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Jabra Elite 85t review: Powerful ANC in an earbuds form factor, six mics for calls

Written by Matthew Miller, Contributor

Jabra Elite 85t

8.6 / 5

pros and cons

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Simple, large buttons for control
  • Advanced smartphone application
  • HearThrough mode for safety
  • Six mics for good quality calling
  • Wireless charging case
  • Only the right earbud can be used individually
  • Too large for secure workout use
  • Editors' review
  • Specs
Image: Jabra

The Jabra Elite 75t is my standard go-to earbuds for outside running and just recently was provided with an update that adds a level of active noise-cancellation. Jabra also now offers the Jabra Elite 85t that was designed and built with ANC at its core.

While the ANC and call quality of the Jabra Elite 85t has been great for remote work and my occasional travel, the Elite 75t remains the better option for active workouts. Some of us have a tough time using over or on the ear headphones that cause pain after extended use so earbuds are the preferred form factor. With the Jabra Elite 85t you can now get a listening experience of a large headset in an earbud size.

Also: Jabra Elite 85h headset review: Competing for the wireless ANC crown with SmartSound tech, for $50 less than Bose and Sony

The Jabra Elite 85t headset was designed and optimized for the ANC experience for outstanding call quality and enjoyable music, succeeding in that endeavor. The Jabra Sound Plus app provides a level of customization and personalization to make the headset an excellent choice for the selective listener.


  • Speaker size: 12 mm
  • Mics: Six MEMS mics with four used for ANC and all six for call noise reduction
  • Audio codecs: SBC, AAC
  • Bluetooth profiles: HSP v1.2 , HFP v1.7, A2DP v1.3, AVRCP v1.6, SPP v1.2
  • Water resistance: IPX4 rating
  • Battery life: Up to 5.5 hours of play with ANC on and 7 hours with no ANC. Wireless charging case provides 19.5 and 24 hours total, respectively.
  • Wireless connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
  • Earbud weight: 7 grams each
  • Colors: Titanium Black


The retail package includes the two wireless earbuds, a wireless charging case with integrated battery, a short USB-A to USB-C cable, and small/medium/large silicon gel earbud tips. By default, the medium silicon EarGels are installed on the earbuds and since my ears a bit larger I had to swap them out for the large silicon tips.

The Elite 85t has a similar design to the Elite 75t, but when you look at them next to each other it is clear the 85t has a larger body designed for optimal ANC. The 75t definitely fits further into your ear for a more secure fit for active exercise while the 85t falls out of my ears even after trying all three earbud size options.

The earbuds rest inside the carrying case with the charging pins resting on the custom fit opening. There are very strong magnets in the case to help guide the earbuds into the proper compartment and lock them in for charging. It takes a bit of a pull to get the earbuds out of the case, but that's not a bad thing when you want your earbuds secure.

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The right Jabra Active 85t earbud can be used by itself if you want to have your left ear open for other sounds. Each earbud has three mics, positioned to provide optimal performance and noise cancellation. The entire outside panel on each earbud is a single button so a single-press on the right earbud acts to play/pause or answer/hang-up a call. A double press on the right earbud launches your voice assistant and a press and hold increases the volume level.

A single press on the left earbud toggles ANC and HearThrough modes. A double-press of this button skips ahead, a triple-press skips back, and a press and hold lowers the volume. Many of these gestures can also be customized to your personal preferences in the Sound Plus application.

While I've never experienced discomfort or pressure with earbuds, Jabra built-in pressure relief vents so that you don't have a plugged up feeling when using the Elite 85t earbuds. The company put a lot of thought into the design of these earbuds, including an IPX4 rating for some level of water resistance and a two-year extended warranty when you register your earbuds.

Also: Jabra Elite 75t wireless earbuds review: Solid audio and call quality with long battery life

Smartphone software

While you do not need to install and use the Jabra Sound Plus app for your iPhone or Android device, the app adds quite a bit to the overall experience and I highly recommend you install it on your phone. There was a firmware update available as soon I took the earbuds out of the package and the app is needed to update the earbuds.

With the app, you can control the level of active noise cancellation, control the level of ambiance when using HearThrough, the volume of your voice when Sidetone is enabled, music equalizer settings, pause toggle for audio, headset audio prompts, and more. The software is needed to choose your preferred voice assistant too.

Jabra Elite 85t ANC earbuds review: in pictures

The Sound Plus app lets you customize the widgets and experience for My Moment, Commute, and Focus environments. The Focus environment includes a Soundscape widget that lets you choose options to mask the noise around you or list to sounds of nature. The sounds of nature include ocean waves, rainy day, songbirds, perfect storm, and babbling brook. I like to enable this Focus environment while commuting on my train so that I can read while blocking out the sound of those around me.

Daily usage experiences and conclusion

During this time of remote work, I appreciate the earbud form factor provided by the Jabra Elite 85t. My ears tend to get sore after extended headphone use so I prefer earbuds for nearly all conditions. One great aspect of the Elite 85t is that you can connect two devices at the same time, which makes taking calls on a computer and then jumping to a cell phone a seamless experience.

The earbuds are a bit expensive at $229.99, but in reality, this is less than the Apple AirPods Pro ($249) and Bose QuietComfort earbuds ($279.95). Jabra offers a premium call quality and smartphone software experience so the price may be justified for your use case.

The Jabra Elite 85t do not work for me for exercise as the body of the earbuds is too large and they fall out with any active movement. I don't want high levels of ANC as I run anyway, for safety reasons, so having updated Elite 75t earbuds is the perfect solution. If you own the Jabra Elite 75t you should absolutely apply the free update and enjoy ANC on those earbuds.

Jabra engineers focused their efforts on creating one of the best ANC-capable earbuds and their attention to detail is apparent. For example, there are 11 levels of sound, from ANC to full HearThrough, spaced at 3db apart, so you will have the optimal listening experience.

Microphones are strategically placed to provide the best calling and voice control experience while also being used to cancel noise from outside the ear and from inside the ear.