Jabra Elite 85h headphones review

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Erin Lawrence

jabra, elite, 85h, review, how to

Oh, headphones. Just when we think we’ve found the perfect pair, technology advances, manufacturers upgrade, and all of a sudden you’re in the market again. Case in Point, Jabra Elite 85h wireless headphones. I’ve tried numerous Jabra products, going all the way back to my first bone conduction wireless Bluetooth headset for the car. I’ve got to say, I’ve always been impressed with Jabra products because they deliver on the gold standard for headsets, headphones, mics and other audio gear: solid, clear, great sounding audio. I received a pair of Jabra Elite 85h headphones in black to test and review at home and in the office, and this is what I found.

Jabra Elite 85h headphones review

Jabra Elite 85h are fully wireless, over-ear headphones that use Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone, tablet or device. There’s a Multifunction button that lets you play/pause without needing your phone, and you can use the headphones to summon your digital assistant, and more. Watch the review video to see the features in action.

Setting up Jabra Elite 85h wireless headphones

To get these phones set up, just turn them on. As soon as you put them on your ears, you’ll hear a voice prompt telling you to go to your phone’s Bluetooth menu and choose the Jabra Elite 85h from your Bluetooth menu. I was connected in seconds with just a single click.

If you need to re-pair for some reason, put the headphones on, and press and hold (3 seconds) the multifunction button on the right earcup until the LED flashes blue and you hear an announcement in the headphones. Then go to the Bluetooth menu on your smartphone and select the Jabra Elite 85h from the list of available devices.

jabra, elite, 85h, review, how to

What’s in the Box?

When I opened up the package, what comes in the box is rather impressive. You got a large leather-look carrying case that comes complete with a handful of handy accessories. There is an auxiliary cord if you want to use these in wired mode, a charging cable, and a dual aux airplane jack for use on some older airplane models.

Fit & Feel Jabra Elite 85h

The first thing I noticed about these is that the ear cups are huge. Not so much from the outside, but it feels like there is a ton of real estate on the inside for your ears. At the same time, there is plenty of cushiony padding.

Yes, these headphones are ultra padded. As soon as you put them on you’ll notice they have killer noise isolation properties.jabra, elite, 85h, review, how to

There’s a difference between Noise Cancelling & Noise Isolation when it comes to wireless Bluetooth headphones.

Noise isolation is the act of physically isolating your ears from outside sound; think fat padding on over-ear headphones, or a great seal on in-ear wireless headphones.

Noise cancellation technology on the other hand uses digital algorithms to listen for outside nose, then block it out by creating a digital mask over that sound bleed. While both can be effective, noise cancelling technology tends to be more expensive, so your budget may determine what you choose. These headphones also have Noise Cancelling, technology Jabra calls smart Active Noise Cancellation. Before we get to that we’ll want to talk about the Jabra app, which you’ll need to get the most from these headphones.

Using Jabra Sound+ App

jabra, elite, 85h, review, how toJabra has an app that allows you to get finer control over your headphones. Using the app you can adjust many of the features of the headphones including noise cancellation, sound levels including equalization and you can even hunt down your headphones if they’re lost.

I will say I found the app finicky. Nine times out of ten, I’d try to get the app to connect to the headphones to use some of the features, but the app wasn’t seeing the headphones, and it was telling me to reconnect, even though I had music already playing. I tried updating the app, closing and reopening, and nothing. I was only able to get the app to connect randomly and infrequently, which was frustrating when I wanted to use the controls.

Turning the headphones on and off

This is weird, and for a lot of folks might make it way too easy to leave these on accidentally. The Jabra Elite 85h automatically turns on when you rotate the earcups into the wearing position.

The headphones automatically turn off when you fold the earcups flat.

Connecting more than one device to Jabra Elite 85h

You can connect more than one device at a time to these headphones which is a great feature. To do it, just put them into pairing mode, and go to your second device and look for them in your Bluetooth menu.

Other Features in Jabra Elite 85h App

Equalization settings

Using the Jabra Sound+ App you can adjust audio settings including equalization. This setting lets you adjust the bass, midrange and treble by dragging your finger along a line.

The adjustments are far more noticeable than using the presets. You can really fine tune the sound, and get lots more bass, or treble, or just configure the sound however you like it.

Adjusting Music Presets

There are six music present settings available on your Jabra Elite 85h wireless headphones. There’s Default, Bass Boost, Smooth, Speech, Treble Boost, and Energize.

The difference between these settings is minimal to my ear. While bass boost is easiest to pick out, the rest seemed quite similar.

I gave the headphones to a coworker and asked her if she noticed any differences while I was switching up the modes; she only noticed treble boost, saying it sounded like the bass got nixed. Even when I showed her I was physically switching modes, she couldn’t pick up on any major differences.

jabra, elite, 85h, review, how to

Using Find my Jabra

These headphones have a feature that until now, I’ve only seen in Apple headphones: it’s called Find my Jabra. When enabled using the Jabra Sound+ App, you can see exactly where, on a map, your headphones last turned on, and connected to Bluetooth.

This feature works great and can help you locate your headphones if you’ve forgotten them somewhere.

On-ear detection

Another feature I really liked is the on-ear detection. On-ear detection can tell when you’ve placed the headphones on your ears and when you take them off. I found this setting worked great, and probably helped preserve my battery life. It also made it easy to listen to podcasts at the office, where interruptions happen.

You can turn this feature on or off in the app.

jabra, elite, 85h, review, how toHow well does Noise Cancellation work?

Noise cancellation technology uses digital algorithms to listen for outside nose, then block it out by creating a digital mask over that sound bleed.

Using the Jabra Elite 85h Noice Cancelling feature creates a great ‘cone of silence’ around you. It really does keep everything happening outside you from bleeding in. Chatty co-workers, barking dogs, or the neighbour’s lawn mower were all successfully blocked out.

To turn noise cancelling on or off, you can use the Sound+ app, or bush the small oval button on the left earcup; this lets it cycle through the various modes without using the app.

What is Jabra HearThrough?

HearThrough is a cool feature that lets you allow outside noise into the headphones. This is designed to make you more aware of your surroundings when walking in busy areas, commuting or just needing to keep ears on what’s happening around you.

Turning on this feature in the Sound+ App lets you hear nearly everything around you, while blending that sound appropriately with your music or audio so you get both at once.

This feature woks quite well, and provides a good balance of outside ambient noise and music and helps you feel safer and less isolated. Plus, using the app, you can adjust how much ambient noise to let in; from lots to almost none.

jabra, elite, 85h, review, how to

Battery Life of Jabra Elite 85h

These headphones are built to last and last when it comes to battery life. Jabra says the Elite 85h will give you 36 hours of battery life even with the ANC switched on. I can say I accidentally left the headphones on and connected to my phone with music playing all day and I still got many more days of battery life from them after I finally shut them down.

Plus, with fast charging, you can get 5 hours of battery life from just 15 minutes charging. Nice!

Jabra Elite 85h: Sound quality & call quality

After going through all those features, it’s easy to almost forget about the primary feature: sound quality. I’m happy to report these sound great!

The headphones sound very clear, and it’s easy to pick up on small details in the music like drumsticks on the rim, claps or breaths. Without fussing with the equalizer, you get a very even sound that doesn’t lean too hard in any high or low direction. With the ability to customize and fine tune your audio you can truly get a perfect sound.

When it comes to podcasts, voices are clear and the overall sound is well balanced. Phone calls are similarly clear and noise-free, both on my end and from my callers’ perspectives.

Watching videos was great too; when I was watching YouTube, there was no lag between the audio and video as I have found on some headphones.

Overall review of Jabra Elite 85h wireless headphones

Overall, these are great headphones. They’re comfortable, they sound great, and they’re versatile thanks to the wired jack option. If there were any cons, it’s probably that I found the preset audio settings weren’t very deep or robust.But I don;t have any hesitation recommending the Jabra Elite 85h if you’re looking for a new set of premium headphones.

These headphones sell for $399CAD from places like Best Buy and Amazon.

 

 

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