Trying: "True" Wireless Earbuds


For three weeks, I suffered through the nuisance of listening to music through only one ear after my right bud quit producing sound. Sure, I still had my over ears, but they're not practical to carry around. I'm not someone to splurge on things. Gone are my days of shopping sprees. But when I do make a purchase, I look for quality more than anything. Buying cheap means buying to replace, and I like music and podcasts too much to be stranded without.

The first week, I researched. My Google news feed is still littered with articles like "best true wireless headphones 2018". Then, against my own judgement, I panicked at the price tags, and went with a cheap pair. The Rowkin Ascent Micro Wireless sell at Best Buy for 99.99. I found them refurbished on eBay for 59.99. After a $30 eBay coupon code, I snagged the budget buds for just 29.99.

I really wanted to like them. But they sucked. The sound was terrible, staticky and quiet, like normal earbuds at maybe 30%. Their build was cheap. And then, after just two days of miserable use, the left one quit working. I sent them back.

“Day ten without decent listening. Work has been stressful. I don’t even want to ride. I need music!”

I was feigning for a fix, but I remained patient and researched a bit a more. The Jabra Elite 65t's stood out to me. My over ears are Jabra Revos, and I've had them for nearly six years. So, when they went on sale, from 189.99-139.99, I decided to give them a try. With an additional 20%off for using my Amazon card, I got the buds for $111, delivered to my door. Three weeks in to ownership, here's what I have to say.

JABRA ELITE ACTIVE 65T REVIEW

They're comfortable, even after hours of constant wear. I don't listen to metal, but if I did, I'd feel confident head banging without losing them. The battery is said to last five hours, but I've never ran them past yellow. They pop into a conveniently sized case, with insanely fast charging speed. Their sound is nice and balanced. I'd say it's on par, or even superior to comparable buds with a wire. Which brings me to the most important thing, the freedom of wireless earbud technology. From yoga, to snowboarding, hiking, to cooking, cleaning, to writing, I've found the lack of wire on my Jabra Elite Active 65t's to be absolutely liberating.

Not only does music sound great, but podcasts come through clear as day. And in true Jabra fashion, the former headset company has produced another conversation capable earpiece. When a call comes through, all have to do is say “yes” to accept it. You can track them if they’re lost or stolen. And they’re dust and water resistant! The features are endless.

After three weeks of ownership, I love them, there's just one problem. They don’t work half the time! Okay, maybe it isn’t half the time, probably more like a quarter, but all too often, when I pop my Jabra Elite earbuds in, they get stuck on “connecting…”. I’ve noticed that the issue is more prevalent in congested areas. Trying to connect in the lift line? Forget about it.

I keep expecting there to be some software update to offer a fix, but I haven't been able to check, because the "Jabra sound+" app is completely useless. It connected the first day and hasn't recognized my earbuds since. It’s hard to call these things Elite, when at times, they’re nothing more than jewelry. Oh yeah, they're also discreet. But that doesn’t matter when they won’t produce sound! I have no doubt that these things will one day be awesome, but it seems to me that their current software just isn't quite ready yet.

So, if you're on the fence about wireless earbuds, I'm not quite sure what to say. On the one hand, my Jabra Elite Active 65t's are amazing, they're liberating, so much so that I can't see myself ever going back to the wire. But on the other hand, they're frustrating, less than reliable, and far from cheap. My guess is that these first-generation buds were rushed to compete with the likes of Apple's Pods, and that both their price and consistency will improve with time. I want to advise you to wait, it's the wise thing to do, but the freedom of these things (when working) is almost too good to be true. I could return them, but I'd rather listen while I wait. If only (slightly more than) half the time.