Jabra Elite 85t review: Noise-blocking comfort that rivals the best

All of the customization on the Elite 85t happens in Jabra’s Sound+ app. That begins with the slider controls for ANC and ambient sound and continues to a music equalizer. The company gives you six presets if you don’t want to mess with the curves, but you have full control over the EQ as well. If you find something you like beyond those default profiles, you can save it for later use. What’s more, the MySound audio test that Jabra debuted earlier this year is available on the Elite 85t. That process optimizes your earbuds to your unique hearing characteristics via a short beep test. Once you do, the calibration is applied to the default settings, so whatever tweaks you make will be in addition to MySound. You can repeat the test at any time or disable the feature entirely and revert back to the out-of-the-box audio profile. 

As I already mentioned, the Sound+ app has a MyControls feature that gives you the ability to reassign the functionality of the onboard controls. You can do so for music/media and both incoming and ongoing calls. Here, I was able to remedy the awkwardness I experienced with the track controls in a matter of seconds. Lots of headphone companies allow you to tweak things a bit, but few offer the full customization Jabra does with MyControls. 

Sound+ also has a handy Soundscape or noise machine function. There are options for nature sounds and “comfort ambience” (cavern or crowd) in addition to the pink noise, white noise, fan, waterfall and driving settings. And perhaps most importantly, the app keeps you updated on battery levels for each earbud and the case individually. 

Battery life

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Jabra promises five and a half hours of listening time with the Elite 85t on the earbuds themselves. That’s with the ANC turned on. If you decide to disable that feature, battery life increases to seven hours. During my tests, I found both figures to be nearly spot on. I actually went over with ANC on by about 10 minutes, but fell just short with it off by about the same margin. Seven hours is pretty decent these days, but five and a half is just shy of key competitors for full-featured ANC true wireless earbuds. Both Bose and Sony claim six hours on their flagship buds, and with the fromer’s QuietComfort Earbuds, I actually managed closer to seven. You can find options that will get you more listening time on a charge, but they won’t have the powerful noise cancelling this trio offers. 

When you factor in the case, you can get up to 25 total hours of use out of the Elite 85t before having to charge the entire package (5.5 earbuds, 19.5 case). Like previous models, Jabra included a quick-charge feature that gives you an hour of listening time in 15 minutes. Most importantly, the company also added wireless charging to the Elite 85t case. Simply place the accessory on any Qi-certified pad and you’re good to go. When the battery is completely depleted, you should expect wireless charging to take four hours — an hour and a half longer than actually plugging in.

The competition

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