Jabra continues to develop its cable-free in-ears in increments of ten and the Elite 75t just got an ANC upgrade via update (Elite 75t) They’re now launching the Elite 85t, which is equipped with a more powerful adaptive noise reduction system.
At first glance, straight out of the box, the design language of both the in-ears and the charging case has not changed at all. In direct comparison with the 75t, however, the 85t have gained significantly in volume. This applies to both the in-ears and the charging case. A quick look at the datasheet explains the increase: In these in-ears, there are six microphones (with the 75t “only” four), four alone of which are used for the so-called “Advanced ANC”. Then there’s the size of the drivers, which has been doubled from six to twelve millimetres. The rechargeable batteries also offer more running time at 7.5 hours – but only when ANC is deactivated. With the elaborate cancellation technique, these in-ears are supposed to run for 5.5 hours, which should extend the battery life to 19.5 hours net – without ANC that’s a whopping 31 hours. Another new feature is that the charging case can be wirelessly charged according to Qi standard.
The silicone EarGels (S, M and L) have received a new shape along with the outlet openings of the drivers. So the new ear moulds are now oval and rather than round, which caused these in-ears to fall out of my ear a few times because after a while they loosened. The problem seems to be between my ear anatomy and the new shape, which according to the manufacturer was chosen after scans of thousands of ears: Unfortunately, the fit is no longer the most optimal for me. But when these in-ears are in place, the mechanical isolation is very good, and that is the essential first step for a good adaptive noise reduction system.
Pairing via Bluetooth 5.0 is without problems and fortunately multipoint for two sources is again included. With the support of AAC and SBC codecs, everything stays the same, as does the IPX4 protection class.
Without “Sound+” – without me
Without the “Sound+” app, which is available for download for both iOS and Android, the Jabra Elite 85t are decent enough to use, but with the app, everything gets better because you can access and customise almost every function. Updates for the hardware, as well as new functionalities, are installed and managed via the app. It’s worth mentioning the feature “MySound”, where you can create an individual hearing profile, which improves the basic character of the 85t without having to adjust the EQ for a long time. It offers five bands, numerous presets and you can even save your own setups. Almost all remote functions can be attributed to the left and right buttons on these in-ears and customised just as easily: Skip, Start/Stop, Call Response and Digital Assistant, ANC and HearThrough. The volume can be regulated with a long press on the button. This complete remote control gives you the immense advantage that your Smartphone can always remain in your pocket. If you remove a plug from your ear, the music stops and resumes as soon as the plug is inserted again – and even this can be changed in the app.
With “Find My Jabra” there is a search function that remembers the last moment before a disconnection, so you know where to look for possible lost in-ears. Also, there is an interactive display of the control commands on the in-ears and links to the documentation, which at the time of our test, however, were (still) not forthcoming. Even advanced phone functions such as a listening tone, which adjusts the volume of your own voice in your ear, are adjustable. Last but not least, there is a focus mode that plays different sounds like rain, surf or wind, for example, to help you to better concentrate or relax.
In my opinion, Sound+ is currently the best app that you can get with headphones, because it is so comprehensively designed, and it expands and refines the whole system from the device to the in-ear in a meaningful way.
Advanced ANC, HearThrough, Sound
In the app, the Advanced ANC can be regulated in five levels, although it does not seem to be quite as phenomenal as promised by the advertising. The cancellation of low frequencies is immediately noticeable. Rumble and noise from the roadside disappear, but the mid and high frequencies find their way through the system and is what you’d expect from a solid noise reduction. And this is exactly the conclusion I came to about the Advanced ANC: Very solid, but not outstanding.
Background noise during activity, however, is very low and the sound of the Elite 85t is soft and full when ANC is switched on. The bass takes up a lot of space, but is not obtrusive. The mids are easy to penetrate, although they are also very roomy – the highs are sometimes not clear and pure, but this is quickly resolved with the EQ. Nevertheless, the sound lacks a bit of freshness and airiness. All in all, the tuning is coherent and natural, fatigue-free and never uncomfortable with enough pressure and volume.
As a counterpart to the Advanced ANC there is HearThrough. This is a transparency mode that uses the outward-facing microphones (adjustable in five steps) to allow environmental noise back into the ears. The higher the value you set, the more audible the noise. It is in the nature of things that the noise is also increased.
At your ear, you can switch between ANC and ANC with HearThrough, but in the app (and only there) there is also the possibility to deactivate both functions. This changes the whole sound of the 85t profoundly: The bass and the mids are far back, the highs get an overemphasis and the sound becomes thin, which can only be straightened out halfway by using an equalizer. I found this change in sound very unsatisfactory and I hope that the manufacturer will supply a suitable firmware update, because switching off the functions will, according to their own claims, result in two hours more playing time.
On the phone
No more than three microphones should ensure good, low-noise telephony: In practice, this means that busy road traffic and noisy trucks are gently but firmly pushed back, leaving enough room for your own voice to be clearly understood. The “sidetone” or “listening tone” function that I switched on returns my own voice to my ear, which makes the conversation seem more natural and lively, although the noise level also increases. All in all, there is nothing to complain about when talking on the phone.
The Jabra Elite 85t behaved a bit strangely in their current version, because they only sound really good when Advanced ANC is activated – but this reduces the possible total running time by about two hours. Also, I was not happy with the new oval shape of the EarGels.
All in all, however, the Elite 85t are excellent True Wireless in-ears, whose gentle evolution, although not always optimal, has been properly carried out. Finally, the app “Sound+” is still the best the manufacturer can do: Such a convincing overall package can still only be found at Jabra!
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
- Weight without cable7 g each, case 45,1 g
- Cable length30 cm
What's in the box
- 3 pairs of oval silicone EarGels (S, M, L)
- USB C cable
- Charging case
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC
- BT version: 5.0
- BT profiles: HSP v1.2, HFP v1.7, A2DP v1.3, AVRCP v1.6, SPP v1.2