CES 2019: Jabra challenges Bose and Sony for the ultimate noise-canceling cans with the Elite 85h

Noise-canceling headphones are essential for business travelers and those trying to focus on work while blocking out their surroundings. Bose and Sony have dominated the conversation in this space, but Jabra is ready to take them both on.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

When you read reviews or discuss the best noise-canceling headphones with others, Bose and Sony are commonly the most discussed and they both have awesome headphones with the QuietComfort 35 II and WH1000XM3. Jabra is known for making some of the most advanced headsets for professionals in the enterprise world and today announced its new Elite 85h headphones that look to take on others in the noise-canceling space.

While I have tried using over-the-ear and on-the-ear headphones in the past, my ears always experienced pain after an hour or two of use so I relied on earbuds for listening to audio content. After convincing from my oldest daughter, testing hers for a couple of days, and an Amazon $50 price drop, I picked up the Bose QuietComfort 35 II for myself last month and have been living a great audio life on the train, on the plane, and in my office.

CNET: Jabra claims its new Elite 85h is the best noise-canceling headphone

I've tested many fully wireless earbuds over the past few years, a few in the last year after the Apple AirPods raised awareness of this market, but always go back to using the Jabra Elite Active 65t as they offer long battery life, excellent audio quality, perfect fit and form, and can be worn in nearly any environment.

Also: Jabra Elite Active 65t review: Better than the AirPods and designed for active users

So after realizing that modern over-the-ear headphones can be comfortable and after using the fantastic Jabra Elite Active 65t, I am very excited about the upcoming Jabra Elite 85h headphones. The new Elite 85h support Jabra SmartSound, based on exclusive AI technology from audEERING, that goes beyond current Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) solutions available in the market to include environmental adaptation – automatically adjusting to your surroundings from traffic, to trains, planes, the office, wind, rain and more.

Image: Jabra

Jabra stated that the key features of the Jabra Elite 85h include:

  • SmartSound: Audio that automatically adapts to your surroundings
  • 100 percent hands-free: Voice Assistant access without pushing a button
  • Four color variations: Black, Titanium Black, Gold Beige and Navy
  • Battery: Up to 32-hours of battery with ANC activated and 35 hours without ANC
  • Microphones: Eight microphones in total. Six dedicated for calls, four for ANC and two hybrid mics for both calls and ANC
  • Speakers: 40mm custom-engineered speakers
  • Durability: Unique IP52 dust and rain resistance, backed by a two-year warranty against water and dust
  • Personalize: Jabra Sound+ app for SmartSound features, including customized settings

The intelligence provided through Jabra SmartSound look pretty amazing with the ability to detect sounds and adapt the audio output based on your changing surroundings. It is also useful to have hands-free virtual assistant support so you can continue to work with your hands while controlling other aspects of your work experience.

Given my experiences with the Jabra Elite Active 65t, I look forward to testing out these headphones when they are released in April 2019. The headset is priced less than competitors at $299 and can be pre-ordered in March.

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