Jabra is all about audio products, with a range that spans both consumer and business markets. Their premium wireless products are getting seriously smart with each new generation. The latest is the Jabra Evolve 65t which are visually very close to their Elite 65t, however the Evolve has a brand new set of features to make it the most advanced set of wireless earbuds the company has ever produced.
I’ve been living with the Evolve 65t earbuds daily for a few weeks now, using them when I go for walks and listen to Pocketcasts or Spotify, while I work at my desk, while I do chores around the house and the time has come to let you know what’s good, what’s not and if you should invest in a pair for yourself.
Efficiently sized for smaller rooms
The design of the Evolve 65t is almost identical to the Elite 65t. The earbuds are only available in a single colour, but given their target audience, the black/matte silver finish looks professional.
The earbuds are efficient in size, with most of the electronics packed inside your ear, to leave really just the microphone stem that subtlety protrudes from the side of your head. In my mind, these look way better than Apple’s Earpods that frankly still look ridiculous to me. With much longer white stems, they are too obvious and realistically, they move the microphone only a few mm closer to your mouth.
In terms of fit in the ear, they come with a few different sized rubbers, but personally the defaults fit well for me. They provided a great seal which kept the outside world out and let you focus on the audio. If you’re wearing them while walking, make sure you check for vehicles before crossing the road, because you’re unlikely to hear them.
The controls are build into the earbuds, with the right offering power on/off, as well as the ability to launch the native voice assistant. The left earbud has controls for moving through your music or podcasts, as well as controlling volume. After a couple of days of use, you get the hang of the buttons and controlling the earbuds is pretty intuitive.
After you’ve used an auto-pausing headphone or earbud, you’ll want every device you use to feature it. Thankfully the engineers at Jabra agree and have designed that in. This means if someone walks up to you to start a conversation, you simply remove one of your earbuds and the audio pauses, place it back in your ear and it resumes. This is a great design decision.
Connecting the earbuds is a simple process, just press and hold to turn on the earbuds and put them in sync mode. Find the Evolve 65t in your phone’s bluetooth connection list and you’re done. If you connect these to the PC, you basically do the same, with the exception of adding the USB dongle first.
FEATURES AND SPECS
The detail on what’s on offer
For a device with this price point, you should expect a lot and in many ways, the Jabra Evolve 65t delivers.
The earbuds get up to 15 hours per charge. Technically its 5hrs of playback per charge, but then you simply place them back into their charging case and they can be charged another 2 times. As long as you have a micro USB cable handy, you can charge the case while you’re listening with the earbuds. If you’re travelling and working late into the night in your hotel room, this long battery life will really work well for you. If your use is lighter, you may get away for a weekend trip and not need to charge, just use the charging case to refresh them when needed.
If you move between audio on your phone and your PC like me, then this feature is an absolute killer. The Evolve 65t can connect to 2 bluetooth devices simultaneously, just start playing music on one and it’ll takeover the audio immediately. If I get back from a walk, listening to podcasts, I sit down at my desk and fire up Sky News on Foxtel Now and Pocketcast pauses and the phone audio is replaced by audio from my PC, all without connecting any cables, any interaction with the earbuds themselves, it really is a fantastic experience.
The one thing you can’t do is play both audio devices at the same time, this would be handy to have as an option, although you would need control over the volume of both and there’s no hardware way to achieve that.
Here’s the recipe to sell these to your boss as a must have for the office. Part of your day is spent at your desk in your open plan office and you need to block out the distractions and be a good, productive employees, so you need these earbuds that feature passive noise reduction.
Now for the big win, these are UC certified which mean they work with a wide variety of IP-based phone systems to make calls. These include, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Jabber, Cisco WebEx, Google Hangouts, Mitel Micollab, Unify Circuit, Avaya Equinox, Alcatel Rainbow and Fuze. This means you can not only make and take real calls from your phone, but also modern calls that occur over the internet through these UC platforms.
Just press and hold the button on your right earbud for 1 second and you’ll launch the native voice assistant. That means you have Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant available to at the tap of a button, without having to remove your phone from your pocket. Be smart with this, but if you wanted to, you could have this in while driving and control your phone hands free. That’s a big win for those who have roles that require a lot of solo travel, with many work vehicles having junk infotainment systems (certainly unlikely to have Android Auto or Apple CarPlay), making this an absolute winner.
A pair of dependants
Wireless earbuds are typically a pair minus the wires. While you can use the right earbud without the left, you can’t use the left without the right. At this premium price point, I really hoped you could have used either, essentially avoiding a master/slave relationship, instead having 2 masters.
If you were to lose the right one, that’s it, game over, you can’t listen to music, make calls or anything until you buy a new pair. If this happens when you’re travelling, you’re in a world of hurt. Moral to the story, don’t lose them.
My world is rapidly moving to all USB-C and for the charge case to still use the old micro-USB connector is a let down. Let’s hope the Jabra update this, or at least give users an option as to which connector they want.
Placing the earbuds in the charge case sounds like a simple enough task until you try and do it. Opening the case is not easy, with a nice magnetic close, it feels solid, making sure it doesn’t open accidently in your bag, but the ridges on the side of the case are not substantial enough to get good purchase on the lid, so opening attempts often result in your finger just sliding off the lid.
On the left earbud, the volume up/next track and volume down/last track buttons are placed horizontally. For the track controls, this makes sense, as you’re moving forward or backwards through the current track or playlist. I wish the volume was up and down making the button a 4-way control instead and volume goes up and down, not back and forward. This likely won’t bug most users, but personally it felt like a weird decision, especially given their other product the Jabra Elite Sport does have up/down buttons for volume.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
How much and when can you get one ?
The Jabra Evolve 65t are premium earbuds, like really premium. Their feature list is extensive, they sound great, look great and work great, so get our your wallet and be prepared to see many dollars disappear. The best plan is to convince your boss you need these for work and get them to pickup at least some of the cost.
You can get the Jabra Evolve now from Jabra.com.au for A$605.00. If you want express shipping, that’s another A$19.99 taking the price to A$624.99.
Like I said, premium. This is almost double the cost of the Jabra Elite 65t, so you do pay a lot for the UC compatibility and the ability to connect to 2 devices.
These are definitely some of my favourite earbuds I’ve ever had in my ears. They sound great, block out the outside world (passive noise cancelling) and features decent battery life. As I mentioned I love the ability to connect to 2 devices as I often go between my phone and PC, not having to switch headphones really is a fantastic experience.
The UC features is a key selling point for these earbuds over the standard Elite 65t. Unless you’re leveraging these earbuds with Skype, Teams, Hangouts or similar, then it’s a much harder justification of the price.
All things considered, I think these are overpriced, the should be at most a hundred dollars more than the Elites, being around double the price is definitely a premium price which will make it harder for people to find budget for.
- Audio quality
- Button placement on left earbud
- Charging case hard to open