Not sure if the headphones you own are doing your work-from-home lifestyle justice? You might want to check out something skewed to the office, if we ever go back.
Design and features
Headphones come in all shapes and sizes, and some are clearly larger than others. You only really need to look at the bulk of noise cancelling headphones to find what constitutes “large” these days, though some headphones are a little on the lighter side.
A first glance at the Jabra Evolve2 65 shows that’s where we are with this pair, with an on-ear design for headphones and a leatherette padding that covers the entire surface area for where your ears will sit. It’s a follow-up to the first Evolve 65, a call-centre style set of headphones with a long boom mic that looked more like it belonged in a call-centre and nowhere else.
The Jabra Evolve2 65 headphones are a little bit different, and follow more of the consumer headphone focus for Jabra, this time the Elite 45h, which are a dead ringer if not for the obvious inclusion of a boom mic. Like the 45h, you’ll find metal and plastic come together for this design, which make the headphones a little more like something you’d want to wear out and about, especially in comparison to other working headphones.
Jabra has provided connectivity support for both the Bluetooth in your phone and computer, as well as a secondary USB key with Bluetooth, in case you don’t trust the USB in your computer or you want to make sure it stays link to a specific wireless dongle regardless of which computer you connect to.
Outside of the connectivity options, which are Bluetooth and can handle two devices, the Evolve2 65 on-headphones come 40mm drivers, a battery good for as much as 35 hours of talk time or 37 hours of music, and a light to let people know if you’re busy.
They may even come with a stand to charge the headphones up — ours did — though there’s also a Type C USB port on the bottom of the headphones.
Throw the headphones on and you’ll find controls at the top, and that’s about it. While some of Jabra’s other earphones feel a little more logical in terms of how you’ll pause, play, and raise and lower volume, Jabra has gone with something almost deliberately old school, with three buttons for volume up, pause and play, and volume down.
There’s no extra texture on the pause or play, which dents the ease of use these headphones could have, either. The main button is marginally larger, though you’ll never notice it at the fingertips, only if you’re looking at the headphones.
Sadly, it’s not quite the same tactile approach to design Jabra showed in the 85h, and you’ll probably want to rely on that device of yours, be it the controls when you’re connected to your computer, or that phone you love and adore so much.
Move past the controls and you can sail on through to the sound, and that’s an area Jabra has been getting right fairly consistently for a number of years now.
Jabra has long catered for a fairly balanced approach to audio, and that’s pretty much what you get here, with no real distractions in a specific style, be it bright, warm, or bassy-as.
Testing with the Pickr Sound Test, we found electronic through Tycho and Daft Punk handled the highs and mids nicely, with just enough delivery in the bottom end to be comfortable, while tracks with more pronounced bass, such as in Charlie Puth’s “Done For Me” offered a fairly tight snap to the sounds.
Even in FKA Twigs’ “Two Weeks”, the bass response is more than acceptable, with a rendition that isn’t ear shattering, but instead a more than comfortable end that some headphones would be envious of.
Over in rock, we found the balance continued, with solid sound reproduction in Rage Against the Machine, David Bowie, and The Beatles, while classical and jazz were relaxed but fairly even.
While the Jabra Evolve2 65 aren’t clearly focused on listening to music, they handle music quite well, which should delight folks reliant on them for keeping them entertained and comfortable as they work.
But that’s also a major point: the Jabra Evolve range of headsets may work like headphones, but they’re primarily headsets, and so requires another round of testing, not just for music.
A little different is the headset performance, which is distinct from the headphone performance simply because the Jabra Evolve2 65 isn’t just another pair of headphones made for your computer to listen to music, but rather to talk to people on, as well.
We’re in that work from home age, the “WFH” initialism we all bandy about, and that means we may need more than a standard mic on our computer or headphones to make sure we’re heard clearly.
To that end, the Evolve2 65 uses a boom arm on the right side, which can be pushed up to steer clear from your hands when not in use. Built more for Microsoft Teams use, complete with a push button to light up a purple light for Teams to tell people you’re busy, the mic arm can’t be relocated to the other side, meaning if you’re someone who prefers the mic on the left side, too bad.
The sound out of the microphone is definitely decent and certainly clear enough for a Zoom, though the Jabra boom arm can’t really hold a candle to a larger cardioid microphone like the sort we use for the podcast, The Wrap. They’re not really in the same category, though, so we wouldn’t expect it.
As far as microphone sound goes, though, the Jabra’s Evolve2 65 is a compact approach to quality sound, married with a great quality set of headphones, making them ideal for work and play.
And play is important, because while you can leave the Evolve2 65 at your desk, you don’t really have to. Supporting Bluetooth Multipoint with up to two devices at a time, they’re a pair of headphones you might want to take out and about with you, which means battery life is a thing that clearly matters.
While you might be tethered to your desk for work, you don’t need to leave the headphones next to your mouse or laptop, because these can go out and about, too, working with your phone as that second device, and delivering up to 37 hours, as it is.
Those 37 hours are contingent upon you not using the purple “do not disturb” light, though, which will reduce the time a little if left on. Switch it off when you have no one around you, because clearly, it won’t matter.
Recharging the Evolve2 65 is easy-as, also, because you’re given two ways to make it happen: either the USB Type C port on the bottom side (which is the way we opted for), or the charging cradle, which can take a little bit of aiming to get right. Including a cradle is a nice option, and it can also tidy up your desk, too.
At $437, though, the Jabra Evolve2 65 may not feel like the best deal, thanks to what it’s been built for: business.
Typically, headphones $400 and higher start to include noise cancellation, a feature that is missing in action here. Essentially, the Evolve2 65 are boom mic-equipped versions of the Jabra Elite 45h, but with a little extra functionality for folks who need Microsoft Teams. With the Elite 45h retailing for $179 locally, the Evolve2 65 are asking an extra $250 or so for the extra functionality, something office-style headsets are known to ask for. You can typically expect a higher cost if headphones are focused on work, and the Jabra Evolve2 65 are no different in this respect.
That said, the price isn’t bad for what you get, and while noise cancellation would be nice, the sound is crisp and fairly balanced, and the support for a USB plug in Type C is also handy, though you may be able to pick the standard Type A plug if you prefer.
What needs work?
While the Jabra Evolve2 65 is a decent headset for talking at work, there are definitely things we’d do and add. Noise cancellation, for instance, because while we’re working from home now, on transport and in the office, a little bit of noise cancellation would go a long way for this style of headset.
The inability to remove the mic and change positions is also a touch annoying, though it’s perhaps more annoying that you can’t just switch ears on the headphones. Do the stereo switcheroo and wear the left ear on your right to bring that right-side microphone to your left side, and you’ll quickly find you can’t actually push the boom mic into position around your lips.
It’s minor, sure, but some will prefer the mic on their left. The Jabra Evolve2 65 are just completely and utterly inflexible in this way.
Final thoughts (TLDR)
If you need a pair of headphones more made for Microsoft Teams, plus the other assortment of meetings you’re attending with regularity — the Zoom, WebEx, BlueJeans, and Google Meets the WFH world is thrusting upon us all — the Jabra Evolve2 65 feels like a decent pair to jump into that won’t break the bank too much, even if the value feels a touch off.
At this price point, the Evolve2 65 could do with some form of noise cancellation, particularly since they’re made to be taken to go and used normally, not just on the desk. But if you don’t mind living without, they’re a more than decent pair for the desk bound.