Jabra Elite 7 Active review

Affordable workout buds with some top-shelf extras

Jabra Elite 7 Active
(Image: © TechRadar)

TechRadar Verdict

The Elite 7 Active offers the same great value experience as the Elite 7 Pro, with its slightly lower price and extra in-ear security offset by its lack of bone conduction sensors that enhance the Pro's call quality. The audio and ANC are both serviceable, if not the best in the game, but premium features like IP57 waterproofing, excellent battery life and wireless charging make their price seem rather reasonable on the whole.

Pros

  • +

    Excellent value

  • +

    Secure, compact and comfortable

  • +

    IP57 rating

Cons

  • -

    Scooped audio profile

  • -

    ANC is passable but not the best

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One-minute review

Jabra has launched its latest Active earbuds alongside the Elite 7 Pro, with which it shares almost every feature, so be sure to check out that review if you're after more detail on audio and ANC quality, battery life, connectivity and more.

In this review, we'll focus on the key differences that separate the Elite 7 Active from its 'pro' counterpart, these namely being a rubberized coating on the buds, a lack of bone conduction sensors, a fresh array of color options, and a marginally lower price.

As for the common features, The Elite 7 Active sports a solid 30-hour battery life (8 in the buds and another 22 in the case) with ANC engaged, and the case itself can be charged wirelessly via Qi compatible devices.

Their audio and ANC quality are also identical, meaning you'll get decent but not exceptional performance on both fronts. The sound profile is heavily scooped and lacking in a sense of space, but the bass and treble prominence can be rectified using the app's EQ.

The companion app offers a wealth of customizability over audio, voice assistant and button controls and is intuitive to use. These buttons are the same soft-click controls found in the Pro, providing the perfect middle-ground between capacitive touch and hard-click buttons.

While the Active shares the compact and comfortable design of the Pro variant, the sculpted design of the earbud’s interior surface features a rubberized coating that improves its purchase in the ear during workouts or other sweaty tasks.

The call quality of the Elite 7 Pro is enhanced by the inclusion of bone conduction technology, but this is absent in the Active. While the call quality in the latter is still decent, it's not quite as good and doesn't offer the wind-cancellation feature that the Pro does.

The take-home for both of Jabra's Elite 7 units is that they're great value earbuds with a wealth of higher-end features, but you should choose the Active if you'll be sweating it up or go with the Pro if you favor call quality above increased security in the ear.

Jabra Elite 7 Active

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Jabra Elite 7 Active price and release date

As with the Elite 7 Pro, Jabra released its Active sibling in October 2021, with the two products taking the reins from the Jabra Elite 85t. The Jabra Elite 7 Active costs $179 / £169 / AU$279 and is available in either Black, Navy or a rather striking Mint color option. The Elite 7 Pro, by comparison, costs $199 / £199 / AU$299.

In the US and especially the UK, the price difference between the Active and the Pro isn't to be sniffed at, making it a more appealing option if you're not desperate for the boost in call quality, but for Aussies the cost gap is a little tighter, making the decision a touch trickier.

Design and controls

  • IP57 dust/water resistance
  • Lightweight, comfortable and secure
  • Excellent controls and customizability

As we've mentioned, the main advantage of the Elite 7 Active over its Pro counterpart (apart from its lower price) is the rubberized coating that's found on the interior of each earbud.

We didn't notice much of a difference between the two models when worn casually – the Active gives the impression of being 'sticky' to the touch – but there's no doubt they're also more secure during vigorous head movements, especially if there's sweat involved.

Jabra claims this coating (which it dubs ShakeGrip) does away with the need for wings that are found on many competing sports earbuds, and while we can see that being a possibility, it will very much depend on just how snugly these buds seal in your ear.

Thankfully this fit has been flawless for us, thanks largely to the buds' compact size, light weight and sculpted interior surface. Jabra claims it used data from 62,000 ear scans to design the curved shape of the earbud interior, and we believe them with a fit this snug.

Jabra Elite 7 Active

(Image credit: TechRadar)

As for durability, the Elite 7 Active shares the Pro's IP57 waterproofing and feel equally as well-built, leaving us with little doubt of their ruggedness. The charging case is also identical, with its squat pill-like shape, although as in the Pro's situation, it doesn't share the buds' waterproofing.

While the Navy and Black color options are exactly as understated and nondescript as you'd expect, we're struck by the light blue-green hue of the Mint option. Where the Elite 7 Pro featured a distinct trim of differing colors on the earbuds themselves, the Active is one contiguous tone.

The buttons only take a light press to actuate, avoiding any extra pressure in the ear canal, and aren't as likely to be accidentally pressed as capacitive touch controls. 

The companion MySound+ app from Jabra offers an excellent degree of control over these buttons and voice assistant functionality, as well as providing neat features like the ability to mute media whenever the transparency mode is activated.

Audio and ANC

  • Bass and treble too strong
  • EQ adjustment helps
  • ANC is good but not great

We've gone into greater detail on the audio and noise-cancelling front in our full Jabra Elite 7 Pro review as the performance is identical, but as a summary, the ANC is average and you'll need to do some tweaking to get the audio up to scratch.

Out of the box, the bass and treble are boosted and the mids lose clarity as a result, but you can mostly remedy this using the app's 5-band equalizer and the MySound personalized hearing profile.

True Wireless Earbuds: Jabra Elite 7 Active

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The noise-cancelling is up to scratch with most modern competition, but not the heavyweights like Sony and Bose. The solid seal of the buds provides excellent passive isolation and the ANC handles static noises fairly well, but doesn't adjust as capably to other sporadic sounds in your environment.

The quality of voice calls in the Elite 7 Active is a step down from the Pro due to the lack of Jabra's bone conduction sensor, but it's still decent enough for true wireless in-ear headphones.

Battery and connectivity

  • 8 hours + 22 in case (ANC on)
  • Qi wireless charging case
  • Bluetooth 5.2

Battery life is one of the strengths of the 7 series – with ANC enabled you'll get 8 hours out of the earbuds themselves and a further 22 in reserve from the case. By comparison, Sony’s WF-1000XM4 get 8 hours from the buds with ANC engaged and another 16 in the case.

The charging case can be topped wirelessly via a Qi-compatible device and there's fast charge available via USB-C that tops up an hour of playback in just five minutes for when you're in a pinch.

The Elite 7 Active sports the latest Bluetooth 5.2 standard although the buds don't support hi-res codecs like aptX. At the time of writing there's no Bluetooth Multipoint functionality, but Jabra promises this will be coming in a firmware update January 2022.

Should I buy the Jabra Elite 7 Active?

Jabra Elite 7 Active

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Buy them if...

You’re seeking great value

For their price, the Elite 7 Active offer a great all-around true wireless experience, especially for workouts. They boast features like wireless charging and weatherproofing that you typically see in much more expensive units.

Battery life is important

With a total of 30 hours between the earbuds and the charging case, these are more likely to survive longer stints between charging sessions than much of the competition. This mileage can be stretched even further with ANC off.

Comfort, compactness and in-ear security are key

Not only are the Elite 7 Active earbuds some of the smallest and lightest we’ve come across, the rubberized coating and sculpted design make for a secure fit even during exercise. This of course comes with the disclaimer that not all ears are equal and the experience may vary from wearer to wearer.

Don't buy them if...

Neutral and clear audio is your priority

While a rather subjective topic, the frequency profile in these buds isn’t flat, and its scooped mids can only be remedied so much with the app’s EQ. Sony’s WF-1000XM4 offer better overall clarity and separation, and while they’re a little bass-forward, they are more well-balanced on the whole.

You want the best noise-cancelling in the industry

For that, we’re likely to direct you towards the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds (opens in new tab). Jabra’s Elite 7 Active do a decent job, but if the main reason you’re getting true wireless buds is for their ANC, we’d recommend looking elsewhere.

Harry is an Australian Journalist for TechRadar with an ear to the ground for future tech, and the other in front of a vintage amplifier. He likes stories told in charming ways, and content consumed through massive screens. He also likes to get his hands dirty with the ethics of the tech.