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REVIEW: Jabra Elite Active 45e – Safety First, Sound Second

Danish audio equipment maker, Jabra, has leveraged its hearing aid expertise into the sports headphones market, with its Elite Active 45e (A$179) taking on the likes of Jaybird, JBL and Sony.

The Elite Active 45e features a secure, yet open earbud design for external noise to pass through, keeping users safely aware of their surroundings.

This is especially beneficial for a young woman [or man] running/jogging in an outdoor public place, or dimly lit street.

It offers peace of mind, and that alone is a strong draw-card to the right customer.

Available in a stylish ‘mint’ green, the Elite Active 45e are IP67 waterproof and accompany a two-year sweat and dust warranty.

It’s clear from the moment you unbox the headphones they’re of premium build. The adjoining cord is thick and weighted, but does not feel too heavy. It instantly reflects strength and durability, which is beneficial if you’re an athlete who wants a super reliable no-fuss product.

One of my favourite elements is its comparatively shorter cord, which is often a personal gripe versus similar models. It better caters to my petite neck and head, with less cords in the way especially when exercising.

Sports suitability is also enhanced via a very snug ear hook design, which truthfully offers much stability even for my small ears.

 

The ear hooks feel weighty and purposefully designed, with a set of buttons on the right-hand side offering easy access to playback, calls, Bluetooth and more.

I appreciate that volume controls are easily accessibly on the underside.

Access to a smart voice assistant and microphone mute is also easy to adjust via the left-hand side controls.

Whilst I appreciate the shorter cord, it is thicker than I would personally like, however, this is purely personal preference given my smaller frame.

Despite the thickness of the cord, ear hooks do offer a worry-free fit.

Users are simply required to mould the back of the hook to their ear, which is a nice piece of customisation.

Jabra’s Sound+ app offers a plethora of easy to view customisable options including EQs, battery status, and voice assistant selection.

Battery life is absolutely stellar, around 9 hours total which is superb if you your work out sessions notch around 45 mins daily. Fast charging functionality claims to deliver an hour of usage from 15 minutes charging.

Though the headphones offer a secure fit when exercising, audio quality isn’t the best I’ve heard – good, not great.

However, that’s largely by design, to allow external noise in and ensure a user remains safely aware of their surroundings. By that standard, they fare well.

Given the intention and design, ear tips do not totally seal my ear, however, this actually appeals to the health freak in me which wants to safeguard hearing.

The exposed cavity also makes talking on the phone a little bit more difficult, especially in very windy environments, but nothing too terrible.

Bluetooth quality was great, and I did not experience sporadic drop-outs.

Overall

Despite the advancement of consumer audio tech it’s interesting that a focus on safety is yet to break mainstream ground.

I commend Jabra for debuting a product that puts safety front and centre, without compromising design, fitness suitability and sound.

Whilst audio quality isn’t the market’s best, it’s a necessary caveat to ensure a user remains aware of their surroundings, and by this standard sufficiently offers the best of both worlds.

Should someone want an all immersive audio experience, there’s plenty of other Jabra products which would likely cater better, no doubt at a higher cost.

The Elite Active 45e is a niche product which puts safety first and sound second, whilst keeping its target customer firmly in mind.

REVIEW: 8.3/10

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