A couple of hits, a couple of misses

Hot on the heels of the Jabra Elite 5’s (review) launch in India, Jabra has introduced yet another contender in the high-end TWS earphones segment – the Jabra Elite 4. At Digit, multiple reviewers are fans of Jabra’s TWS earbuds which are often a good mix between style and substance. The legendary Danish brand claims that the new Elite 4 is the successor of the Jabra Elite 3 that launched in 2021, however, the disparity in price convinces me otherwise. Rather, I think of the Jabra Elite 4 as the mid-way bridge between the mid-range Jabra Elite 3 which misses out on features such as ANC and multi-connect, and the Jabra Elite 5, which packs a few more premium features in comparison to the new device. 

Needless to say, the TWS earphones market in India is ludicrously competitive. Just this year alone, we’ve had two fantastic additions to the price bracket the Elite 4 occupies – the wildly-hyped Nothing Ear (2) (review) and the popular OnePlus Buds Pro 2 (review). Naturally, I compared these earbuds to the Elite 4 thoroughly during our review process, and this is what I found out.

Jabra Elite 4 Review: Build, design, and fit 

I’ve been reviewing audio products for close to four years now and Jabra TWS earphones have always been one of my favourites. The primary reason for this is the design and fit. So, every time I review a new Jabra product, I’m cautiously optimistic, especially about the design language and the fit of the earphones. Thankfully, the Jabra Elite 4 did nothing to stray my generally positive stance in this regard.

The Jabra Elite 4 has a diminutive charging case, so portability isn’t an issue – the case will easily slip into pockets or purses without bulging out too much. The case is also wieldy, you can easily flick the lid one with one hand. The branding is also subtle enough. I received the Blue coloured variant for review, and the matte texture is premium and avoids fingerprints. However, the materials definitely feel cheaper than the ones used on the Jabra Elite 5. 

The case’s hinge feels slightly flimsy, so ensure to handle it carefully in your daily usage. The magnets holding the earphones inside the case aren’t the strongest we’ve experienced, so there’s room for improvement here. That aside, the charging case houses an LED button up front and a USB-C charging port at the back. The overall look is clean and minimalistic, which we’re fans of.

Jabra Elite 4 Review: Build and Design

Jabra has retained the tried-and-true rounded earbud design we previously saw on the Elite 7 Pro, Elite 5, and multiple other Jabra TWS earphones. The matte texture is aesthetically pleasing and the physical buttons have stayed on for another year. No complaints there – Jabra’s physical buttons are usually well-implemented and tactile. 

The earbuds have an angled nozzle which improves the in-ear fit. The company has provided a total of three sizes of silicone eartips for users to choose from. While I achieved the best fit using the M size, you may need to test out the different sizes to figure out what works for you the best. Nevertheless, for me, the fit was excellent – extremely snug and secure. The isolation was excellent. However, my colleague Satvik still opines that the AirPods Pro 2 offer him a better fit. 

Jabra Elite 4 Review: Build and Design

This is largely subjective, so we’d suggest you to go and try the buds out for yourself at stores. Nevertheless, I’m confident most individuals should be able to get a decent enough fit using the provided eartips – whether you’re simply sitting in one place or working out. Add to that IP55 dust and water resistance, and you’ve got a solid pair of workout earbuds.

Jabra Elite 4 Review: Features

Jabra hasn’t packed the Elite 4 with a smorgasbord of features – as seen on the Nothing Ear (2) and OnePlus Buds Pro 2. Instead, the company has reserved these features for their more expensive offerings, which does bring its value into question. Nevertheless, the features it does have, are mostly well-implemented. The most eye-catching feature is Active Noise Cancellation, one that’s present in most competitors at this price, so I’m glad Jabra didn’t miss out on it.

Jabra Elite 4 Review: Features

The Jabra Sound+ app allows users to cycle through noise cancellation modes including Active Noise Cancellation, HearThrough (Ambient Mode), and Off. Speaking of the app, it’s decently stocked when it comes to features, but there are a few vital missing pieces. Let’s take you through the app features.

Users can check the battery levels of the earbuds, select EQ presets or customise the EQ themselves using the 5-band equaliser in the app, update the firmware, and personalise their earbuds to an extent. The app has Personalised ANC that customises the noise cancellation levels depending on your hearing – and the effect is quite pronounced when you take the test. 

There are also options to choose your voice assistant, activate Spotify Tap, keep your earbuds safe with Find My Jabra, and customise the ANC cycle. Unfortunately, though, you cannot customise the earbud controls, at all. This is almost unacceptable since about 80-90 per cent of the earbuds we’ve tested at this price have this feature. I will say that the default controls are sufficiently intuitive, however, that’s no excuse to skip customisable controls altogether.

Jabra Elite 4 Review: Features

That’s about it for what the app can do – it is basic, almost too basic I would say, but the fact that you’ve got a customisable EQ wins Jabra some points back in the app department. 

As for other features, the Jabra Elite 4 comes with IP55 dust and water resistance (as mentioned before), aptX codec support, Bluetooth v5.2, mono mode, and Multipoint (Multi-connect). Multipoint is extremely useful as it allows users to connect to two devices simultaneously and switch between them seamlessly, this worked perfectly during our testing as well. Features that are missing are Qi wireless charging and on-ear detection – both of which are very common at this price, so it’s disappointing that you don’t get those here.

Jabra Elite 4 Review: Performance

Equipped with 6 mm drivers, the Jabra Elite 4 has a bold yet balanced sound profile. The earphones support SBC and aptX audio codecs – so while this is excellent news for Android users, iPhone users are stripped of their high-quality AAC codec. This means iPhone users will have to use SBC by default, which is not at all ideal. 

Jabra Elite 4 Review: Performance

That aside, the earphones have full-bodied, dynamic sound with a V-shaped signature. It is enjoyable for most modern genres of music, however, they’re not the best for rock and metal music due to the sharp drop-off in the highs past 5 kHz. However, the impact is something that will generally only be noticed by audiophiles and professionals, and for most consumers, the Jabra Elite 4 are one of the better-sounding earphones at this price point.

Jabra Elite 4 Review: Performance

We compared the Jabra Elite 4 with the Nothing Ear (2), OnePlus Buds Pro 2, and the OPPO Enco X2 (review). Here’s how they fared:

[Click on the pair you want to see the comparison graph of]

Jabra Elite 4 vs Nothing Ear (2)

Jabra Elite 4 vs OnePlus Buds Pro 2

Jabra Elite 4 vs OPPO Enco X2

With aptX support, the earphones produce sublime sound fidelity when listening to FLAC files with punchy yet controlled bass response, detailed mids, and sparkly highs. The fact that the highs have been emphasised quite a bit until 5 kHz means that female vocals and other instruments in this region come out sounding clean even with the slight boost in the bass frequencies. 

The mids are slightly recessed compared to the bass and highs, so they could get lost in the mix at times, but we haven’t faced persistent issues of auditory masking on these earphones. The Elite 4 definitely does better at maintaining the quality of vocals and lead instruments than the Nothing Ear (2) which severely mutes the 500 Hz – 1 kHz region. It also has more balanced-sounding bass, however, the Nothing Ear (2) produces the highs slightly better.

The Elite 4 also goes neck to neck with the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 producing bass similarly only to get slightly beaten at higher frequencies. Note that the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 costs ₹2,000 more though. The Elite 4 impressed us with its lively sound filled with enough nuance and character for most people to enjoy it. The soundstage is also decent and the imaging is excellent. I was able to place objects very accurately within the stage. 

The only earphones that do a better job at this price are the OPPO Enco X2 with its balanced sound profile and coaxial dual driver setup. Overall, a definite “go for it” from my end when it comes to sound quality alone.

Jabra Elite 4 Review: Performance

Moving on to ANC, the earbuds have decent Active Noise Cancellation for the price. While they don’t match up to the heavyweights of the industry, you get equal or better performance than most competitors at this price. The earphones definitely cancel sound better than the Nothing Ear (2) and OPPO Enco X2 and match up to the ANC performance of the OnePlus Buds Pro 2. Low, constant sounds such as an AC are cancelled out with ease and even people’s voices are blocked to a significant extent.

As for the microphone, it is decent. You get 4x MEMS microphones and while they picked up my voice well, the microphones also couldn’t really mute out the ambient chatter. The Nothing Ear (2) does better in this regard, but the voice does sound slightly tinny.

Jabra Elite 4 Review: Battery life

Jabra TWS earphones have always been strong on the battery front. However, I think Jabra has gotten too comfortable here. While competitors offer over 35 hours of total battery life (ANC off), the Jabra Elite 4 sits at just 28 hours of claimed battery backup. Not to say this is a bad number, but Jabra has been offering 28 hours on their TWS for years now. 

Jabra Elite 4 Review: Battery life

Still, in my testing, the Jabra Elite 4 managed to beat out the Nothing Ear (2) in battery backup with ANC turned on. We recorded 21 hours and 6 minutes of total battery life on the Jabra Elite 4 while the Nothing Ear (2) only lasted for 18 hours, and 48 minutes. The OnePlus Buds Pro 2, however, beats the Elite 4 with ease. The Elite 4’s earbuds, by themselves, lasted for approximately 5 hours and 15 minutes with ANC and aptX turned on, which is fantastic.

You also get fast charging support, a 10-minute charge will provide an hour of music playback. This is decent enough but we’ve seen faster. Also, the earphones don’t support Qi wireless charging which is quite a standard feature at this price.

Jabra Elite 4 Review: Verdict 

The Jabra Elite 4 checks a fair number of boxes – impressive sound quality, good battery life, serviceable ANC, and a compact build. For ₹9,999, you are getting your money’s worth since the things that are usually considered the most important for TWS earphones, the Jabra Elite 4 gets right. However, the misses cannot be ignored, especially when there are so many excellent options to consider in the market. Our main complaints would be missing Qi charging, lack of customisable controls, a flimsy charging case hinge, and worst of all – no AAC support. 

The fact that the Jabra Elite 4 lacks AAC codec support means that these earphones cannot be recommended to iPhone users since it is needed for high-quality playback on these phones. So, if you are NOT an iPhone user and want a solid pair of TWS earphones under ₹10K for your Android device – you can consider the Jabra Elite 4. It’s got the looks and the sound, but don’t miss out on other competing devices such as the OPPO Enco X2 and the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 which could be better options for you depending on the device you own.

Source link

Leave a Comment