Technophile

Equal clarity for concerts and con-calls

S.Muralidhar | Updated on March 13, 2019

Jabra’s Evolve 65t delivers a convincing combo for users ‘on-the-run’. But is it worth the price tag?

Jabra’s recent spate of launches have been loaded with wireless headsets, with the Evolve and the Elite series making quite a splash. Almost all of these are elegantly designed with great ergonomics and finish quality, and deliver excellent call quality, though in terms of music reproduction, they have not necessarily been the best in the business.

The latest from Jabra to land on our test bench is the Evolve 65t — a pair of true wireless headsets that are meant to be used for both personal and professional purposes. Did the 65t manage to please both the music aficionado and the office-goer in us?

First off, the Evolve 65t is meant for professionals on the go looking to connect both their smartphone and their laptop to a true wireless earpod like headset. If you are looking for a similar headset for home and gym use only, then you should be choosing from the Elite series. The Evolve 65t looks very similar to the Elite 65t in design, build and finish. The housing and the underlying hardware may be similar, but the Evolve 65t does more than just play your favourite tracks.

It is a UC certified headset; infact, Jabra says that it is the world’s first true wireless unit with the Unified Communication certification. Jabra’s extensive experience catering to the IT industry and its need for UC certified headsets for use across platforms like Microsoft Teams, Cisco WebEx, Google Hangouts and even Skype, means that these guys really know how to get this right.

Pairing the 65t is super easy, with its Bluetooth 5.0 profile, and with the USB dongle in case you want to stay connected for that conference call on your laptop. Once paired, the connection is very stable (only the occasional disconnection), even if one walks out of range and returns multiple times.

Right in place

But as always, walls are a problem, though in an open office it works even 30-40 feet away. It is convenient since the 65t auto connects every time they are taken out of the charging case. The headsets themselves are just the size of a shallot and shaped exactly like a mould of the ear’s ‘Concha’. Audio delivery is via a curved section that fits into the ear’s external auditory canal. The fit is perfect and to customise it there are three different sizes offered for the silicone rubber ear gel cups. Mind you, a snug fit is important because this headset only features passive noise cancellation.

The mix of materials include ABS plastic and coated metal bits. Of course, there are the two metal charging contacts at the bottom of the headsets that sit flush with matching spots on the charging case when you drop the pair in for a recharge. Battery life is a claimed five hours for the headsets and the charging case can retain about 10 hours of charge, so the headsets should be good for nearly a whole day of usage.

Control buttons are build into the central panel of both the headsets, with the right ear’s performing the connection and play/pause functions, and the left ear’s with tiny ridges on either end doing the job of volume control and track skip functions. Voice prompts conveniently give you the connection status.

Similarly, there is also the option of a one-touch invoking of any of the three voice activated digital assistants - Apple’s Siri, Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Unlike some of the other wireless in-ear headsets which can be used individually too for making voice calls (or as a mono headset), the Evolve 65t’s right earbud is the primary headset and that can be used alone. The left ear headset though has some sort of proximity sensor that detects if both are in use while listening to music. If you pull the left headset away from your ear, the music pauses.

The Evolve 65t headsets weigh about six grams each; and one barely feels their presence in the ear after the first few minutes of wearing them. The speaker housed inside the headsets at about 6mm wide is smaller than a shirt button. But, music reproduction is quite rich.

Crisp audio

The highs and the lows are equally pronounced, but bass levels are a bit muted compared to a pair of large cans (over-the-head phones). However, customising the output is possible using the equaliser in the Jabra app, with marginal gains in individual parameters. Speaker bandwidth ranges between 20Hz to 20KHz.

Voice calls received over the Evolve 65t are delivered equally clearly; and transmission is also crisp thanks to the four microphones around the unit which help focus on voice and keep out background noise.

One interesting feature of this Jabra headset is ‘HearThrough’ which allows a bit of the ambient noise to filter through so that the listener can remain alert. This can be activated by double tapping the main ‘connect’ button. When used both indoors and on the street, it sounds like a mix of static and a mild enhancement of surrounding noise, just enough to keep you from getting lost in the music.

There is a price to pay for the combo that the Evolve 65t offers. It stays connected to your smartphone and laptop or chromebook and switches from music playback to concall seamlessly. Can be a blessing for marketing and IT professionals on the move. But, at ₹39,443, this is clearly an expensive pair of headsets. So, if you are not one that needs the kind of versatility that the Evolve 65t offers, then pick out of the Elite series, which are priced at a very affordable range between ₹13,000 to ₹19,000.

Price: ₹39,443

Pros: Great in-ear fit; effective passive noise reduction; app-based equaliser for customising output

Cons: It is pricey; the build is plasticky and muted bass

Published on March 13, 2019

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