Jabra Elite 85H Headphone: Is It good enough for the gym?

Barbell on gym floor


We didn’t know much about the company Jabra. However, given all the excitement surrounding its latest release, we thought we had better get find out whether or not the Jabra Elite 85H headphone is good enough for the gym.

Jabra is a Danish company founded in 1993 and is part of GN Netcom, a group that not only makes headphones but professional headsets and hearing aids, too.  If you’ve recently been shopping around for gym earphones, then you might already be familiar with the Jabra Elite 65t which was released in 2018 with four-microphone technology to reduce wind noise and block ambient noise.

So we were excited to hear that Jabra is getting ready to release the Elite 85H headphone with noise-cancelling technology and a choice of voice-activated assistants.

The Jabra Elite 85H headphone isn’t built for the gym in the way that, for example, the UA Sports Wireless Train Headphones Project Rock Edition is. But given that sweat proof covers can make any headphone gym-ready, we were interested to see what this upcoming release could mean for those of us who enjoy working out in big headphones.


First up, the leatherette cushions on the cups should mean a comfortable fit. Wearing over-ear headphones during exercise can sometimes be uncomfortable but with good padding, these should be gentle on the ear.

There’s USB-C connectivity which is good but there’s also a 3.5mm jack, too, for when you’re out of juice.

One of the biggest draws to the Jabra Elite 85H headphone has to be its 32-hour battery life. And that’s with noise-cancelling switched ON. We’ve previously touted Apple’s W1 chip on its Beats range of headphones but even the Beats Studio3 Wireless only boasts 22-hours wireless.  For some of us, music is incredibly important during a workout and we already know that music can help boost athletic performance so having a headphone with such a long battery life could mean the difference between a semi-decent workout and one we absolutely smash.

One thing that we’re seeing more and more now in anti-noise cancelling (ANC) headphones is adaptive noise-cancelling technology. Microsoft revealed its Surface headphone in 2018, allowing users to dial-up or dial down the amount of ambient noise allowed to filter through to the headphone. Noise-cancellation that’s controlled by the individual user, rather than solely by microphones, works in the gym because whilst there might be a lot of sounds we’d prefer to block, it’s also important to maintain situational awareness for safety.

The Jabra Elite 85H headphone has three ANC modes: commute, in public, and in private.  Thanks to the 8 microphones that constantly monitor for ambient noise to block, you’ll also enjoy clarity during phone calls.

CNET helpfully breakdown the functions of the 8 microphones: Eight microphones in total, with four dedicated for calls, two for ANC and two for SmartSound. In combination, this creates the six-microphone call technology and four-microphone ANC and SmartSound solution.

Jabra’s own website explains further: SmartSound automatically analyzes your sound environment and applies your personalized sound settings, to give you the best calls and music experience, every time.

You can control SmartSound and choose your voice assistant on the Jabra Sound+ app.

man lifts weight


 Another big draw to these headphones is that it allows the user to access voice-controlled assistants - Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant - using wake commands.  This saves ferreting around in a pocket to make a call or trying to skip tracks when you’re hands are full. Whilst Google Assistant has been included on the Bose QuietComfort 35 II and on Sony’s WH1000XM3 headphones, it’s the first time that Amazon Alexa has been made available.

There will be three colours to choose from and are Titanium Black, Gold Beige and Navy Blue.

For those of us who exercise outside, the Jabra Elites are rain-resistant.  Although, it’s worth remembering that it’s not the same as being water or sweat-proof.

The release date is April 2019 with a pair due to retail at £280 in the UK and $299 in the US.

Until the Jabra Elite 85H headphones are officially released, it’s difficult to say how suitable they are as a gym headphone BUT it certainly looks promising.  The personalised approached to noise-cancelling is not only a safer way to use ANC during a workout but it’ll be super-useful in other aspects of your life too especially if you travel regularly.

The battery is ideal for those who can remember to pack our kit but are a little rusty on remembering to power-up our tech.  Hands-free access to voice-controlled assistants might not sound like a big deal but anyone who uses voice-controlled assistants in the home will tell you how much easier it is without having to fumble with fingerprints, swipes and passcodes to change tracks or to find out information.  In the gym, it could become invaluable - especially if you’re running or lifting.

We’ll be able to give better feedback on the model once it’s been released later this year.  

If you don’t want to wait for the Jabra Elite 85H headphones or if you already have a pair of cans you enjoy exercising in, then remember you can make almost any pair of headphones gym-ready by adding sweat-proof headphone covers. Earhugz not only stops moisture corroding the cushions and internal electronics but they’ll also keep your cans smelling fresh, make-up free and they come in a range of awesome designs.

We think The Jabra Elite 85H would look awesome dressed up with The Bandit EarHugz but remember that all designs are fully reversible to black, too.


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