Jabra Elite Active 65t True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds


I already own a Jabra Elite Sport headset and I was interested to try this newer and less expensive alternative from Jabra to see how it compares. As a starting point let me say that I am very happy with the  Elite Sport headset and use it on a daily basis when running and walking and find it an excellent compromise between comfort, features and audio quality. My only real criticism of the older pair is that although I am a runner I seldom use the sports features as I prefer to use a dedicated running watch for those and I suspect most serious runners would do the same.

The new headset, the came elaborately presented in a very similar box to the older set. Inside apart from the headset was the charging case, cable, two additional sets of earbud gels, and a brief Quickstart Guide which I include in the unboxing video.

The build quality of the headset seems fine. It has a premium look and feel to it, although less so perhaps than the Elite Sport. Both the case and earbuds are smaller and lighter than I was expecting and compared to the older set. This is either a plus or negative depending on how you look at it. The Elite Sport earbuds are comfortable but these are even more so and perhaps the most comfortable and easy to fit of any of the many True Wireless headsets I have tried. It is easy to forget you are wearing them and possibly this may make them more easy to lose.

The charging case attractively designed and it is easy enough to fit the buds into their charging ports. One annoyance for me at least is that the case will not stand upright when opened and will only stand when closed and placed on end. The buds are not held in place magnetically as they are with the Elite Sport which means there is always a risk of them falling out. The charging time for the buds is the same as the earlier pair at around two hours. However, the standby battery life of these earbuds at an estimated 15 hours is about 10% better than with the Elite Sports. The claimed five hours of music playing time is better than with the older set too by about the same degree. Charging status for both the case and buds are indicated by bright and easy to see multicoloured LEDs.

These buds use Bluetooth 5, which is supported by my OnePlus 5T phone, which promises longer range, easier connection and greater battery life. I did have some problems pairing the buds to my phone, perhaps caused by the fact it is already paired with two sets of Elite Sports buds. After multiple failed attempts to get the phone to even detect the buds, I found that deleting the existing Jabra Elite Sports profiles and reboot both phone and buds did the trick. I was able to then pair first time to the Elite Active 65ts. Once paired I have had no issues with dropouts and the range is at least as good if not better than with the Elite Sports. After pairing I was immediately offered an over the air firmware update, a feature most rivals lack.

The new headset has exactly the same button controls as the older set although these buttons are easier to use and have a more positive feel. Using the buttons you can pause and play audio, change audio volume, forward and back track controls, answer and reject incoming calls (two at once) and invoke your smartphone personal assistant (including Alexa).

Audio quality is excellent but again, at least for me, I prefer that from the Elite Sports. The sound from the new set is loud, clear, detailed and very easy to listen to but lacks the bass response of the earlier set. That is not to say the sound is thin, because it is not and exceeds that of almost every other True Wireless headset I have tried. I have had no trouble with phone calls with decent and clear audio both sides of the conversation.

The headset has an associated app but it is not the same one as with the Elite Sports. This headset uses the Jabra Sound+ app rather than the Jabra Sport Life app of the Elite Sport. The new app is rather more useful and offers more ways to customise the headset. It offers three preset usage modes but they can be customised as required. You can turn the HearThrough feature On/Off (keeps you aware of external noise), change the EQ settings, music Auto/Pause on/off, phone call sound quality, own voice in call On/Off, Caller ID On/Off, Voice Prompts On/Off. When music is not playing you have the option for the headset to play background sounds – birdsongs, white noise, ocean waves etc. It lacks the various sports and training options of the Elie Sport Jabra Sport Life but I suspect few people use them, I certainly do not. However, the  Sound+ app does have a step counter built in but no heart rate or distance tracker.

On balance I would say this is an excellent True Wireless Headset and certainly one of the best available. Personally, I still prefer the Jabra Elite Sport headset because I like the richer and deeper sound quality together with the added weight and more robust feel. Others may prefer the lighter sound and appreciate the added features of the new app. At £174 for this headset and £190 for the Jabra Elite Sport neither are inexpensive.

The Good
Good sound quality
Comfortable to wear
Good Build Quality
Great battery life
Excellent smartphone app
Works with Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant
Bluetooth 5
Excellent Bluetooth connection (once made)
Positive clicky buttons
Background noise feature
OTA firmware updates

The Bad
Non-magnetic case
The case does not stand upwards
No USB-C charging
Bluetooth connection can be tricky
Auto disconnects when not used

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