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Jabra announces its most unique (and most powerful) earbuds yet


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With Apple and Samsung offering earphones that offer excellent sound quality and attractive ecosystem gimmicks, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for regular old earphone makers to stand out. Even mainstays in a category like Jabra can sometimes get lost in the mix — despite having an expansive product portfolio. Thus declares Jabra today two New premium earbuds at the same time, each targeting very different use cases. The flagship Elite 10 ($249) is designed to be the company’s best-sounding and most comfortable pair of earbuds yet, while the fitness-ready Elite 8 Active ($199) reaches a new level of durability (with reviews and certifications to prove it). Both also represent Jabra’s embrace of spatial audio.

During a recent preview of both products, Jabra told me that consumers rank comfort as the most important factor when shopping for earbuds. This led the company to rethink the basic design when introducing the Elite 10 earphones, which feature a semi-open design to avoid any unpleasant sensation of stuffiness or blockage in the ear. This helps distinguish them from the rest of the closed-style Jabra buds. The Elite 10s also feature super soft silicone ear tips that are oval in shape and don’t dig into your ears at all. But despite being designed for extended comfort and this semi-open style, Jabra says these earphones offer their most powerful active noise cancellation yet. “Using scanning technology, the earphones measure noise leakage and run infrasound sound waves to determine the shape of an individual ear canal,” the company says. An ANC filter is then applied dynamically, automatically switching to the most effective ANC level.

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The Elite 10 earbuds have new 10mm drivers that are larger than what you’ll find on Jabra’s Elite 7 Pro or Elite 85ts. Driver size isn’t everything, but Jabra claims this upgrade will result in more detailed and richer sound reproduction. The company has also partnered with Dolby to add head-tracking spatial audio to its latest flagship headphones. Some people will never be convinced that head tracking is nothing more than a parlor trick, but at least the option exists now for those who find it adds some immersion and a wider sound field to their music and movies. Between both earphones, the Elite 10s have a six-microphone system that aims to deliver the clearest calls of any Jabra earphone while minimizing any hint of wind noise. Jabra claims you’ll get up to six hours of continuous battery life (or 27 hours including the case). That’s actually a bit less than what the Elite 7 Pros offered, but you do get stronger, punchier sound in return.

The Elite 8 Active earphones have undergone durability tests.
Image: Jabra

Then there’s the Elite 8 Active, which the company describes as “the world’s most powerful earbuds.” They’ve got an IP68 dust and water resistance rating, which is higher than the current IPX7 status of most premium earbuds. But Jabra clearly wasn’t content to stop there: It also meets Military Standard 810H for rugged electronics, which means it has survived the tests of extreme temperature, shock and impact, pressure drop, salt water, and full submersion. Then came the high-speed Corrision test:

This requires our earbuds to pass a full 11 cycles of testing, including endurance for two hours at 104-degree temperatures with 93 percent humidity, undergoing a 15-minute salt-water spray test, and surviving a 104-degree heat drying test. for 15 minutes, in order to successfully demonstrate their anti-corrosion credentials.

That’s a lot of testing. The ear tips on the Elite 8 Actives feature Jabra’s signature ShakeGrip coating to keep the earphones securely in place during vigorous workouts—without the need for wingtips or other precautions to maintain a snug fit. The adaptive ANC is stronger than both the Elite 4 Active and Elite 5, and the Elite 8 Actives support spatial audio (albeit without head tracking this time around). Battery life is up to eight hours of continuous operation or 32 hours with case recharges counted.

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The Elite 10 and Elite 8 Active share a lot in common: they both support wireless charging, multipoint Bluetooth, independent mono mode for either earbud, and they’re both LE Audio ready. A future firmware update will add compatibility with the LC3 and LC3 Plus codecs, but out of the box you’re limited to AAC and SBC. Both pairs of earphones also support Fast Pair on Android and Swift Pair on PC. You’ll be able to order Jabra’s latest earbuds in September, and stay tuned for my review of the flagship Elite 10 model.

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