Jabra Elite 7 Active review TL;DR: If you think Jabra's running headphones can't get better than the Elite Active 75t, think again. The Elite 7 Active offer a super-personalised listening experience, long battery life and ANC, all in a lightweight body.
Jabra is known to be one of the best running headphones brands; no wonder we rated its Jabra Elite Active 75t buds five stars when we originally reviewed it two years ago. Since then, Jabra has released new workout buds, such as the Elite 7 Active, the subject of this review.
The Jabra Elite 7 Active headphones are the updated version of the Elite Active 75t and offer longer battery life, faster charging, pre-set equaliser settings in the Jabra Sound+ app, more microphones, and personalised active noise cancellation. The size of the buds has also been reduced to provide a more secure fit for people with smaller ears.
Is it worth an update, though, or are you better off getting a cheap Elite Active 75t instead? Let’s find out.
[UPDATE: Jabra launched the successor of these buds with Dolby Audio, IP68 rating, better ANC and HearThrough and more. Read all about it here: Jabra Elite 8 Active review]
Jabra Elite 7 Active review: Price and availability
Jabra Elite 7 Active is available to buy now directly from Jabra US, Jabra UK and Jabra AU for a recommended retail price of $179/£169 /AU$279. The buds are available in three colourways: Black, Mint and Navy Blue.
As a cheaper alternative, you can consider opting in for the Jabra Elite 4 Active wireless headphones (retailer link) that also have ANC, HearThrough, very decent battery life, Bluetooth 5.2 and more.
Of course, you can still choose to buy the Jabra Elite Active 75t (retailer link), but you can’t buy them through Jabra anymore, at least not at the time of writing. Third-party retailers still stock these buds, but you miss out on perks such as Jabra’s free 100-day returns or free delivery (although the latter depends on the retailer).
Jabra Elite 7 Active review: Design and fit
Jabra refined the shape of its Elite Active 75t buds to create the Elite 7 Active. The Elite 7 Active are smaller and have a new coating technology called ShakeGrip that’s said to improve grip without the need for wing tips. This “special liquid silicone rubber” is soft to the touch and comfortable to wear for longer periods of time. Thanks to the refined shape of the buds themselves, the Jabra Elite 7 Active sits in the ears better than other compact workout buds.
Better still, the Jabra Sounds+ app has a feature that lets you check the fit of the buds called MyFit. Once you put the headphones in your ears, you run the test, and the app will tell you if the fit is good or not. The Beats Fit Pro has a similar feature, and honestly, this is the most user-friendly thing ever to exist when it comes to in-ear headphones, as I used to find it impossible to work out which ear tip is best for my ears. No need to guess anymore!
ShakeGrip and MyFit aside, the Jabra Elite 7 Active did pop out of my ears the first time I went for a run. It was like when a cork flew off the prosecco bottle; the left bud flew out on the road as I was getting ready for my run. This made me slightly conscious about the fit, of course, and I’m sure it wouldn’t have happened if the buds had wing tips.
I found that once the buds (and my ears) warmed up a bit, they fit better. Maybe the ShakeGrip coat works better when it’s slightly warmer. I couldn’t find any evidence of this online, and the popping headphones phenomena could just be the result of my clearly non-standard ear canals; who knows?
Jabra Elite 7 Active review – Battery life
The Jabra Elite 7 Active have a very decent battery life: the buds can play music uninterrupted for up to eight hours, plus there is another 22 hours’ worth of juice in the chagrin case. You also get fast charging – five minutes of fast charge gives 1 hour of playback.
Leave the headphones on charge for a bit longer (30 minutes), and they‘ll be 50% charged. It’ll take 150 minutes to charge the Jabra Elite 7 Active from 0 to 100%, though, but there is no need to have it fully charged all the time, maybe once a week.
The case has a USB-C charging port (cable supplied in the box) and can also be charged wirelessly, although a wireless charger isn’t included in the box.
Jabra Elite 7 Active review – Sound quality
The Jabra Elite 7 Active does its best to provide a personalised sound experience. These running headphones will not only tailor the sound to your hearing via the MySound feature, but you can also adjust the ANC to your hearing.
ANC on the Jabra Elite 7 Active has been criticised for not being powerful enough to filter out the external sound, but in my experience, ANC is more than good enough. You have to do two things to make sure the Elite 7 Active provides a good ANC experience: you have to perform the ANC personalisation test in a noisy environment, and you must make sure the buds fit correctly.
If those conditions are met, the ANC performance of the Jabra Elite 7 Active is brilliant. The level of ANC can be adjusted in the Sound+ app in case you want to let a bit more noise in, or you can use the HearThrough transparency mode, where the buds use the mic to pick up and feed in external noise. This is not a natural sound, so don’t expect bone-conduction headphones-levels of ambient noise, but more than enough for most purposes.
The personalised sound helps you hear the music better, too: by tailoring the soundscape to your hearing, you can listen to music and podcasts more clearly with the Elite 7 Active. There are six music presets you can choose from in the app – my fave is the Smooth option – and these can also be further tailored to match your taste better.
Needless to say, thanks to all this sound tinkering, the sound coming from the Jabra Elite 7 Active is far from being natural, but I’d like to think that no one’s going to use them to listen to music on their high-end HiFi setup. For workouts and general music listening, the Elite 7 Active are as good – and personal, may I add – as it gets.
Jabra Elite 7 Active review – Workout performance
I briefly touched on this section earlier, but here is the slightly extended version.
I took the buds for a few runs, and I also rode electric scooters with the Jabra Elite 7 Active in my ears. For both purposes, apart from the initial popping accident, the buds performed well; not perfect, but good enough considering they haven’t got ear hooks or wing tips.
The ShakeGrip coat isn’t the ultimate solution – at least not in its current form – but it helps keeps the buds in place. As for HIIT style workouts… I’d probably choose a different model, such as the Beats Powerbeats Pro or the cheaper Skullcandy Push Active (retailer link). Regardless of the fit and coating, the Jabra Elite 7 Active isn’t best suited for intense head movement.
Again, the fit is highly personal, and if you happen to have ear canals that have the shape of the Jabra Elite 7 Active buds, I’m sure you can shake your head until you give yourself a concussion, and the buds would stay in place. On the plus side, the Elite 7 Active are lightweight and weigh only 5.5g / 0.2oz. They are also smaller than the Elite 75t, which helps them stay put better.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the Jabra Elite 7 Active have IP57 water and sweat-proof construction, one of the best in the market right now.
Jabra Elite 7 Active review – Verdict
Jabra raised the bar even higher of what you should expect from running headphones with the Elite 7 Active.
They’re a significant update over the Jabra Elite Active 75t and offer more personalised sound, better fit and even improved call performance thanks to the three-microphone-per-bud setup.
Active Noise Cancelling can also be personalised via the Jabra Sound+ app. ANC benefits significantly from this, and as long as you set it up correctly – i.e. in a noisy environment – it will help keep unwanted sound away from your ears so you can get in the zone faster during your workouts.
Battery life on the Jabra Elite 7 Active is also excellent. In fact, taking into account the size of the buds, eight hours of continuous playback is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The case holds another 22 hours of battery life, enabling you to keep the buds and the case charger cable-free – or wireless charging base – for 30 hours. Impressive!
The Elite 7 Active are significantly cheaper than the Elite 7 Pro, and the only thing you miss out on is the call quality (the Elite 7 Pro has a better mic setup), which might not be as important from a workout point of view anyway.
Jabra Elite 7 Active review – Also consider
The Bose Sport Earbuds are somewhat bulkier than the Jabra buds but have all the qualities of fitness-focused earphones. Audio is excellent, and comfort levels are higher than their bulky looks suggest.
The Jaybird Vista 2 have an even better water rating than the Jabra Elite 7 Active and feature an equally compact body; however, Jaybird's top buds have wing tips to ensure the wireless headphones stay in place better.