Audio

Rock solid audio from Jabra Elite 65e

The Elite 65e can be paired with Jabra's Sound+ app for ease of use and offers up to 13 hours of battery life with active noise cancelling off.
The Elite 65e can be paired with Jabra's Sound+ app for ease of use and offers up to 13 hours of battery life with active noise cancelling off.

Targeted at busy professionals, the Jabra Elite 65e is a pair of neckbandstyle wireless headphones with active noise cancelling (ANC) technology and a long battery life.

Unlike cable-less true wireless earphones, the Elite 65e's earbuds are connected to a neckband by a flat cable.

On the right end of the neckband is a multi-function button, which sits between the volume-up and volume-down buttons. On the left end are the ANC toggle and Mute/Voice buttons. An in-line microphone is sited near the right earbud.

The Elite 65e is rated at IP54, which basically means it is only sweat-proof. The micro-USB charging port on the neckband is exposed, which should tell you how "un-waterproof" it is.

The headphones come with three pairs of ear-gels and three pairs of ear-wings, so you should be able to find a combination that fits your ears. The neckband bends nicely to fit around the back of the neck. It feels light and comfortable, even when you are running. I like that the earbuds have magnets to attach them to each other when you are not using them.

To pair the Elite 65e with your smartphone, press and hold the multi-function button for three seconds. After they are paired, the multi-function button becomes the on-off button - press for one second to turn the headphones on and three seconds to turn them off.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $328

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 5.0

    FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20Hz to 20kHz

    WEIGHT: 51.4g

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

This button is also used for pause and playback (press once to toggle between the two functions) and to reject calls (press twice). Thus, things can get quite complicated - I unwittingly rejected many calls because I pressed the button wrongly.

And I kept mixing up the positions of the ANC and Mute/Voice buttons, pressing the wrong button as a result.

Thus, I recommend pairing the Elite 65e with Jabra's Sound+ app. You can use the app to toggle through ANC on, ANC off and HearThrough - a mode that lets in ambient sound at a lower volume.

Using the app means no more fidgeting with the ANC button. Plus, you can tweak the equaliser settings for your preferred sound profile.

Regardless of equaliser settings, I found its audio performance to be rock solid. Whether K-pop or rock 'n' roll, the Elite 65e delivers punchy bass, smooth vocals and clear highs.

On the downside, its ANC lacks the noise-cancelling depth that competitors such as the Bose QuietComfort 30 ($479) have. It is decent, but I can still hear the chatter of my colleagues when the ANC is turned on.

Looks-wise, the Elite 65e is certainly not as elegant or discreet as true wireless earphones, with its neckband. But what the neckband allows is a bigger battery.

While most true wireless earphones can last only three hours, the Elite 65e is rated at 13 hours with ANC off and eight hours with ANC on.

Your battery mileage will vary depending on use. In my test, the headphones had 20 per cent battery left after eight hours of continuous music playback, with ANC turned on for about two hours during that period and with occasional incoming calls.

Voice communication is crystal clear for both parties. Activating Siri on my iPhone using the Elite 65e is a cinch too.

• Verdict: The Jabra Elite 65e delivers decent noise-cancelling, superb comfort and great audio performance at an affordable price.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2018, with the headline 'Rock solid audio from Jabra Elite 65e'. Print Edition | Subscribe