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Jabra Evolve2 85
July 1, 2020
198.6 x 160.0 x 77.3mm
There are a lot of products out there marketed for very specific uses—a product is either a pair of consumer headphones or a headset for conference calls. What if we told you you could find a product that fulfills both of these niches? Enter: Jabra Evolve2 85.
What you need to know about the Jabra Evolve2 85
- Jabra Evolve2 85 (Unified Communications, Stereo USB-C): $499 USD / $675 CAD
- Jabra Evolve2 85 (Unified Communications, Stereo USB-A): $519 USD / $675 CAD
- Jabra Evolve2 85 (Unified Communications, Stereo USB-A with stand): $524 USD / $539 CAD
- Jabra Evolve2 85 (Unified Communications, Stereo USB-C with stand): $549 USD
- Jabra Evolve2 85 (Microsoft Teams, Stereo USB-A with stand): $549 USD / $749 CAD
- Jabra Evolve2 85 (Microsoft Teams, Stereo USB-C): $519 USD / $675 CAD
- Jabra Evolve2 85 (Microsoft Teams, Stereo USB-A): $448.53 USD
- Jabra Evolve2 85 (Microsoft Teams, Stereo USB-C with stand): $602 CAD
The Jabra Evolve2 85 is a fully wireless headset designed to be used in an office setting. This is one of Jabra’s top-tier products, and its price certainly reflects that. It is the upgrade to Jabra’s Evolve 80 headset, boasting improved active noise canceling, microphone quality, and battery life. It is also a Bluetooth headset with the option for wired listening and connections using an included USB dongle, whereas the older Evolve 80 is wired only.
The Evolve2 85 has some office-specific features like busy lights, which glow red when you are on a call. This can be useful when working from home to communicate to your housemates that you shan’t be interrupted. The headset has a built-in retractable boom microphone which can be folded in, allowing you to wear the headphones outside of the office without looking weird. It also has convenient onboard buttons for controlling volume, cycling through listening modes, and skipping tracks. It also has automatic head detection and if you remove the headset, your music will pause. You can get the Jabra Evolve2 85 in Black or Gold Beige.
What’s good about the Jabra Evolve2 85?
The Jabra Evolve2 85 is a very comfortable over-ear wireless headset. It is lightweight and does not clamp down too hard on my head. Even those with glasses and lots of ear piercings should be able to wear it comfortably for long work days. If you have a particularly small head, however, it may be a bit loose. The ear cups are made of memory foam and don’t build up too much heat. You can also replace them if they get worn out over time.
It takes 2 hours and 20 minutes to fully charge the Jabra Evolve2 85, and it can also be quick-charged for 15 minutes to provide 8 hours of playback. According to Jabra, the headset lasts 37 hours when ANC is deactivated, 32 hours with ANC, 30 hours of phone calls talking without ANC or busy lights, and 20 hours of phone calls with ANC or busy lights. Our battery testing is ongoing, so we can’t confirm quite yet, but nothing during the review process has caused us to doubt that assessment. It charges via USB-C cable, or you can get a wireless charging dock.
The Jabra Evolve2 85 has Bluetooth multipoint capabilities, meaning it can be simultaneously connected to your smartphone and your laptop. It will only play audio through one device at a time, but this simultaneous connection makes it very convenient to switch between devices. It can be a little faulty and will sometimes pause my music on my phone even when no audio is playing through my laptop, but it usually works quite well. The headset comes with a Bluetooth adapter to use with your computer which will provide greater functionality than is available by connecting the headset directly to your computer’s Bluetooth settings. The adapter allows for full software compatibility, greater Bluetooth range, and onboard call control. However, it is honestly not necessary to use if you find it inconvenient—directly connecting to your computer should be fine.
The Jabra Evolve2 85’s sound quality is pretty good thanks to the headset’s 40mm drivers. The acoustic guitar, lead vocals, and backup vocals throughout Nobody Gets Me by SZA all come through clearly and balanced. The bass in the song definitely comes through quieter than it does when played through a pair of consumer cans like Beats. The moderate low end is particularly noticeable in a bass-heavy song like Bad Guy by Billie Eilish—your brain won’t be rattled by these headphones. Theoretically, you should be able to equalize the sound signature of the headset in the Jabra Sound+ app, if you can get the app to work.
The ANC is effective at canceling out low rumbling sounds, though it doesn’t quite stack up to the noise canceling performance of other headsets below its price range, such as the Sony WH-1000XM5. I wore the headset on the bus and I definitely noticed a significant difference in ambient noise levels between ANC mode, HearThrough mode, and off mode. Sitting in my bedroom, I could clearly hear the train going by outside with HearThrough mode, it was muffled but audible on off mode, and the sound was almost completely undetectable on ANC mode.
The boom microphone contains a 10-microphone array that sounds pretty decent. Its sound quality is nothing superb by any means, but when you’re just using it to speak on Zoom meetings, it will definitely allow your consonants to come through clearly. It is also good at honing in on your voice in the midst of ambient noise, so even if you’re speaking in a busy office your colleagues should be able to hear you. The mic features a convenient mute/voice assistant activation button.
Jabra Evolve2 85 microphone demo (Ideal):
Jabra Evolve2 85 microphone demo (Office):
Jabra Evolve2 85 microphone demo (Street):
Jabra Evolve2 85 microphone demo (Wind):
How does the microphone sound to you?
What’s not so good about the Jabra Evolve2 85?
The Jabra Sound+ app is a pretty buggy and unfortunately I still can’t get it to work on my iPhone 12 Pro or on the iPhone 14 Pro we have at the office—it crashes every time I try to open it. Android devices work better; the app opens and pairs with the Evolve2 85 on a Google Pixel 4a without issue, for instance. If it works on your device, the app should allow you to customize your headphones’ settings such as the amount of time before the headset enters sleep mode, configure head detection, Busy light, ANC and HearThrough settings, and customize the sound signature. It would have been nice to try using the in-app equalizer because the built-in frequency response of the Jabra Evolve2 85 has quite a moderate bass response.
I had a few issues with the Bluetooth connection of this headset. Occasionally when I shut the headphones off for an extended period and then turned them back on, they did not automatically reconnect to my smartphone. I actually had to force my phone to forget the Bluetooth connection to the Jabra Evolve2 85, and reconnect them. This issue only happened a couple of times, though. I also had some issues with unexplained audio cut-outs, but most of the time the connectivity worked well.
Jabra Evolve2 85 specs
The Jabra Evolve2 85 has a lot of bells and whistles that make it great. Here’s a list of all the important product specifications that may influence your purchasing decisions.
|Jabra Evolve2 85|
198.6 x 160.0 x 77.3 mm
Bluetooth 5.0; SBC, AAC
Yes: 15 minutes charge = 8 hours playtime
USB-A/USB-C Bluetooth adapter
Jabra Evolve2 85 review: Should you buy it?
The Jabra Evolve2 85 does not need to cost as much as it does. For under $500 USD you can get alternative headsets that outperform the Evolve2 85 in almost every way. Its active noise canceling, for example, is not up to par with other high-end headphones like the Shure AONIC 50, a headset that costs half as much as the Jabra cans, and the Apple AirPods Max, a headset with a price just shy of the Jabra Evolve2 85. The headset is comfortable, sounds decent, and has convenient features like Bluetooth multipoint, but the faulty app and high price point render it a pair of headphones I wouldn’t buy.
It also bears mentioning that there’s a lot of crossover in features and performance between office headsets and gaming headsets, and gaming headsets often outperform them at fraction of the cost. A headset like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless has every feature Evolve2 85 has other than ANC, with a nicer microphone and more comfortable design—all for more than $300 USD cheaper ($152.99 at Amazon).
Frequently asked questions about the Jabra Evolve2 85
Honestly? Not that much. Having a Microsoft Teams certification means your headset has greater compatibility with Microsoft Teams as a softphone, a term for computer-based calling services. The Microsoft Teams version of the Jabra Evolve2 85 has a dedicated button for answering calls via Microsoft Teams, and has specific LED functionality for indicating notifications from Microsoft Teams specifically. When a headset has a Unified Communications certification it simply means that it is optimized for use with softphones in general.
Yes! When you answer a call, just press the voice button on the boom mic and it will switch you to the earcup microphones. The earcup microphones are not nearly as good quality as the boom mic, but if you’re using the headset to make a call on the bus and want to avoid feeling silly, you should be able to get away with using them.