The latest contender in the noise cancelling headphones arena is from Jabra. Representing the first entry in over-ear headphones for the brand, the Elite 85H sports class-leading battery life, excellent noise-canceling, and crystal-clear wireless sound, all for $50 less than the competition from Sony and Bose. The result is another big win for Jabra’s growing headphone lineup.
Even in a market segment where the vast majority of options are understated, the Elite 85H stand out for their streamlined design. Thanks to a matte fabric coating on the black headband and exterior of each earcup, the headphones don’t even reflect the light. In fact, the only distinguishing bit of branding is a dark grey Jabra logo on the bottom of the headband.
Comfort was clearly paramount to the design team, resulting in thick memory foam ear cups and a soft headband that all but guarantee lengthy listening times without any noticeable aches or pains.
The included controls, which are embedded below the fabric on the outside of the right ear cup, help complete the clean design. A subtle indentation indicates the play/pause button in the middle of the ear cup, and two raised bumps on the top and bottom of the indent indicate volume controls.
There are also two small buttons on the bottom of the right and left side, the left one allows you to turn on the company’s “HearThrough” technology, which pipes in ambient sound and also allows you to turn noise canceling on and off. The right button lets you access your voice assistant or mute the microphone.
Accessories include a solid black hard case, a 3.5 mm cable for wired listening, as well as a USB-C cable to for charging, so you won’t have to worry about damaging them when stuffing them in your carry-on or backpack during a commute.
Feature wise, the Jabra Elite 85H have many of the same features boasted by the more expensive Sony and Bose models, but one place where they clearly crush their competitors is battery life. The new Jabra model offers a class-leading 36 hours of juice with noise canceling engaged a whopping 6 hours more than any of the best competition. Their quick-charging function will also net you 5 hours of listening time on a 15-minute charge.
The other cool feature is that the Elite 85H are both dust and water resistant, with the company even going so far as to warranty the headphones for two years against both substances. Additionally, the Jabra Sound+ app allows you to change the equalization settings, adjust noise-canceling, and even tell the headphones to adjust noise-canceling based on responses to your environment.
Jabra appears to have put a lot of energy into making sure these headphones accurately reproduce all elements of the frequency spectrum. They also have a sensor system inside the ear cups that automatically pauses/plays when you take off or put on the headphones. Pairing is equally intuitive. The Elite 85H’s Bluetooth 5.0 chipset makes them among the fastest to connect.
There isn’t a power button. In order to power the headphones off, you must lay them flat with the ear cups turned all the way down towards the surface you lay them on. To turn them on, you just pick them up and place them on your head as normal.
Performance-wise, the Elite 85H feature a very open and inviting soundstage, without too much bass, but rather making sure these headphones accurately reproduce all elements of the frequency spectrum. They also offer an impressive amount of clarity in the midrange. The Elite 85H is among the best sounding noise-canceling headphones you can buy right now.
As noise canceling goes, the Jabra Elite 85H employ four onboard microphones to remove unwanted background noise, offering performance that is almost as good as what’s offered by the class-leading Sony and Bose models.
The Jabra Elite 85H are a great pair of noise-canceling headphones that compete with the best on the market. At $300, there doesn’t seem to be a pair of headphones that goes head-to-head this effectively with the flagship models from Bose and Sony. With better battery life, a comfortable design, and great features, the Elite 85H do well to stack up with their pricier peers.