The wetter the better for these wireless earbuds

May 7, 2024
2 mins read


Jabra Elite 8 Active Wireless Ear Buds

According to tech guru PAT PILCHER Jabra’s new midline earbuds like it rough and can handle a deluge of the wet stuff. They sound good too.


Anyone serious about fitness has a dilemma when it comes to ear gear that’s tough enough to take on an ultra-marathon or other form of fitness torture. Jabra might have the answer, though. Their latest wireless earbuds, the Jabra Elite 8 Active, have an IP68 rating, a ruggedised case, and active noise cancellation. In short, they’ll deliver sonic sweetness regardless of rain, hail, or sun.

According to Jabra, the Elite 8 Active is available in Black, Caramel, Dark Gray or Navy Blue. You’d be forgiven for mistaking them for a standard pair of wireless earbuds. Their rounded design sports a soft rubberised finish, which makes them easier to grip, and they come with three silicone ear tips. They have push-button controls, while 6mm drivers deliver the audio. In short, their generic looks don’t hint at the not-so-minor fact that these buds are built to handle some serious rough and tumble.

The Elite 8 Actives are compatible with Bluetooth 5.3 and support AAC and SBC codecs. If hi-res audio is your jam, the good news is that Jabra is saying that they’ll include LC3 codec support as a future upgrade. Annoyingly, they’ve given no specific timeframes as to when this is likely to happen. Either way, they’ll be proven in the future, which will help extend their useful life. Codec support aside, Google Fast Pairing and multipoint connectivity with two devices is also supported, making the setup process and use between your phone and another device seamless.

When Jabra says the Elite 8 Actives are tough, they’re not mucking around. If you’ve got too much ear gunge on them, put them under a tap and wash them! As wrong as this felt, I gave it a whirl and can confirm that they can handle getting wet, which makes them ideal if running in the rain is your thing. Their charging case is a tough cookie, too. While not as robust as the buds, it’s still IP54 rated, which handily means there is some dust protection, and it’ll handle the odd splash. In addition to its built-in USB-C charging port, Qi wireless charging is supported.

Jabra says that the Elite 8s will last eight hours per charge and that their charging case can deliver 24 hours of battery life even with ANC on. Turning ANC off, I got 14 hours from the buds, just shy of two days’ worth of juice from their case – not too shabby at all. That said, listening volume levels, Bluetooth reception and other factors mean that your mileage will vary.

When it comes to their tweakability, the Jabra Sound+ app (Android/iOS) shows the remaining battery life for both buds and their case. With it, you can switch between the ANC and HearThrough (the levels of which can be tweaked using a slider control). Dolby Spatial Sound and an EQ plus Soundscapes provide access to sound loops to help distract or keep you focused. The Elite 8 Active’s control layout can also be customised. There’s a Find My feature. Voice assistants are catered for and activated using one of the bud’s push-button controls. Google Assistant can be summoned with just a voice command.

Stacked from 26 images. Method=B (R=8,S=4)

Their noise cancellation impressed me. With ANC dialled up, traffic noise in Wellington’s CBD was reduced to a barely noticeable whisper. Crowd noise in a busy food court was also cut to a significantly less annoying hubbub. Their HearThrough mode proved to be equally good. The MEM mics proved adept at piping in noise which made crossing the road and other similar chores feel safer. Much of this came down to a recent firmware update tweaking HearThough and ANC.

Audio-wise, I put the Elite 8’s through their paces with music I’d composed, as my familiarity with it made it ideal for testing purposes. Classical tracks gained a lush and rich sound and the addition of Dolby spatial audio added headroom that gave the tracks a live feel. Electronica and reggae showcased the plentiful bass on offer. Everything sounded crisp and immersive, but they were not as dynamic as Jabra’s Elite 10.

Jabra has crafted some great buds, and the Elite 8 Active’s waterproof design and comfy in-ear fit make them the go-to choice for anyone wanting buds that can handle the jandal. Solid active noise-cancellation and reasonably good audio make these wee wonders real gems.



Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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