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Jabra Elite Active 65T True Wireless Earbuds Review

By Christopher Coke on June 23, 2019 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Jabra Elite Active 65T True Wireless Earbuds Review

Earlier this week, we kicked off our Jabra coverage with a review of their flagship Evolve 65T True Wireless Earbuds. Today, we’re taking a look at their little brother, the Jabra Elite Active 65T. They’re extremely versatile for wherever you need great audio, customizable, and have sensors to double as a fitness tracker. Is it worth $189? Join us as we find out.

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Specifications

  • Current Price: $189.15
  • Key Features: True Wireless, HearThrough, EarGels™ Silicon rubber ear gels (3 sizes), Auto turn-On When headsets out of charging case, Auto pause Auto pause when one headset out of ear, Integrated motion sensor to track exercise
  • Headphone Form Factor: True Wireless
  • Speaker bandwidth: Music mode 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Speaker bandwidth: Conference mode 100Hz to 10kHz
  • Noise Cancellation: Passive
  • Microphone concept: A four-microphone ambient noise cancellation technology
  • Microphone frequency range: 100Hz to 10kHz
  • Microphone bandwidth: 100Hz to 8kHz
  • Onboard Controls: Calls, Media, Voice Assistant
  • Voice guidance: Double press to access “Amazon Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant
  • Battery:
    • Talk time: Up to 15 hours (with 2x recharging in charging case)
    • Charging power & time: Around 2 hours, full charge with dedicated USB wall charger (500mA)
  • Wireless:
    • Bluetooth standard: Bluetooth 5.0
    • Wireless range: Up to 10 meters (33 feet)
    • Bluetooth pairing list: Up to 8 devices
    • Simultaneous Bluetooth connections: 2
  • Box contents: Charging case, micro USB cable, 3 sets of silicon EarGels,
  • Headset weight: 6.5g right headset 5,8g left headset, charging case 67g
  • Warranty: 2 year

Here at MMORPG, we cover lots of different tech and computer hardware. True Wireless (TWS) earbuds are an interesting development in the headphone world. At the moment, many seem targeted specifically for exercise; it’s a perfect fit with the lack of wires but hardly the only reason you may want a pair. Instead, I’d say that the name of the game for these headphones is versatility.

What I love about headphones like the Jabra Elite Active 65T is that they’re up just about any challenge you could throw at them. Since they’re Bluetooth, you can easily connect them to your phone one minute and your PC the next (if your motherboard supports it). The snug fit makes them the perfect choice for going for a run or hitting the gym and the custom EarGels keep them comfortable even over multiple hours of wear.

They’re also more resilient against the elements, so you really can wear them on the go. The Elite Actives are IP56 rated, which makes them dust and water resistant, even against strong sprays, so you can wear them in the shower (just don’t submerge them).

In many ways, these are made to be your “everyday” headphone no matter where you may go. Unlike some true wireless headphones, they’re more recessed into your ear so they won’t get strange looks like some larger headphones do. They’re also shaped to fit naturally into the grooves of your ear so they won’t fall out. It is important you choose the right size EarGel to get a secure fit. If they do fall out, Jabra has also built in a “Find My Jabra” feature that notes the location every time they disconnect, allowing you to easily track where they became lost.

I also like how intuitive the controls are. The right earbud is dedicated to calls and activating your voice assistant with a single button. The left side has two buttons that default to controlling volume but also act as track controls. I use Google Assistant more than anything and found that it worked perfectly and I was understood clearly in all but the noisiest situations (or if a fan is blowing into the mic - hello summer). It also features Amazon Alexa integration, which is a great addition we still don’t see often in TWS earbuds.

One of the more unique features of the Elite Active 65Ts is the built-in motion sensor. It’s not quite as fully featured as the original Elite 65Ts, but does include an accelerometer to track your steps and give you some statistics on your run. This pairs very well with Jabra’s HearThrough feature that activates the 65Ts microphone array to allow you to hear the outside world. This can be turned on by entering Active Mode or double tapping the right earbud, which is great if you need to hear for a moment and don’t want to worry about taking out the whole earbud.

I’m also a big fan of the Sound+ app, available on the Google Play Store or iTunes. Inside the app, you can choose from a good number of EQ presets or create your own, as well as enable features like motion tracking or “Where’s My Jabra?” It’s a fully featured app that offers a lot of utility and really allows you to dial in exactly the sound you enjoy.

Out of the box, the Elite Active have a flatter sound profile with slightly touched up bass and mids to provide a full sound with elevated vocals. This is also a solid tuning for picking up competitive cues in games, though I’d recommend tweaking the middle-highs and treble up a bit more for that. Going with a more neutral tuning makes a lot of sense, however, because the intention is clearly to craft your own sound.

Using the Sound+ app, choosing a preset is as easy as tapping your choice. You could easily swap song to song or put on a custom playlist and tune your own EQ exactly how you like it on a 5-band equalizer. I wish Jabra included the ability to share these EQs like JayBird does, but I like that your settings are saved to the buds themselves, so you don’t have to keep the app open after you’ve made your changes.

And man, these earbuds are really open to EQ. You can tune them to be bass heavy hitters or to pull out tiny details hidden in the treble. Some buds start to distort when you play with them too much but the Elite Active 65Ts are wide open to make them exactly what you’d like. That means, you can have one profile for listening to music and another custom tuned for competitive gaming at your PC and yet another dedicated just for movie watching.

When it comes to battery life, you can expect about 3.5 hours at 80% volume or around 5 hours at 50%. The charging case is good for another two charges, giving you a maximum of 15 hours of playback before needing to recharge the case. Charging times are good, with 15 minutes giving you 90-120 minutes of playback and two hours to get back to 100%. Throughout the day, I often put the earbuds back in the case for safekeeping which keeps them perpetually charged and ready to go. Even using them regularly, I only need to recharge about once a week.

You’ll also be pleased to hear that the microphone is perfectly fine for Discord and VOIP chat. It’s a bit compressed and, because it’s positioned way back in your ear, has enough gain to pick up other things in your room, but you’ll be clearly understood and won’t sound muffled. It’s a no-go for streaming and broadcast but playing games with your buddies is perfectly fine.

Final Thoughts

At $189, the Jabra Elite Active 65Ts aren’t cheap but genuinely offer a great set of features for the money. They look good, give you full media and call controls, access to voice assistants and Amazon Alexa, and even track your motion for exercise statistics. The biggest feature, though, is just how tunable they are. The Jabra Elite Active 65Ts are ready for whatever you throw at them and definitely earn their asking price.

Pros

  • Wonderfully resilient to EQ
  • Intuitive controls for media and calls
  • Stylish - they don’t make you look silly while wearing them
  • Good battery life
  • Motion tracker
  • Full-featured app

Cons

  • Battery life still falls short of some of the competition

The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.

Christopher Coke / Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight