Wireless earbuds are now the de facto standard when it comes to personal audio for the tech-savvy, with Apple’s AirPods being the most commonly used and seen. However, there are drawbacks to such minimalist designs, namely battery life, price, the reliability of wireless connections, and of course, sound quality. The compromise is the use of neckbuds. With active noise cancellation, excellent battery life, and a more reliable wireless connection, the Jabra Elite 65e is a great alternative for those looking for a little more when it comes to wireless audio.
This neckbud consists mainly of plastics and rubber, and while it may be resistant to sweat and general wear and tear, the IP54 rating is not enough for you to throw the Jabra Elite 65e into the pool and have it survive. A gym session, though, is no problem for this reliable product.
For consumers looking for a comfortable time while using the 65e for an extended period of time, they are very comfortable due to the neckbud being well-balanced, with most of the weight concentrated on the sturdy neckband.
However, the Jabra Elite 65e is not the smallest of headphones, and definitely not flexible enough to be compactly stored. Jabra has included a zippered pouch for convenient packing, but you will definitely need some space for them when you are out and about.
The flat cables, together with the magnetic snap of the two earbuds, help to prevent much-unwanted tangling and make for easier storage.
Also included are three pairs of Jabra EarGels to help you find the perfect fit, and it was easy to find the right size to fit our ears when testing the 65e. It would have been nice to have tip sizes to cater to a larger variety of users. And for the more active users, there are also three pairs of wings to ensure a snug fit when vigorous activities are expected.
A micro USB port on the neckband is used for charging, with playback controls situated on the right of the band that allows for play/stop and volume control. On the left, the buttons that control Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and voice assistant can be found.
Unfortunately, the ANC feature does not live up to the “professional grade” that Jabra touts it to be. It works wonders when filtering out the lower frequency of the spectrum, but is not up to par when you can still hear someone’s voice or the shrill of an alarm going off.
A prolonged press of the ANC button enables the HearThrough feature, that lets in external sound without the need to remove the earbuds. For voice assistants, iPhone users will get Siri while Android users currently have Google Assistant, with Amazon Alexa coming later in 2018.
When it comes to sound, the earbuds give a balanced but dynamic performance. The mids can be slightly drowned out by the more bass-forward sound, and the highs are not as crisp. Bass is sufficiently full, but does not translate well when listening to more bass-heavy tunes or EDM. This is even more apparent with the ANC off.
If you are looking for a long lasting companion, the Jabra Elite 65e will give you about 8 hours of play with ANC turned on, or 13 hours with ANC off, which is sufficient for a day out and then some.
At its price point of S$328, the Jabra Elite 65e is a solid, comfortable option that offers a balanced sound that is not anything spectacular. With much more impressive options in the neckbud category, the flaws of the 65e prevent it from being one of the leaders in the market. However, if you can look past the bass-heavy sound and the less than perfect ANC, and want comfort while on-the-go, the Jabra Elite 65e is still a great choice to have.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
The Jabra Elite 65e should be doing more, but if you are not a stickler for the details, it should definitely be a choice to consider.
Aesthetics - 8/10
Build Quality - 8/10
Performance - 7/10
Value - 7/10
Geek Satisfaction - 6/10