REVIEW I Jabra Elite 65t truly wireless buds

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Jabra has created some of the best in-ear earbuds that have no wires in the Elite 65 series. While Jabra has made notable headphones for a few years the Elite 65t may be some of the best yet.

Apple popularised the wireless Bluetooth earbuds with their AirPods, and many manufacturers have been trying to compete, the Jabra Elite 65t do so admirably and may be the category leaders for sound quality comfort and ease of use.

There have been many attempts to make truly wireless earpieces in the recent past. Most of these have traded battery life for size or had poor connectivity or simply were way too uncomfortable or bulky to be used consistently. Apple in their inimitable style changed the game with their AirPods by combining ease of use with functionality in a sleek package.

The hardware

Of all the wireless earpieces on the market only a few stand out as truly good, and the Jabra Elite 65t and the others in this series are very good. The Jabra Elite 65t is a solid, well-made device in plastic which makes them light and easy to wear for extended periods.

These are in ear, or earbud style earpieces, with a selection of silicone tips to fit your specific ear canal. The benefits of in-ear earphones are isolation and better bass. The downside is that there is very little external noise when they are in and for all-day wear, earbuds of this type can cut you off from general conversation.

There is a clever hear through mode, but while it works well it creates an odd tunnel noise effect that is not that easy to live with. Apple in-ear fit avoids this, and that’s why you see people walking around all day with them in.

The Jabra Elite 65t have an IP55 rating, so rain or odd spills are not a problem, for the most part, there are sport focused versions which may be a better choice if you are a hardcore runner or sportsman. I have used them at the gym and running and find them perfectly usable.

The Jabra Elite 65t is a modest fitted bump when inserted in your ear.  They are easy to take out of their protective case, which also charges the earbuds, and place into your ear. As with the Apple AirPods, they do not fit universally, but on average most people who have tried them find they fit well.

There are physical volume and pause buttons on the actual earpieces which are far easier to use than the touch on some models notably the Apple AirPods. Control of the pass-through function takes a double push of the right button. Overall, they are easy to use and control.

Battery life was very good with around 5 hours of use per charge, depending on the volume of course. This is by far the best I have used. The new Samsung Buds have beaten the Jabra Elite 65t by about an hour. The charging case will add another 10 hours or two charges to that. I found that in a bind charging the Jabra Elite 65t for 15 minutes will give 1.5 hours of use.

Software

The Jabra Elite 65t comes with an iPhone or Android app which allows simple update of the software and control over many of the function of the earpieces themselves. Simple images are available showing the various features and how to operate the earbuds along with some pre-set moments or scenarios of use. The hear through setting always allows external noise to pass through; the commute setting also allows limited listen though and the focus setting cuts all external noise.

There is also a selection of pre-set music equalisations which allows you to tune the sound to your preference. There is also Amazon Alexa integration, and this worked perfectly with my Amazon Fire TV and other Alexa controlled devices in my home.

The sound

The Jabra Elite 65t is easily the best sounding earbuds I have tried. They do not compete with top end earphones, or even similarly priced wired earbuds. Compared to the other wireless earbuds I have tried they are far more pleasant to listen to.

The bass is solid and not overemphasised with a pleasingly clear mid-band and smooth high notes. There is little shrillness or brightness which can be fatiguing after a long listening session. Mobile voice is very clear, and people have remarked that they did not realise I was using earbuds when I spoke.

In comparison, the Apple AirPods lack bass and clarity as well as sounding a little confused at higher levels. I did experience a slight lag in videos and games which can be troublesome, but in general use, this is not very noticeable.

Conclusion

The options in the truly wireless earphone market are still relatively small, and the prices are still high. The Jabra Elite 65t is without question the best units I have tried and are my choice for truly wireless earbuds. The downside is they will not fit all ears; they also can be fatiguing to wear all day, unlike the Apple AirPods. They also take a little more time to setup via Bluetooth than the seamless Apple or Samsung bud setup.

Where the Jabra Elite 65t outshine the competition is in looks, they are clean and discreet with nothing hanging from your ears, and the sound quality.

The Jabra Elite 65t get my recommendation for truly wireless earbuds.

Available online and from various retail outlets from R2,799.00


Steven Ambrose | Techhuman @ambio | mail me |

More information | Jabra |


 

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