Audio/Peripherals Bluetooth Headphones Headsets Reviews

Jabra Elite 85h in test – balanced wireless headphones with Bluetooth and ANC in long-term use

Whether it's an airport or train station, you're going to meet the acoustically uniformed B-beams at every corner. B stands for arbitrariness in general as well as Bose, Bang & Olufsen, Bowers & Wilkinson and the ubiquitous beats in particular. There you have to counteract, also visually sometimes and so the choice was made on the jeans-blue Elite 85h from the Danish manufacturer Jabra. ANC you have, Bluetooth too. In addition, there is a working app with some interesting functions, 8 microphones and a fairly sedative battery.

But can one also stink acoustically against the whole B-ware? The Elite 85h are rather unexcited and balanced in terms of sound, but we get to that. Despite all the euphoria, there are also minor defects or Signs of non-perfection. But the street price of approx. 230 Euro quickly over it again, because most co-B advertisers are (significantly) more expensive. In addition, I am not looking for a mobile high-end hi-fi, but everyday headphones with a feel-good factor for the smartphone – acoustically, sensory and of course also in terms of wearing comfort. Curious? I was too!

Scope of delivery and app installation

Let's start with what we get for our box entry price: A neat hard case for the foldable headphones is of course on board, along with a USB-Type-C charging cable, a 3.5 mm jack cable and the inevitable plug-in adapter for the United Airlines long-haul tourist bombers. Then it works with the Entertain system from the last century The rest is digital in nature and hides in an app for download.

The app for Android and iOS is clearly designed and has some features, which I will explain later. Since you don't get a manual, the app actually offers a small crash course for Jabra newcomers. The following pictures are exemplary for tutoring, because not everything is really self-explanatory, albeit conclusively structured. In any case, it will be internalized very quickly.

Optics, haptics and functionality

With its slightly grey-broken blue, my specimen still stands out well from the mass of black-white-chrome-wood ear warmers without appearing cheap. Matte injection moulding surfaces and textile covering meet a perfectly integrated upholstery covering made of vegan PU artificial cow. No, real leather isn't, but it still feels pretty good. The whole thing is visually beautifully unexcited and restrained, thank you for that. This is how anti-kevinist understatement works and it doesn't always have to be the optical image hammer.


The shells can also be laid down by 90° flat, whereby the headphones then turn off automatically. Switching on is automatic when folding back, really smart. Even better, however, is automatic head recognition, where playback stops automatically when you take off the headphones and the playlist starts again when you put things back on. It works really well when you know it exists. So don't be scared if the sound stops when dropping, that's a feature and must be so!

And what about the supporting function? The Jabra Elite 85h is suitable for long-term use and thus also for long-haul use. You can adjust the 2-axis joint mechanics quite well and you can also find a position with hat size 62 and above, in which the typical over-ear shape sits well and all-enclosing. The pull out of the headband is long enough, but not tactile. So one will look in vain for a snap-in-snap. I find this a small deficiency, because you have to look for the ideal position every time.


I also don't want to hide the fact that at higher temperatures you start to generate a set of damp upholstery at some point, but the oil-based upholstery covering can be drained again at least well and quickly with a cloth (or a napkin). This also applies to the headband with its neat upholstery.

Connectivity, Bluetooth, App and Battery

The direct connection of an analog audio source is correct, but also requires a charged battery. But you will hardly need it, because most of the time you will use Bluetooth anyway. But that's where I miss the support of high-quality audio codecs like aptX or AAC. Although the headset comes with the energy-saving Bluetooth version 5.0, it relies exclusively on the standard codec SBC. On the way, this may be enough, even if you already slightly crop the Spotify stream to maximum quality. When racing on the treadmill in the middle of other travellers or sipping some kiosk coffee, this is to be hurt, when playing a proper source in the snack mode of the long distance, this is quite audible. Well, so depending on the music genre and material.

The connection options are limited, but clear. The microphone button for selecting the voice assistant (e.g. Amazon's Alexa) worked perfectly, the 3.5mm jack is self-explanatory, and the Type-C connector is only used for charging cables. On the bottom of the right shell can choose between ANC off, ANC on and HearTrough mode, where you can get the ambient noise as recorded with an open headset. As nice as this mode is, it rushes quite audible, which is actually an unding. The other two modes are almost completely noise-free, even with ANC enabled

The app offers an integrated equalizer, various sound profiles and presets. What Jabra offers as an AI-based "SmartSound" works really well in practice, better than a flat-rate PREset ANC. However, with the appropriate, small-child neighborhood, the analysis should only start when the little blissful propism screams.  Then it works afterwards with the deep sleep.

The headphones last almost forever with ANC. More than 30 hours to the "Battery Low" are an announcement, more than 40 are without the acoustic door guard. Charging on the power supply or a good power bank takes on average just over 2 hours and one should expect 2.5 hours on limited 500 mA connections, if the battery has been flattened properly. Sounds long, but I managed to get through the next 5 hours without any problems after only 20 minutes of charging time during the changeover. It would certainly have gone further, but once you arrive, you certainly have other problems than an ANC-smoothed basic sound system.

The part is well-balanced in terms of sound, but there is still the test on the next page. Finally, the most important technical data, before I will let off steam in the details.


Jabra Elite 85h blau (100-99030001-60)


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About the author

Igor Wallossek

Editor-in-chief and name-giver of igor'sLAB as the content successor of Tom's Hardware Germany, whose license was returned in June 2019 in order to better meet the qualitative demands of web content and challenges of new media such as YouTube with its own channel.

Computer nerd since 1983, audio freak since 1979 and pretty much open to anything with a plug or battery for over 50 years.

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