Reviews

Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones Review – Engineered for maximum music and wireless voice call experience with SmartSound technology

Jabra Elite 85h

$199.99
8.7

Built Quality

9.0/10

Features

9.5/10

Accessibility

8.5/10

Portability

8.0/10

Audio Experience

8.5/10

Wireless Call Experience

8.0/10

Battery Life

9.5/10

Value

8.5/10

Advantages

  • Classy Design
  • Premium quality built
  • Decent features
  • Excellent battery life
  • Good bass output
  • Customization of Sound+ app

Disadvantages

  • Expensive
  • Inferior support of high-end codecs

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Jabra Elite 85h is a wireless headphone introduced by Jabra, targeting towards audio enthusiasts. Fine tuned by Jabra with its built-in feature, the SmartSound, the headphone can intelligently adjust the quality of your musics or calls according to your current surroundings.

Generally, when you buy a higher end headphones, you’re entrusting your hard-earned cash to buy a product to experience a premium audio quality experience. Well, you are not wrong as, the Elite 85h allows customization over its Jabra Sound+ application. Thanks to Jabra’s dedication to improve their product class lineup, the Elite 85h now supports up to 36-hours of battery life on a single charge even with ANC feature being turned on. This makes the Elite 85h is one of the reliable peripherals you can entrust to accompany you for a long distance journey.

Adding further, the Elite 85h can be used to attend wireless calls apart from appearing as a standard headphone that solely used to listen to musics. Featuring eight built-in microphones, six out of it allows the voice-call quality to be further enhanced by blocking the unwanted wind background distractions. This is one of the useful feature for the young entrepreneurs who needs to attend a conference calls even at a crowded place. According to Jabra, the Elite 85h features voice assistant enabled by default. You can activate the Amazon’s Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant with a single touch of a button to allow a flexible voice command to be carried out.

Speaking of outdoor activities such as exercising or travelling, we can’t always ensure the sky to be bright always, at some point, the rain has to come. Now, when it comes to natural cause resistant, the Elite 85h embedded with nano-coating internal components with two years of warranty against water and dust exposure, allowing you to carry out your activities without any disruption.




Specifications

Jabra’s Elite 85h technical specification sheet can be downloaded here. For other detailed information of the headphone, a datasheet of Elite 85h is available here.

Accessories

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The Elite 85h features a few noticeable standard accessories such as a unit of Jabra Elite 85h, an enclosure casing for the headphone, a charging USB cable, a 3.5 mm audio jack and a user manual of Elite 85h.

Design

Before I share the design of the Elite 85h, allow me to explain the standard color variation offered by Jabra for this model. The unit given to us is the Titanium Black while the other two colors available are Gold Beige and Navy. My favorite color here is the Titanium Black that gives a premium look to this headphone.

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The Elite 85h were placed inside a hard-enclosure casing with its beautifully carved Jabra brand on top of it. This is one of the best marketing move made by Jabra to give portability characteristic for their headphone to allow their users to maximize the usage of their product line.

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The headband of Elite 85h feels comfortable and solid thanks to its cushion covering the premium material used. Such design will cause lesser pain occurs if being used for a longer period amount of time.

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Moving aside to the earcups, both earcup covered with a cushion each, that is soft and water resistant. In other word, if you wear this headphone during vigorous activity such as exercising, the earpad cushion won’t get damaged over the time.

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So how can you control the Elite 85h? There are three physical buttons given at the right cup. Elaborating further, you will get a multi-purpose button that locates on the middle of the right cup that serves as to attend the call, track status (play/pause) and Bluetooth pairing by pressing the button longer. Also, you can find two dual purpose button that serves as a volume control and track management (forward/backward). Other physically visible input ports are a USB Type-C port for charging the headphone up. According to Jabra, the total time taken to fully charge the headphone from 0% to 100%, is just two hours. A microphone button were also present to mute the microphone feature and also controls the voice assistant voice control. On the left side of the cup, only a single visible button is present. The purpose of the button is to control the mode, ranging from ANC to HearThrough and off the feature. This will be helpful if you’re lazy to access to the Sound+ app to configure it, instead you can do it directly via a single press of a button.

Setting up for the first use

The process of setting up the Elite 85h is pretty straight-forward. You can download the application of Sound+ at App Store and Google Playstore.

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Once the application was installed, you can straight away pair up the Elite 85h with your smartphone and allow a few permission to allow the Elite 85h can be used without any limitation.

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Next, follow the instruction of how to power the Elite 85h and a few minor settings before you can fully access to the Elite 85 dashboard.

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The Sound+ app also allows you to maintain the Elite 85h’s built-in firmware. This is, one of a signature move by Jabra of giving their users not only a premium audio product, but only a firmware support their product.

User Experience

I am about to further divide this review into a two-sub division, my experience on using the Elite 85h for listening to music and streaming videos, and attending the calls, wirelessly. The best way of testing the Active Noise Cancellation or ANC in general, is by placing yourself in a crowded surroundings. I’ve grabbed this opportunity to personally experience myself on using the ANC features by comparing the quality between the two selected situations, bedroom and travelling inside a bus.

Music Experience

Before I share my experience using the Elite 85h for listening to music and streaming towards a high-quality videos, I did a research on the type of audio codecs supported by the Elite 85h. Surprisingly, the Elite 85h only supports AAC, which makes me feel, awkward. But, I don’t normally judge the book by its cover, so I still give a shot to test the headphone out, with high expectation.

Next, I’ve left the Sound+ app settings, particularly the EQ settings to be at its default level. This was done to allow a better audio analysis can be conducted before any further changes in the EQ is necessary. The Elite 85h had undergone a standard 2-hour burning in the session to allow the speakers to perform at its peak during the test.

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I’ve used a few song genres rated with 320kbps quality. According to my test, I feel the bass quality is surprisingly good and slightly punchier. However, I do test the Elite 85h with a lower bit-rate song quality and find out the bass to be slightly muddy. I have further tweaked the EQ settings by slightly tuning up the lows lever and the bass quality has improved, significantly. Turning the headphone volume higher level didn’t really cause any minor audio distortion as can be noticeable with other lower-end headphones out there.

The bass quality is good, but how about the highs or vocal in audio term? Based on the testing with its default EQ state, the highs are crystal clear. Testing the Elite 85h with highest audio bit-rate did adds up itself in an advantageous position. Tweaking the highs lever in the EQ settings may cause discomfort for highs since the quality is good at it is in the default state. Increasing the bass (lows) lever slightly in the EQ further improves the balance audio quality output. Do note that, a great audio experience fully depends on the quality of the bit-rate and type of song genre used.

Wireless Voice Call Experience

Now, allow me to share my experience of using the Elite 85h for making and attending the calls, wirelessly. Beginning the sub-review up, attending the calls wirelessly is purely good. The voices are clear and thanks to its six out of eight integrated microphones, it allows maximum voice wave, can be captured before sending them to the other end of the phone. The quality of the voice call automatically enhanced via Jabra’s trademark feature, the HearThrough which, according to Jabra, turns on automatically when a call is being made. One thing I notice when using the Elite 85h are, the maximum allowed distance in between me (wearing the Elite 85h) and my smartphone is only up to 10 meters. Going above than the maximum allowed distance makes the signal to be unstable and eventually cut off.

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Based on my testing, the Elite 85h scores flying colors from me. One noticeable feature I loved about the Elite 85h are, the intelligence of Elite 85h recognizes when the headphones were removed from my head, and controls the status of the track that currently plays to pause and plays again when the headphone was placed again over my head. This special feature makes the life easier, especially if you are working out in a busy environment that requires your attention, such as working on a construction site or attending sudden calls from your colleagues, physically. The ANC feature is good, not overall the best, but it does improves the audio quality experience by eliminating the unwanted noise in the background to give you a more personalized in experiencing a premium audio experience.

Conclusion

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The Elite 85h is currently available in the market at the price of $199 marking it as one of the premium headphones available out there. The Elite 85h shines through my test thanks to its multi-purpose features embedded in it, which is providing a good audio experience and a good tool to attend any calls with a single touch of the button, wirelessly. Is the Jabra Elite 85h is worth for the price? My answer would be, yes, it is. To support my statement here, the Elite 85h comes with a longer class-leading battery life that allows you to always stay relaxed while using the headphones unlike, seeking for a power source to charge up the weakening of the Elite 85h due to excessive usage. However, not all products are perfect, well the Elite 85h also comes with a downside. Yes, you guess it right. It lacks support of high-end codecs that may affect the audio experience, particularly if you’re streaming to your favorite shows, I mean not all of us using a headphone to purely listen to music right? Summing the things up, I personally enjoyed using this headphone for about a month, and for my personal usage, I do find that, the Elite 85h did a good job.



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