When it comes to using wireless earbud with your iPhone, the AirPods are usually the talk of the town; however, Jabra's Elite 65t is a compelling product that offers a lot of what you love about AirPods in a slightly cheaper package.
Even with the recent release of the AirPods 2, I still think the Jabra Elite 65t are more comfortable, sound a little better, and are a way better workout partner. If you're looking to spend your hard earned money on some wireless earbuds, the Jabra Elite 65t are worth look as a serious contender in the space.
Fantastic sound and great fit
A wireless earbud experience that's almost perfect.
They sound great, have fantastic functionality and fit snug in your ears, delivering a truly A+ wireless earbud experience.
- Great sound for wireless earbuds
- Excellent app interface
- The case is super portable
- Decent battery life
- micro USB charging
- Minor latency issues with video
- No "Hey, Siri" compatibility
It's important to remember what the Jabra Elite 65t is and isn't before diving into this review. Wireless earbuds like these serve a purpose, they are meant to fit in your ears and be comfortable, have sound isolation, and be a useful tool for keeping your phone in your pocket. The Jabra Elite 65t excels at almost everything it sets out to accomplish.
These are not headphones designed for hardcore audiophiles that want a pair of cans to listen to music, record instruments, or sit down for a marathon gaming session.
The good news is if you want a pocketable pair of headphones that will last you most days (with the help of its charging case), sound good, and are very functional; the Jabra Elite 65t are perfect.
Jabra Elite 65t: What I like
I'll start with probably the most significant consideration when it comes to headphones; the sound. The secure fit and design of the Jabra Elite 65t do a lot to help the sound quality. The sound-isolation, thanks to how snuggly these fit in your ear, is excellent and it's easy to tune out the outside world by pumping the volume up on your favorite tunes. Plus, considering the type of headphones these are, the Jabra Elite 65t have excellent bass, and I never found the sound to be distorted, even at high volume levels.
Of course, its easy to tell that the Jabra Elite 65t are tuned a little more in favor of the low-end than some other headphones, meaning if you're looking for a nice flat, neutral EQ out of the box, these will likely disappoint. That being said, if you listen to rock, hip-hop, EDM, and other types of music that utilizes booming bass, the Jabra Elite 65t won't come up short in delivering a great listening experience. You'd likely only really notice the slight high-end suppression on genres like classical, jazz, or folk.
Moving on to the physical headphones themselves, the Jabra ELite 65t have onboard controls that aren't gesture-based, meaning you actually have to press the button on each ear to do various things like control playback, invoke Siri, and more. They took me a little while to get used to, but once I wore the earbuds for a few days, I enjoyed the implementation of the controls Jabra included and didn't miss the gesture controls other headphones tend to offer these days. The right earbud lets you play/pause tracks and invoke Siri, while the left earbuds can skip songs and adjust the volume. Plus, if you put the left earbud in the charging case, you can use the right earbud solo.
Speaking of the charging case, Jabra's made it almost perfectly. Firstly, it's compact, meaning it's not going to be very noticeable in your pocket nor will it take up too much space in your bag. The buds fit inside the case very nicely, and the case itself is very sleek and doesn't have any buttons on the outside. It does feature a LED indicator light to let you know when the battery is done charging and gives you a rough estimate of how much power is left in the charging case itself. Finally, at five hours per charge and an additional 10 hours in the case, battery life isn't phenomenal, but it's easy to manage your battery with intermittent charging to get through the work day and into your evening just fine.
The last thing I think is worth highlighting is the excellent Jabra Sound+ app that lets you control a few different things. It has an EQ that you can adjust with custom settings or pick on of the six presets. While I enjoy the sound of the Jabra Elite 65t out of the box, I always appreciate the ability to fine-tune the EQ a little bit to my liking, and it helps mitigate the sightly low-end heavy default nature of the earbuds.
The best part of the app is the ability to activate the "HearThrough" feature, which allows the built-in microphones to pick up outside noise and allowing you to hear a bit of what's going on around you. Not only is this great when you're commuting because it means the chances of you getting into trouble because when of your sense is dulled is lower, but it also means you can carry on a short conversation with your earbuds in your ears.
If you get a phone call while you're listening to your earbuds, HearThrough will automatically kick in, so the call will sound a little more natural and normal to take a call on the phone itself. Plus, you can activate or deactivate HearThrough anytime with a double-press of the button on the right earbud. It's thoughtful and useful touches like this that push the Jabra Elite 65t above a lot of the competition.
Jabra Elite 65t: What I don't like
No product is perfect, and the Jabra Elite 65t could stand to improve on a few minor, but not insignificant details.
First of all, the Charging case uses micro USB, which in 2019 is a little slow and dated. It would have been great to see Jabra included USB-C charging, or maybe even wireless charging in the case. Now it's hard to fault Jabra for this too much, the product did come out about a year ago now, and even Apple didn't include wireless charging until very recently when they release AirPods 2.
Secondly, the charging case itself is a little cheaper feeling that something like the AirPods case. It's all plastic, can be a little tough to open sometimes (at least with my big thumbs), and the earbuds have to fit just right to close the case properly. All in all, this isn't a deal breaker by any means, but it does feel a little less polished than it could be.
Lastly, in the last month or so I have been using the Jabra Elite 65t daily, and I have noticed several times that the auto-pause feature (which is supposed to pause your audio when you remove one of the earbuds from your ear) is a little finicky. It works most of the time, but I have noticed little hiccups where the audio will start playing again before I place the earbuds back in my ear. It didn't happen too often, maybe five or six times over a month, but when it did happen, it was a little frustrating.
Are the Jabra Elite 65t worth your money? Hell yeah!
Although the Jabra Elite 65t has a few drawbacks, I firmly believe they are worth the roughly $150 price tag. The IP55 rating makes them a great workout companion because they can handle a little sweat no problem, and the fantastic app, as well as the great onboard controls, make these just as versatile as you could want in a pair of wireless earbuds.
If you're looking for a pair of wireless earbuds that sound great, have excellent functionality, and are easy to carrying around the Jabra Elite 65t will likely satisfy you.
Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.