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Review

Jabra Elite 65t Wireless Headphones Review: Another AirPod competitor

The Apple AirPods are cool. But what if you don’t like how they feel, or have an Android smartphone? There are good alternatives, such as the Jabra Elite 65t.

jabra elite 65t review main

Jabra Elite 65t 4 5
BGR Rating :
4/5

Highlights

  • The Jabra Elite 65t retails at Rs 13,390.

  • The headset is a true-wireless one, with each earbud functioning independently and wirelessly.

  • The design and function is all about convenience, with decent sound as well.

Apple may not be the pioneer of a lot of products, but it’s superior design and marketing machines can turn products once thought to be doomed to obscurity into commercial successes. It did that with the portable media player, the tablet and even the desktop computer. And while it didn’t invent the concept of the truly-wireless earbuds, the Apple AirPods did make the concept desirable.

Truly-wireless audio naturally has a lot of advantages, primarily the obvious benefits that come with no wires. These earphones are easier and more comfortable to wear, and occupy a smaller footprint when it comes to storage. Today, we’re reviewing the Jabra Elite 65t, a new pair of truly-wireless in-ear headphones from a Danish company known for its wireless audio products. Priced at Rs 13,390, the Jabra Elite 65t is poised to take on the Apple AirPods head on. But can it achieve the same level of success? We find out.

Jabra Elite 65t Design and Specifications

As is usually the case with truly-wireless headphones, the Jabra Elite 65t comprises of two fairly large earbuds. This is because each earbud needs to hold an independent battery and the connectivity equipment that allows it to receive wireless signals, as well as chips for digital-analog conversion and amplification. Each earbud is chunky, which would ordinarily mean that the buds are unbalanced in your ears and susceptible to falling out.

However, the plastic build keeps the earbuds light, and the in-canal design keeps them anchored to your ears. Despite the plastic build, the Jabra Elite 65t looks good. The matte-finish body and styling has the headset looking as sharp as it can. Both earbuds have wings that stick out a bit, containing the microphone system for calls. Additionally, the power button for the headset is on the right earbud, while the left has the volume rocker.

The right button, apart from functioning to power on and off the headset, also triggers the voice assistant on your smartphone (Siri on iOS or Google Assistant on Android), letting you give voice commands directly using the Jabra headset. You can use it to interact with Google Assistant in any way, but its functionality will obviously be limited to voice-based functionality. The most practical use for the function is to place voice calls without actually handling your paired smartphone. It works well in practice, and since it uses Google Assistant, voice and accent recognition is top-notch as well.

Double-tapping the power button switches on the outside-facing microphones and routes the audio into your ears, allowing you to quickly listen to your surroundings. This helps when someone is trying to speak to you, or if you quickly need to listen to something such as an announcement or traffic sounds.

The right earpiece is the primary one, and the left works only when it’s in close proximity to the right. This distance is typically about a foot or so, which is well within the average space between your ears. There is also a gesture-based system that pauses audio playback when you remove the headset. On my Android phone it refused to work with Apple Music, but worked fine with PowerAmp and Google Play Music.

The headset comes with a bundled charging case, that has a small battery of its own. This way, you can keep the case charged, and wirelessly charge the earbuds when the battery runs out. Simply placing the earbuds inside the case and closing the lid triggers the charging, letting you keep the earbuds charged when not in use (assuming the case is charged). Outside the case and in use, the headphones ran for about four-to-five hours, and the case was able to charge the headset twice over. This allows for practical use of about 12-14 hours off-power, taking into account the breaks every few hours to charge the earbuds.

In the box, you get the charging case, a micro-USB charging cable and spare ear-tips. You do need the Jabra Sound+ app on your smartphone to set up the headset the first time and control the connection to your phone. The app allows you to tweak various settings on the headset, including the equalizer and call audio settings. It’s a feature-filled headset that offers a lot in terms of design and features for the price.

Jabra Elite 65t Performance

Wireless headphones are typically not as capable as wired headphones when it comes to sound, and adding the truly-wireless form factor to the mix further reduces the capabilities. This is because the drivers don’t quite have as much room in the casing, thanks to the need for individual batteries, amplifiers, DACs and wireless chips. With that in mind, the Jabra Elite 65t sounds pretty good for a truly-wireless headset. I used the headset with my OnePlus 5T, naturally paired over Bluetooth.

Listening to Hustler’s Ambition and Outta Control by 50 Cent, I was pleasantly surprised with the tone of the headset, and its ability to effectively handle frequencies across the sound range. There’s enough thump and drive in the bass to make these hip-hop tracks sound true to the genre, while vocals retain their clarity. There’s even a strong hint of sparkle to heard in the treble, but this won’t really reveal itself unless you’re listening to treble-heavy tracks.

The tonal quality of the sound is good as well, and the headphones can be fairly revealing if you’re listening carefully. Doman and Gooding’s Runnin’ showcased gentle elements of the track that I hadn’t quite discovered in the many years that have passed since I last heard this funk-inspired track. With a live rendition of Brasstracks’ Opposite Ways, the slight open-ness tends to reveal itself even more. The studio-style composition of the track made for some decent depth and three-dimensionality to the music, which did suitably show itself in the presentation of the Jabra Elite 65t.

I also tried the headset with calls, since this will be a major use-case for someone investing in true-wireless headphones. I was able to have a decent conversation outdoors, with the four-way microphones doing a great job in capturing only my voice and relaying it cleanly over the phone call. Jabra’s expertise with voice-based communications and wireless audio means that the Elite 65t is tuned well to serve as a hands-free device.

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Verdict

Before I give my verdict, let’s be clear – you aren’t buying true-wireless headphones for the sound. If you’re looking for quality sound, buy something with wires. If you’re looking for something that strikes a decent balance between convenience and sound, buy wireless around-ear headphones. The benefits of true-wireless headphones have more to do with form factor and size than sound. But having acceptable sound along with the form factor is obviously a good thing.

That’s what the Jabra Elite 65t is: it’s an incredibly convenient headset that gets design, comfort, battery life and functionality right. It’s excellent as a hands-free device, and absolutely ideal for you in you talk on the phone a lot. The sound is decent for what it is, and will serve you reliably enough when you need it to. So if you don’t like the Apple AirPods or use an Android smartphone, the Jabra Elite 65t could well be your best option for truly-wireless headphones.

  • Published Date: April 5, 2018 11:05 AM IST