Jabra is an established brand in providing advanced audio communication technology. It is the first brand to introduce mono Bluetooth headsets to the world, developed advanced true wireless earbuds with heart-rate monitor. For years, its business solutions come with noise cancelling technology, and it has finally extended this technology to the Elite 65e, the first consumer headset with active noise cancelling.
When it comes to voice communication, Jabra headsets are among the best in the market, with premium 3-mic ambient noise reduction technology to deliver clear voice to the other calling party. The Elite 65e sports a massive 15mm dynamic driver with the potential to deliver great sounds.
The oval EarGels are ergonomically shaped to fit better in our ears. The neckband design is sculpted to ensure optimal wear comfort. The built-in vibration motor notifies the wearer of incoming calls. Its retail price of S$325 sits above even the advanced true wireless models. For quality assurance, the headsets come with 2-year local warranty.
Buttons are located at both sides of the neckband. On the left, there are the noise cancelling button and the voice assistant button. On the right, there are the power-play-pause button and the volume-track button. These 3 buttons are identical in size while the middle button has an emboss, but this feature is not easy to detect based on casual feel. I often had to feel all the buttons before knowing which button to select.
The Elite 65e has a battery life of 8 hours with ANC. When the earbuds snap together via magnet, the ANC or HearThrough function will be turned off to conserve power, and will resume when the magnets come part. Similarly, if there are incoming calls, splitting the magnet will automatically answer the call.
The ANC, combined with the passive-isolating EarGel, is effective in removing noise and to achieve the recording-studio kind of numbing silence. They are definitely one of the better ANC for the price value. The challenge is in the EarGel fit, which is somehow unable to seal the ear canals accurately. The ANC fails to achieve effectiveness when there is passive noise leakage. Changing to a larger EarGel size did not work for me. As it turns out, the oval shape EarGel meant to improve comfort lacks the hardiness to achieve air-tight seal. Instead of stuffing the earbuds deeper, the trick is to pull out the earbuds to make sure they sit near to the entrance. Once you achieve the seal, the ANC will work a lot better. As such, I find myself wearing the earbuds stuck slightly outwards.
This is a digital ambient sound mode where the mics are enabled to let the wearer hear the surrounding noise. The HearThrough volume cannot be adjusted, and sounds rather natural with slight amount of noise floor, but largely drowned in an open environment. It is possible to hold a decent conversation in this mode with music turned off. For wearers who dislike the stuffed-up feeling, this mode will alleviate the claustrophobia and allow you to enjoy your favourite music while remaining aware of the surroundings.
Jabra audio products are not consistent in their sound signature. I love the overall frequency balance on the Jabra Elite Sport and Elite 65t, but the Elite 65e is tuned to produce very transparent highs. At high volumes, this feels uncomfortable, but on tracks with a flat sound, the Elite 65e achieves the improved high-fidelity. The bass impact is present but lacks the fullness hence it does not boom the ears. The headset is generally enjoyable for users who like bright and clear music.
EQ adjustment is available via the smartphone app, and is capable to achieving the necessary frequency tweaks without compromise. By running through EQ, the Elite 65e delivers a much more satisfying sound signature. I recommend you to apply EQ to give you the preferred frequency balance. Or you can select one of the several presets. I hope future software updates allow user to save their customised EQ presets.
Jabra Sound+ App
In addition to providing firmware updates, extended warranty registration, EQ adjustments and battery indicator, the Sound+ app can set preference on how you receive calls, as well as quick profiles like “Commute” and “Focus”. You can even play nature sounds like ocean waves, rain, or white noises, to mask the noise around you. It’s useful when you need to transport yourself into a different world, and quite amazingly, it helps – like I actually feel cooler and calmer when I turn on the rain soundscape.
At S$328, the Jabra Elite 65e is one of the more premium-priced neckband in-ear headphones. While there are more affordable neckband earphones, the Elite 65e feels robust, high quality, offers IP54 water rating, and an assuring 2-year warranty. Comparing to the Plantronics BackBeat GO 410, the Elite 65e offers better ANC, better treble details, less excessive bass, and allows EQ customisation, which I recommend. The ANC is one of the better ones at this price range, as long as you get a good seal over the ear canals. If you need a more reliable ANC, you have to go for the Bose or Sony models at above S$400.