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Jabra Elite 4 review: Cheap earbuds that play to the crowd

Jabra's latest buds are built to please critics of its last set.

Jabra Elite 4
Jabra Elite 4
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Battery
22 hours total (with ANC on)
Multipoint
Yes
RRP
$139
Fergus Halliday
Digital Content Editor
April 11, 2023
4 min read

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Quick verdict: Jabra Elite 4

Jabra has true wireless earbuds down to a science, and the budget-friendly Elite 4 earbuds tweak the formula in all the right ways. These earbuds won't outperform the AirPods Pro, but they hit upon a balanced blend of comfort, noise cancelling affordability that's hard to hold against it.

pro
Pros
pro Cheap price
pro Noise-cancelling
pro Comfortable design
con
Cons
con So-so microphone
con Occaisional dropouts
con Battery life feels like it should be longer

If the Jabra Elite 3 posed as the answer to the question of how much a good set of truly wireless earbuds should cost, then the Jabra Elite 4 are seeking to solve a riddle in the same neighborhood. How much should a good set of noise-cancelling ones cost?

The Jabra Elite 4 don't make a complicated pitch, even if they make one that's nice enough on the ears. They're a set of baseline buds that don't compromise on noise cancellation. Even if they fall short of the silencing capabilities seen in the category's finest, they're still cheap enough that those looking to get some cheap noise-cancelling earbuds will want to take notice.

Jabra Elite 4

How much does Jabra Elite 4 cost in Australia?

Noise-cancelling costs extra

At $139, the Jabra Elite 4 fits right into the space between the entry-level Jabra Elite 3 earbuds and the sports-savvy Jabra Elite 4 Active. As far as true wireless earbuds go, they're cheaper than AirPods - which is probably one of the biggest selling points here.

If that's still not cheap enough, you might want to keep your eyes trained on the table below. This rounds up how each Australian retailer compares when it comes to Jabra Elite 4 pricing and who has the best deals going.

Store
Price
More info
Amazon
From
$139
Jabra
From
$139

Jabra Elite 4 - Design and features

Forgettable but functional

For better or worse, the Jabra Elite 4 are content to recycle and reuse the design established by the Jabra Elite 3. To the eye, there aren't many visual differences between the two. In terms of feel-factor, there's basically none.

Like the previous model, the Jabra Elite 4 are made of a rubberized plastic that's light in weight and stem-less in shape. If you're not a fan of the blockier buds that Jabra tend to field, these probably won't win you over.

The material is functional and practical but lacks flair. I wouldn't say that the Jabra Elite 4 feel cheap, but they don't feel particularly exceptional or expensive either. They're comfortable enough to dodge complaints as easily as compliments. Speaking of, the Jabra Elite 4 includes several complementary ear-tips in the box to help you find the right fit.

Regardless of which one you go with, you'll be forced to reckon with the touch capacitive sensors built into the exterior of the earbuds from day to day. Fortunately for the familiar, the control scheme here is the same as the one seen in the Jabra Elite 3.

Jabra Elite 4 controls

Control
Action
Play/pause musicPress right button
Answer callPress left or right button
End/reject callDouble-press left or right button
Volume upPress and hold right button
Volume downPress and hold left button
Mute/unmute microphoneWhile on a call, press the left or right button
Next trackDouble-press right button (when not on a call)
Restart track or previous trackTriple-press right button

Jabra Elite 4 - Performance and battery life

Cheap has never sounded so good.
Jabra Elite 4

The Jabra Elite 4 rarely sound better than you would expect them to, but they don't stumble short of expectations either. These are $139 earbuds. They do not sound quite as immersive, crisp or dynamic as more expensive options do. Still, they mostly sound good enough. If you're the kind of person who doesn't care that much about sound quality, you'll probably be able to get by with them.

My regular listening experience was mostly positive, but occasionally punctuated by minor dropouts and sound bleeding in from the world around me. Fortunately, the degree to which the active and ambient noise cancelling can prime your ears for audio content meant that the listening experience never sounded terrible, even when it did feel a little compromised.

Subject to the usual testing routine, the Jabra Elite 4 fared better on some fronts than others.

The Jabra Elite 4 proved to manage an even-handed effort when it came to bass-heavy tracks like Carly Rae Jepsen's "I Didn't Just Come Here To Dance" and treble test tracks like "Humming" by Portishead. However, these earbuds definitely struggled when it came to the finer details of Childish Gambino's punchy "3005" and the chaotic soundscapes of Opeth's "The Funeral Portrait".

Meanwhile, the microphone on the Jabra Elite 4 managed to fall into the same comfort zone as the rest of the hardware. It's not terrible, nor is it terribly different from the one found in Elite 3. You could answer a call with them in a pinch, but I wouldn't voluntarily take them to your next Zoom meeting.

Is the Jabra Elite 4 worth buying?

Budget buds built better but not differently.

While the cost-cutting present in the design and performance of the Jabra Elite 4 is hard to miss, it's equally easy to live with. The same can be said when it comes to battery life. To be honest, it's a little disappointing that Jabra hasn't tried to be more ambitious on this front.

The Jabra Elite 4 fall short of the seven hours of playtime per charge offered by the Jabra Elite 3, with 5.5 hours of noise cancelled audio. Combined with the charging case, this works out to be 22 hours of playback all up. You can always disable the ANC and reach the 28 hours offered by the Jabra Elite 3, but at that point, you have to question why you're paying extra for it.

Jabra Elite 4

If the one thing giving you pause with the Jabra Elite 3 was the lack of noise cancelling, then these are the obvious solution to that problem. The Jabra Elite 4 fill in the gaps left by predecessors, but they don't try to reinvent the wheel.

Jabra isn't looking to offer many surprises here. Instead, the Jabra Elite 4 play to the crowd in all the obvious ways. The results are likely what budget buyers want to hear, though they rarely rate an encore.

How does the Jabra Elite 4 compare?

Product
Rating
Price
Battery life
Active noise-cancelling
Water resistance
Availability
Jabra Elite Active 4Jabra Elite 4 Active
3.3 out of 5 stars
3.25
From
$179
6 hrs (buds)
28 hrs (case/total)
pro pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 ProSamsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
4 out of 5 stars
4
From
$349
5 hrs (buds)
23 hrs (case/total)
pro pro

Disclaimer: Pricing and deal information only accurate as of the last page update. 

How we review true wireless earbuds

When we review earbuds, broadly speaking, we're looking at five main considerations:

  • Sound: Obviously. Do they sound good?¬†
  • Comfort & Design:¬†Are they nice to wear?¬†
  • Features:¬†Is the battery good? Is the connectivity reliable? What's the noise-cancelling like?
  • Vibe: What's the overall experience like?¬†
  • Value:¬†Are they good for the money?

While audio products can be quite subjective for many reasons, we have standardised testing procedures across the team designed to help us look at the category in a consistent way. You can read more about how we review wireless earbuds here. 

Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday
Fergus Halliday is a Digital Content Editor for Reviews.org who specialises in technology, entertainment, gaming and pop culture. His work has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, Press Start Australia, The AU Review, Screen Rant, Superjump and more. You can follow him on Twitter.