Jabra Elite 65t review: Put down your AirPods
Before my time with the Elite 65t, the Bose SoundSport Free changed my mind about wireless earbuds. The sets I’d used before were fine, but they weren’t compelling enough for me to drop my wireless over-ear headphones for a set of earbuds. The issues I encountered are common among true wireless headphones: the two buds would regularly lose connection with each other, or had super-limited range. The audio also didn’t wow me. If I’m going to wear wireless earbuds to the gym, they have to have full sound, with a decent amount of bass to help me keep the energy up. Bose did that for the most part, and it was the first time I realized I should give totally wireless earbuds another shot.
Enter Jabra. The company’s Elite 65t are compact and nestle neatly in your ear. Unlike the SoundSport Free and AirPods, they don’t stick out too far. You won’t look silly, and you also don’t have to worry about getting hung when taking off your warm-ups. The 65t are also comfortable, unless you wear them for a while without a break — it’s around the hour mark that the Elite 65t starts to bother me. But I haven’t found wireless earbuds yet that I could wear with absolutely no discomfort. I chalk that up to having something stuck in your ear rather than a large padded earcup encircling it. There’s only so much you can do.
The Elite 65t are all black, with a silver face. On both buds, there’s a circular area on the outside that houses onboard controls. A small arm-like piece juts out from there, holding the set’s microphones. The right bud handles play/pause and summoning Siri or Google Assistant, while the left can adjust volume (short press) and skip tracks (long press). These controls are handy, but it still means pushing them further into your ear when you press. I quickly discovered that you can hold that arm to make it slightly better. It’s not a deal-breaker, but just know you’re going to feel some pressure when you employ those controls.
Like several other wireless earbuds and headphones, the Jabra Elite 65t will automatically pause when you remove one or both from your ears. Sure, it’s a common feature, but that doesn’t make it any less handy. Ditto for the included charging case. Jabra promises five hours of battery life for the earbuds and another 10 hours banked in the case, for 15 hours total. I never tested the five-hour limit, as I plopped them back in the case after each use; however, I only had to charge the whole package about once a week, and I was using them for at least a little while every day. And on gym days they got extra use, because they’re dust- and sweat-resistant (IP55-rated). Basically, battery life shouldn’t be a concern for you here unless you plan to wear them continuously during an eight-hour workday.
As much as I liked Bose’s SoundSport Free, that set had a serious bug where the audio wouldn’t sync properly when I was watching video. I was concerned that the Elite 65t would have the same glitch. I’m happy to report that’s not the case. With Jabra’s set, I had no issues watching The Handmaid’s Tale or The Looming Tower on my phone or laptop. Again, it sounds like a simple thing, but it’s an issue that many totally wireless earbuds still suffer from.