Jabra Elite Sport review: Jabra's sporty AirPods rival ups its battery life

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The Good The Jabra Elite Sport Upgraded is a set of totally fully waterproof wireless sports earphones with a built-in heart-rate monitor that sounds quite good. Battery life is 4.5 hours, and the case delivers two more charges of equal length. Works very well as a headset as single or stereo buds. Compatible with leading third-party fitness apps as well as Jabra's companion fitness app.

The Bad May be a tad bulky for some people's ears; pricey; you lose some bass (and sound quality in general) if you don't get a tight seal.

The Bottom Line With its improved battery life, the slightly evolved Jabra Sport Elite Upgraded remains one of the stronger early entries in the totally wireless headphone arena.

7.9 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Sound 8
  • Value 7

Jabra's Elite Sport Upgraded isn't really a new version of the company's sports-oriented totally wireless earphones, but they do feature one important change: A brand-new battery that provides 50 percent more battery life (4.5 hours instead of 3 hours) between in-case charges. 

Like the original Elite Sport, this upgraded version has a built-in heart-rate monitor and costs $250 (£230; AU$329). It now comes in a new lime green gray edition as well as black.

Along with the new battery, Jabra has made some software enhancements. The Jabra Sport Life app has been updated, and there's a new internal equalizer that allows you to personalize your sound profiles and settings. Those new software features will be available to existing owners of the original Elite Sport, but they won't get the battery life gains of the new model.

I tested a lime green and gray model to verify Jabra's battery-life claims -- and confirmed they were accurate at moderate volume levels. But since the earphones are otherwise identical, the review below is mostly derived from my original review of the Jabra Elite Sport with some small updates.

The earphones in their charging case.

Sarah Tew/CNET

What makes the Elite Sport so elite? For starters, the 'buds are fully sweat- and waterproof. There's also that aforementioned integrated heart-rate monitor that provides "in-ear fitness analysis." Also, as you'd suspect from a Jabra headphone, they work quite well as a headset for making calls, with built-in noise reduction technology. According to Jabra, the earbuds analyze external sounds and automatically switch to the earbud with least background noise. I had no problem making calls from the noisy streets of New York, which is a feat.

What also impressed me about these guys was their ability to maintain a steady, hiccup-free connection and stay in my ears while running. They also sound quite decent, though with in-ear noise-isolating headphones such as these, it's crucial that you get a tight seal to get the best sound quality, and you'll have to try out a few of the various tips and fins that Jabra provides before you settle into a fit you're satisfied with.

Once again, none of the included eartips allowed me to get a tight seal. But I dug up an extra large silicone tip from the myriad tips I have lying around the office and -- voilà -- the sound improved by 25 percent, particularly the bass. The only problem was that with those larger tips, the earbuds didn't quite fit in their charging case -- I couldn't snap the lid completely shut.

The earphones are fully waterproof.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Of course, there's a good chance one of the tips will fit you perfectly and you won't have this problem (my ears are admittedly tough to fit, but there are plenty of people out there with ears that are tough to fit with in-ear sports headphones).

Another downside is the earphones are somewhat beefy. And while they should fit most people's ears pretty well -- and fairly comfortably -- due to their size and the shape of my ear, I didn't find them super-comfortable, though I felt better about them once I found the right tip.

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