Jabra may be best known to many consumers as the maker of Bluetooth headsets at the onset of the hands-free driving era, but the company has actually made big waves for itself in the headphone world in recent years. Its Elite Active 65t remain our favorite true wireless headphones on the market (though that may change after this week’s CES conference in Las Vegas), and we’ve long been excited to see how the company steps into other areas of the headphone market.
Now. we’ve gotten our answer: At CES 2019, Jabra is showcasing its brand-new Elite 85H headphones, a pair of wireless noise-canceling over-ears that look to take on top-end models from Sony and Bose.
At least on paper, there’s a heck of a lot to love about the new model. The Elite 85H offer a fantastic 35 hours of listening time with active noise cancelation off, and a still-excellent 32 hours with it on, meaning you’ll easily travel to any destination on the planet without needing to worry about plugging in a charging cable to its USB-C port.
They also should work great for calls. Jabra has included a staggering eight microphones on the headphones — two for noise-canceling, four for your voice, and two for its custom “SmartSound” technology — allowing it to capture every nuance of your speech. SmartSound allows the headphones to listen and determine exactly what your current environment is, then optimize equalization settings and noise-canceling to perfectly suit what you’re listening to and where you are in the world — be it a quiet office or loud subway station.
Those who are tired of reaching into their pocket or pressing a button on their headphones to access Google Assistant, Siri, or Alexa will be excited about a cool (and rare) feature offered by the Elite 85H: The ability to access voice assistants without touching a button. Simply speak the name of the assistant that’s enabled on your phone, and the headphones will access it, no button press required.
The headphones even offer water resistance, so commuters won’t have to worry about wearing them in the rain.
They’ll be available this April, and will retail for a Sony- and Bose-beating $299. We look forward to getting our hands on a pair as soon as possible for a full review.