Skip to main content

Jabra Elite 7 Active True Wireless Headphones review

One of the most comfortable true wireless headphone options on the market gets just a little more secure in the ears

Jabra Elite 7 Active open case header image
(Image: © Josh Ross)

Our Verdict

The Jabra true wireless headphones are supremely comfortable and the Elite 7 Active makes sure they never fall out. It’s a small update that takes a good product and makes it great.

For

  • - Includes active noise cancelling
  • - Comfortable in the ears
  • - Flat enough to be comfortable even against a pillow
  • - Smartphone app allows for customization
  • - Hear through mode keeps spatial awareness
  • - Left and right earbud will operate alone

Against

  • - It's not always clear if the case runs out of power
  • - The mics will pick up heavy breathing

Riding with headphones outside is a fiercely debated topic. When riding inside though, it's essentially mandatory to have music. It's hard enough to mentally manage long hours going nowhere and staring at a screen but doing it without music would surely fall afoul of international law. For those who race on Zwift as a team, good headphones with a quality mic are important to success. Whatever headphones you end up settling on for riding, they should also work well for everyday use. For all of these reasons, cyclists need good headphones. 

Jabra is a leader when it comes to headphones and it makes a variety of high-quality options. We included a set of their over-ear options on our list of the best headphones for cycling but we left the true wireless products off the list. Now Jabra has a new entry into the market and we spent time with them to see if they should make their way into future updates to the list. If you are looking for a set of true wireless headphones for Zwift, for riding, or for off the bike use then keep reading to see what we think of the Jabra Elite 7 Active.  

Jabra Elite 7 Active closed case

The Elite 7 Active charging case is flat and wide compared to the 75T. It reflects the smaller size of the earbuds and it's easier to clean. (Image credit: Josh Ross)

Design and features

This year the next generation in the Jabra offerings came to market with the Elite 7 series. The Elite 7 Pro and the Elite 7 Active are very similar but the Active, somewhat obviously, is the sports-specific model and makes the most sense for cyclists. Being at the top of what Jabra offers means a long list of features covering virtually every technology found on true wireless headphones. 

The first interaction with the headphones is a somewhat common, in the modern world, charging case. There are three colours available with Black and Navy being very close while Mint is a bright green outlier. At the front of the case sits the USB-C fast-charging port. Wireless charging is also an option with a mat that provides at least 5w of power. Total battery available in the case is 22 hours which, when combined with the eight hours of life in the headphones, makes for a total listening time of 30 hours. If you find yourself needing a charge, five minutes of charging gets you an hour of listening time. 

Open up the case and the actual headphones will greet you with a short flash of light. LEDs on the earbuds will flash red, yellow, or green to indicate the battery status of the earbuds. Once you've gone through the initial pairing process, removing an earbud from the case will connect it to the phone. Either earbud will operate independently from the other and if you'd prefer to use only one at a time just grab your preferred side. 

Jabra Elite 7 Active earbud detail shot

Under the soft touch material at the top is a hidden button. (Image credit: Josh Ross)

Connecting the earbuds to the phone also means they connect to the Jabra companion app. In the app you can see the battery status of the earbuds or case, access the extensive customization features, and select sound modes. The sound modes include both HearThrough and Active Noise Cancellation or Off. If you were to ride outside with these, HearThrough uses the microphones to pipe outside sounds through into the sealed environment behind the earbuds. It's worth noting that these are not hearing aids, so don't expect amplification with this feature. As for the ANC mode keep in mind that ANC works best for continuous noises. The drone of an aeroplane or the constant hum of motorway traffic drops to inaudible but constantly changing noise doesn't change much.

Holding the earbuds between your fingers and you'll notice the soft-touch plastic that Jabra uses. The area that this material covers is mostly the flat top section and it contains a hidden button. If you are listening to music then you have options for music control. If a call comes in, those same controls switch to call controls. At all times you can summon a voice assistant, change the volume, or switch between ANC, HearThrough, or off. Everything the buttons do is configurable through the app. 

Jabra Elite 7 Active companion app customization screen

Nearly every aspect of the Jabra Elite 7 Active headphones is customizable (Image credit: Josh Ross)

Performance

With the pricing at £169.99 / $179.99 it's likely that you are going to expect these to perform in a variety of situations. From my perspective that means they will feel secure when I'm absolutely dripping sweat while racing on Zwift. The mic should handle the fan pointed at my face in that same scenario. If you get off the trainer, they should be usable outside on a bike if you decide to and they should work well for phone calls or listening to music.

When it comes to Zwift performance, that's where the Elite 7 Active marks a change from the previous generation Elite 75t. The two designs are very similar and the seal with the ear canal is almost exactly the same. Choose one of three "EarGels" to make the tip fit your ear best and they feel pretty secure with a nice sound-deadening seal. The new Elite 7 Active design sees a 16-per cent smaller earbud though and the shape is just a little bit smoother. 

The effect of the changes is that the earbuds sit with less of the body outside of the ear canal. The section in the outer ear is also just a little more integrated with the ear too. It's all very subtle but it solves the only issue I ever had with the Elite 75t. With the old earbud design if you smiled or laughed it could sometimes push them out of the ear canal. I often find myself covered in sweat and laughing at the absurdity of attempting to stay with an attack in a Zwift race. Sometimes I'd have to catch an earbud as it fell. With the Elite 7 Active, I've yet to have that happen. 

When it comes to the mic performance, specifically while riding indoors, it's actually a slight downgrade. Still very subtle but it seems to pick up heavy breathing just a little bit more. The biggest challenge in these situations comes from dealing with the fan pointed right at the mic but Jabra seems to do an excellent job with wind noise. It's just the on-off nature of the sound of breathing that it lets through a bit. 

When it comes to riding outside with headphones, I generally don't do it, but in my testing, the HearThrough tech is impressive. If you are looking to keep your hearing totally free while listening to music, the Aftershokz Aeropex still does best in that use. What the Jabra tech does is use the mic array to open your ear canal back up virtually.

Because the Elite 7 Active seals with your ears you'd experience a loss of hearing even with no music. Turn on HearThrough and it's almost as if you have nothing in. If you were listening to directions while riding through the city this would be a great option. Similarly, if you wanted the earbuds in while riding, in case of a call, but wanted to retain awareness this would work well. If you are looking to ride long distances with music you'd probably be better off with the Aeropex.

When off the bike, the Jabra Elite 7 Active are the headphones I use more than any others. The biggest reason I love them comes down to just how comfortable they are. They fit perfectly and your ears don't get tired of wearing them over time. If you like using headphones while laying down, the new, smaller, design is even comfortable against a pillow. I also frequently use only one headphone while talking on the phone and if you ever wanted to share headphones there's no requirement for them to be close together. 

Jabra Elite 7 Active companion app main screen

The main screen of the companion app makes it easy to switch between equalizer settings. (Image credit: Josh Ross)

Audio Performance

It would be a dis-service to go through an entire headphone review and not mention how they sound. The Jabra companion app gives you a ton of control of the musical experience with an equalizer that works well to tailor to your preference. I generally keep it set to the speech mode but for this review I ran through a few options before settling on the Smooth setting that leaves the extreme highs and lows alone and boosts the mid-range of both. 

With a reasonable setting for experiencing music, I jumped into some of the songs from our recent cycling music article covering what we like to listen to while riding. Rita Ora's Your Song has staccato finger snaps at the start with a rich vocal range. Icona Pop's I Love It mixes a heavily modulated vocal with driving bass. Radio by Sylvan Esso spends its three minutes or so mostly on the right side of the sound curve in the treble, making for a good test of vocal clarity when the tones aren't far off from the background music. 

As I listened to different songs I moved quickly through the Jaybird Vista, Jabra 75t, Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, Aeropex Aftershockz, Adidas RPT-01, and the Jabra Elite 85h. As I checked each of the options against each other there were some clear outliers. The Jabra 75t was noticeably worse than the Elite 7 Active and the Aftershokz is even a little worse from there. Both options lack depth. The Jaybird Vista headphones have always been a favourite of mine for audio clarity but the 7 Active matches them very closely. I expected the 85h would be substantially better but the closeness of top-quality earbuds surprised me. Overall, Jabra never claims the Elite 7 Active are the best headphones for audiophiles but if audio quality is on your radar you aren't losing out making this choice.

Verdict

Not every set of earbuds is comfortable. The Jabra Elite 7 Active headphones are incredibly comfortable and that alone helps them to stand apart. Beyond that, the mic does a good job dealing with wind and the HearThrough and Active Noise Cancellation extends their usefulness. The new smaller design stays put and adds to their comfort when used off the bike. These are excellent all-around headphones even if they don't excel in some ways. 

I'd like to see better control of background noise through the mic. My teammates don't always love hearing me breathe heavily through Discord while we race. Having a notification for a dead case would be another wish list item, as while you can check the case battery level, it's not always immediately obvious what's going on when one of the earbuds isn't working.

Tech Specs:  Jabra Elite 7 Active 

  • Price: £169.99 / $179.99 / €179.99 / $279 AU
  • Active Noise Cancellation (ANC): Yes
  • Speaker size: 6mm / 0.2in
  • Audio codecs supported: AAC, SBC
  • Number of microphones: 6
  • Music time (earbuds): Up to 8 hours
  • Music time total (earbuds and charging case): Up to 30 hours
  • Corded charging: USB-C
  • Wireless charging: Yes
  • Charging time: Up to 150 minutes
  • Fast charge: 5 minutes will give up to 1 hour
  • Battery level after 30 min of charging: Up to 50%
  • Standby time: Up to 292 Days
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2
  • Bluetooth profiles: A2DP v1.3, AVRCP v1.6, HFP v1.7, HSP v1.2, SPP v1.2
  • Paired devices: Up to 8 devices

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1