Jabra Elite 65t Review: Tiny and Powerful with Few ConcessionsFrom beautifully-represented Bluetooth sound to a reliable, substantial build, there's plenty to like about these earbuds — if you can afford them.
We like this
Excellent sound quality
Solid, durable build
Interesting microphone features
Unusual, quirky and unusual
Battery life in the middle of the road
You are missing some high-end touches
These earbuds have nothing to be displeased with (although it does suffer from a lack of fit and finish), but they are a great choice for those who love sound quality and amazing functionality.
The Jabra Elite 65t Headphones were purchased by us so that our expert reviewer could fully test it and evaluate it. Continue reading to see our complete product review.
The Jabra Elite 65t is a top-rated wireless headset. They are a remarkable pair of headphones at many levels.
Expectations are key here, as with any product at the high end of a price range. These headphones might not meet your high expectations. The 65ts sound great and are functional. They will work well for most users, whether you need them as workout headphones or commuter headphones.
Jabra was the first brand to make their mark with single-ear Bluetooth headphones. It's not surprising to discover a pair true wireless earbuds by Jabra. But it is interesting to note the subtle nod to the old single-ear Bluetooth headsets. There's a small, ¾-inch fin that holds some of the array microphones (we'll get to those in a minute) and looks like a shrunken version of a headset.
Jabra calls the Elites Titanium Black. We tried them out. These Elites are dark silver with matte black inside. We love this combination because it is simple and unassuming. However, you can also get the 65ts in bolder Copper Black or flashy Gold Beige.
Last point: Do not get too attached to the way the Jabra word is written. It will be covered in the Comfort section. However, you need to rotate these 90° to get the best fit for your ears. The inner casing can be shaped to accommodate a variety of shapes and sizes. However, it is not aesthetically pleasing if the Jabra logo is placed vertically.
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Our most controversial aspect was the Jabra65ts' feel. You probably already know the risks associated with these wireless headphones. If you don't have a tight fit, you stand the risk of losing a single bud during a workout or when you're out and about — we experienced a fairly traumatizing incident when we dropped the right bud and it rolled underneath a parked car.
You can place your earbud with its fin in front of your face at 3 o’clock. Then, turn it clockwise towards 6 o’clock. The bulging edge from the main housing will slip into your outer ear canal quite clearly. This will land at around 4 o’clock for some. Others will need to point their fins down until 6 o’clock. This is important for both stability and sound quality. This seal is similar to other sport earbuds. This is fine if your ears are used to it. However, if the eartips feel too tight in your ears this can be irritating.
Most people will agree that Elite 65t's sound quality is excellent.
Jabra includes two extra rubber eartips, which they call EarGels. They measure approximately half an inch in diameter. The smallest measures about 1/3rd. It is usually the size that fits on the buds. The manufacturer also lists the weights of the right and left headsets at 6.8 grams each. It is quite impressive considering the amount of tech packed into it.
Headphones are the second most used piece of tech, after smartphones. These headphones are often brought along on our workouts. They also get tossed in our travel bags, and then put through their paces. The Elite is very strong despite being so heavy.
The earbuds themselves sport IP55 dust and water resistance — each of those numbers corresponds to the level for dust- and water-proofing, respectively. In layman's language, this means that the earbuds are protected from dust particles and low pressure water spraying (think of your kitchen sink). Although this is not the IP68 standard we have seen in the latest smartphones, it does mean that the headphones will be protected against water damage and dirt. Jabra appears to be standing behind the rating, offering an instant 1-year warranty with the possibility to add 2 years dust and water resistance via their app.
This set's only problem is its battery case. The battery case is made of matte plastick material, which protects the headphones but does not feel premium. It is difficult to lift the hinged battery cover. You need to apply a certain angle of force. This is a shame, as it makes it easy to knock out the earbuds and cause damage.
Most people will agree that Elite 65t's sound quality is excellent. The specs state that the Elite 65t speakers can be used at frequencies between 20Hz and 20kHz. Additionally, the driver measures 6.0x5.1mm. And the entire housing is made of an acoustical open-chamber design. The earbuds are positioned so that they sit in your ears, but sound more natural, open and rich. You'll get plenty of volume from the driver side thanks to the 16-ohm speaker resistance and the 103dB Soleil Level (SPL). Bluetooth 5.0 support and AAC codec support mean you can get nearly as good quality from wired headphones.
You won't regret paying the extra price if you have the means.
Another piece to the puzzle is the microphone array. The microphone array is the other piece of this puzzle. Yes, voice quality for phone calls is as good as one would expect from Jabra who has made its mark on Bluetooth peripherals. The four microphones offer ambient noise reduction, which was pretty basic in our testing. You can also filter out some noise to help you hear the surrounding noise. The MEMS microphones are tiny and made using semiconductors. They can be super accurate. It is important to remember that some noise can sometimes be let in because there are so many details.
Beyond sound quality, Bluetooth headphones' battery life is the most crucial spec. True wireless headphones are no exception to this rule. If you run out of battery, you don't have any recourse. We found the earbuds to have a five-hour battery life. This is comparable to other brands. However, the battery life was much shorter when using heavy microphone features like call pass-through or ambient noise, which can cause ambient noise to be passed through.
This is the area where 65ts fail. The 500mAh battery case only gives you 10 more hours, while the Apple AirPods give you approximately twice that. The case is much larger than the AirPods charging case.
When compared to the Bose SoundSport Free — another key competitor — the Jabras are dead even. It's quite refreshing to see that the 65t battery lasts as long as we tested them in real life. The included micro USB cable can be used to charge the entire set for 2 hours if you run out. Although these numbers aren’t going to turn heads, the advertised figures on the box can be used to recharge the entire set in 2 hours. This is something we love to watch.
Bluetooth headphones can be so subtle that you may not even notice the difference. The 65ts aren't equipped with the same fancy bells and whistles as AirPods, and they don't suffer from connection drops and skipping like lower-priced models. We found only three to four skips or idiosyncrasies in our 20-hours of testing. One point to consider—we did notice some latency when it came to watching videos (common with true wireless buds), but powering the left earbud on and off seemed to fix this issue most of the time.
The Jabra Sound+ app, which is available in almost all major platforms, has been a significant selling point. First, the software lets you easily connect and learn more about the earbuds — an important fact, because some of the onboard controls aren't overly intuitive. To make it easier to hear the surrounding noise, you can toggle the Ambient Noise Amplification (Jabra calls it HearThrough).
There's a very standard EQ with some solid presets — 'smooth' tended to be our favorite. You can also take these presets and set them up to be used in different times of your day, such as your commute and your work/focus time. The app allows you to mix and match controls (Jabra refers them widgets) and even create ambient sound effects. The app is very intuitive and not too complicated. However, we wish that there were an equivalent on a computer.
These are not the most expensive products, but they do come with a price tag that is reasonable. Its list price is $169.99. This makes it slightly more costly than Apple's AirPods. It is worth considering because headphones that cost more than $169.99 are a premium product. We think that the headphones are excellent in terms of build quality and sound quality. However, some issues (such as the plastic case or the finicky fit), might cause them to feel less premium.
This year has seen a flood of "true wireless" headphones. Along with the Elite Active 65t and Elite 65t, both came out in 2018. They have better IP ratings as well as a built in accelerometer that can be used for training tracking. We see two main competitors.
The Jabra Sound+ App is an earbud that's able to be used with virtually any other competitor in this space.
The Apple AirPods offer convenience, high-quality build quality and brand recognition. The AirPods will suit you if you are looking for a pair of earbuds that can be easily integrated into the iOS app and you don't mind sacrificing sound quality. If sound quality and sportier looks are important to you, the 65ts is for you.
While there are other true wireless audio earbuds available, none have the same features or brand recognition as Jabra and Bose. The Bose SoundSport Free sounds very much like the Elite 65t. However, we preferred the Elite 65t to sound louder. The SoundSports have better microphone features, and an IP rating of IP55 (vs. IPX4 with the SoundSports). The SoundSports fit is more natural, but it comes down to personal preferences.
You might also be interested in these other products. You can also check out our selection of wireless headphones that are truly wireless.