Review: Jabra Elite Sport

With great sound and a comfortable fit coupled with useful fitness tracking and workout tools, these true wireless earbuds sail close to perfection. If only the buttons weren't so hard to press :(

I’ve spent the past few weeks with the new Jabra Elite Sport, which the brand claims are the “most technically advanced true wireless sports earbuds”.

Jabra Elite Sport
Jabra’s Elite Sport are true wireless earbuds in the same category of Apple’s AirPods and Samsung’s Gear IconX

Over the past few years, Jabra has garnered increasingly rave reviews for the audio quality of its speakers and headsets. I agree with these. Honestly, if the Danish brand made seashells, I would listen to them for hours. Throw in a few elements for fitness fanatics – such as an in-ear heart rate monitor, real-time coaching and an automatic rep-counter – and you’ve got yourself a very useful device.

Jabra Elite Sport: Set-up

Setting it up is quite easy, although that’s probably because I take more time setting up my tech than my life in general. The earbuds should take you a few minutes to configure, including a few seconds to download the accompanying Jabra app.

The first thing you notice is that connectivity is lightning fast. When compared to other Bluetooth earbuds – which usually take a few seconds to sync with each other and then connect to the phone – these bad boys do it in less than half the time.

Jabra Elite Sport
There are enough tips and buds included in the box to satisfy almost any kind of ear shape

The box contains three silicone gel earbuds, three foam earbuds and just to make sure they fit into every single human ear on the planet, they included three secure-fit ear wings as well.

The foam tips are amazing. Your ears are going to be sore if you adjust your audio or skip tracks a lot. The buttons are hard to press, unless you hold the earbuds between your thumb and middle finger and press the button with your index. Maybe the firmness is due to the set being new? (Update: a week later and it still hurts)

Jabra Elite Sport: Audio

Jabra Elite Sport
The earbuds have microphones that can pull in ambient sound to keep you aware of the surroundings (if you want)

While the audio quality is remarkable. You can feel the deep wholesome bass resonate throughout Out of the Black by Royal Blood, while the mid tones come through clear in Metallica’s Black Sabbath cover, Sabbra Cadabra. The earbuds also feature four microphones. These can help when you take a call during a workout – the mics pick up ambient sound so you won’t get hit by a truck while jogging outdoors.

Jabra Elite Sport: Battery life

The charging/carry case for the buds can fill the headphones twice over, giving you nearly nine hours of playback on the buds

Despite amazing audio quality, an impressive battery life (three hours continuous playback plus two full charges from the case), the best feature is the Jabra Sport Life app (iOS and Android) that works in tandem with the earbuds. Fifteen minutes of charging through the case provides about an hour of playback. Here’s something that would make personal trainers start sweating a little more than their clients: This Dh999-headset provides access to your own trainer – whispering into your ear.

Jabra Elite Sport: Preset workouts

There are preset workouts such as BellyBurn and ShoulderDay, but you can set your own as well. Don’t know how to do one? Worry not – there are images and videos to guide you through the workout. Think you can cheat the tech? Nope, trust me I tried. The earbuds feature a rep counter thanks to an in-built tri-axis accelerometer that counts activity such as crunches and press-ups based on movement.

The heart rate tracking also provides reports on your VO2max level and offers similar insights to those we saw in the Fitbit Charge 2 HR.

Jabra Elite Sport: Price and availability

It’s not perfect, but it’s the closest we have to perfect right now. Despite being priced on the higher side, Dh999, it is OK, considering how monthly memberships at venues that put Fitness First average at Dh300 – not to mention the cost of a personal trainer. 

Jabra Elite Sport
The hard-to-press buttons are the main drawback of the Jabra Elite Sport

Jabra Elite Sport: Conclusion

A small gripe I have with these earbuds is that the buttons to control them are rather firm, so toggling through music or its volume hurts your ear. If Jabra incorporated something similar to the Samsung Gear IconX’s mini touch pad this would get it five stars.

The audio quality is as good, if not a bit better than HTC’s Hi-Res audio earphones. I found the battery life, fitness tracking and app to be a better and more user-friendly than Samsung’s IconX earbuds and the S Health app. The price will raise a few eyebrows, but I highly doubt you would suffer from buyer’s remorse if you do decide to splurge on these beauties.