Jabra Elite Sport Review

Introduction


Truly wireless earbuds are all the rage in the audio world right now. Headphones that connect wirelessly to our devices via Bluetooth aren’t anything new, but the age of bulky over-the-ear designs and earbuds that feature a cord connecting the two speaker units is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

When talking about truly wireless earbuds these days, we mean gadgets along the lines of Samsung’s Gear IconX and Apple AirPods – two individual earbuds units that are not connected in any way, shape, or form by a cord. This completely wireless design allows for an even greater sense of mobility and ease of use, and while some people are still under the impression that this design makes wireless earbuds easy to lose, it’s a trend that doesn’t show any signs of going away at any point soon.

Jabra is the latest company to take a stab at this market with the Elite Sport - a pair of wireless earphones that have been designed to be the ultimate workout tool. Completely wireless earbuds may still be in their infancy, but compared to other options that have already been released, do the Elite Sport have what it takes to stand up to the rest of the crowd?

In the box
  • Jabra Elite Sport wireless earbuds
  • Charging case
  • EarWings (Small/Medium/Large)
  • EarGels in silicon and foam (Small/Medium/Large)
  • microUSB charging cable
  • Quick start guide
  • Safety and warranty information 

Design and Comfort

The Elite Sport won’t win any awards for looks, but the fit is snug, secure, and customizable

Jabra Elite Sport Review

The two main wireless earbuds that currently exist are the Gear Icon X and AirPods, and in regards to design, Jabra’s offering is very similar to the former of the two. Unlike the Q-Tip-esque AirPods, the Elite Sport boast an aesthetic that’s more circular and chunky. Black is the only color option that’s available, and as a whole, the Elite Sport aren’t all that good-looking.

Jabra Elite Sport Review
Jabra Elite Sport Review
Apple’s AirPods were hit with a ton of criticism for their odd design, but I personally prefer the look of those as opposed to what Jabra’s created. The Elite Sport appear quite bulky when worn, and there just isn’t anything exciting to be seen here. We’ve yet to come across a solid pair of wireless earbuds that can be considered as inconspicuous, and this is stressed quite a bit when wearing the Elite Sport.

Although the looks of the Elite Sport certainly aren’t a highlight here, an area where they get an edge of AirPods has to do with fit. Unlike the one-size-fits-all design that Apple is shooting for, Jabra has included wingtips and both silicon and foam tips for the speaker units in small, medium, and large sizes for all of these - providing for an incredibly precise and snug fit.

In my experience, the Jabra Elite Sport felt great to wear. Even while embarking on a lengthy run or setting personal reps at the gym, never did the Elite Sport feel like they were going to fall out of my ears.

Another big advantage of the Elite Sport has to do with their IP67 rating. This means that the Elite Sport are rated to be completely dust resistant and can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for a maximum of 30 minutes at a time, and this allows the Elite Sport to hold up wonderfully through sweat and while going out for a run in the rain.

Jabra Elite Sport Review
Jabra Elite Sport Review

When you aren’t using the Elite Sport, you’ll store them in the included charging case. The case itself looks fine, and it’s made out of a rubbery plastic similar to what you’ll find on the Elite Sport themselves. An indicator on the right side of the case displays a green, yellow, and red light to showcase the battery life of the case itself, whereas two similar indicators on the front of the case display this same information for each earbud.

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Jabra Elite Sport Review

Introduction


Truly wireless earbuds are all the rage in the audio world right now. Headphones that connect wirelessly to our devices via Bluetooth aren’t anything new, but the age of bulky over-the-ear designs and earbuds that feature a cord connecting the two speaker units is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

When talking about truly wireless earbuds these days, we mean gadgets along the lines of Samsung’s Gear IconX and Apple AirPods – two individual earbuds units that are not connected in any way, shape, or form by a cord. This completely wireless design allows for an even greater sense of mobility and ease of use, and while some people are still under the impression that this design makes wireless earbuds easy to lose, it’s a trend that doesn’t show any signs of going away at any point soon.

Jabra is the latest company to take a stab at this market with the Elite Sport - a pair of wireless earphones that have been designed to be the ultimate workout tool. Completely wireless earbuds may still be in their infancy, but compared to other options that have already been released, do the Elite Sport have what it takes to stand up to the rest of the crowd?

In the box
  • Jabra Elite Sport wireless earbuds
  • Charging case
  • EarWings (Small/Medium/Large)
  • EarGels in silicon and foam (Small/Medium/Large)
  • microUSB charging cable
  • Quick start guide
  • Safety and warranty information 

Design and Comfort

The Elite Sport won’t win any awards for looks, but the fit is snug, secure, and customizable

Jabra Elite Sport Review

The two main wireless earbuds that currently exist are the Gear Icon X and AirPods, and in regards to design, Jabra’s offering is very similar to the former of the two. Unlike the Q-Tip-esque AirPods, the Elite Sport boast an aesthetic that’s more circular and chunky. Black is the only color option that’s available, and as a whole, the Elite Sport aren’t all that good-looking.

Jabra Elite Sport Review
Jabra Elite Sport Review
Apple’s AirPods were hit with a ton of criticism for their odd design, but I personally prefer the look of those as opposed to what Jabra’s created. The Elite Sport appear quite bulky when worn, and there just isn’t anything exciting to be seen here. We’ve yet to come across a solid pair of wireless earbuds that can be considered as inconspicuous, and this is stressed quite a bit when wearing the Elite Sport.

Although the looks of the Elite Sport certainly aren’t a highlight here, an area where they get an edge of AirPods has to do with fit. Unlike the one-size-fits-all design that Apple is shooting for, Jabra has included wingtips and both silicon and foam tips for the speaker units in small, medium, and large sizes for all of these - providing for an incredibly precise and snug fit.

In my experience, the Jabra Elite Sport felt great to wear. Even while embarking on a lengthy run or setting personal reps at the gym, never did the Elite Sport feel like they were going to fall out of my ears.

Another big advantage of the Elite Sport has to do with their IP67 rating. This means that the Elite Sport are rated to be completely dust resistant and can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for a maximum of 30 minutes at a time, and this allows the Elite Sport to hold up wonderfully through sweat and while going out for a run in the rain.

Jabra Elite Sport Review
Jabra Elite Sport Review

When you aren’t using the Elite Sport, you’ll store them in the included charging case. The case itself looks fine, and it’s made out of a rubbery plastic similar to what you’ll find on the Elite Sport themselves. An indicator on the right side of the case displays a green, yellow, and red light to showcase the battery life of the case itself, whereas two similar indicators on the front of the case display this same information for each earbud.

Connectivity and Companion App

Listen to tunes while tracking your steps, calories burned, and more

Like I mentioned above, the Jabra Elite Sport feature a very heavy focus on physical activity and working out. Along with providing your ears with your favorite tunes, the Elite Sport are also capable of tracking your heart rate, steps you’ve taken, how many calories you’ve burned, your average mile time, etc. 

If you find yourself wanting to make use of these fitness tracking features, the data that the Elite Sport record is transmitted to the Jabra Sport app that’s available for both Android and iOS. I tested the app out on iOS, and while it’s functional and fairly easy to navigate, it’s noticeably bland and features an outdated look.

Within the app, you can see your physical activity history, any achievements that you’ve made, and a readout on your body’s fitness level. The app is also where you can initiate workouts and runs, in addition to managing settings for the Elite Sport and finding their location on a map in case you happen to misplace them.

As underwhelming as the companion app is, it’s worth noting that you aren’t required to download it if you’d rather not bother with it. The Elite Sport can be used with third-party apps as well, including the likes of Strava, Endomondo, MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, and Runtastic. This added comparability is rather nice to have, and it makes tracking your activity with the Elite Sport much more enjoyable than using Jabra’s official option.

Controls

Added physical controls are a nice addition, but they don’t work that well in the real world

Jabra Elite Sport Review

Rather than having users rely on a limited number of gesture and voice controls, each wireless unit of the Elite Sport is outfitted with two physical buttons. The left earbud offers two buttons for increasing/decreasing volume and skipping or going back a song depending on whether you tap or hold the buttons, and the right unit allows you to pause a song and turn the earbuds on and off with the bottom button, whereas the top one is reserved for launching the Jabra Sport app.

It’s certainly nice to have physical buttons present on the Elite Sport, and while there’s a lot more functionality present here than what you’ll find on AirPods, the buttons themselves proved to be difficult to press when wearing the wireless earbuds.

A good deal of force needs to be applied to each button in order to make it function, and because of the way the Elite Sport rest in your ear, controlling your music directly through these buttons can prove to be quite awkward and uncomfortable at times.

Although the Gear IconX aren’t the best pair of wireless earbuds around, I think Samsung had the right idea with the touch gestures that are present on that gadget. Tiny little buttons on earbuds that are already considerably small in size simply don’t work that well in real world use, and you’re honestly better off pulling out your _phone_ if you need to skip a song or change the volume.

Audio Quality

Solid audio-isolation blocks out any unwanted noise

Overall, audio playback sounded quite good on the Jabra Elite Sport. I personally found music to sound a bit better than what you’ll get with Apple’s AirPods, with one of the most notable differences having to do with bass reproduction. Bass is noticeably more powerful here than what you’ll find with AirPods, and this is something that’s greatly appreciated.

Along with that, the Elite Sport also does a really good job at sound isolation. Thanks to the customizable wing and ear tips, it’s possible to block out most outdoor noises when wearing Jabra’s wireless headphones, and you also have the option of turning on a pass-through feature that will allow you to hear what’s going on around you when you need to do so.

Battery

Weak battery life and slow recharge times create for a lot of headaches

Jabra Elite Sport Review

While Jabra’s Elite Sport has a lot of good going for it, an area where it falters quite a bit has to do with battery life. Jabra advertises about 3 hours of use on a single charge, and my time with the Elite Sport revealed this number to be very accurate. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

AirPods cranked out more than 6 hours of playback on a single charge. You can get an additional two full charges of the Elite Sport thanks to the included charging case, but even then you’re only looking at a grand total use time of 9 hours. Apple advertises more than 24 hours of use with AirPods, and our testing revealed this claim to be very accurate - if not a bit conservative.

To make matters worse, charge times are also quite lengthy when compared to AirPods.

Charging the Elite Sport from zero to one hundred percent inside of their charging case took 1 hour and 8 minutes, whereas AirPods took just 21 minutes.

Conclusion


Jabra’s Elite Sport aren’t perfect. The design airs on the ugly side of things, the main companion app leaves a lot to be desired, the physical controls on the earbuds themselves don’t work that great, and battery life and recharge times are noticeably weaker than Apple’s AirPods.

Jabra Elite Sport Review
Be that as it may, it’s important to understand that the Elite Sport are being marketed to a different group of people than AirPods are. The Elite Sport’s IP67 rating, heart-rate and fitness tracking, and isolated audio are clear indicators that these are wireless earbuds that are made for people who are serious about getting fit.

Because of this, the Elite Sport would likely make for a better purchase if you’re in the market for a wireless audio solution that can also double as a fitness tracker. If that’s the case, it’s definitely worth checking out what Jabra has created here.

Unfortunately, that added fitness tech comes at a cost. The Jabra Elite Sport cost a whopping $249.99, making them a very expensive purchase. Apple’s AirPods offer supremely better battery life and an arguably nicer design, and for most people, the cheaper price of $159 will make them a better overall purchase.

Jabra’s Elite Sport are far from the worst wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but just be aware of who these are for and the tradeoffs that come with them. The Elite Sport could be perfect for the right customer, but for someone who just wants to be able to listen to their music in a truly wireless fashion without having to worry about battery life, Jabra’s product will come up short.