I’ve been testing out a lot of wireless earbuds over the past 12 months or so. There are some bargains out there to be had with the likes of the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air buds topping that list. In a review coming soon, I’ll be looking at the Creative Outlier Air earbuds which excel when it comes to battery life without giving up much in terms of quality. But, when it comes to buds I personally use quite a bit, I’ve overlooked the Jabra Elite Active 65t earbuds. In tech terms, these have become my daily riders so it’s only fair I tell you why.
The Jabra Elite Active 65t earbuds, at first glance, look as if you’re going to hate them. That was my honest first thought. They look huge and the model Jabra sent me was bright Red. I didn’t have much hope. Considering the size of these Jabra buds, I was blown away by how comfortable they are. They fit my ear perfectly both in terms of comfort and security. Ear fatigue is a real issue for many wireless earbuds. In short, that means your ears will generally get tired when having an earbud hanging in your ear for a few years. The Jabra Elite Actives 65t buds are nice and light so they’ve never outstayed their welcome in my ear.
As the name might suggest, Jabra expect you to get out and about with these buds. More me that meant jumping on a treadmill to give these a proper runout. This high-impact training provided a great test for ear security and the 65t’s didn’t disappoint. I don’t recall the buds falling out of my ears once in the past few months of using them.
If you’re going to get really active with these buds from Jabra you’ll be glad to hear that they are also IP55 rated. This is plenty for getting caught in the rain or working up a sweat in the gym. Hell, it’s even enough for working up a sweat while running in the rain.
All the design in the world won’t help a pair of earbuds with crappy sound. Thankfully, Jabra has avoided such issues. While noise-cancelling isn’t on the menu here, the design of the buds naturally blocks enough surrounding noise so that pure volume from the buds leaves you with a nice isolated listening experience. Quite cleverly, with the touch of a button on the buds you can control volume, access your smart assistant or enable passthrough to ear your surroundings again. I’d imagine this is great if you’re a cyclist but I’ve not tested this because the thoughts of cycling of scooting with music on terrifies me.
Beyond these clever bits, I’ve enjoyed listening to music through these buds. My “go-to” over-ear headphones of choice being the Bose QC35 II while also testing the Sennheiser Momentum 3 headphones with Tidal for lossless music goodness, I never once felt let down swapping back to my Elite Active 65t earbuds. I’m quick to distance myself from the classification of “audiophile” but I know enough to know that most everyday music listener will enjoy the sound quality Jabra is delivering here.
Other tech specs
For me, design and sound quality are the most important things when choosing some wireless earbuds. For that reason, I’m going to leave the focus of this review on those two key specs and simply sum up the rest here. (Naturally, pop a question below or on social and I’ll come back to you!).
There are few wireless earbuds on the market that will surpass Jabra here for battery life. While the aptly named Creative Outlier Air earbuds are an exception here, at worst the Jabra Elite 65t earbuds fall in-line with the rest of the competition if not slightly outperforming. You can expect to get at least three or four hours of battery from your buds. I can’t recall getting the advertised six hours but then again buds like these are rarely worn constantly for long periods without being popped back into the charging case. Speaking of which, the charge case gives you an additional ten hours of power on the go.
On-ear button functionality is another great victory for Jabra. You can activate passthrough, call on your smart assistant, control music playback and volume all from on-ear buttons. Something many other earbuds simply don’t seem to consider a feature worth focusing on.
I understand call quality will be a much more important feature for some than it is for me but it is certainly a standout feature of these buds. It’s hardly a surprise given consumer audio comes as a result of a pivot for Jabra who used to specialise in calling technology. The problem with earbuds and calls is usually the distance of the mic from your mouth which leads to very frustrating phone calls.
Again, I assume owing largely to the design of the bud and the mic positioning, the Jabra Elite 65t earbuds are pretty good for calls. If you’re outside in the wind, others may struggle to understand you but beyond that I see no issue with taking calls on these buds.
For some additional context, when using other earbuds like the Soundcore Liberty Air wireless buds, I’ll disconnect and take the call on my phone rather than trying to talk with someone.
Jabra Elite 65t earbuds: The Verdict
The red design grew on me. The earbuds fit perfectly. The sound quality never disappointed. The call quality was remarkable. How do I fault these buds?
Everything I’ve written so far is largely positive right? If I had to fault the Jabra Elite 65t earbuds I could call upon their micro-USB connection. Maybe the lack of wireless charging? To be honest, I’d be scraping the barrel to give you a reason not to buy these buds. The one definite catch is the price. At the guts of €170, I’d most likely direct you towards the Creative Outlier Buds purely based on price versus quality.
But if you take price out of the equation, Jabra has delivered the best combination of quality and comfort with special focus being given to call quality.
Buy the Jabra Elite Active 65t on Amazon.co.uk.
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