Jabra’s’ Elite 85h wireless headphones have become a firm favourite in our house.
Comfortable, great sound quality, simple, and convenient, I often reach for them, only to find they’ve already been snapped up. They really are a pleasure to use and cover all the bases.
When they arrive, the first thing that catches your eye is the excellent packaging. Slide open the box and you are greeted with a cool hard shell zip case, inside of which are the 85h headphones and associated cables. Very neatly packaged.
The headphones have a quality feel to them. Light but strong with really soft pads, covered in plush faux leather, around the ears and headband. The design is clean, free from clutter and very neat. Buttons are discreet and smooth.
My headphones are gold beige which looks great, I would like to see them in copper black as that looks like a very smart combination. They are also available in titanium black, navy and black.
Elite 85h headphones are very simple to use. Obviously I didn’t read the simple guide and struggled to turn them on. Turning them on is a simple case of opening them and putting them on your head. Connecting them to your phone is equally as simple. Just search for the device and connect.
As you would expect, to really make the most of the Jabra Elite 85h’s capabilities, you download the Jabra Sound+ app. It connects automatically and opens up a host of features and allows you to personalise the headphones to your preference.
As mentioned, the controls are minimal and discreet. On the right headphone, on the bottom edge, you will find the voice assistant button. In the middle is a recessed multi-function button for play/pause/answer call/end call, above this, is the volume up and skip track button, and below it is the volume down and back button. All very neat and very simple, you can hardly see them. In reality, I used the controls on my phone mostly. Oh, there’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack and USB-C jack for charging.
On the left headphone, there’s a single button that activates your chosen assistant: Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa. The same button also scrolls through the SmartSound modes: Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), HearThrough, and Off. The ANC feature works very well while blocking out most of the environmental noise using 4 of the 8 built-in microphones.
You can also use Jabra’s Sound+ mobile app to use SmartSound, which identifies the type of environment you’re in to automatically select the proper sound setting for you. This is clever and I've used similar on Sony headphones. I find it a bit annoying as I’m always on the move, so they constantly change settings which momentarily drops out the music or whatever you are listening to. I just turn the active feature off and use it passively, changing it when I want, no problem.
Through the Jabra Sound+ app, you can create sound profiles for different settings. You can use the equaliser to create different sound profiles and store them. More bass, less mid, and so on. There are of course a range of preset profiles already. Neutral, speech, treble boost, energise and others. It’s a nice feature to help you get the most out of the Jabra’s SmartSound.
The 85h headphones have on-ear detection built-in so they recognise when you remove them from your ears and automatically pause the music. It’s not a unique feature by any stretch, but a nice touch.
Another neat feature is SideTone. Via the app, you can adjust the amount of sidetone you want when making calls. Sidetone is a feature that allows you to hear your own voice through the headphones when you’re on a call. It means you don’t end up shouting because you can’t hear yourself. It’s a really nice feature and is missing on other headphones I’ve tried.
Battery life on the Elite 85h is superb. We use these between us, constantly and I have yet to pick them up and find they are flat. Jabra says up to 36 hours of battery power on a single charge with ANC switched on. With just a 15 minute charge you gain 5 hours of battery life. We genuinely went weeks without needing to charge them.
We use these headphones everywhere, inside and outside, so a nice feature is that the Jabra Elite 85h headphones are rain resistant. Internal components have a nano-coating and the headphones have a 2-year warranty against water and dust. That works for me.
Sound quality is great. With a decent source, you are rewarded with nice, rich, deep tones without overpowering bass. It’s a nicely balanced sound. Some headphones push up the bass at the expense of overall sound quality, but not these. You can hear individual instruments, and voices sound clear.
If I had a criticism, it would be that on my gold beige pair, the covering on the sides is a kind of beige fabric. I expect this will look grubby over time.