jabra will certainly appeal to those with an eye for minimalistic fashion.
      Usually, the one part of any headphones or earbuds that is most susceptible to damage is their cords. These are usually thin, reinforced with weak insulation, and prone to knotting, tearing, or breakage. The simple fact that the Jabra Elite Sport completely eliminated all cordage from their design is a major boon to their durability since they have effectively removed the most fragile aspect of their design. However, this is still a product comprised of two small buds made from plastic and silicone, meaning that they won’t last long if someone steps on them.

      Something else that is extremely impressive about these earbuds is the fact that they are highly resilient to dust and water. Jabra proudly boasts that the Elite Sport has an IP67 resistance rating, which is a universally recognized standard of rating a product’s resilience to these kinds of hazards. Under this particular rating, these earbuds are capable of withstanding prolonged contact with dust and complete immersion into a body of water at depths as low as one meter for roughly 30 minutes without sustaining any damage at all. This protection also applies to sweat, meaning that any perspiration generated by the wearer after an intense workout session can be easily cleaned off and won’t leave an odor. So long as the wearer keeps these earbuds firmly attached to their head, no harm should come to them during an average exercise session.
      Ease of Use
      Some major hurdles to accessibility that every wireless music listening device needs to overcome are connectivity and charging. For comparison, a pair of wired headphones or earbuds will be both connected and powered through the headphone jack, eliminating the need for the wearer to even consider these aspects of their hardware. Alternatively, removing the wires comes with the need to consider alternative ways of both powering and pairing these devices. Using Bluetooth to wirelessly connect these devices and Micro USB to charge them are convenient since these two technologies are widely adopted to the point of near-ubiquitousness, but the fact remains that it is less accessible to the traditional method. Provided that the wearer can overcome these two hurdles, however, the end user experience is fairly convenient and simple.
      Power Source
      As was previously mentioned, the Jabra Sport Elite must be charged in order to properly function since it can’t derive power from a headphone jack in the traditional manner. According to the manufacturer’s website, these earbuds have a standard battery life of around 13 to 14 hours when on standby and 4 to 5 hours of continuous play time. This is quite frankly not that impressive, especially when compared to many other wireless products on the market that can last for multiple days on standby mode and offer play times upwards of 6 hours. The fact that the carrying case for the Sport Elite functions as a charging dock helps to make the experience more convenient, but it doesn’t change the fact that users of this product will likely need to charge them every night.
      Prices vary wildly for headphones and earbuds, with some offering stronger justifications for their cost than others. It can be difficult to determine what is an acceptable price range for a particular pair of headphones, but the general consensus seems to be that those with wireless functionality are commonly found in the range of $150 to $300. The Jabra Sport Elite currently sits on the low end of that spectrum, although its initial retail price was closer to the higher end. Even at its most pricey, this product is far from the most expensive of its kind. And while it may not provide the same level of audio fidelity or battery life as some of these more expensive products, the features customers receive for its current cost is well worth the investment.
      Key Features

      • Bluetooth 4.1 wireless connectivity

      • Active noise cancellation with hear through support

      • IP67 water resistance rating

      • Completely cordless design

      • Carrying case doubles as charging station

      • In-ear heart rate tracker

      • Compatible with Jabra Sport Life smartphone app

      Bottom Line
      It’s tough to find any other headphones that offer quite the same set of features and functionality as the Jabra Sport Elite. Even if the wearer has no plans of tracking their heart rate or swimming while wearing them, there are plenty of base-level benefits to justify this product for a fitness enthusiast. They offer a fantastically low-profile design that is guaranteed to accommodate a wide variety of exercises and can withstand a bit of punishment. So long as the owner keeps track of the small pieces so they don’t get misplaced, these earbuds can last for quite a while and provide an excellent experience the entire time.
      Where to Buy
      By Mike Valverde
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 29. 2021

      Join our private, growing community of passionate runners

      Inside RunnerClick Pro, runners of all strengths come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, participate in personal challenges, and more.