In the realm of over-ear headphones, you aren't exactly a loss for choices. There are quite literally thousands of different options, so settling on a single pair can feel daunting.
We got a chance to test the Jabra Elite 85H, and in this post, we're diving into what we liked, what could be improved, and who these headphones are a good fit for. If you've heard about the Elite 85H and are considering buying them, keep reading to find out if these headphones are a good fit for you.
The Bottom Line:
Here's the basics you need to know about the Jabra Elite 85H before deciding if they're right for you.
These water-resistant, ANC headphones impressed us with the overall sound quality, build quality and features. They're one of only a few over-ear headphones out there that can withstand getting rained on, which makes then great for athletic audiophiles. They're not cheap, but the overall quality is well worth the price.
Who Are These Headphones Best For?
These headphones are a great choice if you've got a passion for great audio, but can't afford super-premium priced headphones. The sound quality was impressive, and the features that go along with it make them a great everyday pair of headphones.
If you like to wear over-ear headphones when you're working out, these are one of the few that are water and sweat resistant making them a great choice for athletes.
These headphones have great active noise cancellation and have a battery life that'll last almost an entire work week. The headphones can get a little warm after a while but are comfortable enough to wear for 6+ hours at a time.
What sets great headphones apart from good ones comes down to sound quality and unique features. The Jabra Elite 85H can hold their own in terms of sound quality against other similarly priced options, but what about their features? Here's what you need to know.
ANC & Hear Through
Active noise cancellation is a great feature to have. However, it's pretty standard at this point when you get to headphones that are $200+. The Jabra Elite 85H has effective active noise cancellation that works great for things like dulling conversations and keyboard clicks, but struggled with super-low frequencies (but this is common with most ANC at the moment).
The hear through setting was one of our favorites. This isn't groundbreaking by any means, but you only get this feature in premium-level headphones that generally cost a lot more than the 85H. With this setting on, the headphones use their built-in microphone to amplify your surroundings, not dull them. This is great if you want to listen to music but still be aware of what's going on around you or need a little extra help hearing conversations.
If you travel a lot, you'll like to know that these headphones can collapse to fit compactly in a carrying case. This is great if you need to take your headphones with you, but don't want to wear them while you transport them.
The case that comes with the headphones is sturdy and will protect the headphones while they're in your bag.
In general, over-ear headphones are more comfortable for long term use than in-ear headphones are, but there are some downsides.
Overall, we'd consider these headphones to be very comfortable. They can be worn for 6+ hours at a time with minimal breaks and cause next to no discomfort.
With that said, the only complaint we have (and this is the case for most over-ear headphones we've tested) is that they get hot after about an hour or two.
If you're in a cool office this isn't a dealbreaker, but if you live somewhere warm, or don't have the AC cranked up, it can make your whole body feel warmer.
The battery life of these headphones is incredible. Its by far one of the features that makes them stand out against cheaper alternatives. With bluetooth and ANC on, you can expect nearly 40 hours of playback time on a single charge. For most people, this is enough to get you through an entire work week!
If you turn ANC off you get slightly more time, around 41 hours, give or take.
On average, you can typically expect around 20 hours of battery life from over-ear Bluetooth headphones and around 8 hours for earbuds. The 40-hour battery life of the 85H blows these numbers out of the water.
Overall, the sound quality of the 85H was fantastic. There isn't a forced emphasis on certain frequencies like you see in some other similar alternatives. If you're looking to hear an accurate depiction of the audio you're listening to, the 85H has you covered.
While testing these headphones, we noticed that bass-y songs didn't sound uncomfortable or overwhelming even at high volumes, nor was there the classic drop in mids. The audio sounded crisp, clear, and as its meant to be heard.
How Are These Headphones For Phone Calls?
We wouldn't recommend the Jabra Elite 85H as your go-to for conference calls, but as far as everyday phone calls go, they're not bad. The headphones don't have a boom style mic, so I was told the audio on the other end sounded "average". Not bad and easy to understand, but nothing to really write home about either.
On a similar note, you should know that depending on the frequency of your speaking voice, you have differing experiences with these headphones and how they handle phone calls. The 85H tended to be better at picking up high-frequency voices that lower ones.
If you have a baritone voice, you may be significantly quieter to the person on the other line. This isn't a dealbreaker by any means, just something to take into account.
Should You Buy These Headphones?
Overall, for their price, the Jabra Elite 85H are a solid investment. They've become one of my personal favorite go-to work headphones because of their comfort and battery life.
These headphones are designed for people who appreciate good audio, but aren't looking for top-level, exceptional audio quality and frequency response that can cost a pretty penny.
If you're looking for a solid, reliable pair of headphones for the office, around the house, listening to music, or to use while you're working out, I'd definitely recommend you pick up a pair of the Elite 85H.