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From Late June




Jabra Elite 85t Review

April 27, 2021

Bowen's Report Card

Jabra Elite 85t Review


“Tailored for what my brain likes my ears to hear”.

Although my main focus here at BG HQ is cars, there’s another passion that consumes a lot of my life; gadgets, smart devices and new technology in general. People send me such things, thanks people. Sometimes they’re returned after a review; on other occasions I get to keep them. However, I will say this. If a product is junk, I will convey that message very strongly and quickly. With that said, here’s a product from Jabra called the Elite 85t.

Tailormade Sound

Higher-end earbuds generally greet you via an app; the Jabra Elite 85t is no different. You could simply connect them via Bluetooth but there’s a wealth of fun to be had with the app first.

This very second, I’m listening to “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson. On my iPhone is a nicely designed app interface that allows for a wide range of customisation, tailored for what my brain likes my ears to hear.

I’m a heavy bass person, so straight away I’m clicking “Bass Boost”. Now that I’m on “Enter Sandman” by Metallica my eardrum knows we’re firing on all cylinders.

The app has a music equaliser interface if you are super picky about your base, mid-range and treble. I am not an audiophile, but I know what I like to hear. The Elite 85t is off to a pretty good start.

Now “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette is thundering into my ear canal. Sidenote, gee she’s dirty on her ex.

I’m tinkering with the pre-sets, Neutral, Speech, Bass Boost, Treble Boost, Smooth and Energise. All of them do what they say and once again you can play with the EQ anyway.


Cancel The Noise

Now that Alanis is done with her mental breakdown, I’ve hit up “You Got It” by Roy Orbison.

Now it’s time to play with the Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) feature. You can choose to be in a complete vacuum, even when no music is playing. It’s kind of like the sound that robot recorded on Mars.

There’s a “Hear Through” feature that allows some outside noise to filter in. Touching the left bud button activates this. It allows you to hear the bus approaching the pedestrian crossing as you stroll along largely oblivious to life.

I’d never wear these on a plane, I’d lose them instantly. However the feature is actually very handy in this situation, allowing you to hear the flight attendant yell “BRACE”. Having said that the Wright Brothers probably racked up more miles than I have recently.

Thanks, COVID-19.


Take A Hearing Test

There’s a My Sound feature that is a bit of a party trick. It asks for your sex and year of birth. Age apparently may affect my “hearing profile”.

Each bud then pumps out various frequencies, some only a dog could hear. Essentially, it’s a hearing test. Is there a noticeable change as opposed to the default settings?  Well, I would say only just. My hearing is not the best after years in radio wearing headphones but there’s a slight improvement after the test.

Your Digital Friend Is Always Just An Ear Away

Most earbuds allow for phone calls, in fact you can just use the right earbud to do this. Let it be known that I will never be seen in public, talking to some person with a solo earbud in my lug.

I do love the voice assistant functionality. The Elite 85t supports Siri, Google Assistant and now Alexa.

A double click on the right earphone calls upon your preferred digital friend. Removing just one side will pause your music, and eventually turn off if you fall asleep after 30 minutes.

Given our mantra here is “Car Reviews Without The Jargon”, I guess it should stay the same for other products. I do think in this instance I need to appease the true tech / sound heads out there; this is what Jabra says is going down.


The microphones on the inside and outside of the earbuds are used to provide Jabra Advanced ANC, which goes beyond an on/off solution. Users are offered a more personalised experience with the dual slider which goes from full ANC to full HearThrough, and anywhere in between.

The 12mm speakers allow the Jabra Elite 85t to produce a big sound and powerful bass, while still enhancing comfort and relieving ear pressure with its semi-open design. Jabra has also adapted the ear gels to an oval shape providing a better sealing in the ear, while ensuring they stay in place. This means the tower of the Elite 85t does not sit as deeply within the ear, giving users a more comfortable earbud and a good seal. With ANC on, the earbuds boast a battery life of up to 5.5 hours, with up to 25 hours in the compact charging case and are Qi-qualified – for wireless charging.

Key Features
  • Compact design and oval silicon EarGelS for a secure seal and comfortable fit
  • Dedicated ANC chip which is more efficient in cancelling surrounding noises
  • Adjustable ANC with dual sliders for full ANC or full HearThrough
  • 6-microphone call technology for superior calls wherever you are
  • 4-microphone ANC using mics on the inside and outside of the earbuds
  • 12mm speakers for big sound and powerful bass
  • Semi-open design with natural hear through
  • IPX4-rated durability and 2-year warranty against dust and water
  • Up to 5.5 hours battery on a single charge and up to 25 with the charging case with ANC on, 7 hours battery on a single charge and 31 hours with ANC off
  • Qi-certified, for wireless charging, and compatible with all Qi-certified chargers
  • Customisable equalizer in the Sound+ App makes your music sound even better
  • Voice assistant enabled. Elite 85t comes with Alexa Built-in, also works with Siri® & Google Assistant™
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • ‘MyControls’ to define button settings and MySound for individualised sound
  • MyFit via the Sound+ app, ensuring the best possible fit and seal for users
  • Opportunity to personalise the name of the Jabra Elite 85t.

Bowen’s Report Card

The Jabra Elite 85t is available in selected retailers, MSRP ($299). The colour variants (Titanium/Black, Gold/Beige, Copper/Black, Black and Grey) will be available soon. The product produces great sound that is backed by a user-friendly app interface. My personal benchmark is the Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones, the Jabra effort comes very close to challenging the Sony product. It’s an 85 out of 100 from me.