Over a year after Apple’s AirPods made the truly wireless earphones space popular, competing products have started arriving in India one after another. We recently reviewed the Bragi The Headphone, Jabra Elite Sport, and Bose Soundsport Free — all of which are truly wireless headphones. Another competitor has now entered the fray in India - the Jabra Elite 65t.
While the AirPods are earbuds, the competitors that we’ve already reviewed are all in-ear headphones, where the tips go into your ear canals as opposed to resting outside them. The Jabra Elite 65t is also an in-ear model. It promises good sound quality along with the convenience of being truly wireless. We used this pair of in-ear headphones for a week to find out if it’s a worthy alternative to the AirPods.
The Jabra Elite 65t ships with a charging case, which is a big advantage for headphones in this category. The case is a bit bulky and definitely larger than the AirPods case. It’s made of plastic and secured by a clasp as opposed to a magnet, which makes it feel a little less premium. While the case keeps the earpieces safe, opening and closing it feels a bit fiddly and we aren’t big fans of this mechanism.
On the other hand, the case does feel quite durable, and that means you don’t have to worry if you drop it accidentally. There’s a Micro-USB port at the bottom for charging, and it works as expected.
The case adds around 10 hours of battery life to the Jabra Elite 65t earpieces (which last around 4-5 hours on one charge), according to Jabra, and we found these claims to be true. We started out with a full battery, and didn’t have to charge the case even once throughout a week of use during which we used the Elite 65t for an hour or two each day. This essentially means that you don’t have to worry about battery life.
The Jabra Elite 65t is a bit bulkier than most other in-ear headphones, and it comes with three pairs of silicone tips. The bulk allows for a large button on the right earbud which is refreshingly easy to press. It triggers the voice assistant on your paired smartphone and plays or pauses music, and we wound up using it much more often than the controls on other headphones.
We tested the Jabra Elite 65t with an iPhone 7 and found that support for Amazon Alexa is labelled as “coming soon” in the Jabra Sound+ companion app. The app has an equaliser and lets you adjust sound quality to your taste. There are also settings for things such as how much ambient noise you want to hear, and the caller ID function.
The Elite 65t’s earpieces aren’t too heavy, but we didn’t enjoy the silicone tips much. We think that Jabra should consider shipping foam tips, which are much more comfortable. Wearing the silicone tips for two hours at a stretch led to discomfort, and we had to take the earpieces out for some time.
We had no trouble pairing the Elite 65t with our iPhone and it would automatically connect the moment we took the earpieces out of their case. The pair of earpieces automatically pauses when you take the right one out of your ear, and both turn off when you put the right one back in the case. If you take the left earbud out of the case, put it back in, or take it out of your ear, nothing happens. This works if you use both as a pair all the time, but AirPods are still more versatile.
The Jabra Elite 65t’s HearThrough feature lets you choose how much ambient sound you want passed through to your ears. This can be useful when you’re walking outdoors. Since we live in a noisy city, it wasn’t that useful. Even with HearThrough turned off, we were aware enough of the outside world that we didn’t feel the need for this feature.
The sound quality of the Jabra Elite 65t is quite impressive. We used the equaliser in the Sound+ app to achieve a neutral sound, and were pleased with the results when listening to Riders on the Storm by The Doors — our favourite track for testing headphones with. We felt that instrument separation and detailing could have been better, but the overall sound quality was quite good. This pair was able to reproduce mids and highs quite well, even if the bass was a bit lacking. The Bose Soundsport Free sounds better than the Jabra Elite 65t, but it also costs a lot more.
The Jabra Elite 65t is a pretty good pair of truly wireless in-ear headphones. It has excellent battery life and impressive audio quality for its price. Its ear tips are somewhat uncomfortable, the case is fiddly, and having the auto-sensing capabilities only the right earbud takes a little getting used to. At Rs. 12,999 the Jabra Elite 65t is more expensive than the AirPods, but is still a pretty good product overall.
Price: Rs. 12,999
Overall rating (out of 5)