Personal audio is called personal for a reason. Each person has a different preference and needs for an audio accessory, be it earbuds, headphones or speakers. Increasingly, market trends have moved towards wireless audio, spurred by the advent of mobile phones and the mobile lifestyle. While wireless headphones have been around for a bit, wireless earbuds are starting to become popular amongst people on-the-go and fitness freaks. It’s a big enough pie for brands like Apple to jump in – the Cupertino company’s AirPods have been doing well. Other brands like Samsung and Sony have joined the party, alongside the usual suspects namely Bose, B&O and JayBird.
Which brings us to another renowned audio brand – Jabra. The Danish company is a familiar name in the headset and audio solutions business, first carving its niche in the mono Bluetooth headset segment and audio solutions in unified communications. It wasn’t long before it ventured into the lucrative music-focused segment of the market, and subsequently into health and fitness territory.
In fact, Jabra can pride itself to have the widest product range with offerings for mobile executives (Jabra Eclipse, Jabra Steel), sports-focused wireless headsets (Sport Coach, Sport Pulse, Halo Fusion), productivity-based headphones (Evolve and Biz series) and premium wireless earbuds (Jabra Elite Sport).
Its latest attempt in the true wireless earbuds category is the Elite 65t and Elite Active 65t, introduced at CES earlier in the year. The third generation true wireless earbuds instantly won critical acclaim, picking up the CES Innovation Award 2018.
Jabra learned plenty from the original Elite Sport (and its second-generation offering) – its best-selling, most technically advanced true wireless sports earbuds. I’ve been a huge fan of the Elite Sport since acquiring them last year, and it has become the benchmark for the segment.
Building on the success of the Elite Sport, the new earbuds incorporate the best and most loved features from its predecessor, while delivering even better voice and audio performance.
I’ve been using the Elite 65t for several weeks, and I can confidently say that they’re better than the Elite Sport in battery life, comfort, audio as well as being more affordable.
What’s in the box
- Jabra Elite 65t
- Charging case
- Micro-USB cable
- 3 sets of silicon EarGels
- Quick Start Guide
- Warranty & Warning Leaflets
Technical specs at a glance
Let’s do a quick run-through on what the Elite 65t offers. In terms of design, the Elite 65t feels a tad smaller than the Elite Sport and a little flashier aesthetics-wise due to its silver accents. They’re offered in Titanium Black, Copper Black and Gold Biege colour options.
They’re still chunky compared to let’s say Apple AirPods, with a tiny stalk protruding at the end of each bud. They’re not just for aesthetics of course, housing a mic that points towards your mouth. There are additional mics on the side that work together with an optimised acoustic chamber to enable advanced noise suppression and voice enhancement. It can cancel out wind noise too, a feature I’ve come to appreciate when I’m commuting or when I’m on a call.
Being smaller, the Elite65t buds pop into your ears without fuss and stay secure even if you’re running about or for some reason shaking your head vigorously. I did find them a little slippery especially when removing them from the charge case, perhaps due to its overall rounder design. Build quality, as you’d expect, is excellent.
The charge case is slimmer than the Elite Sport’s and it’s designed in an upright orientation instead of a horizontal approach on the Elite Sport. Oddly, the Elite 65t’s charge case doesn’t stand upright which is an annoyance, and thus I favour the Elite Sport’s.
On a positive note, the earbuds are more comfortable than the Elite Sport. They’re also a tad lighter – the Elite Sport’s buds weight 6.5g each, while the Elite 65t’s right and left buds weight 6.5g and 5.8g respectively. Unlike the sport-focused Elite Sport, the Elite 65t doesn’t have an in-ear heart rate & V02 max monitor, which explains why they’re slightly lighter. It offers IP55 dust- and splash-resistance, as opposed to IP67 on the Elite Sport.
The earbuds are covered by a 2-year warranty against damage from water and dust, by the way.
The Elite 65t offers up to five hours of listening time on one charge, and the charge case supplies another 10 hours of use.
With voice assistants becoming a norm in our everyday lives, it’s no surprise Jabra has made the Elite 65t voice assistant-ready out-of-the-box. The earbuds support all major voice services including Amazon Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant.