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Review: Jabra Elite 85h Wireless ANC Headset

Review: Jabra Elite 85h Wireless ANC Headset

** Limited Time Promo! The Jabra Elite 85h, available exclusively at Best Buy, will be on sale for $249.99 (originally MSRP $299.99) from June 16-22. **No affiliate links are contained in this post.

After reviewing and loving what Jabra did with the Jabra Elite 65t wireless earbuds, we eagerly waited to see what they can pull off with an over ear headset. That time is now, with the launch of the Jabra Elite 85h wireless active noise canceling headset. The Jabra Elite 85h uses four microphones and Jabra’s very own SmartSound technology to offer an intriguing new approach to active noise cancelation (ANC). With SmartSound, the Jabra Elite 85h actively adapts to your environment in order to determine the most effective output to counter your environments’ sounds. The headset does not stop there as it comes stuffed with features and customization options, readying you for practically any listening experience.

Let’s dive into Jabra’s latest premium flagship audio enjoyment product, the Jabra Elite 85h, to see how it performs and to discover what you get.

Build, Features and Comfort

The Jabra Elite 85h comes fully packaged with everything you would need for listening to your favorite media, whether you’re on the go, at the office, or on the plane. You get a 3.5mm cable for using the Jabra Elite 85h with non-Bluetooth audio sources, an airplane adapter for when certain airline seating requires such inputs, a USB-C cable for charging the headset, and a hard shell case that holds the headset and all of these accessories. The Jabra Elite 85h collapses into itself for easy stow-away and travel while being both rain and dust resistant.

Continuing with the features, the Jabra Elite 85h uses 40mm custom-engineered drivers to deliver its sound presentation. The earcups fold flat, both turning off the headset as well as allowing the unit to be worn around the neck with ease. The headset powers on automatically when the earcups are back in position to be worn on the head. The left earcup has a single button which allows you to toggle between HearThrough mode, ANC mode, or to switch these modes off altogether. You can also use this button to toggle through Jabra’s Moments, which we’ll dive into later. The right ear cup is more populated, housing the 3.5mm jack, the USB-C port, a button for mic-muting and triggering the voice assistant, and buttons on the side for volume and media control.

Going yet even deeper, the headset detects when you are wearing it. This allows the Jabra Elite 85h to pause your media whenever you take off the headset, while resuming playback when you put the headset back on. The headset touts a battery life of up to 41 hours on a full charge, while bringing that lifespan down to a still-respectable 36 hours when ANC is used. Demonstrating that more and more tech needs to incorporate USB-C for faster charging, the Jabra Elite 85h can recover up to five hours of usage from only a 15-minute charge.

The Jabra Elite 85h thrives to perform with outbound sound as well. While I mentioned that the headset uses four microphones for fine-tuning its ANC features, that is not as far as the microphones go with the Jabra Elite 85h. This headset actually houses eight mics, where two of them are dual-purpose for both ANC and phone calls. When using the Jabra Elite 85h to chat, the headset actually uses *six* microphones to achieve clear call quality while actively blocking out environmental sounds.

The headset features plush leatherette cushioning for both its earcups and extendable headband. The headset itself is one of the more comfortable ones that I’ve worn in the casual listening realm. The Jabra Elite 85h rests lightly and comfortably on your head, exerting just the right amount of tension to stay put without causing fatigue. The cushioning on the earcups were so plush, that I was even able to enjoy them at home, where I would wear my glasses. The earcups would remain flush against my head, maintaining an acoustic seal without pinching my head.

During our run with the Jabra Elite 85h, I would wear the headset in three-to-five-hour stints, were wearing fatigue was hardly an issue. That was also true in our five-to-six-hour flights, to and from LA to cover E3. The Jabra Elite 85h excelled in comfort, so much so that I thought I’d challenge its grip at the gym. After an hour and change of working out, where the latter half of my gym visit ended in 30 minutes of cardio, the Jabra Elite 85h refused to slip off my head despite how much I was sweating.

Comfort was simply not an issue with the Jabra Elite 85h.

Performance and Even More Features

The Jabra Elite 85h delivers a solid sound presentation with crisp highs and a warm, unmuffled bass. Sung and spoken word also came through quite clear. The acoustic seal from the headset’s earcups do an excellent job at passively isolating sound within the headset. Before even introducing ANC into the picture, you are treated to vivid and vibrant sound on which the earcups keep you focused.

Then, you add the Jabra Sound+ app into the mix and you get the opportunity to truly make the Jabra Elite 85h your very own.  The Jabra Sound+ app (for Android and iOS) is the perfect companion for the Jabra Elite 85h, giving you virtually full control of how your headset operates. You even have access to the instruction manual if you need to remember how to use one of the headset’s many functions on the go.

Play your favorite tracks and fine-tune the EQ settings in real time until you get the perfect sound, just as you want it. You don’t have to settle with the presets as you can adjust the frequencies manually. Want to have multiple EQ profiles based on what you are listening to or where you are listening at? You can create your very own Moments, customized setting profiles, and toggle between them on the fly with the left ear cup button. I found that Bass Boost with ANC either on or off, depending on the scenario, was my cup of tea. I then gave a slight nudge upward to the treble, gaining a hint more percussion in my music. I was then one happy camper.

If you’re unsure how to vet your various listening scenarios and environments, it is not your job to figure it all out, yourself. That is where SmartSound comes in, automatically assessing your environment at the time you activate it to fine tune your ANC for that specific setting.

A big point that I make sure to check with ANC headsets is to check if any component of the incoming sound drops off when it is activated. That is totally not the case here with the Jabra Elite 85h. I tried out the headset’s ANC on the show floor at E3, in the tunnels of the NYC subway, and on five-to-six-hour flights. The Jabra Elite 85h’s ANC was top tier, effectively shutting down ambient noise in every scenario without damaging sound presentation. When I was in the air, it was like the plane’s engines were not even on. When I rode the Q train to Times Square, the train sounded as if it was still. This ANC is probably the best that I have experienced to date.

Being able to quickly toggle to HearThrough with a push of the button was also pretty handy. Whenever there were announcements that I needed to be privy to, it was simple enough to use HearThrough to quickly listen in. Of course, I did have to back that up with manually lowering my music, as activating HearThrough didn’t automatically handle music volume at the same time. However, it was still an effective nice-to-have feature when I didn’t want to interrupt what I was listening to or when I wanted to be more aware of my surroundings while working out.

Last, but certainly not least, you don’t have to keep your phone calls brief with the Jabra Elite 85h. This headset’s usage of six microphones to manage outbound voice does not disappoint. Even in populated outdoor settings, I was able to handle phone calls without troubling people on the other end. My voice projected loud and clear while background sounds stayed in the background.

It was after compiling my thoughts and handling a couple of phone calls that I realized how hard it was for me to find a knock against this headset. Jabra hit a homerun with the Jabra Elite 85h. It is the perfect premium headset for practically every listening experience and environment. The headset delivers excellent sound that you can tweak to match your exact tastes. It charges quickly and sports a playback time spanning a day and a half with ANC active. It comes with every accessory that you would need for it. Best of all, its ANC functionality is truly no joke, giving you high-quality noise cancelation without taking a hit in performance.

If you looking for a top-tier wireless ANC headset, riddled with functionality and customization options, then you may want to save up for the Jabra Elite 85h, going for $299. This headset should be on you list of premium level headsets that you need to check out.  Check out the Jabra Elite 85h for yourself here

If you’re already sold on the headset and want to save $50 on its price, you may want to act on this promotion while you still can!

** Limited Time Promo! The Jabra Elite 85h, available exclusively at Best Buy, will be on sale for $249.99 (originally MSRP $299.99) from June 16-22. **

† The Jabra Elite 85h headset provided by Jabra PR for review. No affiliate links are contained in this post.