Headset Review: Jabra Active Wired Headphones Review
Editor's Ratings (1-5): 4
What's Hot: Good sound. Sweat/moisture resistant. Built-in microphone with wind/noise reduction. Built-in control button. Includes variety of Eargels to ensure snug fit.
What's Not: Volume control slider is inferior in every way to standard volume control buttons. Volume control box and control button are located a full 12" apart from each other.
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
The Jabra Active headphones have surprisingly good sound for "sport" headphones, and manage to sound good even when perspiration or moisture gets on the speaker grills. The inexplicable controls, however, make for a less than perfect experience.
Features and Quality
The Jabra Active headphones are not your everyday sitting-around-on-the-porch-sipping-lemonade headphones. They're durable, water-resistant, and built for active use. The reason this matters is that there are always tradeoffs with headphones in this regard. In-ear, noise reducing headphones sound spectacular, right up until a drop of perspiration makes its way to the speaker grill, rendering them useless during physical activity. However, after running with the Jabra Active headphones for a week, I was pleased to find that they live up to their claim of being sweat/water resistant. I also had the opportunity to make a few calls from them (at the beach, no less) and found the microphone to also live up to Jabra's claim of wind resistance. "That's all well and good, but how do they sound?" you may ask (and rightfully so). While I've certainly heard better, I'm happy to report that the Jabra Active are the best sounding sport headphones I've ever worn. I do, however, have a few gripes, mostly due to the controls. First, Jabra has, for some reason, opted for a slider switch for volume control. This is a problem because the range of the slider is nowhere near long enough to accommodate the full volume range of any device that is likely to use it. While they've done the best they could to fit as much control as possible in that tiny space, this has, unfortunately, resulted in oversensitive controls, which, in turn, has resulted in my accidentally pumping near max volume through them on more than one run. This design decision also means that, unless you tend to operate your device at around 50% volume or lower, it is not possible to completely mute them. To this, you may say: "Why would you want to mute them?! Why don't you just pause the music?" Normally this would be a viable alternative. However, Jabra has inexplicably opted to place the control button a full 12" away from the volume control box so if you need it you're going to have to fish for it. The control button itself works perfectly with my iPhone 4S, however. With it, I can start/stop/advance/rewind and even access SIRI, Apple's voice assistant. Lastly, the included eargels means that most everybody will be able to find a way to keep these headphones firmly in their ears during their chosen activity.
The Jabra Active headphones come in 3 variants: black, white, and yellow, although all have the same specs/features.
The Jabra Active headphones are great headphones for active use, yet sound good enough for everyday. Their ability to resist moisture, coupled with the wind/noise reducing microphone means that you will be able to hear your music and make phone calls in all but the most inclement of weather. Their only flaw is the inclusion of a volume slider instead of buttons, but for most people, this won't be a dealbreaker.