At CES 2018, Jabra debuted its Elite 65t true wireless earbuds, an audio device that would eventually become one of our favorite headphones of the year. For CES this time around, the company has a more traditional new product: a set of over-ear noise-cancelling headphones. With the Elite 85h, Jabra offers an option that will help block out the world around you and provide hands-free access to your virtual assistant of choice for $299.
Active noise cancellation (ANC) is great, but a lot of flagship headphones these days have some type of adaptive sound to adjust the feature to whatever environment you're in. Jabra has done just that. With SmartSound, a tool that harnesses audEERING's context intelligence technology, the Elite 85h analyzes the noise around you and automatically adjusts the audio between one of three modes: Commute, In Public or In Private. In other words, if you move from a noisy sidewalk into a much quieter Lyft for your commute, these headphones will make the change to ensure good sound quality. Jabra's Sound+ app offers further control over the audio, including the ability to save custom settings for future use.
Another key feature for the Elite 85h is hands-free use of Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri. Plenty of headphones will let you summon one of these virtual assistants without having to pick up your phone, but that usually involves having to press a button to do so. With Jabra's new headphones, all you have to do is say the necessary wake word and you're good to go. The company says it's the first to offer this for Alexa on headphones.
In terms of battery life, Jabra says you can expect up to 32 hours of playback with ANC on and up to 35 hours with noise cancellation disabled. Hopefully we'll get some hands-on time with these this week so we can offer some impressions on the overall audio quality and how well both the SmartSound and hands-free virtual assistant features work. Regardless, if all of this sounds too good to pass up, the Elite 85h is expected to ship in April.
If you're in need of something more affordable, Jabra announced a redesigned version of its Move on-ear headphones which offer up to 14 hours of battery life and on-board controls for $99. The new Move Style Edition is expected to go on sale this month.