For a pair of entry-level true wireless earbuds, the Jabra Elite 4 offers plenty of useful features from active noise cancellation (ANC) to Bluetooth Multipoint, and Qualcomm aptX support. These earbuds also sound good, and has decent battery life, too.
- Active noise cancellation
- IP55 rating against dust and water
- Customizable EQ and Spotify Tap Playback
- Up to 5.5 hours music playback with ANC (22 hours with charging case)
Like the Jabra Elite 5, the new Elite 4 has a similar compact design, and is mostly made of plastic. The Elite 4 also has the same physical, tactile buttons instead of touch-sensitive controls. I don't mind them — physical buttons are less prone to accidental swipes and taps. But you have to press, and sometimes even hold the button — to adjust the volume, for example. This can push the earbuds further into your ear canal, which isn't ideal. I often found myself adjusting the fit subsequently. A nice feature: You can use a single earbud at a time, which means you can charge the other earbud at the same time, if you're in a pinch, and the battery is low. However, there's no in-ear detection that automatically pauses playback when one earbud is removed.
Jabra says the key features of the Elite 4 include Bluetooth Multipoint (connect to two devices simultaneously), and ANC. The former is good to have, especially for an entry-level product. It's convenient to connect the Elite 4 to your smartphone and laptop, and not miss anything on either device. But the Elite 4's ANC feels as underwhelming as the one from the Elite 5. Jabra seems to be relying on the earbuds' passive noise isolation to do the heavy lifting. I had to strain my ears to discern the differences in noise cancellation while repeatedly toggling the ANC in the Jabra Sound+ app. In short, don't expect a cocoon of silence on your bus or train ride. You'll likely hear what your fellow commuters are chatting about. It also means it's really important to pick the right ear tip size (the usual three sizes are included).
While I wasn't impressed by its ANC, the Elite 4's HearThrough feature, which lets in ambient sounds, feels natural, and not overly processed, unlike some earbuds I have tested. You can toggle HearThrough, and ANC using Jabra's Sound+ app, which also has a music equaliser, and music presets (speech, treble boost, etc), and even a Find My Jabra feature. The mics (two on each earbud) are average. The Bluetooth connection is rock-solid, and stable. Personally, the default Neutral preset sounds clean, and balanced. The bass is present, but doesn't hog the attention. I would have liked a wider soundstage, but overall, the Elite 4 sounds good for entry-level earbuds.
Jabra says that the Elite 4 will last around 5.5 hours of music playback with ANC, which seems to tally with my experience. At around 50% volume, the Elite 4 went from fully charged to 50% battery life in 3hr 10min. It should take around 10 mins of charging to replenish around an hour of playtime. At S$160, the Jabra Elite 4 is reasonably priced for true wireless earbuds with ANC. The thing is, the current street prices for Jabra's other earbuds don't help the Elite 4 at all. The Elite 5, which has two more mics, customisable controls, adjustable HearThrough, and a wireless charging case, is just a tad more expensive at S$198. Meanwhile, the Elite 3, which lacks ANC, and is being replaced by the Elite 4 is now S$88. The Elite 4 is available now on Lazada, and Shopee.
Note: Review unit provided by Jabra.
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