Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 review: Going out in style

Still the toughest wireless earbuds you can wear.

Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 earbuds loose in front of case.
(Image: © Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

Android Central Verdict

The Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 are the best rugged earbuds you can put in your ears. Improved active noise cancelation and HearThrough, plus giving the case LE Audio capability add to the excellent package. It's just a shame this is Jabra's swan song.


  • +

    Solid audio quality

  • +

    Improved ANC and HearThrough

  • +

    Outstanding durability

  • +

    Very comfortable fit

  • +

    Better phone call quality

  • +

    Superb battery life


  • -

    No hi-res codec support

  • -

    Spatial audio is nothing special

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There are tons of wireless earbuds available on the market, but you'll rarely find a pair that offers a high level of durability. A few brands do it, except Jabra is the only one on the higher end that consistently does so. Its Active earbuds continue to provide excellent results, and that's very much the case with the Elite 8 Active Gen 2.

By their name, these earbuds carry on from their predecessors and add a few new improvements to the mix. However, a solid pair of ruggedized earbuds gets overshadowed by Jabra's decision to move on from its earbuds business, but that still doesn't really change how viable these are.

Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2: Price and availability

Jabra Elite 8 active all colors

(Image credit: Jabra)

Jabra launched the Elite 8 Active Gen 2 in June 2024, and they will be easy to find in retail and online stores for some time. They start at $230, though discounts aren't out of the question down the line now that Jabra is pulling out of its consumer business and will no longer make earbuds. Jabra confirms it will keep supporting its existing lineup of Elite earbuds with updates and warranty commitments for years to come. They come in black, navy, coral, and olive.

Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2: What's good

Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 earbuds loose and wet in front of case.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

The Elite 8 Active Gen 2 may not have everything their Elite 10 Gen 2 siblings do, but they may be the more appealing of the two for a couple of reasons. First is durability. While the Elite 10 Gen 2 boast an impressive IP57 rating for any pair of flagship earbuds, the Elite 8 Active Gen 2 take both dust and water resistance further with IP68 protection. It's rare enough to find rugged earbuds, but it's another to find a pair that does so many things well. You could be hiking up a mountain or splashing into a pool, and there wouldn't be a problem. Dealing with sweat is just part of the deal here.

That's where the second reason comes in: the durability makes the Elite 8 Active Gen 2 more compelling as workout earbuds. Much like their predecessors, the first-gen Elite 8 Active, Jabra wisely chose to stick with a design formula that simply works. A rubberized matte finish handles water so well that it slides off the coating. 

I wish Jabra applied 100% coverage with this material but it basically took the same approach as it did with the first-gen Elite 8 Active and left a sizeable inner portion more exposed. Granted, that doesn't necessarily pose a danger because dust and water resistance apply equally here, but it still would've been nice to see here.

Wearing Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 earbuds.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

Sticking with a familiar design bodes well for fit and comfort. These are some of the most comfortable and stable earbuds available, in my opinion, having worn and tested hundreds of wireless earbuds at this point. You get three ear tip sizes to choose from to find the best, snuggest fit for your ears. One more size would've been nice, like an extra-large or extra-small, though.

A tighter seal is critical to getting the most out of the onboard active noise cancelation (ANC), and that's no different here. It's also crucial to the sound, especially if you're looking to wear these during a run or workout and want to trap in as much bass as possible. 

The Elite 8 Active Gen 2 have smaller 6mm drivers compared to the 10mm ones in the Elite 10 Gen 2, so they work harder to play the same tunes. However, the tuning isn't different, and you can always tweak the EQ in Jabra's Sound+ app to deliver a balanced sound. 

Jabra Elite 8 Active case plugged into laptop.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

Truth be told, there's no major difference in how music generally sounds through these buds, though changes do occur under certain circumstances. Improved ANC, particularly in lower and mid-range frequencies, helps drown out more background noise to let audio playback feel more resonant. 

It largely works efficiently. I can't tell you the ANC is twice as good as Jabra claims, but it is more refined this time. It does better with street noise and wind, though phone calls in windy conditions still pose a challenge sometimes. I was more impressed with HearThrough, where ambient sounds come through much clearer than before, making it more natural to hear an announcement or chat with someone without removing the buds. 

The bigger deal is the fact the charging case also acts as a Bluetooth LE smart case. It works with the LC3 codec, so once you use the included cable and plug in via USB-C or 3.5mm to a playback device, it streams the audio to the earbuds. On a plane, this feels like magic, even if Jabra is hardly the first to ever do it. Same with a TV, where keeping quiet could mean the difference between happiness and misery. It's also gold with laptops or tablets where latency and audio/video sync might be a concern. It doesn't even need any setup; just plug in, hold the button on the case until a white light appears, and you're good. 

Screenshots for Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 earbuds.

(Image credit: Android Central)

As always, Jabra offers a significant level of granular control in the Sound+ app, letting you adjust the controls (which still work well as physical buttons), set up Spotify Tap, and update the firmware, among other things. You just have to dig a little to see where everything is if you're new to Jabra's earbuds.

Spatial sound is more front and center as a feature, and it's OK. Not great, nor terrible. One reason is that it's Dolby Audio rather than Atmos, giving you Dolby's more general spatial audio tech. As such, there's no head tracking as the Elite 10 Gen 2 have, and the effect feels less substantial here, anyway. I chose to leave it off most of the time, particularly for music, and I only tried it again when watching a show or movie.

Multipoint connections also let you pair with two devices simultaneously, making the Elite 8 Active Gen 2 buds just as useful in an office situation.

Jabra gets other things right, like the wear sensors, where taking an earbud off pauses playback or mutes a call, or using only one earbud automatically turns on HearThrough. Multipoint connections also let you pair with two devices simultaneously, making the Elite 8 Active Gen 2 buds just as useful in an office situation. 

On paper, battery life is rated at up to eight hours per charge with ANC on or up to 14 hours with it off. That's all based on default volume levels, so if you crank these up, you're never hitting those numbers. I easily got above seven hours at about 60% volume—and spatial audio off—so the batteries in both buds hold up well. The case offers an extra three full charges, and since it also supports wireless charging and a five-minute quick charge, the conveniences add up.

Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2: What's not good

Close-up of Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 earbud in ear.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

I still don't understand Jabra's motivation for not supporting hi-res audio codecs. Here, you only get SBC and AAC. Still no aptX, LDAC, or LHDC, to name a key few. You could argue hi-res tracks are less relevant for more active-focused earbuds, but I don't see why running or working out suddenly negates such a feature. Jabra did the same with the Elite 10 Gen 2—a missed opportunity for both pairs.

Perhaps it's a moot point anyway, considering the company is leaving its consumer business behind. The shocking exit comes at a time when it seemed Jabra was still top-class in the category. Its hearing aid and enterprise businesses make more money, so in a tighter and tighter consumer market for wireless earbuds, Jabra's decision-makers made what was very likely a pure business decision. 

It's just odd for a brand to launch a key product and then step away from the entire business altogether. On the bright side, Jabra will continue to support its consumer audio products for "years" to come with updates and warranties, and given its track record that way, I'm inclined to believe it.

Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2: Competition

Jabra Elite 8 Active earbuds in case with lid open.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

Despite Jabra's surprising move, the Elite 8 Active Gen 2 deserve to be mentioned along with the best wireless earbuds. Certainly, if you were looking at the best earbuds for workouts, they would be at the top of the list. If you feel you could do without the improved ANC and HearThrough, you'll find similar comfort and durability with the previous Elite 8 Active. If you wanted good durability with additional features and the same fit, the Elite 10 Gen 2 are an excellent choice. 

When it comes to other brands, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro don't have dust resistance but their IPX7 protection is pretty rugged for sweat and water. For a pair with ear hooks and much cheaper price, you could look at the Treblab X3 Pro or JBL Endurance Peak 3. 

Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2: Should you buy them?

Jabra Elite 8 Active earbuds in case in hand.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)

You should buy this if...

  • You want rugged durability.
  • You want good sound with ANC support.
  • You want a comfortable fit with physical buttons.
  • You want an EQ to work with.

You shouldn't buy this if...

  • You really want hi-res audio codecs.
  • You don't need spatial audio.
  • You're on a tighter budget.

As I already pointed out, it's strange for a brand to launch a key product and turn away from the entire business at the same time. That's where we are with the Elite 8 Active Gen 2—putting consumers in a tough spot. But despite the unusual situation, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend these earbuds simply because they don't have many rugged competitors. And definitely not of this quality. Plus, Jabra is still manufacturing them to accommodate retail demand. 

They are a very iterative upgrade over their predecessors, though. Unless you're really particular about noise cancelation, HearThrough, and really want the Bluetooth LE feature in the case, you won't go wrong with the previous pair, either.

Ted Kritsonis
Contributor, Audio Reviewer

Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar. Often times, that will be with a pair of headphones or earbuds playing tunes. When he's not testing something, he's working on the next episode of his podcast, Tednologic.