Jabra Elite 85t adds active noise-cancelling to one of our favorite wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Jabra)

The Jabra Elite 75t is one of our favorite wireless earbuds of 2020, second only to the Apple AirPods Pro, but there was one notable drawback and that was the lack of active-noise cancelling (ANC).

Today, Jabra unveiled the Elite 85t which delivers a number of notable improvements over the already excellent Elite 75t, including ANC and support for wireless charging in the case.

While the basic design of the Elite 85t looks fairly similar to its predecessor, it has actually gone through a pretty significant redesign to move to a "semi-open" design that will avoid the "earplug" effect," an issue for some with the Elite 75t and Elite Active 75t.

The ANC is unquestionably the highlight of this upgrade with Jabra adding customizable ANC which can be adjusted to allow for exterior sounds to come in with HearThrough mode with a progressive slider going all the way up to fully blocking exterior sounds. A new dedicated chip is doing some of the work to deliver what the company is now calling Jabra Advanced ANC along with other audio processing. 

Helping to pick up exterior sound in order to cancel them out are four microphones inside and outside of the two earbuds. This is in addition to the six microphones and new wind protection that are there to ensure clear call audio wherever you are. 

(Image credit: Jabra)

The earbuds feature 12mm speakers, double the size of those in the Elite 75t. One feature that gets a slight step down is the water and dust proofing at IP44 vs. IP55, but this is still sufficient sweat and water resistance to make them excellent workout companions.

Turning to battery life and charging, the earbuds with ANC on will deliver 5.5 hours on a charge and then an additional 25 hours with the case that now supports wireless Qi charging. If you switch off the ANC those numbers go up to seven and 31 hours, respectively.

(Image credit: Jabra)

And finally, for any Elite 75t or Elite Active 75t owners, Jabra hasn't forgotten about you and is providing an over-the-air update that adds ANC to both of these headphones. While it naturally lacks the dedicated hardware of the Elite 85t, it delivers Jabra's "standard ANC" which is being enabled via existing Qualcomm technology in the earbuds. The Elite 75t and Elite Active 75t will remain available alongside the 85t and will be shipping with the ANC update pre-installed starting in October.

The Jabra Elite 85t will be available starting in November for $229 in a Titanium/Black colorway with Gold/Beige, Copper/Black, Black and Gray to follow in January 2021.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.