Jabra Elite 85h review: A new contender in the ANC headphones space
First unveiled at CES 2019, Jabra Elite 85h later made its way to India at a price of ₹28,999.
Product name: Jabra Elite 85h
Key specifications: Active Noise Cancellation, AI-based SmartSound technology, 36 hours of battery life, voice assistant enabled.
Noise cancellation has become a key feature in headphones. This technology is still pricey though with companies like Sony and Bose having pioneered in it. Jabra also introduced its rendition of noise cancelling headphones, the Jabra Elite 85h.
First unveiled at CES 2019, Jabra Elite 85h later made its way to India at a price of ₹28,999. It competes directly with the Bose QC 35 II and Sony WH 1000-XM3 which other than being mouthful offering the best noise cancelling. We find this out and more in our review of the Jabra Elite 85h.
Jabra Elite 85h comes packaged in an attractive thread work design which gives it a distinct look. It comes in three colour options. The headphones are comfortable around the ears and fit well. Even after prolonged use, the headphones aren't uncomfortable. The design is also sleek especially with the placement of keys. One would be reminded of the UE Wonderboom speakers.
The only visible buttons are the power button on the left and the microphone button on the right. What one wouldn't notice is the big button embedded into the right speaker. This button is used for Bluetooth connectivity and as a pause key as well. The volume buttons are two small dots sitting on the right speaker. You can long press the volume keys to move to the next and previous song.
Connecting the headphones via Bluetooth works by pressing the above mentioned big button. There were no problems connecting the headphones with phones - Android and iOS.
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In terms of audio quality, the Jabra Elite 85h performs well for different kinds of music. I tried out different genres ranging from pop, rock, hip-hop, electronic and more. I liked the bass output as it's pretty balanced.
The Jabra Elite 85h comes with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) which can be turned on from the headphones itself or through the Jabra Sound+app. You can switch between ANC, hearthrough or turn it off completely. ANC works quite well on the Jabra Elite 85h although it isn't as effective as the Bose QC 365. It also comes with AI-based 'SmartSound' which adjusts the audio type according to the environment. Once you turn this on, the headphones will automatically move from ANC to hearthrough according to your surroundings. It takes quite some time to actually choose between ANC and hearthrough and the result isn't always satisfying.
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The headphones aren't good for calls though. Although the Jabra Elite 85h boasts 8 microphones, it was quite difficult talking through the headphones. Another drawback of the Jabra Elite 85h is that it only works on battery even with a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The Jabra Elite 85h charge through a USB Type-C port. The headphones charge to 100% well within 80 minutes. Battery life is great on the Jabra Elite 85h. The headphones promise 36 hours of juice with ANC. During my usage, the Jabra Elite 85h ran for around 30 hours with ANC turned on. I often kept the headphones on by mistake for hours but there was still enough power left.
Jabra Elite 85h has proved a frontrunner in a category only Bose and Sony have been competing for. Overall, the headphones are really good. I personally prefer the Bose QC 35 II especially for its noise cancelling. With the Sony
WH 1000-XM3 you get bass prowess. But if you're looking for a well-balanced pair of headphones with good battery life you can definitely go for the Jabra Elite 85h.