Review: Jabra’s New Elite 8 Active and Elite 10 Are an Ideal Pair

Both the Elite 8 Active and Elite 10 have strengths, but one style truly excels

September 15, 2023 12:29 pm
Jabra Elite 10 earbuds in five colors
The Elite 10 (pictured) and Elite 8 Active earbuds are new earbuds from Jabra

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When it comes to earbuds, I’m easy to please. I just want excellent noise cancellation, a tight fit, all-day comfort, tactile controls, a useful accompanying app and sound that approximates the best qualities of high-end over-ear headphones. Plus, good battery life, wireless charging and a look that’s aesthetically pleasing. 

Simple enough, right?

I’m somewhat kidding. Currently, I divide my earbuds into different use categories — one for the gym, one for commutes, another for planes, etc. Finding a pair that works for any situation would be ideal.

So I didn’t go into reviewing Jabra’s two new earbuds, the Elite 8 Active and Elite 10, with much hope (even though we’re longtime fans of the brand). While sharing a lot of characteristics, the two earbud styles were positioned to me in two completely different ways. The 8 Actives are the tough ones; they’ve been dubbed “the world’s toughest earbuds.” Meanwhile, the Elite 10 was promoted for its superior sound, particularly as it pertains to Dolby Atmos and Dolby Head Tracking (we’ll get to that later).

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Not surprisingly, they’re both excellent. Surprisingly, I found a pair that’s going to be my earbuds of choice for all situations. No spoilers ‘til the end, however.

I spent three weeks with each pair of earbuds, putting them through my typical daily routine (workout, commute, office time, etc.) Let’s compare — and for each attribute, I’ll pick a winner.

Jabra Elite 8 and 10 Earbud Specs

Jabra Elite 8 Active

  • IP68 rated (case is IP54)
  • Adaptive Hybrid ANC
  • 6-mic call technology
  • Eight hours of playtime (32 with case)
  • Available in four colors
  • Spatial Sound powered by Dolby
  • Wireless charging
  • Multipoint connectivity
  • Bluetooth 5.3

Jabra 10

  • IP57 rated
  • Jabra Advanced ANC
  • 6-mic call technology
  • Six hours of playtime (27 with case)
  • Available in five colors
  • Spatial Sound powered by Dolby
  • Wireless charging
  • Multipoint connectivity
  • Bluetooth 5.3
Jabra Elite 8 Active earbuds in four colors against a broken granite table top
Jabra is touting Elite 8 Active as “the world’s toughest earbuds”

Earbud Fit

The Elite 8 utilizes something called ShakeGrip technology to give a tighter in-ear fit (it’s also good for protection against dust and water). Simply put, these were the most secure I’ve ever felt wearing earbuds — not only did these never pop out, I never needed to readjust them, even during workouts or mad dashes to the train. 

The Elite 10 earbuds were also comfortable and secure; I occasionally adjusted one or the other (more out of habit, tbh) but never felt like they’d pop out.

WINNER: Elite 8 Active


The Elite 8 claims their earbuds meet rugged military standards and they’re supposedly dust-, water- and sweatproof. They apparently “pass 11 full cycles of testing, including enduring 2 hours in 40°C/104°F temperatures with 93% humidity, going through a 15-minute splash test in salt water, and surviving a 15-minute 40°C/104°F heat drying test, in order to successfully prove their anti-corrosion credentials.” 

The Elite 10 is IP57-certified but does not undergo the same amount of intense testing. They feel plenty durable, however.

WINNER: Elite 8 Active

Noise cancellation

Both earbuds feature noise cancellation that very, very effectively blocks out subways, conversation, doorbells, cars, planes and really all outside noise. The Elite 8 Active offers Adaptive Hybrid ANC, which is 1.6x more ANC compared to Jabra Standard ANC — it automatically adapts to your surroundings. The Elite 10 utilizes Jabra Advanced ANC, which is even better at blocking out the world, so much so that I switched to a customizable HearThrough mode (via the app) so I’d stop bumping into pedestrians.

WINNER: Elite 10

Jabra Elite Sound

The Elite 8 Active has Spatial Sound, powered by Dolby. It promises a more “lifelike” and immersive experience. The Elite 10 buds add Dolby Head Tracking, which basically means the sound moves with you and sound comes from all directions. You can turn off Spatial Sound and Head Tracking and honestly, I highly recommend you limit these settings to video. 

The sound on both styles of earbuds is clear, clean and bold, with the app offering equalizer presets and custom options. But when you turn on Spatial Sound, everything seems distant and occasionally muffled. And Head Tracking can be disorienting; turning my head to the right put more audio in my left ear, for example, and all it really made me want to do was sit perfectly still.

Both Spatial Audio and Head Tracking worked better on video (particularly movie trailers). But even using Amazon Music (which has HD options) and only playing tracks that were labeled for Dolby Atmos, I found I preferred the spatial audio turned off.

WINNER: Elite 10

Other things I liked and didn’t (both models):

  • Intuitive tactile controls, hooray! I never want to go back to “tapping” earbuds again. 
  • Pairing on each took about a minute, but then was never an issue again.
  • The app offered information about battery levels and control over sound modes (along with the aforementioned equalizer) and a “Find My Jabra” option and some product support. It’s modest in scope and easy to use. 
  • While not exactly eye-catching, the earbuds are lightweight, nicely sized (not bulbous or overly noticeable) and functionally designed. Translation: Not ugly. 
  • Both are comfortable to wear all day, with the Elite 10 offering a semi-open shape and oval ear gels, giving them a slight edge.
  • The colors are fairly monochrome and dull — and you’re either going to like the caramel (light brown) and cocoa (dark reddish brown) colorways or not. 


Given the modest differences between the two earbud styles, I found I preferred the Jabra Elite 8 Active, as they offered an ideal fit with almost the same sound capabilities and better battery life (plus, they’re $50 cheaper than the Jabra Elite 10). They’re both outstanding — minor quibbles aside — and should work in any environment or situation. 

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