Review: Jabra Elite Active 65t Truly Wireless Earbuds
Jabra changed with truly wireless earbuds game in 2017 with their still stellar Elite Sport. The specialists in all things acoustics have an improved product this year that builds on the greatness of the Elite Sport while using advancements in technology. Enter the Jabra Elite Active 65t.
We’ve been trialing these new airbuds over the past week. Here is our World Exclusive review and in-person look at them!
Here are the key features of the Elite Active 65t from Jabra:
- Four microphone solution combined with an optimized acoustic chamber enables advanced noise suppression and voice enhancement for every type of environment
- Personalized music using a music equalizer accessed from the Jabra Sound+ companion app
- A lightweight design for long-term comfort with up to 15 hours of battery life with the cradle and five hours of listening time in one charge
- Enhanced grip, through special coating, integrated accelerometer for tracking features and IP56 sweat, water and dust certification
- The best voice experience: unique, market-leading microphone technology ensures the best calls and voice interactions on the market
- Connectivity to Amazon Alexa, iOS Siri or Google Assistant, allowing you to quickly get the information you need – whether that be setting appointments, finding nearby events, or having messages read back to you.
- Bluetooth 5.0 allowing you to seamlessly connect the Elite 65t to your smartphone.
- IP56 rating, with 2-year warranty against sweat and dust
- Pocket-friendly charging case
- True wireless stability that helps reduce call and music dropouts, there are no wires to get in the way and no reason why you can’t enjoy conversations and uninterrupted music
What’s in the Box?
As with all Jabra products the Elite Active 65t comes in premium packaging that reflects the high-end nature of the firm’s products. Open it up and you find the earbuds nicely displayed with a few accessories beneath. These are the essential, low profile charging case, two additional sets of EarGels that can be used to customize the fit of the unit, a micro USB cable and a quick setup guide. The Elite Active 65t and charging case are fully charged and ready for use from the outset.
The Jabra Elite Active 65t has a design unlike any other earbuds around today. It’s unassuming and diminutive but quite effective in every way. This is because all of its parts have functionality in mind from the section that is invisible to onlookers to the outside microphone areas.
The bronze or silver multifunction buttons add a bit of classy bling to the earbuds are often are the only indication to others that you’re even wearing them. Expect stare of admiration when wearing them.
The charging case of the Jabra Elite Active 65t is as small as we’ve seen in the world of truly wireless earbuds. It is a vertical unit that you can easily pop your pair of 65ts into for a recharge. They will fit into just about any pocket (including jeans front pockets) with hardly a bulge. Our biggest worry with them is losing or misplacing them because they’re so small. If lost them you’d have to order a replacement unit to charge the Elite Active 65t since USB cables cannot be plugged into them.
Setting up the Jabra Elite Sport
The Jabra Elite Active 65t has the easiest setup that we’ve ever seen in a pair of wireless earbuds or headphones. There is no need to hold a flashing blue button or follow voice prompts or tricky written directions. The screenshots below from a Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge show the entire procedure. It is similar on an iPhone X S that we trialed the unit with.
The Jabra Elite Active 65t setup process is essentially a three-step process that can be completed in seconds. It involves pressing the circular button on either earbud to power the set on, scanning for it with your phone and selecting it once found. There is no delay in both sides syncing or pairing with each other. Once your phone connects to the 65t you are in business to use it for calls, music or any other audio experience.
Jabra has improved upon the fit of the Elite Sport in the Elite Active 65t. There are no longer EarWings that fit into the grooves of the outer ear to deal with. Instead you just pop the 65t into your ear and it is set in there. The Elite Active 65t is intended for use during exercise so it is designed with extra grip that keeps it locked into the ear. There is a section that protrudes forwards with the unit’s microphone. We couldn’t feel it and wouldn’t even know that it was there without looking in a mirror. Thankfully that part of the 65t doesn’t look as ridiculous as its tusk-like equivalent on Apple’s AirPods.
There are three pairs of silicon EarGels included with the Jabra Elite Active 65t. We found the medium-sized ones that came on the earbuds to be a perfect fit. A smaller and a bigger pair are in the box for other ear canal sizes and those preferring different fits.
The Jabra Elite Active 65t’s sound quality is the best that we’ve ever experienced in a pair of wireless earbuds. You’ll have to get some higher grade over the ear headphones to get better portable sound that them.
The sound from the 65t can best be described as rich, crisp and clear. This is true across frequency ranges and for all of the music apps that we tried including Spotify, IHeartRadio, Google Play Music and Pandora. The same can be said for mp3 and mp4 files.
Choosing the correct size EarGels will help you lock in the sound and avoid leakage. Even though the medium-sized gels were fine for us we tested the small and large ones are well. If you’re a hardcore bass lover then the large gels are work a try to trap the thumping of your favorite EDM tracks into your auditory sensors.
A brilliant value add to the Jabra Elite Active 65t is a well done Jabra Sound+ app. The new application includes everything from an interactive user manual to a find your earbuds GPS-based feature to tools to customize the sound you receive from the 65t.
The Preferences section of the Jabra Sound+ app has an easy to use equalizer that lets you tailor bass, mid-range and treble to your liking. You can base your setting on a few presets that are available in the app such as Energize and Speech.
There are also Commute, Focus and Active areas in the app each with its own set of features. Focus is great for drowning out background noise (such as in an open office environment) with a set of Soundscapes of natural sounds like ocean waves and rainfall. The Active section includes a stopwatch and step counter.
The Jabra HearThrough option is present with the Elite Active 65t and improved over the Elite Sport. The feature allows a wearer to hear ambient noise (great for safety while running or biking) and hold conversations without removing the earbuds. In all cases sound comes though quite clearly. You can turn HearThrough on or off using the Sound+ app or with a double press of the multifunction button on the right earbud. Needless to say, this is great for when the inevitable in-person interruptions occur at work or in the middle of a training session at the gym or outside.
The maximum volume setting of the Jabra Elite Active 65t is louder than those in most wireless earbuds. This is fantastic for jamming out to your favorite tunes with almost nightclub level loudness. We found that turning it up to 80% was loud enough for us across all of the music apps and file formats that we tested. However, going to 100% introduced no cracking or sound distortion for any music or video streaming services nor for music files whose quality was 320 kbps.
We tried out several telephone calls using the Jabra Elite Active 65t. The folks that we spoke to reported being able to hear us as well as they have heard us on traditional landline service and on mobile phones without headsets in use. If the person that you’re talking to and you both have the benefit of High Definition Voice (also called Voice Over LTE or VOLTE) then the experience is amazing as you hear them like they’re in the room with you and vice versa.
The Elite Active 65t also boast support for all of the current popular mobile operating system assistants such as Siri (iOS), Google Assistant (Android) and Alexa (iOS and Android). You can use the unit’s multifunction button to invoke them and issue your commands. Given the high-grade of the 65t’s microphone they all understood our requests as well as if we weren’t using earbuds and, in some cases, even better. This is a brilliant and timely addition to Jabra’s truly wireless earbud repertoire!
The Jabra Elite Active 65t carries an amazing 5 hours of battery life on a full charge. This is well above and beyond the average 3 hours that most of the latest wireless earbuds will give you. A series of colors on the lights that are part of the 65t pieces (buds and charging case) indicate how much charge is left on each. The Sound+ app has a legend to translate the colors and shows the percentage charge of the earbuds at the top of its Preferences screen.
The connectivity range for the Jabra Elite Active 65t is the longest that we’ve seen in any wireless headset other than the Jabra Elite Sport. We did our gym floor test wearing the unit and stepped 40 feet (the entire length of an LA Fitness weight room) away from our phone whilst wearing the 65t. There was absolutely no loss in either music or call connectivity or quality even with a plethora of weightlifting equipment and plates between us and our phone. This was using both Wi-Fi and cellular service. Most other wireless headphones and earbuds start dropping their connection intermittently at around 30 feet.
The Jabra Elite Active 65t has an impressive IP56 rating from which means it has good protection against dust and moisture. Since our testers have worked out in the unit it has been subjected to sweat. We’ve seen no adverse effects. It has also been dropped a few times without any performance issues afterwards. From what we can tell the 65t is a robust product that is built to last. Its predecessor, the Elite Sports, has been worn by our team for almost two years now and continues to work as well as the day we first tried it out. We expect the same from the Elite Active 65t.
From what we’ve seen the Jabra Elite Active 65t is now the complete truly wireless earbud package. It has a fantastic comfortable fit, superior sound quality, the best wireless range around, is built to last and has a cool design that will surely garner admirers. At an MSRP of $189.99 and even less when on sale it is very much worth its price!