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What Run Oregon is Trying: Jabra Elite Active 65t headphones

It’s probably not the healthiest of habits, but I wear headphones pretty consistently throughout the day. In general, I listen in this order:

  • Favorite live radio webstream (from the east coast) when I wake up in the morning and go to work
  • Ambient noise throughout the work day to drown out constant coworker chatter
  • Music or podcasts on my run
  • Call my family or parents on the way home from work

While I have a pair of iPhone headphones (which has the benefit of standardized comfort but the drawback of a cord) and a pair of bluetooth headphones (which has the benefit of no direct wire connection to my phone, but does a wired connection between the two ear pieces), I am mostly pleased with my options, but things could be better.

The Jabra Elite Active 65t is new to the market, and after seeing another blogger talk about their previous version, I couldn’t wait to try them out. For all us runners out there, it’s pretty amazing, right off the bat, that Jabra offers a 2-year extended warranty against sweat damage and dust when you register through the app.

Fit: Each pair comes with 2 buds and EarGels for sizing…and that’s pretty much it. There is no need to worry about affixing extras like wings to keep in place. I much admit I was a little skeptical that they would actually stay put due to their size and was worried I was going to have to continuously press them into my ears on my runs. But I can assure you that during all of my runs and workouts, I have NEVER once felt like these were going to fall out.

Sound: One of the reasons that many runners choose to go sans-headphones is due to safety concerns. From cars and cyclists to potential attackers or dogs, its important to have an awareness of your surroundings – and most headphones can be a hinderance to that. The Elite Active have a HearThrough option, which allows you to still hear music, but also allows ambient noise (traffic, other people, etc.) into the headset! During one run, I put in miles on come country roads with zero shoulder. While traffic was minimal, using this option helped notify me of cars coming up behind me, without needing to look over my shoulder every 15 seconds. Though, if you are one who pumps your music super loud, the HearThrough won’t completely fulfill its capabilities.

Additionally, the HearThrough option can be turned off via the app and utilize their built-in noise reduction technology – which Jabra describes as being able to analyze external sounds and automatically switch to the earbud with least background noise. Therefore it’s easy to make calls in busy locations without being drowned out by the city’s noise.

The Jabra Sound+ app allows each runner to fully customize their listening preferences with a customizable equalizer. I’m not a full audiophile and haven’t really messed around with this too much, but I could definitely see how it may be a fantastic feature for those who are in to that.

Charging: Charging is a cinch – just stick your buds in the heavy-duty charging case (which can, and should, double as a carrying case) and plug it in. That’s it. I was happy to see that there wasn’t a requirement to charge each bud via an integrated port on the buds themselves. This is a great feature. What is doubly awesome is that the case itself can hold up to 10 hours (2 full charges) WITHOUT being plugged in – it’s essentially a portable charging station! The charging also occurs really fast. It takes no more than an hour or so for a full charge, so if you are strapped for time, a 15-minute charge will net you about 90 minutes of time – more than enough for a substantial run. And it only takes about 2 hours to re-up the charging case to full capacity.

Jabra has continually updated the battery life in their headphone line, with the Elite Active’s being able to play for 5 hours (!) on a single charge and 15 total hours if you include the charge case capabilities.

Cool Tech: 

  • The bluetooth connectivity is super strong in these I haven’t had an issue with gaining or maintaining a connection. The range is over 30 feet and these earbuds can actually connect to up to 8 different devices and even two at one time, if desired.
  • Speaking of connections, these headphones connect with your favorite technological assistant – be that Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant. We have Alexa devices spread around the house (hello government spies!) but probably don’t utilize them to their maximum potential. My mind goes in weird directions when I run, and I am able to just get a quick hands-free answer to some (often random) questions when I am on the run – no needing to pull out my phone and do a search.

Drawbacks:

I am really struggling to find any significant drawbacks to these headphones. Historically, my ears haven’t worked well with earbuds that need wings attached to them, but the design of the Elite Active 65t’s have eliminated that concern. The sound is also fantastic and works amazingly well for both listening to spoken word and bass-thumping music.

The closest thing I can find to a drawback comes in the form of the phone calls. While the bluetooth connectivity has never been an issue, but I seem to have an issue with people hearing me the best on the phone. I don’t make a whole lot of calls via them, but do use them when I am on the road as my hands-free option. I don’t know if it is my parent’s diminishing hearing capabilities or the buds themselves (or a combo?), but they seem to have a more difficult time hearing me on these unless I speak at a louder level (which isn’t the case when I am using my phone in my hand). It’s not a deterrent to the product as phone calls are way down my list of importance, but something to check out for yourself.

The Jabra Sport was full of features for the fitness enthusiast, which was awesome but could be a little overwhelming. The Elite Active 65t does away with the majority of them (the most important of which, in my opinion, was the heart rate tracking), but does keep a built-in accelerometer to measure your steps and duration. I run with an Apple Watch, so I don’t need much activity tracking with my headphones anyways.

Verdict:  I love these headphones. They run about the same price as Airpods and I feel are in line with comfort and technology. They fit extremely well, even for those of us that have historically had trouble with sizing in earbuds, and the technology, across the board, is a runner’s dream. While there are not as many fitness-focused capabilities, I would venture a guess that most of us runners are already utilizing some sort of tracking – be that watch or phone – that the addition of yet another conglomeration of data sets isn’t really all that necessary.

Company: Jabra (Facebook)

Products & Price:

Specs (from website):

More about Jabra:

We make life sound better.

Every day, our intelligent sound solutions inspire people in ways they never thought possible.

We inspire athletes, old and young to push boundaries and beat their best, thanks to our innovative sports headphones with real-time voice coaching and intelligent apps helping you stay motivated and in the zone.

At work, we empower you to be even more productive. We can help you concentrate more, communicate and collaborate better, and make conversation easier. We do this by helping you block out noise and delivering crystal-clear sound.

We also enable you to enjoy the music you love while you’re on the move, with rich and immersive sound. And you can effortlessly switch to making a call and back again. All with total clarity.

It’s our life’s work to transform lives through the power of sound.


 

Thank you to Jabra for providing us with a sample pair. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.

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About Matt Rasmussen (1210 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010. Matt joined the Run Oregon team in October 2011, and since then he has spearheaded the blog’s efforts to cover product reviews, news about businesses related to running, and running events in the Willamette Valley.

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