Jabra Elite 85h review: A premium noise-canceling headphone that excels at making calls

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The Good The Jabra Elite 85h offers impressive noise-canceling performance, strong sound and excellent battery life with USB-C charging. They're comfortable to wear and are loaded with convenience features, including one-button access to Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri voice assistants. It delivers best-in-class call quality with a customizable sidetone option.

The Bad A little heavier than their Bose and Sony competitors, they're not quite as comfortable. May not fit large heads.

The Bottom Line The Jabra Elite 85h is a good alternative Bose and Sony noise-canceling models for slightly less money, particularly if you value call quality.

8.5 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Sound 9
  • Value 8

When Jabra first announced its new Elite 85h ($300, £280 or about AU$435 converted) over-ear premium wireless headphones, it touted how it would be equipped with always-on (hands-free) voice assistant control using Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant. Alas, that feature didn't make it into the final product -- apparently it affected battery life too much -- but the Elite 85h is nevertheless an excellent noise-canceling headphone that sounds very good, is comfortable to wear and also works great as a headset for making calls.

Designed to compete with models from Bose and Sony, the Elite 85h is slightly heavier (296g) than the Bose QuietComfort 35 II (235g) and Sony WH-1000XM3 (254g). It's comfortable to wear, with nicely padded earcups, but I found both the Bose and Sony ever so slightly more comfortable mainly due to their lower weight. Overall, however, the Elite 85h seems sturdily built and with dual hinges, it folds up and flat to fit in a decent carrying case.

What you get in the box.

Sarah Tew/CNET

When I first saw its specs, the Elite 85h Initially reminded me of Microsoft's Surface headphones, which just received a price cut. Like that model, the Elite 85h has multiple microphones (eight total) and adaptive noise-canceling technology (Jabra SmartSound) that changes according to your environment.

Jabra claims its noise-cancellation system is better than Bose's or Sony's. I'm not sure about that, but it is quite effective and certainly close. It's partnered with audio analysis company Audeering, a "leader in audio AI technology" to "ensure the audio of the Elite 85h offers the best call and music experience by automatically adjusting to your surroundings."