REVIEW: Jabra Elite 7 Active

Imagine you dropped roughly $200 on a normal consumer good. It could be a high-end kettle or an automatic vacuum cleaner. You expect to get some milage out of it. Headphone makers don’t think so. Believe me, I’ve tried almost all of them and my desk draw has their charging cables locked in bird’s nest to prove it. Beats by Dre? Snapped wire. Adidas FWD-01? Refused charging. Jaybird? One ear pops out. You name it I’ve tried, and broken, them and just shrugged it off as the of being cost human. These expensive purchases, made with initial optimism, always end in disappointment. My training isn’t extreme. I’m not climbing Uluru in a fire tornado while wearing sledgehammers as necklaces. Instead, I listen to audio books while lifting weights in a gym inhabited mostly by senior citizens. So, can the Jabra Elite 7 Active keep up?

THE TWIN BUDS

Normally, I like my headphones the way I like my ears, joined by a common centre piece. The Jabra Elite 7 Active phones are twins that are separate. However, they come coddled in a lovely velvety case that I can’t stop running my fingers over. After a few initial fittings, I kind of struggled to decide on the right sized plastic end bits that fitted my lug holes the best. Fortunately, by teaming this experience with the Jabra’s Sound + app it became clear which ones were the right size for my hole. The app even offers a little hearing test to see how well tuned your hearing is, which may prove especially useful to anyone trying to noise cancel someone’s voice while you’re watching TV. The set-up experience was useful, and I enjoyed the 10-minute commitment that leaves you with a feeling you’re getting your money’s worth.

THE EXPERIENCE


Listening to monotone audio books, James Clear’s Atomic Habits to be precise, in a gym repeating the top 10 pop hits at max decibel can like trying to hear your friend in a nightclub. It often results in your eardrums exceeding their decibel quota for the day. Fortunately, these buds offer noise cancelling tech so it does make hearing the books words easier, but you can still hear a little background Dua Lipa so it’s not completely insulating you from the world. There is an option to turn on hear through to stop you getting run over if you’re wearing them while cycling on a busy road. But do the Jabra Elite 7 Active phones stay in your ears? Yes, they have fallen out occasionally but I think that’s because I didn’t ram them down far enough into my head holes.

THE GLITCH


They do connect seamlessly and disconnect when they’re put back in their box. The only issue may be that at least once per session you may lose a little sound in one ear. This only lasts about 5 seconds then returns. Perhaps that’s just my sweaty ears adding their salty rain. However, I’m sure this was because I got the beta model. They are supposed to be capable of being submerged in water for 30 minutes without issues so that’s probably not the reason. Phone calls? Yep, you can do them, though the people on the other end have complained the audio sounded like I was piloting in a whirly bird. I wish, it was mostly the gym’s fans. In a quiet environment, things may be better. Battery life? It’s impressive, I only need to charge them once a week and use daily.

THE VERDICT


They are a set and forget experience. Pop in your ears and you’re rewarded. There’s great sound quality especially when listening to music and they are very good for exercise. They don’t feel heavy or like they want to drop out. However, they may take some getting used to before you pump reps with confidence. One of their features is that they offer inner pressure relief. This means you don’t feel the urge to fiddle with them constantly. Overall, if you like exercise, these are the buds that’ll plonk you into the zone. The true test is whether they end up in the draw next to their fallen competitors. Give them a year and for the price you expect them to hang round a little longer than my fallen robotic vacuum cleaner.