I use Teams meetings and calling a lot. I also do tons of work from various other places than my home office. Some other locations are for example a train when I commute to Helsinki, when I am visiting our headquarters, occasionally in a café or restaurant, lobby, .. You name it. Simply put: I work anywhere. On top of that I tend to listen to music when I am working or walking when I am not in a call.
Other characteristics my #consultantslife has are being connected via my mobile phone and my Surface Pro 7. Some of those locations are quiet, but some are noisy (train or café for example) and I also have occasional meetings there as well . That just builds up the feature list I need from my headphones. They need to be comfortable for long periods of time (especially during flights) but they also need to have a pleasant audio experience, good microphone with surrounding noise cancellation and – of course – a good quality active noise cancellation (ANC) to help me either focus, relax or just totally ignore what is out there.
There are several headphones that fill up those criteria. However, the biggest issue is usually switching between audio sources (Teams, Spotify, system audio, YouTube in browsers, mobile phone calls, …) and audio devices I use (headset, webcam microphone, external Bluetooth speaker, laptop audio). Eventually all my headphones began to have issues with audio: Bluetooth connection starts to break down and the only fix is either to reboot the device and often reboot of laptop’s Bluetooth as well. While this doesn’t take a long time it is still very annoying.
I have to say Elite 85h Bluetooth is no exception there if you are using Bluetooth on both laptop and mobile. However, to the rescue came the Jabra Dongle. It doesn’t come automatically with Elite 85h but I had one from Jabra’s 65t earbuds available. It was then possible to pair Elite 85h headphones to the dongle. That made a huge difference – no more issues with connection breaking down. For some reason that doesn’t happen with mobile phone Bluetooth, so perhaps Surface Pro 7 Bluetooth has still room for improvement. A year ago I didn’t like the idea of using dongle but the user experience I’ve had since has made a real difference since the connection remains a lot more stable. And it is easy: shove dongle into a USB port and the audio is ready for Teams (usually, read on).
About Jabra Elite 85h headset. It has a great active noise cancellation ( 8 microphones listening to the surrounding noises). Battery lasts long (32 hours battery time promised, in reality it is easily 24 hours), 15 minutes of charging gives 5 more hours – and this has been a huge saver for me in a hurry. The chassis is rated to resist water and dust. Dust is not that big issue in Finland, but rain and wetness is. However – no issues taking these into a walk even with some rain. Headset over the ear design is comfortable and settings (using Jabra mobile phone app) can be tuned to each one’s liking. I like that the app shows remaining amount of battery in my mobile.
In Teams meeting (or in calls) Elite’s microphones pick up my voice clearly and background noises are reduced – in fact in some meetings I’ve had in a train the other participant thought I was at home since there was no background noise of whatsoever. This is what I love about technology and these qualities are what makes this headset my favorite!
There are always cons: the carrying case is large so it will take some space. There isn’t a good place for the dongle in the case, despite there was some space for charging USB cable and airplane adapter (included in the package). Also there has been a few occasions when I joined a Teams meeting but no audio was coming to through despite dongle and Teams settings were ok. To solve the issue I turned off phone Bluetooth (disconnecting headphones from mobile), took off the dongle, turned the headset off, turned them on, connected the dongle and it fixed the issue. This hasn’t been common but it can happen and then it is most annoying. Hopefully there will be future update to the headphone software to fix this. This hiccup can be a combination where I have been switching and changing audio sources on both laptop and in Teams settings. What would be a great setting (by user choice) is if a dongle is connected it would always set itself a Teams device and perform a selftest.
But I need to point out that out of all laptop connected headsets I’ve had Elite 85h has been the most reliable when combined with other features. Logitech Zone Wireless was a really reliable as well but loses a lot in comfortability, battery life and ANC when compared to Elite 85h. Of course these two types of headsets are very different and meant to work in different situations.
Overall, I have been very satisfied with Jabra Elite 85h headphones I use when working. And the long usage time is extremely useful when commuting via train or when flying abroad – I don’t have to worry about charging the headphones during my journey – and if I do have to charge them I just need less than 30 minutes of charge time to push several use hours into the headset. Currently they hold the title “best modern worklife headphones I’ve had so far”.
Thank you Jabra for letting me test these ones!