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Headphones

Jabra's third-gen wireless earbuds add Alexa support, cheaper pricing

At CES, Jabra is showcasing two new totally wireless earphones -- the Elite 65t and more sports-oriented Elite Active 65t -- along with a neckband style model, the Elite 45e.

The new Jabra Elite line includes (from right to left) the Elite 65t, Elite 45e and water-resistant Elite Active 65t.

Jabra

While they had some small drawbacks, Jabra's first and second generation Elite Sport earphones were among the better early totally wireless headphones on the market.

Now Jabra's stepped things up with its third-generation models: The Elite 65t ($170, which roughly converts to £125 or AU$215) and water-resistant Elite Active 65t ($190, roughly £140 or AU$240). Not only do they deliver a more refined, comfortable design, but they offer improved performance, battery life and voice support for all major virtual assistants, including Amazon's Alexa on-the-go. Additionally, they cost less than the original Elite Sport, which retailed for $250 (roughly £185, AU$320) when it first launched.

If you're looking for something a little more affordable, Jabra also announced the Elite 45e, a more traditional neckband-style wireless headphone that will cost $100 (roughly £75 or AU$130).

The Elite 65t is set to ship this January while the Elite 45e and Elite Active 65t are due to hit stores in April. We're awaiting official pricing for the UK and Australia.

I was able to get my hands on an early beta unit of the Elite 65t and was generally impressed with its fit, sound quality and voice-calling capabilities. Battery life is rated at 5 hours and the included charging case delivers an additional two charges.

However, Jabra's Sound+ app hasn't been updated yet to work with the Elite 65t so I wasn't able to test out any of the more advanced features, including the Alexa voice commands and sound customization options.

Jabra does note that "each new Elite product contains unique microphone configurations to ensure users will always be heard, whether you're speaking to Alexa or your family and whether you're indoors or out on the street. In addition, the companion Jabra Sound+ app allows you to personalize your music to the sound that suits you."

With Alexa, Jabra says you can ask to play music, hear the news, check weather, control smart home devices and more.

The Jabra Elite 65t arrives in mid-January.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Here are the new earphones key features according to Jabra:

Elite 45e: This soft neckband (with memory wire) headset has a lightweight shape and a unique box microphone solution that Jabra claims "delivers the clearest voice communication on any stereo wireless headphone."

Elite 65t: The 65t includes one-touch access to Siri, Google Now and a new integration for Amazon Alexa on-the-go. Has five hours of listening time on one charge with two additional charges in the cradle

Elite Active 65t: The earbuds have enhanced grip, through special coating, integrated accelerometer for tracking features and IP56 sweat, water and dust certification. The Elite Active 65t has five hours of listening time on one charge with two additional charges in the cradle.

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