I never expected to enjoy the Jabra Elite 65t wireless earbuds. I’ve tested many “truly wireless” earbuds over the last year and, besides Apple’s best-in-class AirPods, most look and feel the same. The buds usually look like little jelly-bean shaped things you’re supposed to jam in your ears.
The problem was that none of these buds ever fit comfortably for me; either the in-ear tip was too big for my ear canal or the jelly-bean body was so large it felt like i had two giant bolts on my head. Like Frankenstein’s monster. The bigger and heavier they buds were, the more I worried they’d fall out of my ears.
Jabra’s $299 Elite 65t has that same jelly-bean design but is finally a set that will fit comfortably in my ear, while being light enough to wear for hours at a time. The battery life is fantastic, with around 5 hours of playback, and the buds quickly charge up in their case, so you should never pick them up to find them out of charge. They even have a battery case that shuts with the same satisfying click as the AirPods do. It’s the little things.
The Jabra Elite 65t easily beat Apple’s buds in sound quality when listening to music, as any snuggly fitting in-ear headphones would. The noise-isolation of the in-ear design can’t help but provide better sound and deeper bass, as you’re blocking the outside world when they’re snug in your ear. But that is also something you may not want. I generally use my AirPods during a commute, and I prefer to let the sounds of traffic and train announcements in. Wearing in-ear or noise cancelling headphones out in public tends to makes me a little anxious.
To alleviate this, the accompanying app for Android and iOS app has an ambient noise mode, which turns on the mics to allow the sounds of your surroundings to come through. This feature works better on the Jabras than most. With other headphones I’ve tested you’ll often get the harsh sound of wind in the microphones when walking around, but the Elite 65t’s use four microphones to analyse and reduce the noise wind noise.
And those four microphones lead to better audio quality during phone calls. My wife, one of the few people I call on the phone, immediately noticed a difference in audio quality when I called her.
The Jabra app allows you to adjust the equaliser settings, and define a few favourite presets. You can adjust the sound of calls independently to your music, if you want bass heavy music but better vocal boost on calls. You can also set controls for taps on each bud, to bring up your preferred digital assistant or skip tracks.