Jabra Elite 85t review: noise cancellation isn’t the only big change (2023)

Over the last several years, Jabra’s true wireless earbuds have consistently earned positive reviews and are often at the top of recommendation lists for people who aren’t interested in Apple’s AirPods. Last month, the company announced its latest set — and first to ship with active noise cancellation. The $230 Elite 85t are Jabra’s most premium earbuds yet and meant to go toe-to-toe with the AirPods Pro and Bose’s new QuietComfort Earbuds. But in a surprise bonus, Jabra said it would bring ANC (albeit a less effective implementation) to its existing Elite 75t and Elite Active 75t via a firmware update.

The 85t buds have a new chip dedicated to noise canceling, which allows them to cancel out a wider range of outside sounds than the 75t, where the ANC feature feels tacked on. But while they look and feel very similar to the prior model, Jabra has made some consequential design choices.Most notably, the 85ts now have a “semi-open” design that eliminates the plugged-up ear feeling of older sets. That change comes with sacrifice, however, as these earbuds aren’t capable of the same resounding, impactful bass as the 75t. Jabra has also switched to oval-shaped ear tips — likely necessitated by the larger 12mm drivers and ANC circuitry — that feel slightly less secure in my ears compared to the older round style. And the Elite 85t buds are rated IPX4 for water and sweat resistance, a downgrade from previous Jabras.

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But even with those changes, the Elite 85ts are among the better noise-canceling earbuds on the market, thanks to their best-in-class controls, wealth of features, and reliable performance. The main question is whether the noise cancellation is worth the added cost over the Elite 75t. Considering the differences in water resistance and sound quality, it’s not a straightforward answer.

Picking up the 85ts, everything feels very familiar. They’re slightly larger and heavier than their predecessors, the drilled microphone holes are much smaller (likely to keep out dust), and the most obvious change is those oval speaker grills. The case has also grown in size a tad, but it includes Qi wireless charging; the 75t buds are only available with wireless charging if you order them direct from Jabra. (The charging LED is at least now on the case’s front instead of bafflingly on the back near the USB-C port, as it is on the 75ts.)

Jabra Elite 85t review: noise cancellation isn’t the only big change (1)

Jabra Elite 85t review: noise cancellation isn’t the only big change (2)

There’s still a circular button on each earbud that responds to single, double, and triple presses. You’re given a ton of freedom over customizing the controls in the Jabra app, and those changes — like any EQ adjustments you make — stick with the earbuds from device to device. The 85t earbuds are rated IPX4 for water and sweat resistance, which is down from the IP55 of the Elite 75t and IP57 of the Elite Active 75t. IPX4 puts these at par with the AirPods Pro and QuietComfort Earbuds and means they’re capable of surviving splashes of water, but heavy sweaters should be wary of making these their fitness earbuds. (It’s unclear whether Jabra eventually intends to release an Active version of the 85ts.)

Before we get to the noise cancellation, let’s quickly call out one of the best things about Jabra earbuds: multipoint. While most true wireless earbuds can only connect to a single device at a time, Jabra’s can handle two at once. You can be listening to music from your laptop and take an incoming call on your phone without having to manually switch the earbuds over.

That’s a trick that the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, Sennheiser True Momentum Wireless 2s, and Sony’s 1000XM3 buds are simply incapable of. (I’d argue AirPods get a pass here since they can now automatically switch between Apple devices without you having to do anything, and if you own AirPods, you’re probably in that ecosystem.) Multipoint works well on the 85t earbuds, seamlessly switching back and forth between your phone and PC or tablet based on what’s actively playing audio. All of Jabra’s earbuds dating back to the Elite 65t offer this feature, but here, you can combine the convenience of multipoint with powerful noise cancellation.

Multipoint remains a key selling point for Jabra

Jabra’s active noise cancellation performance in the 85t buds is impressive. You can adjust the intensity of ANC with a slider in the Jabra app, and at maximum, I’d say it’s up there with the Sony 1000XM3 or AirPods Pro — but definitely a rung beneath the QuietComfort Earbuds, which I view as the new benchmark.

But as I mentioned earlier, the 85t earbuds differ from past models because of their new semi-open design. When you turn ANC completely off (which can only be done inside the Jabra app), you can definitely hear more ambient noise than with the 75ts, which seal into my ears really well and have the added benefit of great passive noise isolation. I found that the new, oval-shaped tips of the 85 didn’t quite twist into my ears as snugly or as deep; they never fell out or came close, but I could remove them with less effort than the 75ts. This comes down to preference: I know there are many of you who will prefer the airy design of the 85t, which can be worn for long stretches without any noticeable discomfort or pressure buildup.

Jabra Elite 85t review: noise cancellation isn’t the only big change (5)

Jabra Elite 85t review: noise cancellation isn’t the only big change (6)

(Video) Jabra Elite 85t Noise Cancelling Headphones Review

Jabra Elite 85t review: noise cancellation isn’t the only big change (7)

Jabra Elite 85t review: noise cancellation isn’t the only big change (8)

(Video) Jabra Elite 85t review: Better than its predecessors?

But keep in mind that Jabra recently updated the Elite 75t with active noise cancellation. By itself, it’s less effective than the 85t, but the noise isolation of the 75t earbuds helps make up the gap some. In the end, I think it’s almost a wash between the two. The Elite 85ts still won out and hushed more noise when I tested them side by side in a coffee shop or on the streets of Brooklyn, but not lopsidedly so. If you’re someone who dislikes the plugged-up feeling that regular earbuds can give, the 85ts are the better choice, but the added comfort means paying more. I don’t mind that closed-off feeling at all, so I’d probably stick with the 75ts.

Jabra Elite 85t review: noise cancellation isn’t the only big change (9)

Jabra Elite 85t review: noise cancellation isn’t the only big change (10)

That’s also because of sound quality. The 85ts use new 12mm drivers that deliver slightly better detail and presence (and roll off some of the harshness of the 75t treble), but there’s really not that much of a difference between these two sets of earbuds. The 85ts have a fuller mid-range; the overall EQ feels less blatantly V-shaped — but all of this can be adjusted to your liking.

However, while the semi-open design results in a wider soundstage, it also means the 85ts lose some of the amazing low-end kick that the 75ts are capable of. If you lean toward less sculpted EQ, you might prefer the more even balance of the 85ts; the bass isn’t lacking, it’s just not as head-rattling as the 75ts. I’m pleased when using either set, but even the higher-end 85ts trail competitors like Sennheiser and Bose if top-notch sound is your deciding factor.

Picking between the 75t and 85t isn’t such an obvious choice

Battery life is rated at 7 hours with ANC off (half an hour shorter than the 75t) and 5.5 hours with it enabled, which is fairly standard. Factoring in the case, you can get up to 25 hours of total listening time. As has become standard for Jabra, call quality remains a strength on the 85ts. People said my voice was crisp and came through clear without much background noise. But you can still only use the right earbud by itself since that’s the primary bud that relays audio to the left one. I wish Jabra would make them both independent (especially at this higher cost), but we’re not there yet.

Jabra Elite 85t review: noise cancellation isn’t the only big change (11)

Jabra Elite 85t review: noise cancellation isn’t the only big change (12)

(Video) The Jabra Elite 85t Review: Worth Upgrading?

A few other things worth touching on quickly:

  • Jabra’s “HearThrough” passthrough mode still isn’t as natural-sounding as what I’ve experienced with the AirPods Pro or Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, where it can often sound like you’re not wearing earbuds at all. With these earbuds, the outside world still sounds a little digital and over-processed, but it’s perfectly usable for keeping aware of your surroundings.
  • The Jabra Sound Plus mobile app remains excellent. With it, you can set up different “moments” with customized ANC / HearThrough preferences for each environment. There’s a built-in hearing test for tailoring the sound to your own hearing profile (I found the difference to be negligible), and you can even play white noise and other sounds when you need to focus on something and music or podcasts are too much.
  • Unlike previous Jabra earbuds, the 85ts no longer offer Amazon Alexa as a voice assistant. I barely ever took advantage of this option, and seeing as it’s now gone, I’m guessing that was true of most people.


Every smart device now requires you to agree to a series of terms and conditions before you can use it — contracts that no one actually reads. It’s impossible for us to read and analyze every single one of these agreements. But we started counting exactly how many times you have to hit “agree” to use devices when we review them, since these are agreements most people don’t read and definitely can’t negotiate.

As with other earbuds, the Jabra Elite 85t can be paired over Bluetooth without ever agreeing to anything in software. But since the Sound Plus app is so important for customizing EQ and the earbud controls, it’s basically essential.

  • Jabra general privacy policy
  • Jabra privacy policy for applications
  • Jabra end user license agreement

Final tally is no mandatory agreements, but three near-mandatory optional ones.

Overall, I think the Elite 85t earbuds are Jabra’s best earbuds yet: the noise cancellation is quite good, they deliver rich audio quality, and you can use them with two devices at once. But there are a lot of people who will be better off saving money and just going for the Elite 75ts. For me, the older earbuds fit better, and I prefer their noise isolation over the semi-open feel of the new buds. But maybe the combination of noise cancellation and an airy fit is just what you’ve been looking for. If the AirPods Pro don’t meet your needs, it’s hard to go wrong with the Jabra Elite 85t.

Photography by Chris Welch / The Verge


How do I turn on noise Cancelling on my Jabra Elite 85t? ›

On your Jabra device, HearThrough is enabled by default. To use Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), you must set it up using Jabra Sound+. To set up and personalize ANC for your Jabra device, go to Jabra Sound+, under Sound Modes, tap Active Noise Cancellation and follow the on-screen instructions.

Does Jabra 85t have noise Cancelling? ›

The Jabra Elite 85t—just like the Jabra Elite 75t and Jabra Elite 65t before it—is an excellent pair of earphones. Now with great active noise canceling, Jabra's flagship earbuds makes a compelling case for your upgrade. However, a high price tag might keep this out of your reach.

Is it worth upgrading to Jabra Elite 85t? ›

There's no question the Elite 85t are an upgrade from their predecessors in more than just one metric. They sound a little bolder, the ANC is more effective, and you get things like wireless charging and improved call quality.

How do I turn on noise canceling Jabra Elite? ›

To turn on/off ANC, press the ANC button on left earcup. You will hear a voice announcement confirming the change. With ANC on, you will experience a reduction in background noise such as air conditioning. Was this useful?

How do I change my noise cancellation settings? ›

Turn on noise cancellation
  1. Tap the screen tap More.
  2. Tap Settings .
  3. Tap Noise cancellation.

How do I switch to noise Cancelling mode? ›

Open Control Center on your iOS or iPadOS device. While wearing your AirPods Max or both AirPods, touch and hold the volume slider until you see the additional controls. Tap the Noise Control icon in the lower-left corner. Tap Noise Cancellation, Transparency, or Off.

How does Jabra noise cancellation work? ›

It detects and analyzes the pattern of incoming sound, and then generates an “anti-noise” mirror signal to cancel it out. As a result, you experience a drastically reduced level of noise. ANC is optimal for steady, low-frequency sounds, such as ceiling fans, engine noise, or office chatter.

Do noise cancelling earbuds cancel all noise? ›

Unfortunately, they're not great at blocking sounds that are high-pitched and fluctuating. A classic example of this is people talking. While noise cancelling headphones definitely reduce noise, you shouldn't expect absolute silence from them.

Can I wear Jabra Elite 85t in shower? ›

No, your earbuds are not protected from submersion in water. Furthermore, exposure to salt, chlorine, chemicals, and solvents can damage and deteriorate your earbuds.

What's the difference between Jabra 85t and 75t? ›

The Jabra Elite 85t features Jabra's most advanced hybrid Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology to date with its dedicated processing chip while the older Jabra Elite 75t has ANC functionality through a firmware update which uses built-in microphones to mask ambient noises.

How long do Jabra Elite 85t last? ›

You can get up to 5.5 hours on a single charge with ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) on, with a total charge of up to 25 hours with the charging case. If you use the earbuds without ANC and HearThrough, you will get even more battery, with up to 7 hours in the earbuds and a total of 31 hours with the charging case.

Can you turn up noise cancelling? ›

The noise cancellation in your headphones can be set higher or lower. This is useful in environments where you want to hear more or less of the sound around you.

How do I set up my Jabra noise cancelling headset? ›

  1. On your mobile device, ensure that Jabra Sound+ is updated to version 4.7 or later.
  2. In Jabra Sound+, update the Jabra Elite 75t/Elite Active 75t firmware to version 2.0. ...
  3. Tap Add ANC to your headset.
  4. Tap Add Personalized ANC and follow the onscreen instructions.

Why does my noise cancellation barely work? ›

Sometimes Active Noise Cancellation can be affected if debris or earwax builds up in the area shown below. If this happens, you might experience: A loss of bass sound. An increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise.

Why is noise cancellation uncomfortable? ›

This is because ANC buds generate low-frequency sound waves (usually under 1kHz) to cancel out external noise, which, in turn, can trick your brain into thinking you're moving when you're not. Such a phenomenon can lead to psychosomatic motion sickness or dizziness.

What is adaptive noise cancelling? ›

Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation uses microphones and speakers to automatically adjust to your surroundings. This is the more sophisticated type of ANC where the level of noise cancelling digitally adapts to the surroundings.

Does noise cancelling turn on automatically? ›

Wireless Noise Canceling Stereo HeadsetWH-1000XM3

If you use the noise canceling function, you can enjoy music without being disturbed by ambient noise. Turn on the headset. You hear the voice guidance “Power on”. The noise canceling function is turned on automatically when you turn on the headset.

What is the difference between Active Noise Cancellation and transparency mode? ›

Noise Cancellation: Blocks outside noise. When you activate this, you will hear a single chime. Transparency: Lets sound in so you can hear the world around you.

Why can I still hear noise with noise cancellation? ›

Noise-cancelling technology cannot completely isolate sound due to the air trapped between your audio device and eardrum.

Does noise cancelling work perfectly? ›

It's not perfect. these headphones don't “create” silence, nor are they able to eliminate noise. The crests and troughs do not perfectly cancel out. The absolute best noise-canceling headphones merely reduce noise, and work best with low-frequency droning sounds.

What are the disadvantages of noise Cancelling headphones? ›

The Cons of Noise-Canceling Headphones for Kids
  • They can be expensive. Noise-canceling headphones can be expensive, especially if you buy a quality pair. ...
  • They can be difficult to use. ...
  • They can be distracting. ...
  • They can be dangerous if not used properly. ...
  • They can be a distraction in social settings.
Apr 7, 2022

What is the difference between adaptive and active noise cancelling? ›

Often the companies put the label “adaptive”, while in reality these headphones use regular active noise cancelling function. So how is the adaptive noise cancellation different? Adaptive technology adjusts the strength of cancellation based on the level and type of the surrounding noise.

How can I improve noise cancelling earbuds? ›

Experiment with moving them up and down, as well as side-to-side. Also, some people find that placing the earbuds in closer to the entrance of the ear canal helps block more sound. Others find that moving the earbuds up higher in the canal helps to reduce wind noise.

Do noise cancelling earbuds work on airplanes? ›

Noise-canceling headphones are worth the price tag, especially when flying. On an airplane, the low hum of engine noise is almost completely obliterated. But higher or transient sounds like crying babies and people's voices may still be able to seep in depending on the quality of your headphones.

Which active noise cancellation up to 25 db? ›

Choose music, not noise with Airdopes 411 ANC by suppressing noise up to 25dB with Active Noise Cancellation. Experience a smooth calling experience like no other with ENx™ Technology.

Is it OK to wear noise Cancelling headphones all day? ›

Noise cancellation earphones pose no risk to your health and are perfectly safe to use. Unlike mobile phones, they don't emit low-level radiation, so you can use your headphones to block out background noises knowing they pose no risk to your safety or wellbeing.

Is noise cancelling better or worse for ears? ›

Overall, noise cancellation in headphones doesn't affect your hearing negatively. You may hear a slight hissing sound when you the ANC is turned on, but that's about it. However, for some people this can be irritating and even result in dizziness.

Will noise Cancelling headphones block out dog barking? ›

A pair of less expensive, passive headphones might serve you just as well. Nearly all closed-back, over-ear headphones—especially those designed for recording—do a solid job of attenuating the sounds of kids playing, workmates chatting, and dogs barking.

Can Jabra 85t be used in the gym? ›

The Jabra Elite 85T are IPX4 meaning they are water-resistant allowing you to use these in the gym or when running. The Elite 85T focuses on the audio experience and uses ANC to help offer a fantastic sound that removes any outside noise.

Is Jabra 85t good for calls? ›

The Jabra Elite 85t are the latest wireless earbuds from the Danish brand Jabra. And wow! Jabra listened to its users: Active Noise Canceling, wireless charging with Qi certificate and perfect for calling and video meetings.

Can I use just the left earbud Jabra Elite 85t? ›

Yes, you can use the right earbud alone for mono playback of music or calls. Use your connected mobile device to control the volume and track. You cannot use the left earbud alone because it connects only to the right earbud—not to the mobile device. Only the right earbud connects directly to the mobile device.

Which earbuds are better Jabra or Sony? ›

The Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless and Jabra Elite 4 Active True Wireless have different strengths. The Sony headphones have better build quality, and their ANC feature delivers a much better noise isolation performance. They offer support for a virtual surround sound feature and have NFC pairing.

Are Jabra 85t sweat resistant? ›

The 85t earbuds are rated IPX4 for water and sweat resistance, which is down from the IP55 of the Elite 75t and IP57 of the Elite Active 75t.

Can you overcharge Jabra? ›

The battery can be charged and discharged hundreds of times, but will eventually wear out. Unplug the charger from the electrical plug and the product when not in use. Do not leave a fully charged battery connected to a charger, since overcharging may shorten its lifetime.

Does Jabra 85t have good bass? ›

Our Verdict. The Jabra Elite 85t are good for neutral sound. They have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile that delivers a touch of extra thump and warmth.

Do Jabra Elite fall out? ›

The Jabra true wireless headphones are supremely comfortable and the Elite 7 Active makes sure they never fall out. It's a small update that takes a good product and makes it great.

Is Active Noise Cancelling worth it? ›

Everyone who is serious about music should buy a pair of noise cancelling headphones. You may be an audiophile, or you may be someone who doesn't want to think too much about your headphones. Either way, noise cancelling headphones are built for destroying outside noise, and they're really good at it.

What happens if you sleep with noise cancellation? ›

But there are some safety concerns linked to the use of noise-canceling headphones, especially for sleeping. These include perceived tinnitus and pressure on the ears after prolonged headphone use. However, these effects of ANC headphones are mostly isolated cases. They only happen to very few users.

How do I setup my noise Cancelling headset? ›

Use Noise Canceling without playing any audio
  1. Turn on your headphones.
  2. Connect your headphones to the audio source device using either the supplied cable or a Bluetooth® connection. Your headphones won't establish a Bluetooth connection if the cable is connected.
  3. Turn on the noise canceling function.
Aug 9, 2022

How do I add Active Noise Cancellation to headphones? ›

Since active noise cancellation involves more sophisticated engineering and internal technology, there's currently no way to manually DIY such a feature into a pair of regular headphones or earphones.

How do I reset my noise Cancelling headphones? ›

On your headphones, press and hold the Power/Bluetooth® button. While continuing to hold the button, connect the USB cable to the right earcup. The Power light on your headphones will quickly blink twice. Once connected, wait two seconds and then release the Power/Bluetooth button.

How do I know if my noise Cancelling headphones are working? ›

There are a few ways to check if Noise Canceling is On:
  • Place both earbuds in the charging case, leave them for a few seconds, and then remove them from the charging case. ...
  • While wearing the headphones, tap the touch sensor until you hear Noise canceling.
Feb 2, 2022

Do you have to turn on noise Cancelling headphones? ›

Noise cancelling headphones have powered tech, which means energy (like a rechargeable battery) is needed in order for them to work. Remember, even without power, you're getting the physical benefit of noise blocking by simply wearing the headphones.

How do you add noise Cancelling to earbuds? ›

To enable Active noise canceling on the Buds themselves, simply touch and hold one of the earbuds while you're wearing both of them. You will hear a beep, indicating that Active noise canceling has been turned on.

Why are my earbuds not noise Cancelling? ›

Make sure that the Noise Canceling function is turned on

There are a few ways to check if Noise Canceling is On: Place both earbuds in the charging case, leave them for a few seconds, and then remove them from the charging case. After they are removed from the charging case, the Noise canceling function will be on.

Can you increase noise Cancelling? ›

The noise cancellation in your headphones can be set higher or lower. This is useful in environments where you want to hear more or less of the sound around you.

Why can I still hear with noise Cancelling earbuds? ›

Noise-cancelling technology cannot completely isolate sound due to the air trapped between your audio device and eardrum.

Does noise cancellation work without music? ›

Did you know you can use the noise cancellation (NC) function can be without playing back music? It can be a handy feature to block out background sounds in noisy places such as a train or a plane.

How do you reset noise cancelling earbuds? ›

How do I reset my earbuds?
  1. Forget / Delete Noise Airbuds from paired Bluetooth devices.
  2. Turn off the bluetooth of the device.
  3. Place both ear buds into the charging case.
  4. Press and hold both earbuds for 6 seconds or until white light flashes quickly.
  5. Take out the ear buds from the charging Case.


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4. Jabra Elite 85T Review And Compared To Jabra Elite 75T
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