Jabra Elite Sport Long Term Review: Buy or Not in 2020?
If you are the active type and prefer your music to be Wireless, the last few years have offered nothing short of a deluge of True Wireless Earbuds. Jabra Elite Sport quickly secured a spot as one of the favorites amongst fitness freaks. Are they still worth the ask in 2020, or are you better off with AirPods, JayBirds, or something else entirely? Here is a long term perspective to clarify how the Jabra Elite Sport are holding up 3 years later.
(Spoiler alert, they’ve aged quite well).
Sound & Performance
A Sound Choice for Most
Given we are dealing with an audio product, the sound is perhaps a prime consideration. The lows are reasonably tight and precise, although a tad muddy. The midrange, being rather linear and honest, is where the Elite Sports shine. Meaning good instrument separation and clear vocals. The treble is where the Jabras suffer, having rather wild fluctuations and peaks. Sounds in the 11kHz area can thus appear sharp and sibilant. On a positive note, the treble roll-off is pleasant, resulting in no hearing fatigue.
Audio Quality and Signature
The overall sound quality is about average. Not terrible, nor stellar. Adequate for your workout, unless you’re a hardcore audiophile or an extreme bass-head. The 20 Hz bottom-end extension should satisfy most listeners’ bass needs. Expect appropriate albeit not overly-detailed representation of your favorite tunes; be it Pop, RnB or Hip Hop, Rock, or Electronic styles. For the audio nerds, here is the Frequency Response Graph:
Measurement and graphic courtesy of rtings.com
You’ve Got The Power!
The battery life on Jabra Elite Sport is above average, letting you listen for more than 4 hours in one go (with heartbeat monitor deactivated). Re-inserting them in the charging case allows the earbuds to recharge for your next use, in a couple of hours.
The quick charging function gives you 1 hour of play in 20 minutes of charging. The total playtime, including the charging case, is claimed to be around 13 hours. We found this number to hold up. Although, after years of use, expect more like 9 or 10. Realistically, expect to charge once or twice per week, with daily 1-hour gym sessions.
Pairing is quick and easy, while connectivity is ultra-reliable. Meaning you get zero skips or glitches, even if your phone is at the opposite corner of the room. This is a massive advantage if you are doing circuit training but don’t want to be dragging your phone around the gym.
Features & Comfort
Made for Gym Rats, Not for Pencil Pushers
Sweat resistance and heartbeat monitor are some of the most notable features of the Jabra Elite Sport. Both work like a charm, but keep in mind that the heartbeat monitor comes at a hefty battery power cost. Charging the case via Micro-USB works, but is somewhat dated in 2020, as USB C is the standard nowadays. The headphones offer noise-canceling functionality to improve in-call voice clarity, but they are only compatible with mobile devices and not with your laptop.
Bro, you done with the bench yet?
The Elite Sport headphones have an option to activate the microphones with one tap. Handy if you need to hear your ambient surroundings. Like, if you want to run in the city safely, or want to have a quick word with someone, without having to remove a bud from your ear.
Comfort and customization
As for comfort, the units are below average–in particular, if you have sensitive ears. After the initial break-in, you should be alright, though. If you don’t wear them for more than an hour at a time, you should experience little to no discomfort at all. If this is your first pair of True Wireless, the shape will take a few wears getting used to.
Luckily, the Elite Sports come with 6 sizes of earbud tips and 3 sizes of stability fins to aid with comfort. The tips can be swapped for aftermarket options, but we’ve found the originals quite sufficient and durable, and haven’t replaced them since day one.
Personal Trainer App
The product comes with a free app for Android and iOS, which can help you tailor, execute, and track your fitness program. It features a pleasant female voice that will guide you according to your fitness goals, performance, and heart rate. However, if you don’t particularly enjoy taking verbal commands, you could always skip that function and save the battery life.
Durability & Design
In terms of visual aesthetics, the headphones appear premium, dark, and matte. Understated, functional, and gym-friendly. Stealthy, Ninja, you get the gist. They also come in a more lively, gray & lime-green combination if you want a splash of color in your life.
Not just pretty looking
The overall build quality of the earbuds is reassuringly sturdy. They feel like robust, expensive and hi-tech units in your palm. That’s because they are just that. The replaceable stability fins tend to become ever so slightly sloppy and ill-fitting on the buds, after long and hard use. The charging case is compact, dense, rubberized, and features a bright 3-color LED to indicate battery level and charging status. It closes with a satisfying snap, thanks to the magnetic closure. There are no magnets to hold the earbuds in place, however.
At a Glimpse
⊕ Strong personal trainer feature
⊕ Convenient, quick charging
⊕ Durable and waterproof
⊕ Excels at fitness use
⊕ Perfect connectivity
⊖ Lacks comfort during prolonged use
⊖ Button operation can feel clunky
⊖ Sound quality could be better
⊖ Micro-USB is outdated
The Jabra Elite Sport True Wireless Earbuds are still an impressive offering with full focus on practical, convenient use in a sport setting. Featuring an overall excellent Danish design, IP67 waterproof rating, and a versatile audio profile, they represent a solid choice for any sports enthusiast. The main drawback is the comfort, which is potentially an acceptable compromise, depending on the sensitivity of your ears. After 3 years of consistent use, we give the product our warm recommendations, along with a 4-Star rating. That is, up to 5 Stars, depending on your personal comfort tolerance and sound quality requirements. You can grab a pair for around $170 new, while often found at a discount or preowned, at just $100.
If you enjoy an active lifestyle, wirelessly accompanied by music, the following products make up for excellent alternatives to the Jabra Elite Sport. Some excel in style, while others have superb audio quality. Here are some viable options for you to consider before deciding on your final purchase:
Bragi Dash Pro
Platronics BackBeat Fit
Samsung Gear Icon X
TREBLAB xFit, TREBLAB X5