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Jabra Elite 85t review: noise cancelling done right

Jabra Elite 85t are a fantastic pair of ANC-infused ear buds.

Jabra Elite 85t review: noise cancelling done right
16 November 2020

There was a big surprise for users of the Jabra 75t range recently. Jabra added active noise cancellation through a software update. It was great to see the company still care about the users of its older earphones, while also revealing a brand-new pair of ear buds - the Jabra Elite 85t.

The 85t range comes equipped with active noise cancellation from the get go, with Jabra adding in a dedicated ANC chip into the hardware. This gives the user ultimate control when it comes to how noise cancelling works. But is it enough to beat the likes of the Apple Airpods Pro?

Here are 5 things to know…

1 They look smart

Jabra Elite 85t review: noise cancelling done right

If you have used a pair of Jabra earphones before, then you won’t be surprised with the look of the Jabra Elite 85t. They aren’t drastically different from previous iterations - most of what’s changed is under the hood - but that doesn’t matter. They are premium-looking earphones, with The familiar grey shades and tear-drop accent.

When they are in the ear they slightly protrude but not enough to cause concern. Ultimately, they fit nice and snug and we had no issues with soreness when wearing them for prolonged periods. It may be that we would have preferred a closer fit but they never fell out, even when taking them on a run.

It’s worth noting that Jabra is calling these Elite and not Active (as it does some of its range) and while we enjoyed running with them, it does feel like their main purpose is sound clarity - offering ANC to those who don’t want to wear a pair of over ears.

And if you think of them like that, then they are one of the smallest ways to get premium ANC into your ears.

2 Touch controls really work

Jabra Elite 85t review: noise cancelling done right

Jabra has added touch-sensitive side panels to the earbuds and they pass the ‘accidentally touching them’ test. You have to give them a solid push if you want the controls to work. The controls are straight forward - a single push lets you switch between ANC and HearThrough modes, while a double tap skips the track you are listening to. There are plenty more touch features to dive into as well.

When it comes to the carry case, we were a little disappointed. It’s compact, for sure, but felt a little plastic-y for our liking and not as premium as the Elite 85ts it carries.

3 Set up is seriously simple

Jabra Elite 85t review: noise cancelling done right

Jabra has taken all of the pain points out of setting up these earphones. We had them working in under a minute - given we’ve spent a long time wrestling with other earphones this was a fantastic experience. Everything can be done through Bluetooth but there is also the option to dive into the presets and balance out the sound to your liking through the Jabra Sound+ app. There are a ton of features in here - from just how much noise cancelling you are getting on the headphones, to how much of your own voice you will hear on calls. It is here that you can personalise the touch controls, too.

4 The sound is amazing

Jabra Elite 85t review: noise cancelling done right

As we mentioned, looks-wise the Jabra’s share similarities to their previous releases but the innards of the Jabra Elite 85t are re-imagined and it makes for one of the best-sounding earphones we have tested (especially when out and about).

Jabra has seen fit to add a new pair of 12mm in-built speakers. Those paying attention will know that these are twice as big as those found in the Jabra 75t range. Add to this some deeper bass and bloody brilliant noise cancelation and what you have is a sonic delight.

Our music of choice varied depending on where we were when listening. For jogging, the bass from Immortal Technique’s Creation & Destruction came through loud and clear, as was the warm shuffle of A Tribe Called Quest’s Award Tour.

When concentrating at home, Kino Todo’s Goa Kids was a bass masterclass - sounding ridiculously clear through the Elite 85ts and Tidal. To hit the higher frequencies, Bjork’s Hunter was a great test and the earphones passed effortlessly.

These are great-sounding earphones with Jabra really making sure that sound clarity is as good as it can be in earphones of this size.

5 Battery life is impressive

Jabra Elite 85t review: noise cancelling done right

While the ANC is certain to drain the battery of the Jabra Elite 85ts, you don’t notice because there is a good amount of battery in the carry case. Without the case you get around five hours. With it, you get around 25 hours of charge which is more than welcomed. Charging can be done on a Qi-compatible wireless charger, too, which is a nice addition.

Jabra Elite 85t: Final Verdict

Jabra Elite 85t review: noise cancelling done right

The Jabra Elite 85t range does pretty much everything right in terms of noise cancellation. They allow you to hear just enough of the outside world when needed but when the ANC kicks in, it’s powerful. The adjustments that can be made through the app are genuinely useful and when it comes to looks, these are a smart pair of earphones.

We have no worries recommending the Jabra Elite 85t range to all - especially if you are looking for a pair of noise-cancelling headphones that rival what the AirPods Pro offer. We would also look at the Jabra Elite 75t - they have better waterproofing and have just been upgraded with ANC. If you want the flagship range, though, the Jabra Elite 85t do not disappoint.