When it comes to premium noise-canceling headphones, names like Bose and Sony usually come to mind. That isn’t necessarily the case anymore, though!
Jabra, a company known for producing quality in-ear headphones and business headsets for decades, is now competing in the premium over-ear headphones market as well. The Jabra Elite 85h wireless noise-canceling headphones stand at the pinnacle of the company’s line of full-size over-ear headphones.
These headphones offer superb active noise cancellation, sound quality, and battery life, to name a few of their superb features.
So, let’s find out all about them in our in-depth Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones Review…
When you begin to unbox the Elite 85h headphones, you can tell Jabra has put a lot of thought, and detail even, into the packaging. It is simple yet functional. And even provides you with a quick rundown of how to get your headphones set up in no time at all.
Behind the ‘Get Started’ information panel, you will see a hard black faux leather case containing the headphones. While unzipping the case, you will notice a soft interior lining that further aids in protecting them. Inside this case, you will also find separate storage areas containing a charging cable, a 3.5mm aux cable, and even an airplane adapter.
Lightweight and comfortable…
Once you pick the headphones up, you will immediately notice how compact and light they are. They weigh in at 296 grams and feature ear cups that swivel and fold in. The headphones are made mostly of plastic. However, they feature a bit of felt-like material along the headband and ear cups to give them a more premium feel.
When you place the headphones on your head, the headband will automatically expand, allowing it to accommodate a wide range of head sizes. The faux leather ear cups are also rather wide and deep but do sit snugly in place and are very comfortable.
Some added protection…
While these may fit comfortably enough for you to wear them over long sessions, you may notice that your ears will heat up over time, though. The earcups are not that breathable, so we wouldn’t recommend using these headphones at the gym, etc.
The Jabra Elite 85h headphones are not IP rated against water and dust. They do feature a nano-coating, though. This will protect the headphones from sweat and light rain and is also backed by a two-year warranty.
Unlike your typical headphones, you won’t find a power button on the Jabra Elite 85h’s. To turn the headphones on, rotate the ear cups as you would before placing them on your head. To turn them off, simply rotate the ear cups flat.
Along the outside part of the right ear cup, you will notice a central multi-function button with volume controls above and below it. This button will allow you to play and pause music, answer and end calls, and pair the headphones.
Pairing and assistants…
To pair the headphones, you will want to hold the multi-function button for three seconds. You will then hear an audio announcement letting you know to select the headphones on your smart device.
You will also have a button just above the charging and auxiliary ports along the edge of the right ear cup. By tapping on this button, you can activate a voice assistant like Siri or Google Assistant, for example. Over on the left ear cup, you will only find one button. This button allows you to toggle through the different sound modes available on these headphones.
The active noise cancellation found on the Elite 85h’s can be turned on or off by pressing this button. You can put the headphones into HearThrough mode as well with this button.
These headphones also feature on ear-detection. If you were to take the headphones off while listening to a song, the headphones would automatically pause the music and would resume the track when placed back on.
This also works while taking calls as well. If you take the headphones off during a call, the microphone and speakers will mute. Put the headphones back on, and they unmute automatically, allowing you to resume your conversation.
These headphones feature Bluetooth 5.0 technology, which will allow you to pair them to up to eight devices from up to 33 feet away.
While you can use them right out of the box, we would recommend downloading the Jabra Sound+ app to get the best performance out of them.
That being said, we tested these headphones while listening to various genres of music and even movies. These aren’t the most expensive over-ear headphones on the market, but the quality of sound they produce is right up there with some of the best!
Balanced and full…
Jabra’s Elite 85h headphones produce a very well-rounded sound right off the bat when set to their default sound profile. They produce bass that you can feel, but that doesn’t overpower the mid and higher frequencies.
On the high-end frequencies, you will notice sounds like cymbals come out nice and crisp. The middle frequencies are also exceptionally well balanced, allowing for lead instruments to shine without being overpowered by bass and vocals.
Fine-tuning via the app…
With the use of the Jabra Sound+ app, you can further fine-tune your listening experience. The Jabra Sound+ app even allows you to calibrate the individual speakers based on your hearing.
You will also have access to numerous preset equalizer settings by using the app. If you want more bass, simply choose the ‘bass boost’ setting. Or, if you are listening to a podcast, choose the ‘speech’ preset to further increase vocal clarity.
Active Noise Cancellation and Sound Modes
Like all noise-canceling headphones, the Elite 85h’s incorporate microphones into the ear cups to pick up ambient noise. The ambient noise is then inverted to cancel out any ambient sound.
The Jabra Elite 85h headphones use four of its eight integrated microphones to do this. As soon as you turn on the active noise cancellation, you won’t be able to hear much around you, and that is when music isn’t even playing!
No matter if you are listening to music on your daily commute or in the office, ambient sound is pretty much unnoticeable. This is possible due to Jabra’s SmartSound technology that can be activated through the Sound+ app.
Sensing your surroundings…
Jabra’s SmartSound technology will automatically adjust the noise cancellation settings depending on your environment. It does this by analyzing the ambient sound every minute, allowing it to transition pretty seamlessly.
While you can turn noise cancellation off on these headphones, you can turn it on with HearThrough mode. This will pick up the ambient sounds around you and transmit them through the speakers.
Hearthrough mode will also automatically activate when you make or receive a phone call. Just to note, the call quality is outstanding!
The integrated noise cancellation microphones work in conjunction with the other four microphones we mentioned to further increase call clarity. They block out background noise allowing you to hear the person on the other line almost as well as if they were standing next to you.
Noise leakage is also at a minimum, so you won’t need to worry about disturbing anyone around you either with these headphones on.
For wireless headphones with active noise cancellation, the Jabra Elite 85h stands above the rest!
With active noise cancellation turned on, you will get up to 36 hours of playback time. If you turn active noise cancellation off, you can extend the battery life by a further five hours!
If you accidentally leave the headphones turned on, they will automatically enter sleep mode after an hour. After 24 hours of being in sleep mode, they will then power down completely.
They have a standby time of at least a year as well. You can also increase or decrease the time before the headphones enter sleep mode via the Jabra Sound+ app.
Thanks to the extremely long battery life on offer, you won’t need to charge these headphones that often. When it comes time to charge them, you can use the included USB-C to USB-A cable.
To charge these headphones from empty, it takes about two and a half hours. If you are running short on time, you can get five hours of playback after a quick 15-minute charge as well. This will require a 500mA adapter, which doesn’t come included, unfortunately.
Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones Review Pros and Cons
- Powerful audio with low bass and bright highs.
- Incredibly comfortable.
- Excellent app with adjustable EQ and ANC settings.
- ANC might alter the sound signature slightly.
- On-ear controls could be better implemented.
- Weak Alexa integration.
Looking for Something Else?
Finding the right headphones has never been easier. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Lightweight Headphones, the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Podcast Headphones, the Best Travel Headphones, and the Best Neckband Headphones you can buy.
Also, take a look at our reviews of the Best Headphones Under $200, the Best Headphones and Earbuds for Sleeping, the Best Bluetooth Headphones Under $200, the Best Clip On Headphones, and the Most Comfortable Headphones currently available in 2021.
Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones Review Final Thoughts?
These over-ear headphones sit at a very competitive price point and are very well rounded. No matter if you are making a call or listening to your favorite track, the sound quality is top-notch. Plus, the onboard active noise cancellation works well no matter the environment you are in as well.
They even feature on-ear-detection and switch to HearThrough mode automatically when receiving a call. This isn’t a very common feature in over-ear headphones at this price point. The 41-hour battery life of these headphones pretty much can’t be beaten. When it does come time to charge them, it only takes 15 minutes to give you five hours of playback time.
Jabra has certainly stepped up their game in the over-ear headphone market. In our opinion, it’s hard to find better than the Jabra Elite 85h headphones for the price!
Until next time, happy listening.