For many years, active noise cancelling was the fiefdom of Bose headphones. Over the past couple of years, however, there have been many challengers to this monopoly of sorts, notable Sony and Sennheiser. The latest to take a shot at active noise cancellation is Jabra with its new Elite 85h headphones.
Jabra Elite 85h
Jabra Elite 85h are a pair of stylish headphones that stand out for its fabric and faux leather finish. It has a fully foldable design and the headphones can be folded flat to be stored in the box. Though wireless, you have the option of using a cable, which for me came in handy during a long haul flight.
There are two buttons on the headphones. One is for switching on the active noise cancellation and HearThrough modes. The other lets you figure out the power status on the headphones and with long press access to virtual assistant — you can even summon Alexa. You can switch the device on/off by just folding the headphones. On the right earcup are buttons to adjust volume as well as play and pause the music.
The Jabra Elite 85h is easy to pair and configure. The Jabra Sound+ app lets you set up the headset just the way you like it, especially when it comes to setting up the noise cancelling. There is also the SmartSound mode where the headphone uses Artificial Intelligence to figure out the surrounding and select the best audio mode for the same.
This is a very interesting feature and seems to work, though it kept suggesting public mode while I was using it in my home. When you select this mode, the other presets go off.
The active noise cancellation on the Jabra Elite 85h is good, but certainly not the best I have used. I tried the headphone on a long flight to the US and it did let me sleep and enjoy movies on the Emirates entertainment system without any issue. Also, this is among the few headphones that are comfortable even after a few hours of listening. The ear cups are really soft and do not heat up.
The audio quality is balanced and well rounded. These headphones are not heavy on bass or too sharp and you can use the app to set the equaliser profile you like. The audio quality is rich enough to offer you a cinematic experience while watching movies. It is also great for listening to all types of music, especially all the different styles of music I like to try out through Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube Music.
The battery life on the Jabra Elite 85h is also impressive. I had the headphones on for both the 15-hour long hauls from Dubai to San Francisco and back with the battery holding out well. This has the best battery life I have seen in a noise cancelling set.
The only issue I faced was with the headphones restarting on their own once in a while in the middle of something. I wasn’t sure what was triggering this.
The Jabra Elite 85h is a great option for those who like to listen to their music for long hours or just use the headphones to concentrate better at work. The Jabra Elite 85h are a bit pricey at Rs 28,999, but seem well worth the money because of the good audio quality, design comfort and superb battery life.