Jabra Elite 85h Wireless HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
7.2
Mixed Usage
7.2
Neutral Listening
7.5
Commute/Travel
7.2
Sports/Fitness
7.4
Office
6.1
Wireless Gaming
7.6
Wired Gaming
7.2
Phone Call
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Jabra Elite 85h are versatile noise cancelling headphones that can be used in a wide variety of daily uses. They have great audio reproduction and will be good for a variety of music genres. Their active noise cancelling (ANC) feature is decent and blocks ambient noise well, but it’s not quite on par with that of similar high-end ANC headphones. On the upside, they have a very comfortable fit and their microphone sounds better than most Bluetooth headphones. They have amazing battery life and their wireless range maxed out our testing facility. Overall, these headphones offer great value and should satisfy most users.

Test Results
Design 7.3
Isolation 7.1
Microphone 7.1
Active Features 8.8
Connectivity 7.3
Pros
  • Great audio reproduction.
  • Very comfortable fit.
  • Great battery life.
  • Exceptional wireless range.
Cons
  • ANC isn't on par with other similar high-end headphones.
  • Sound delivery inconsistencies, especially in the treble range.
  1. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  2. Update 5/17/2019: We've updated the software of these headphones, which resulted in a worse noise isolation score, but fixed the issues with the playback sound being very quiet.

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7.3

Design

The Jabra Elite 85h are well-designed over-ear headphones. They are well-built and look like sleek headphones, but their headband has an unconventional style. On the upside, they are very comfortable and will be suitable for long hours of listening. Like most over-ears, they won’t be very portable and breathable, but they come with a nice hard case which protects them when you’re on the move. These headphones are stylish and have a great control scheme that is easy to use.

Style

The Elite 85h are sleek-looking over-ear headphones. Their band design is a bit unconventional and their build is covered by a fabric coating. The cups are large and well-padded. These headphones come in a monochrome color scheme but have different designs such as black, titanium black, navy, and gold beige, which stands out a bit more.

8.0 Comfort
Weight : 0.66 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0.9 lbs

These headphones are very comfortable. The cups are fairly wide and deep, and should fit most ears. The padding is thick and soft, and the headband distributes the headphones’ weight effectively. They could be slightly tight for people with larger heads, as their headband doesn’t expand that much. The headphones feel fairly lightweight once on your head and can be worn for long periods of time before feeling any fatigue.

8.6 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Ease of use : Good
Feedback : Good
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : Yes
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : Yes
Talk-Through
:
Yes
Additional Buttons : Voice enabled controls

The Elite 85h have a great control scheme that is easy to use. You get common functionalities like call/music management, track skipping, and volume controls. You can easily mute your microphone with the dedicated button and cycle through ANC on, off, and the talk-through mode. The mic-mute button also doubles as a trigger for your device’s voice assistant for voice-enabled commands and you can cycle through your Sound Moments, which are basically presets for different uses, by holding the ANC button down. You can also hear the battery level by holding the volume up and down buttons when you’re not listening to music or on a call.

These headphones also have a smart pause feature that automatically plays/pauses your music when you put the headphones on/take them off your head. To turn off the headset, simply swivel the cups to lay them flat, similar to the Sennheiser PXC 550.

6.0 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 7.0 C

Like most closed-back over-ears, the Elite 85h trap a decent amount of heat inside their cups. This shouldn’t be too much of an issue for casual listening, but they won’t be ideal for physical activity as you could experience more sweating than usual.

6.1 Portability
L : 7.1 "
W : 7.2 "
H : 1.9 "
Volume : 97 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

Like most over-ears, the Elite 85h are not very portable. They are quite bulky, but thankfully you can fold them in a more compact format. Their cups also swivel to lay flat, which also turns off the headphones when you don't need to use them. When the cups are folded in and flat, you can easily store them inside their great hard case.

8.0 Case
Type : Hard case
L : 8.5 "
W : 7.5 "
H : 2.1 "
Volume : 134 Cu. Inches

The Elite 85h’s case is great and protects the headphones well against physical damage from falls, scratches, and minor water exposure. The case doesn’t add too much bulk to their design and is quite similar to that of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II and the Sony WH-1000XM3.

7.5 Build Quality

The Elite 85h are well-built headphones with dense cups that should survive a few accidental drops without too much damage. The overall build feels fairly sturdy, but the hinges are weirdly designed with a small metal piece to cover the cable going to the headphones. However, it is fairly thin and feels a bit fragile when folding the cups in, which could be the potential weak point of the build. These headphones are not quite on par with high-end headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM3 or the B&O PLAY H9i.

7.0 Stability

These headphones are fairly stable, but the ear cups sway around a bit with heavy head movement. They won’t be ideal for sports, but you could use them for a light jog, even if they weren’t designed for this use. On the upside, their wireless design means there won’t be a cable to get stuck on something and yank the headphones off your head.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
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Sound

They have a deep and punchy bass that is also slightly thumpy, which some may prefer. Their mid-range is nearly flawless and vocals and lead instruments will be accurately reproduced. The treble range is also very good, but it might lack a bit of detail and brightness on vocals and leads, and on some sibilants (S and T sounds). Overall, these headphones have a good audio reproduction that will be suitable for a wide variety of music genres.

Sound Profile
Neutral
:
8.5
Bass-Heavy
:
7.9
Warm
:
5.5
Bright
:
7.3
7.8 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
1.38 db
Dips
:
1.17 db
6.1 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.91 dB

The Jabra Elite 85h have a mediocre frequency response consistency performance. These headphones are prone to consistency issues throughout the range, especially in the treble range. They have decent consistency in the bass range, but the maximum variance measured across our five human subjects is about 8dB at 20Hz, which is noticeable. We noticed that certain types of glasses could break the seal on these headphones and cause a drop in bass. In the treble range, the maximum amount of deviation below 10kHz is over 13dB, indicating that these headphones' treble delivery is very sensitive to positioning.

8.9 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.22
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.32
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.55
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
3.43

The imaging is great. Weighted group delay is at 0.22, which is very good. The GD graph also shows that their entire group delay response is within the audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were well-matched in amplitude, frequency, and phase. This is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo field. However, these results are only valid for our unit and yours may perform differently.

4.6 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
3.04 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
1.69 dB
PRTF Distance
:
10.65 dB
Openness
:
3.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
2.4

The Elite 85h have poor soundstage. The PRTF graph shows a poor amount of pinna activation and it isn’t accurate. Also, the notch near 10kHz isn’t deep enough. This and their closed-back design suggest a soundstage that is relatively small, unnatural, and likely to be perceived to be located inside the listener's head, as opposed to in front.

7.6 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.213
WHD @ 100
:
0.172
7.1

Isolation

The isolation performance of the Jabra Elite 85h is decent. Even if they are ANC headphones, they don’t do that great of a job at blocking lower frequency noises like engine rumbles, meaning they won’t be ideal for commuting. However, they isolate very well against work environment noise such as ambient chatter and A/C noises, so they’ll be suitable for the office. Also, they don’t leak too much, so you might be able to block even more noise by raising your volume without disturbing people.

6.7 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-18.35 dB
Bass
:
-2.01 dB
Mid
:
-20.01 dB
Treble
:
-34.88 dB

Update 05/17/2019: We've updated the Jabra Elite 85h software and this resulted in worse noise isolation performance. We've updated the review accordingly.

The Jabra Elite 85h have mediocre noise isolation and it isn't as good as that of competing models like the Sony WH-1000XM3, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, or the Microsoft Surface Headphones. The active noise cancellation achieves 2dB of isolation in the bass range, which means they're not the best at cancelling out airplane and bus engine rumbles. However, they achieve 20dB and 35dB of isolation in the mid and treble ranges respectively, both values being good. This indicates good isolation performance for speech and sharp sounds such as S and Ts and fan noises like A/C systems.

7.9 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
34.17 dB

The leakage performance is good. The significant portion of leakage sits between 500Hz and 1kHz, which is a narrow range. The leakage will sound fuller and more comprehensible than the leakage of in-ears and earbuds, but not as much as open-back headphones. However, the overall level of leakage is not too loud. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 34dB SPL and peaks at 52dB SPL, which is around the noise floor of most offices.

7.1

Microphone

Integrated
:
Yes
In-line
:
No
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

The Jabra Elite 85h's integrated microphone has a decent performance. Speech recorded or transmitted with this mic in a quiet environment will sound a bit thin, but quite detailed, clear, and easily understandable. However, it will have a hard time separating speech from background noise in relatively loud environments like a busy street.

7.3 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
369.71 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
2.98 dB
HFE
:
6736.4 Hz
Weighted THD
:
0.077
Gain
:
10.73 dB

The recording quality of the mic is decent. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 369Hz which means speech recorded or transmitted with this microphone will sound relatively thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 6.7kHz results in a speech that is clear and detailed but lacks a bit of airiness. However, speech will still be easily understandable, since speech intelligibility is mostly dependent on the 500Hz-4kHz range.

6.9 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
20.07 dB

The integrated mic is acceptable at noise handling. In our SpNR test, it achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 20dB, indicating the mic is best suited for quiet environments and will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in loud situations.

8.8

Active Features

The Jabra Elite 85h have amazing battery life and are compatible with the Jabra Sound+ mobile app. Their name doesn’t mean they have 85hrs of battery life, but they still offer over 30 hours with their ANC enabled, which is great. They also don’t take too much time to charge via their USB-C cable and you can still use them while doing so. In their app, you get many customization options and controls over the ANC, talk-through, and you can even slightly customize their sound to your liking. There are also presets and a feature that automatically analyzes the noise surrounding you to select the appropriate preset, which you can customize individually.

8.9 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
:
34 hrs
Additional Charges
:
0
Total Battery Life
:
34 hrs
Charge Time
:
2.7 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
Standby mode
Audio while charging
:
Yes
Passive Playback
:
Yes
Charging Port : USB-C

The Jabra 85h have a great battery life. They offer over 30 hours of continuous playback for only about 2.5 hours of charge time. They also enter a standby mode after a set time, which you can modify inside their app to save power. You can use them while they are charging or passively with their analog audio cable, without ANC, if the battery is dead, which is convenient. You should be able to use these headphones for a few consecutive days without having to charge them. Jabra advertises over 40 hours of battery life with the ANC turned off and say you can get 5 hours with only 15 minutes of charging.

8.0 App Support
App Name : Jabra Sound+
iOS : Yes
Android : Yes
Mac OS : No
Windows : No
Equalizer
:
Graphic + Presets
ANC control
:
Adjustable
Mic Control : No
Room effects
:
No
Playback control
:
No
Button Mapping : No
Surround Sound : No

The Jabra Sound+ app is great and offers many options with the Elite 85h. You get a good 5-band EQ, control over ANC, and talk-through. You can set the power saving timer. Jabra also has what they call Moments, which are basically different presets for certain situations like your commute, a public street or when you’re alone. Inside each preset, you can set your ANC or talk-through, and you can EQ the headphones as well. This acts like different profiles for your different daily situations. Jabra also implemented SmartSound, which listens to your surrounding noise and applies the appropriate Moment preset, and all your set settings for that specific Moment automatically.

7.3

Connectivity

The Jabra Elite 85h are Bluetooth headphones that can be used wired, even if the battery is dead, which is very convenient. They can be connected to 2 devices simultaneously which is useful and they have an amazing wireless range, which maxed out our testing facility. Unfortunately, they don’t have an in-line mic, which means you’ll only have audio support when using them wired. Also, like most Bluetooth headphones, their latency is a bit high and won’t be great for watching videos or gaming.

8.6 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
:
2 Devices
NFC Pairing
:
No
Line of Sight Range
:
335 ft
Default Latency
:
237 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

The Elite 85h are Bluetooth headphones that can be simultaneously connected to 2 devices at the same time, which is useful if you often switch between your office computer and phone. Unfortunately, they don’t support NFC for quicker and easier pairing. On the upside, you can hold the middle multipurpose button to easily put them in pairing mode.

The Elite 85h have a bit more latency that most Bluetooth headphones, but some may still not notice a delay in their daily usage. Some apps and devices offer some sort of compensation, so you might not notice as much when watching video content. However, it will more than likely be too high for gaming. On the upside, you can use them wired with the included audio cable to nullify the latency issues.

0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
9.5 Wired
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.1 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS
Wired Latency
:
0 ms

The Jabra 85h come with a 1/8” TRS cable that doesn’t have an in-line microphone. This means you’ll only have audio when you use them wired with any platform that has the appropriate audio jack.

PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox Analog
:
Audio Only
Xbox Wired USB
:
No
Xbox Wireless
:
No
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A

These headphones don’t have a dock.

In the box

  • Jabra 85h headphones
  • 1/8” TRS audio cable
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Carrying case
  • Airplane adapter
  • Manuals

Compared to other Headphones

The Jabra Elite 85h are good, stylish, mixed usage headphones that set themselves apart by their great audio reproduction, decent ANC feature, and a noticeably better microphone than most Bluetooth headphones. Unfortunately, their ANC isn’t on par with some other high-end competing models. See our recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones and the best wireless headphones.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Both the Jabra Elite 85h and Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless are very versatile ANC headphones. The Jabras have a better control scheme with physical controls, and their default sound profile is more accurate and better sounding. However, they don’t have the great noise isolation performance of the Sonys. Since you can easily EQ the XM3 in their app, they could be the best option for most. On the other hand, the mic of the Jabra is superior and sounds clearer and fuller, which is better for calls.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are better mixed usage headphones than the Jabra Elite 85h due to their amazing noise cancelling performance. They will be better suited for commuting as they block out more low-end noises like engine rumbles. On the other hand, the Jabra Elite 85h feel slightly better built than the Bose, and their control scheme is more complete. They also have noticeably better wireless range and aren’t as leaky as the QC 35 II.

Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Jabra Elite 85h are slightly better headphones than the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless. They feel a bit more comfortable and their physical button control scheme is easier to use than the touch-sensitive surface of the PXC. Both have similar sound quality, but the Jabras have more bass. The isolation performance of the Elite 85h is also slightly better, which will be good for commuting. On the other hand, the PXC’s EQ is better and offers better customization.

Bose 700 Headphones Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Bose 700 Headphones and the Jabra Elite Active 85h Wireless are both decent noise cancelling headphones that are good for business users thanks to their improved Bluetooth microphone performance. The Bose 700’s mic performs even better than that of the 85h, though, with even better noise handling. However, their touch-sensitive control scheme can be a bit tricky to use at times, so some people may prefer the physical controls of the Jabra Elite 85h. The Jabras also have a more balanced sound profile with customization options and better battery life than the Bose headphones, but they don’t isolate noise as well. Both headsets have a unique design, so ultimately the difference lies in personal taste.

B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Jabra Elite 85h are more versatile than the B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless. Their control scheme is great, complete, and easy to use, and their default sound quality is noticeably better than the H9i’s. Additionally, they have better wireless range and their app offers more customization options. On the other hand, the H9i are better-built, and look and feel like more premium headphones. You’ll get noticeably more battery life on the Elite 85h and their microphone recording quality will sound fuller and more clear.

+ Show more
7.2 Mixed Usage

Decent for mixed usage. The Elite 85h have a very versatile sound that is suitable for many music genres. They are comfortable and their ANC feature is decent, without being outstanding like other similar high-end headphones. They are still pretty good for commuting and will be a great option for the office. However, their bulky over-ear design isn’t designed for sports and since they are Bluetooth headphones, their latency might be too high for watching TV and gaming. Thankfully, they come with an audio cable that you can use to eliminate these issues.

7.2 Neutral Listening

Good for neutral listening. The Jabra 85h have a deep and punchy bass, but it is slightly thumpy, which some may prefer. Their mid-range is nearly flawless and vocals and lead instruments will be accurately reproduced. The treble range is also very good, but it might lack a bit of detail and brightness on vocals and leads, and on some sibilants (S and T sounds). Overall, these headphones have a good audio reproduction that will be suitable for a wide variety of music genres.

7.5 Commute/Travel

Decent for commuting. Their isolation is pretty good, but they don’t particularly do well against lower-end noise like the deep rumble of bus and planes engines. On the upside, they are comfortable to wear for long rides and flights, and their battery life is amazing and will last you the longest trips. They also don’t leak too much, so you might be able to block more ambient noise by raising your listening volume without bothering people surrounding you.

7.2 Sports/Fitness

Passable for sports. While the Jabra 85h are fairly stable, these headphones aren’t designed for this use. They trap heat inside their cups, which will make you sweat noticeably more than usual. Also, their bulky design isn’t ideal for exercising. They aren’t the most portable headphones, but thankfully, their over-ear design is foldable, and the cups lay flat to fit inside their case, which helps carrying them around.

7.4 Office

Good for the office. These headphones’ ANC feature blocks a good amount of work environment noise. Their battery life is also amazing and will last you a few workdays without needing to recharge, which is great. Also, the headband and cups are comfortable enough to wear for a few hours without feeling too much fatigue. They can also connect to two devices simultaneously, which is convenient if you often switch between your phone and computer.

6.1 Wireless Gaming

Sub-par for gaming. These headphones’ microphone has better recording quality than most Bluetooth headsets, but it still won’t be comparable to a good gaming headset’s boom microphone. Their latency, when used wirelessly, is also too high for video games, and you’ll notice a pretty significant delay. However, if you don’t need a microphone and don’t mind playing with wired headphones, their sound quality is pretty good and they are quite comfortable to wear for long gaming sessions.

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