Updated on 15 March 2023
The Jabra Elite 7 Active are a good investment for sportsmen, thanks to their attractive design, great comfort, good fit and water resistance. The sound quality and the endurance are on point, and they incorporate a number of customisation options to make them a very complete model. While there were a few shortcomings during our test, mainly the active noise cancellation which is not very effective and the call quality which can be improved, it is an ideal training companion for those who can do without these two features.
There are two types of headphones: 'True Wireless' and those connected by a wire behind the neck.
Water and dust resistance is an essential criterion.
To avoid losing them, they should be well integrated and held in the ears.
There is a gap between Bluetooth and NFMI, which offers a more stable connection with less latency.
A good quality sound should be balanced and harmonious between basses and trebles.
The sound insulation and the quality of the microphones influence the ability to make phone calls.
The case allows the headphones to be stored and recharged at the same time.
These headphones have a good price-quality ratio. Their good fit, comfort and water resistance show their sporty character, while the stability of the connection, good sound quality and long battery life can be highlighted; all this for a very modest price. However, the lack of an application and active noise cancellation are regrettable. During our test, there were also imperfections during calls or with video content, which shows that this is a sporty model purely reserved for a classic use (mainly music playback).
These headphones are characterised by their great comfort and support, a customisable sound with a rich bass, a good battery life and, above all, a large number of functions that allow you to follow your training sessions or to correct bad habits in terms of posture or listening. If their sound quality did not totally convince us during our test, we recommend them more to a sportsman or a health-conscious person who does not like to clutter up his wrists.
With IPX7 certification, these headphones can withstand immersion in water. Battery life is claimed to be 8 hours with three additional recharges via the charging case for a total of 32 hours (without ANC). On testing them, they were easy to put on and we must point out their excellent fit thanks to the soft, swivelling ear hooks. Their sound quality is also convincing, with punchy bass and a high level of detail. And while Soundcore can’t match Sony in terms of active noise cancellation, we found it more than sufficient. Finally, its physical buttons are handy, especially while exercising, but could be a little tricky to manage with sweaty hands.
|Our choice, Best high-end||Best budget||Best mid-range||Mid-range alternative|
|Jabra Elite 7 Active||Anker SoundCore Life A1||Amazfit Powerbuds Pro||Soundcore Sport X10|
|They have many qualities in terms of comfort, fit, elegance and battery life. But it is in their customisation options that they really shine.||In addition to their affordable price, they have a strong design advantage thanks to their fit and comfort. Endurance is certainly the point that Anker is banking on with these.||While they may lack precision in some areas, they have advanced features that are specifically designed to monitor the health and training of athletes.||They are undeniably suitable for sport thanks to their ergonomic hooks, carrying comfort, physical buttons and water resistance.|
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How did we do the tests?
To evaluate each pair of headphones, we decided to put them to the test in various disciplines: jumping rope, HIIT, running, exercise bike and elliptical trainer. This allowed us to test their resistance to sweat, water and dust, their support and comfort in the ear and their autonomy as the sessions progressed (at a moderate volume of around 60-70%).
To assess the sound quality, we listened to the same songs of different musical styles and varied the tones as well. Some models come with an app that we scanned from top to bottom. Finally, by varying the environments, from the quietest to the noisiest (city, gym, etc.), we were able to test the sound isolation, as well as the possible transparent mode and call quality.
How to choose your bluetooth headphones for sports?
Playing sports while listening to music increases motivation. But the difficulty in finding Bluetooth sports headphones lies in the sheer number of models available.
To help you, we have determined the necessary criteria you should consider before purchasing such a product:
- ‘Wireless‘ and ‘True Wireless‘: ‘True Wireless’ headphones do not have a cable or connector to pair them and operate entirely via Bluetooth or NFC. The ‘wireless’ ones are connected to each other by a wire behind the neck or above the head. Most brands now offer wireless headphones and Bluetooth headsets (with or without noise cancellation).
- Resistance: “IP” stands for “Ingress Protection”. In other words, it is the protection index assessing the resistance to solid or liquid elements (such as sweat, water or dust). The IP is made up of two numbers: the first indicates the level of protection against solid particles such as sand and dust (from 0 to 6), and the second communicates the resistance to water (from 0 to 9).
- Fit and comfort: in order to avoid losing the earpieces, it is important that they fit and stay in the ears. Usually, there are several sizes of silicone tips provided so you can find the one that best fits your body type. If you lose your earphones, some applications allow you to find them via a sound signal.
- Battery life: it usually lasts between 5 and 9 hours but performance may be below or above (depending on the options activated and the volume). Many manufacturers provide a charging case that allows you to store and carry them while charging. The more compact the case, the easier it is to store. Some can charge via USB-C and with the wireless charging technology.
- Connection quality: there is a gap between Bluetooth (which may become narrower with Bluetooth 5.0) and NFMI, which offers a more stable connection with less latency. You will find NFMI more often among higher end models.
- Sound quality: this includes the quality of the bass and trebles. The mix should form a balance that gives an honest and clear harmony. Depending on the model, this is either already set or can be customised through the application. In some cases, an equaliser can be used to balance the sounds or change their colour (e.g. lower). As a bonus, support for codecs such as AAC or aptX allows you to enjoy a high-quality audio that is more relevant to audiophiles.
- Noise cancellation: there are earpieces that work well in quiet environments but have poor insulation in noisy environments. Full immersion is enhanced by active noise cancellation. Then, make sure to check if they have the ‘Hear Through’ function, which gives the possibility to hear ambient sounds while keeping the earphones on. The latter is interesting for those who run around town.
- Controls: some manufacturers favour touch controls, but they can be difficult to use when playing sports. Physical buttons may be less elegant, but they are more convenient when your hands are sweaty or when it is raining, and they prevent accidental presses when you put the headphones back on. The controls allow you to manage all sorts of actions without the smartphone, and they can sometimes even be customised from the app.
- Microphone quality: microphones are used to make telephone calls. Their ability to reduce wind noise, manage sibilance and avoid saturation while reproducing voices fairly influences the quality of calls in quiet environments as well as in noisy ones.
NB: in order to be more in tune with our readership, our budgets were not too high.
Other models we recommend
Jabra Elite 4 Active (£79.99 upon publication): a strong sporty DNA. They are ergonomically designed and water and dust-resistant (IP57). The flangeless design is comfortable and offers a good grip. We also liked the practicality of the physical controls. In terms of sound quality, they are no slouch, with adjustable noise reduction that convinced us. In addition, the sound is clear, and the equaliser and bass boost allow you to further customise your audio experience. The battery life of 7 hours (28 hours with the case) is satisfactory. On the other hand, during our tests, we noticed some latency with video content and we also regretted the lack of multipoint connection, as well as the lack of customisation of the controls.
Jabra Elite Active 75t (£160.88 upon publication): interesting for experienced sportsmen and women with a demanding hearing. They offer a good battery life, a stable connection, a great comfort and good basses. Other features, such as the ‘Hear Through’ function, noise cancellation and voice commands are practical. The call quality is outstanding with the four microphones and the application allows further customisation of the sound. Lastly, their water and dust resistance means you can enjoy outdoor sports in any weather. However, they are slightly less durable and less powerful than the Elite 7 Active.
Beats Powerbeats Pro (£199.00 upon publication): a good mix of endurance, comfort and sound quality, but a sound insulation that is not unanimously appreciated. Thanks to their high-performance chip, the connection is ultra-stable. The sound is impeccable and via their connectivity, you have access to the many options of the application (except for the equaliser). The battery life is quite good (with or without the case). However, they are much more optimised for iOS users than Android users. Buyers also deplore the lack of a transparent mode and the poor call quality.
Other models tested
Jaybird Vista (£154.99 upon publication): these airtight headphones allow for 6 hours of continuous listening (16 hours with case charges). They are very well maintained and comfortable enough to be worn for several hours. Their connection is reliable and their sound quality is surprising. They include good noise isolation and their application allows for a personalised experience.
Amazfit PowerBuds (£89.90 upon publication): perfect for outdoor sports, they have a good fit and some interesting functions (heart rate calculation, etc.). Despite this, the sound could be improved and they are still slightly less functional and robust than the Pro version.
Bose Sport Earbuds (£135.00 upon publication): the design focuses on comfort and stability to provide a perfect fit during sports. In addition, the sound is dynamic, powerful and detailed. However, their poor battery life leaves them out of our top selection.
Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2: currently unavailable.
Anker Soundcore Spirit X: currently unavailable.
Translated by Selectos