One of the hottest consumer electronic categories right now is noise cancelling headphones and of late several big brands have come out to play in this space with products that are cutting edge, among them is Sennheiser, JBL, Sony and Bose.
At CES 2019 it was the all new Jabra Elite 85H headphones that wooed the critics winning over 13 awards.
SmartHouse got the first review in Australia of these much praised headphones and it was with much trepidation that we unpacked the box in our eagerness to see how these headphones actually stacked up Vs what we saw at CES and whether they actually stacked up to what first look reviewers were claiming.
The first thing you notice when you put these headphone on is that they are “super Smart” due in part because the Danish creators have built in artificial intelligence, but what does that mean especially when you are using noise cancellation?
What you will discover is that the Smart Sound technology which is built around artificial intelligent algorithms actually listen to the immediate surroundings and automatically change your setting profile via the Jabra Sound + app.
When this technology is activated the headphones, which have 8 microphones built in of which 4 of are used by the inbuilt digital ANC to filter out the noise around you automatically make a short audio recording of your surroundings several times a minute.
This analysis is done on your smartphone and then the data is deleted.
The Smart Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) responds to your environment, switching itself on if it detects unwanted background noise according to the preferences you set within the Jabra Sound+ app.
These active noise cancellation, custom equalizer settings, and ambient sound amplification seriously sets these $499 headphones apart from offerings from the likes of Bose and Sony.
While they are pricey you are getting technology that other headphones don’t have built in.
Like most Jabra products the build quality is as good as a pair of $600-$800 headphones.
The cups that fit over the ears are plush and the sides of the headphones are flat which make them ideal for long flights especially when you want to sleep with them on.
As for battery this is where these headphones seriously excel, this is due to the introduction of new processors and Bluetooth 5.0 technology.
Jabra is now delivering 36 hours battery life and that’s with active noise cancelling on.
We are yet to see any other headphones that come close to this sort of performance while also delivering advanced AI technology that smooths out a listening experience.
As for charging 15 minutes of power time equals roughly 5 hours of use.
The headphones are sturdy due to the use of a metal frame and the plush cushioning around the headband and ear cups, along with the mesh fabric deliver a stylish pair of headphones.
Jabra has also delivered superior hinges allowing the cups to easily fold away.
However, I am not a big fan of the hard case that the headphones come in because they take up too much room in a bag. I travel a fair amount and what I suggest you do is get a soft bag for your headphones because when I travel I put a pen, eye shades, cables for charging and my passport in the bag so that I only have to stow one bag in the seat in front of me.
To top things off these headphones deliver a superior sound experience. I tried them with Google Play Music, Spotify content and connected to a 4K TV to watch both football and a movie and I could not fault any of the audio output.
The access via the app to equalizer software allows you to custom set your listening experience.
To top things off these headphones are also water and dust resistant, which isn’t something we typically see in this category.
On top of that, they turn on automatically by twisting the ear cups.
The Jabra Elite 85H headphones are the new benchmark for noise cancelling headphones and while the brand is not as well-known as Sony or Bose the product speaks volumes as to the pedigree and technical capability that Jabra is able to deliver in the sound market.
These headphones are not just about looks and cosmetic appearance they are all about dynamic AI, cutting edge software and hardware that delivers audio harmony.
And this is why these headphones copped rave reviews at CES 2019.
For me the price is low for what you actually get.