Jabra Elite85t Review: A solid earbud with tons of features.
We like this
High quality build
Battery life is amazing
App is user-friendly
A high quality, custom sound
Case for wireless charging
Earbuds are not as comfortable as other models
It's a little pricey
There is no aptX codec
Jabra Elite 85t wireless earbuds offer a new offering in true wireless, and are loaded with great features.
Jabra sent us a unit to review for one our writers. Continue reading for the complete review.
Jabra has made the Elite 85t headphones a significant step forward in audio. Since the 65t AirPods, the Elite line was a major competitor. The Elite 75t version last year saw significant improvements in design and quality. The new Elite 85t earbuds are almost identical to the 75ts. You can't do much better than the Elite 75ts when it comes to replicating a true wireless pair of earbuds. It's no problem that the Elite 85t didn't make any changes in the design.
Jabra appears to have taken into account the few mistakes consumers made last generation and added them to this party. The Elite 85t is close to perfect with Qi-certified wireless charging and the next-level noise cancelling available on the headphones. However, it will be sold at a premium price. Here's what I found out after spending a couple of days trying all possible applications.
First, you will notice that the Elite 85t earbuds look nearly identical to the 75t. The only thing that is different about the Elite 85t earbuds is their weight (probably due to Jabra's new wireless charging coil) and their Qi logo embedded in the bottom. They are identical to last year's model. That isn't a problem—the 75t and 85t earbuds look sleek and premium. My titanium black color is two-tone. The inner portion of the earbuds are matte black, while the exterior part is dark gray.
When you open the Elite 85t headphones, the first thing that you will notice is their resemblance to the 75t generation.
Its amoeba shape with Jabra-logo touch buttons, microphone grills and Jabra-logo touch buttons all sit nicely and discreetly outside the earbuds. It's small and slim, with a dental floss-esque design, and fits perfectly into your briefcase or office desk. The fit is something to be discussed later. However, the majority of the earbuds are placed against your outer ear. These earbuds aren't as prominent as the first-gen Galaxy Buds from Samsung, but they don't feel bulky like Bose.
It's difficult to give a final verdict about earbud fit. It's difficult to give general statements about comfort because it is affected by the form of your ears. Earbud makers included multiple sizes of eartips, so you will find three sizes in the 85t package. Although the eartips aren't perfect round, they are shaped more like an ellipse. This is a good choice for me because you don't have to force an ellipse-like shape into your ears. However, it might not be the best option for everyone.
The 85t earbuds have no ears wings and fins. Jabra has instead incorporated small rubberized contours in the enclosure. The bumps will rest inside your outer ear and allow gravity to hold them in place. Jabra says they have scanned thousands of ears for this purpose, but this seems like marketing talk.
If you are looking for sporty rubber wings to grip your ears, then you will not find them here. These earbuds are a good choice if you prefer something subtler that fits comfortably in your ear and doesn't fall out. These earbuds are similar to previous generations, however, because of the evolution in headphones' shape, it is hard not to think Jabra could have made some changes.
The first Elite 65t earbuds were released in May 2015. There weren't many complaints regarding sound quality or call functionality. However, the battery case was not up to the mark and neither did the product. Jabra made a huge improvement on this product with the 75t. However, the 85ts didn't have the same problems. Although the soft touch rubber/plastic outside feels great in the hands as well as in the ears, the silicone used to make the tips is a bit stiffer than some premium earbuds. I find it acceptable. Even the battery case employs a satisfying easy-open lid that snaps shut with magnets—and contains equally powerful magnets to bring the earbuds into their charging ports quickly and easily.
The 85t earbuds are quite rugged but only have an IPX4 rating. They can survive in rain and sweat but may not be able to withstand heavy rainfall. This rating is a standard rating for headphones this size. However, the 75t last year featured IP55 water , anddust protection. The water sealing is a little better. However, the first five ratings indicate dust and debris protection. While the X indicates that the 85t has no official debris sealing. Jabra feels that this was unnecessary for the new gen. To be honest, however, it's not a major issue. If you are looking for outdoor headphones that can be used to hike, the last-year's model might work better.
Jabra is a strong opponent to AirPods. Their headphones are better at listening and calling than they were for calls. Jabra's legacy has been carried well into the 85ts with an excellent, rich and full sound. This is partly because of the 11mm driver they managed to fit into these earbuds. Although the frequency range from 20Hz to 20kHz may not be the most extensive I have seen, it is sufficient to provide the entire spectrum of human hearing. This is due to the fact that you have more control over your earbuds via the app than with other models. These earbuds are great because of the MySound customization. With two microphones per earbud, the call quality is crisp and clear as one would expect from Jabra.
Jabra doubled their efforts this year with a noise-cancelling device. They're promising six bands of EQ analysis that can be used to cancel out certain noise frequencies.
There are also the transparency and noise-canceling modes. Jabra refers to the former as 'HearThrough. The noise-canceling is excellent. Although the 75ts did not come with active noise cancelling out of the box when they were released, Jabra found a way to coop on-board microphones and use them in a firmware support ANC. Jabra doubled their efforts this year with a noise-canceling chip. They're promising six bands of EQ analysis that will better block out noise from specific areas.
The 85ts offer ANC support that is far more powerful than the regular models. These headphones perform well in practice and are comparable to most ANC earbuds. Bose's QuietComfort earbuds are perhaps the exception. The Elite 85ts are a great earbud. I haven't tried many premium ones, so this is my opinion.
It is hard to beat the Elite 85t's battery life. It is almost as long as the best-of-the top true wireless earbuds on the market, the Elite 85t's battery life. With the only earbuds you can expect seven hours, and an extra 24 (that is more than 30 hours total) when the case is added. This is a lot more than I would expect from larger headphones. It's amazing to see them in action here.
With the only earbuds included, the specs sheet claims 7 hours use. The battery case adds an extra 24 hours.
The number of hours you can activate ANC is lower than 25 but it's still quite impressive. These numbers were a good trend in practice. Even if you run low on juice, your headphones will still be able to get you through several workdays and a few long flights. The battery case also features Qi wireless charging, so you can easily place them on the same mat with your phone for charging. The USB-C port allows for decently quick charging, allowing up to one hour of playback from a single charge. This is only a fifteen-minute process. This category is a real achievement by Jabra.
Although this category has its fair share of problems, I will start with the positive. Bluetooth 5.1 is the main connectivity feature for these earbuds. This allows you to connect up to two devices at once and gives you a 30-foot range. This worked flawlessly in real life. It switched between my phone and my laptop seamlessly and did not interfere with my many other Bluetooth devices. All the most recent profiles, including A2DP and AVRCP will be available to you.
The Bluetooth codec section is where you will not find modern trimmings. Jabra will only use the AAC and SBC compression formats. Bluetooth must compress audio in order to transmit it. This will ensure that the latency is low. SBC and AAC, the most severe forms of compression, have the largest impact on file quality.
Qualcomm created an aptX codec that reduces the compression effect. However, Jabra chose not to include this third party codec in its product. This is likely because Qualcomm wants full control of the audio via the app's equalization. However, aptX will not be available if you need it for quality and latency reasons. Although I do not believe this affects the quality of playback in any significant way, it's something that should be noted.
Jabra includes the necessary battery case, charging cables, and sizes of eartips, so you get the minimum you would expect from an accessory package. Jabra has also chosen not to add fancy touchpads to the earbuds and instead opted for one large button per earbud. You can answer phone calls, pause or play music and call Siri or Google Assistant using these buttons. The earbuds have a sensor that automatically stops the music whenever it is removed. It's all very nice to be able to see but not too remarkable.
When you add the Jabra sound+ app to the mix, the feature set is really enhanced. You can change the level of noise cancellation (I prefer mine in the middle so it doesn't feel as oppressive) or reverse the process to allow ambient sound through. This app is great for people who walk around heavy traffic areas. These settings can be saved to your daily routine, such as your commute or workday.
When you add the Jabra sound+ app, the feature set is truly enhanced.
You can also customize the sound quality with a graphic equalizer, which allows you to adjust the volume of the bass, highs and mids by adjusting a few settings. MySound also allows you to run a hearing test and load the earbuds with the sound profile that best suits your hearing ability. You can also customize the buttons and controls as you would expect. Jabra is my favourite companion app for headphones. It strikes a good balance between being too simple and still having enough features to call it full-featured. This app is extremely user-friendly and a major selling point for the earbuds.
The Elite 85t's launch price is $229. This compares with similar offerings by Apple and Samsung. There's no denying that these headphones are high-end. They aren't the most costly true wireless headphones on the market.
The features offered here are worth the price, and I believe the $200+ price tag is justified, particularly when you consider the great battery life and premium build. Although I would have preferred a higher IP rating and more premium codecs, I am not dissatisfied. These are well worth considering if you can afford more than $200.
These two Jabra Elite generations look almost identical. The Elite 75ts are much more affordable than the Elite 85t headphones, which is why they're so new. What do you have to give up? The 85ts have a better battery life, Qi wireless capability, and dedicated ANC processing. Jabra sells the option of the 75t equipped with a Qi wireless charger case. You can also add better ANC through a firmware upgrade. The 75ts are also better in terms of IP ratings. Really it comes down to price, battery life, and the dedicated ANC chip—so if you have the money, then go for the 85t.
Jabra Elite wireless earbuds will satisfy you, whether you are looking for an older model 65t or a newer 85t. What you're buying is an impressive pair of headphones that do a lot of things well—from excellent battery life and impressive sound quality to solid ANC and tons of customization. There are better earbuds for noise cancellation. You will find cheaper earbuds with the same features as Jabra. You would find it difficult to get all that information in a single premium package such as the Jabra Elite 85t.