MUSIC, phone calls, online meetings. At least one of those is a necessary evil, and another, the key to enjoyment and relaxation. The Jabra Elite 85t wireless earbuds make it easy to listen to and participate in all these things, and they do it exceptionally well.
We tested the Jabra Elite 85t wireless earbuds across a variety of situations, including dialling into remote meetings, listening to music on the train, working out at the gym, and making and taking calls, literally everywhere, including driving, alot.
What we discovered was a sound quality that is exceptional for an earbud (both listening and talking), a supporting suite of cool tech, and proper wireless, which means no cords. That last part is key; these are proper true wireless in-ear headphones.
What makes these earbuds so great isn’t just the fact they have active noise cancelling, which is supported by two microphones that kill traffic noise, and even the sound of your own chewing and heartbeat, it’s the fact that there’s also hear-through technology.
This means you can, when you want to, hear the outside world, as well as what’s going on in your earbuds. Better yet, you can dial that functionality up or down via the free Jabra Sound+ app that goes with them.
Think of the app as the absolute hub for everything you need to do to not only configure the earbuds, but to be able to tailor the balance of functions (including noise cancelling), and make changes to the devices, as you need to.
For example, there’s MyFit, which uses the Jabra Sound+ app to find your perfect seal, for improved ANC performance and better sound quality. It will literally guide you to find the perfect position for your earbuds, to get the best sound.
Throw in the ability to do a full spectrum hearing test (developed by specialists) via MySound, that expertly optimises and calibrates your headphones to provide the perfect hearing experience, and these things are hard to fault.
You can connect two devices, which we did, including a Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra, and a HP EliteBook laptop, and both worked seamlessly well, with the earbuds switching between the two as required.
Aside from the $279 price, it’s in the initial connectivity to both the devices we’ve just mentioned, that we find fault. You see, they were a little difficult to get to connect the first time we hooked them up, to either the laptop or the smartphone.
Once they’d established that initial connection though, it was smooth sailing from there on. The carry case doubles down as the charging hub too, and offers a variety of light signals (purple when a software/firmware update is in progress for example).
And the buds will charge while they’re in the case, even if the case is on connected to a charging cable.
It’s a nice touch, knowing that as long as the case is charged, if you’ve managed to drain your headphones in the roughly five and a half hours of up time you’ll get with active noise cancelling turned on, that you can just pop them in the case, and they’ll charge.
Switch off ANC and you should pull more than six (closer to seven) hours from the Jabra Elite 85t. In an office, that becomes quite painful, for example, but on a train, where you also need to hear announcements, that setup strikes a perfect balance.
If you’re outside, or driving, and need to hear cars and traffic, then the hear-through settings are more than suitable. As we mentioned, we exercised with them on too, and not once (thanks to MyFit), did we feel like they’d fall out.
In terms of technical specifications, the Jabra Elite 85t’s integrate with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri, wind protection, SBC and AAC audio codec support, up to 24 hours charge in the case (seven in earbuds), and the ability to use a Qi wireless charger.
Charging takes around three hours via the USB-C connector and a standard power socket, or 3.5 hours via wireless. You can fast charge up to 60 minutes usage time in 15 minutes (with earbuds in case). The buds will hold charge for up to six months, if switched off.
There’s a sleep mode function too, so if you take them out of your ears, they’ll shut down completely after 15 minutes, and reactivate when you put them in your ears. You can also use the right ear bud as a solo unit. You can even track them in the app if you lose them.
The Jabra Elite 85t wireless earbuds are also water resistant and come with a two-year warranty. They come in five colours, including Titanium Black, Grey, Gold Beige, Copper Black, and Black (as tested).
Pitched against Apple’s AirPods Pro units, the QuietComfort Earbuds from Bose, and similar units from Samsung and Microsoft, Jabra is playing in a tough space. That said, the Elite 85t offers a better option than most, if not all of them.
They should definitely be on your shopping list.
Our test product was provided by Jabra Australia. Exhaust Notes Australia has not been paid to review this product.
Pros – comfortable to wear; noise cancelling capabilities; mobile app simplifies setup; charging process.
Cons – expensive; quirks with connectivity; took some time to get used to.