CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Jabra Elite 4 Active: We got our hands on the new earbuds at CES 2022

At CES 2022, Jabra has introduced a more affordable Active model in its line of true wireless earbuds.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
3 min read

The Jabra Elite 4 Active in navy. 

David Carnoy/CNET

Last year, Jabra released three new true-wireless earbuds with varying levels of features, the Elite 3 ($80), Elite 7 Active ($180) and Elite 7 Pro ($200). Now it's added a fourth set of earbuds to the line, the Elite 4 Active, that carries a list price of $120 (£120, AU$179). Unveiled at CES 2022, the Elite 4 Active are billed as Jabra's most affordable workout model and "a relatable alternative for those who love an active lifestyle but are not looking for the intensity of its more aspirational sister in this range, the Jabra Elite 7 Active." The Elite 4 Active earbuds are available now in three color options -- blue, black and mint.

Like the others in this line, the Elite 4 Active are compact earbuds that fit comfortably and securely. They also sound quite good, delivering clean, well-balanced sound that you can tweak in the companion app (I generally went with bass boost because they seem a little flat otherwise). Additionally, they feature active noise-canceling and Jabra's HearThrough transparency mode. If you get a tight seal, the noise cancellation is effective but isn't up to the level of Sony's or Bose's. 

Read more: Best wireless earbuds for 2022

You don't get wireless charging or ear detection sensors that automatically pause your music when you take the earbuds out of your ears and resume playback when you put them back in. The earbuds are fully waterproof and dustproof with an IP57 rating and they have four-microphone technology "protected by a special mesh covering for added wind noise protection" for voice calls. By comparison, the Elite 3 earbuds also have four microphones while the step-up Elite 7 Pro buds have six microphones. In my limited tests, I found the voice calling experience with the Elite 4 Active to be good but not better than Apple's AirPods 3 for voice calling.


Elite 4 Active are fully waterproof and dustproof.


While the Elite 4 Active list for $120, I expect their price will eventually dip to around $100. Right now the Elite 3 are on sale for $60 ($20 off) and the Elite 7 Active are $140 ($40 off)

This model is not equipped for multipoint Bluetooth pairing, which would allow you to connect two devices simultaneously and switch audio back and forth between them. That feature was announced for the Elite 7 Active and Elite 7 Pro but is only being turned on via a firmware upgrade early in 2022, according to Jabra.

For better or worse, Jabra's new models don't represent much of an advancement from earlier models like the Elite 75t. The design has improved a bit -- I do like how they fit and that they have physical control buttons rather than touch controls -- but the performance hasn't taken a real noticeable step forward. Models like the new Elite 4 are still likable and recommendable, but they don't have that extra wow factor that earlier Jabra models had when the company was an early innovator in the true-wireless arena.

Elite 4 Active Key features, per Jabra 

  • Ergonomic design allows a comfortable, secure fit
  • IP57-rated water and sweatproof (fully waterproof)
  • Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
  • 6mm speakers and customizable equalizer
  • HearThrough transparency mode allows ambient sound in
  • Four-microphone call technology
  • Up to 7 hours play time (up to 28 hours with charging case)
  • Use either earbud in mono mode
  • Alexa built-in or Spotify Tap playback, and Google Fast Pair
  • Bluetooth 5.2 technology with support for Qualcomm aptX