Author’s Blurb: I’ve always been interested in wireless earbuds, but I’m not a fan of silicone earbud tips, which was why I never got into them. On top of that, I’m still not open to paying the heftier price for many of them, so I’ve stuck to my regular wired earbuds.
Earlier this year, my colleague reviewed the Jabra Elite 75t, where she shared her scepticism about wireless earbuds.
However, after testing it out for a month, she was officially converted and has never gone back to her wired Apple earbuds since.
Now I have the chance to cast away my similar scepticism with this review of the new Jabra Elite 85t, but with less than a week to make a verdict on it.
Because of the shorter time I have, I doubt I’ll move completely to the other side like she did.
Previously, I’ve only experienced 2 wireless earbuds, which are AirPods and Razer, both of which I found had their own pros and cons.
I received the Titanium Black pair in a compact case similar to the Jabra Elite 75t’s. The box contained 3 different silicone EarGels (earbud tips), a USB-A to USB-C cable, and a warning and warranty leaflet.
I had to download the Jabra Sound+ app to get their user manual, which actually left a good first impression on me since it cut down on paper waste.
The app also tells me the earbuds’ and case’s battery lives and lets me personalise my music equaliser according to the environment I’m in.
As for the design, my biggest issue with it physically was to do with discomfort due to a lack of familiarity with silicone earbuds. They always make it feel as though my ears “can’t breathe”.
Thankfully, I could change the size of the EarGels. The smallest one eased the discomfort, but it was still a foreign sensation that I haven’t gotten used to.
I’ve been using the earbuds for 3 days now, and haven’t charged the case yet as it’s still sitting at a battery life of 65%. On average, I’ve been using them for about 3-4 hours a day.
I have put back the earbuds regularly in the case to recharge, and their claim of a 15-minute charge for an hour’s use is true.
From a 2 hour and 20 minute-charge in the case, you can get up to 5.5 hours of usage on a single charge even with their Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) on, and the compact charging case stores up to 25 hours’ worth of juice.
How Effective Is Their Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) Feature?
At first, I snapped my fingers to gauge how well their ANC worked compared to their HearThrough and Off modes.
While it was pretty impressive, I could still hear my fingers snapping a little. So at first, I was a little disappointed because I thought it would’ve completely blocked out all sounds.
However, I wasn’t paying much attention to my surroundings at the time, but after an hour of listening, I took off my earbuds and was taken aback by how loud my surroundings actually were.
Rain was pouring very heavily that afternoon plus some thunder, and my brother and his girlfriend had actually been laughing and talking loudly the entire time while watching a movie.
It was then that I realised the effectiveness of their ANC, and how it successfully made me oblivious to all the noise in my surroundings that afternoon.
Music Personalisation, The App and Call Quality
The ANC feature definitely made listening to music much more enjoyable, and being able to adjust the equaliser made it easier for me to boost the bass in songs that I enjoy.
The app also lets you customise sound modes according to 3 different common environments like casual listening, commute and focus, which was very convenient.
Another feature I also find convenient is the “Find My Jabra” function on the app that lets you locate your earbuds if they ever go missing.
Speaking of distance, my listening experience surprisingly didn’t buffer or break when I walked around my house with my phone in one place, which was something I couldn’t find in the Razer.
Call quality, however, was a little tricky. While on my end I could hear the other person well consistently, they’ve told me that the first call was very clear on their end, whereas the second and third onwards were soft.
The Earbuds’ Buttons
There is one button on each earbud which lets you adjust the volume, play/pause music, go next or backtrack, and cycle between ANC and HearThrough. You can also personalise the functions on your buttons on the app.
While it was quite simple to get used to, I didn’t enjoy having to press on these buttons all the time when I needed to increase the volume or play/pause music.
I would’ve preferred a touch feature so that it wouldn’t mess with the position of the earbuds in my ears.
However, I do understand that the touch feature can be quite tricky and sensitive to any touch, so the buttons definitely help with countering that.
Moreover, I liked that I didn’t need my phone at all to increase/decrease the volume, which is a feature I couldn’t find in the other 2 wireless earbuds I’ve tried. (Not even the AirPods Pro, a competitor that keeps being brought up against Jabra Elite 85t, has this feature.)
Overall, I find the Jabra Elite 85t very impressive, but I don’t think I have completely converted to the other side.
The most important thing about wireless earbuds is comfort to me, and it’s either because these ones don’t suit my ears, or I simply need more time to get used to them.
I’m also not used to using buttons to perform functions since I have to constantly readjust the position of the earbuds every time.
As for its price, RM1,049 is out of any wireless earbuds budget I’d set, but for those who want quality and are willing to pay for it, it’s definitely justifiable and worth it.
Here is an overview of its pros and cons:
|Very effective ANC||Inconsistent call quality on the receiver’s end|
|Excellent battery life for earbuds and case||Have to readjust earbuds after using buttons|
|User-friendly app with music personalisation, earbuds locater and digital manual|
Bottom Line: I wish I had ears that find comfort in silicone earbuds because honestly, everything else about these earbuds would’ve converted me the way its predecessor did to my colleague. Now, I can only hope that time desensitises my discomfort to silicone earbuds to fully enjoy the Jabra Elite 85t.
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