Jabra Evolve2 85 Review

Larger drivers make this headset great for the office and the commute

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Jabra Evolve2 85 Wireless Headphones

Jabra Evolve2 85
Lifewire / Jason Schneider.
What We Like
  • Super impressive battery life

  • Crystal-clear microphone quality

  • Tons of extras, connectivity options, and software control

What We Don't Like
  • Very expensive

  • Lacking some bass

  • Some weak points in the build

If you’re looking for a top-tier headset for business calls that will also work great for music listening, the Evolve2 85 is a solid choice.


Jabra Evolve2 85 Wireless Headphones

Jabra Evolve2 85
Lifewire / Jason Schneider.

Jabra provided us with a review unit for one of our writers to test. Read on for their full take.

If you’re looking for a work-focused headset that doesn’t drop the ball on sound quality for your commute home, the Jabra Evolve2 85 is probably your best bet. Jabra has spent the last few years focusing more and more on the consumer music space, in addition to the headsets that it's become known for. The Jabra Elite 85t earbuds are some of my favorite true wireless earbuds on the market, so I was really excited to see how the over-ear Evolve2 85 stacks up.

With premium materials, multi-mic-supported active noise cancellation, and a host of features that make the 85 friendly for both work and play, it might be the best all-around over-ear headset for business-oriented users. I spent a few days with my pair to see how they made the transition in and out of my workday.

Design: Very sleek and professional

Any pair of over-ear headphones that offers even a minor focus as a work headset has to provide a professional look and feel. While most premium headphones in this price point do feel sleek and premium, there’s something about the look of the Evole2 85 that just fits better into a professional environment. The oval ear cups sport clean lines, and the single-piece headband and the slightly angled connectors won’t draw too much attention—all while still looking pretty high-dollar.

While most premium headphones in the price point do feel sleek and premium, there’s something about the look of the Evole2 85 that just fits better into a professional environment.

You can get a silver/beige color scheme that is a bit more consumer focused than the black unit I tested, but both look good. One extra design touch that might be good depending on your perspective is the outward-facing LED lighting on each ear cup. This LED automatically lights up when it detects that you’re in a phone call. The idea here is to signal to people from the outside that you are in a “do not disturb” situation, preventing interruptions on phone calls. It’s pretty bright and very noticeable (intentionally so, on Jabra’s part), but if you value the use case, it’s a nice, functional visual touch. Though, if you don’t like it, it can be toggled off in the Jabra Sound+ app. 

Comfort: The right balance of seal and softness

Something that’s tough for over-ear headphone manufacturers to truly get right is finding the proper clamp and foam to wrap around your ears. Higher-end manufacturers in the space—like Sony and Bose—usually give you all the softness and comfort you’re looking for, but lower-end headphones tend to skimp here, making them less than comfortable.

What I love about the Evolve2 85 is that the foam and leather on the cups is very soft, but the clamp is sturdy enough to give me a stable, solid seal. The balance of these two points makes these headphones really nice to wear.

Jabra Evolve2 85

Lifewire / Jason Schneider

Jabra has also managed to give me ear cups that are big enough to contain my giant ears, but aren’t far-reaching enough to press too far back on my ears. Even the leather-wrapped and foam-lined headband top is cushier than I’m used to having on headphones in the category. All of this amounts to a really nice-feeling pair of headphones. I do find them just a tad heavier on my head than other luxury options—and weighing in at more than 10 ounces, this isn’t exactly surprising. 

Durability and Build Quality: High-end but a little plastic-y

With over-ear headphones, the choice to create a chassis using plastic is mostly due to the fact that plastic is lighter and more ergonomic. So, it’s hard to ding Jabra too hard for going this route for these headphones. But there’s just something about the plastic used on the contact and inflection points of these headphones that feels slightly less durable.

In particular, the ratcheting headband adjustment band feels a tad cheaper than the price tag would imply. I also found that the hinge above each ear cup that folds them inward (great for storage) has really sharp edges, and if you get the edge of your finger caught in there like I did a few times, you’ll get pinched.

Jabra Evolve2 85

Lifewire / Jason Schneider

That isn’t to say there’s no premium feeling in these headphones. All of the leather coverings feel truly top-notch, with soft touch surfaces and resilient enough consistencies. The swiveling ear cups also feel very substantial, and I’m pretty sure they will withstand their share of abuse, even if the headband itself isn’t as confidence-inducing. The leather-wrapped, hardshell case also feels premium, with a nice zipper and plenty of organizational components on the inside. Overall, I’m mostly impressed, even if Jabra did cut a couple corners here.

Sound Quality and Noise Cancelling: Great for the office environment

In today’s remote work environment, I can’t overstate how important a pair of solid, noise-cancelling headphones are. The noise cancelling available on the Evolve2 85 seems tailor-developed just for the office environment. That is to say, when there isn’t a thick blanket of noise (like on a roaring airplane or in a crowded park), these headphones do an excellent job of silencing everything.

The best way I can describe the Evolve2s is that they are a work-oriented pair of headphones that happen to do music very well.

It seems like Jabra has taken a subtler approach with the ANC on these headphones, and that makes it more capable and less uncomfortable for sensitive ears than something like Apple’s AirPods Max. To be fair, you won’t be amazed by the amount of noise cancellation, and I do think that Jabra’s “commute” vs. “office” vs. other customizable modes in the app is overselling the capabilities a bit. But in general, this worked well for me as an all-day work headset.

Then there’s the sound quality. The best way I can describe the Evolve2s is that they are a work-oriented pair of headphones that happen to do music very well. When you throw on a pair of Sony WH or Bose 700 headphones, you get a pair of music headphones that happen to do phone calls well. This slight distinction is important as you’re dissecting how the 85s sound for music listening.

Taking a page out of their consumer counterparts, the Elite 85hs' sound is, for the most part, very balanced—providing solid richness across most of the spectrum. But they lack volume, power, and bass. There’s some decent EQ control in the Jabra app (which I’ll get to later), but out of the box the sound isn’t terribly dynamic. But, because the 85s feel well-suited as a headset for phone calls, they’re naturally very good at representing the spoken word, so podcasts are really nice. Overall, I don’t have any true complaints on the sound quality, I’m just not blown away.

Battery Life: Incredible capacity

It’s impressive just how much battery life Jabra has managed to get in these otherwise pretty sleek headphones. It’s odd when you think about it, because while these headphones seem oriented to your desk where a charging cable is within reach, you’ll rarely need that charging cable. But, because the headphones need to be ready to use at a moment’s notice for phone calls, it does make sense.

Jabra promises battery totals up to a whopping 37 hours of use—easily 10 more hours of music listening than competitors in the space. To be fair, if you use the active noise cancellation or the bright LED busy light a lot, you’ll likely get less than that. But in my attempts to drain the headphones, it was taking me well over four 8-hour workdays to get to the point where I felt I needed to put them back on the charge.

Jabra promises battery totals up to a whopping 37 hours of use—easily 10 more hours of music listening than competitors in the space.

There’s an accessory charging cradle that serves as a dock for these headphones, but Jabra doesn’t include this in the box. It’s not a huge deal, because the USB-C cable charges things up quickly enough, but considering the dock makes more sense for a business headset, I’d have liked to see it included in the box.  

Connectivity: Clean and stable, with some Microsoft integrations

When you actually go onto the site to order the Evolve2 85, you’ll have the option to choose between “Unified Communications” or “Microsoft Teams Enabled” versions. Hardware-wise, there’s just about no difference between these two options. But, because the 85 is designed as an office headset, the distinction might be important for your setup.

Basically, if your team uses Microsoft’s “soft phone” for your work phone setup, the Teams version will give you better muting and call-answering right out of the box, whereas the UC version is meant for Jabber and other third-party conversions. Both versions will work across the board, so it’s not a decision that will make or break you, but it’s nice that there are some options here to more seamlessly integrate with your work-specific setup.

Jabra Evolve2 85

Lifewire / Jason Schneider

The rest of the story is pretty typical here for office-style headsets. You can connect these headphones via Bluetooth 5.0 and access all of the headset controls you’d expect that way. You can also connect them via 3.5-millimeter aux in a pinch.

But, there’s also the means to hook them up via USB to your computer and completely bypass your system’s soundcard. This helps when using the headphones during video calls, because it will make sure your computer is using only the headphones as a sound device, and will thus automatically connect them once you hop into a video call. It’s a nice set of options. 

Software and Extras: Almost the full package

Costing well over $400, Jabra basically had to include everything you’d need for the headphones right in the box. And, to be fair, there is a lot here. The premium case provides plenty of protection for taking these headphones on business trips. All of the cables you’ll need are included, for charging, connectivity, and more.

Even the impressively thorough microphone system (which sports 10 separate mics to give you the best possible voice quality on calls) actually folds up seamlessly into the design of the right ear cup so you wouldn’t even know the boom was there until you folded it out.

Jabra Evolve2 85

Lifewire / Jason Schneider

I am a bit disappointed the charging cradle comes at a surcharge, because these headphones are already so expensive and the use case of plopping them down on your desk to charge makes so much sense.

The software side of the equation is also pretty well thought out. I’ve used the Sound+ app for other Jabra headphones—particularly the Elite true wireless earbud series. Most of the same features are found here, like a powerful five-band graphic EQ, some thoughtful presets, and even a way to customize these settings for different parts of your day.

You can also adjust what some of the controls do and easily control whether ANC or transparency mode is activated. There’s a desktop option called the Jabra Direct app, which provides some of the same customization, but isn’t quite as user-friendly as the mobile one. In short, the software functionality that comes with these headphones is all there.

Price: Definitely for the enterprise budget

At first glance, you might think that Jabra has pushed the price tag far too high for these headphones. And it’s true that if you compare them to flagship over-ear headphones from Sony or Bose, they are far more expensive.

Some of that is due to the insane mic array and the design aspects required of having a seamlessly foldable boom. But some of that is related to the software and headset integration. Having UC and Microsoft Teams certifications come with some firmware hurdles and licensing costs.

As such, the price tag sitting north of $400 is really meant for the executive buyer—somebody who wants an incredibly detailed, premium headset for the office and can likely expense the cost.

Jabra Evolve2 85 vs. Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset

The comparison for headsets in this space is tough. Many of the office-designated headsets have smaller drivers and aren’t particularly good at music, while larger headsets with boom microphones tend to be flashy and more gaming oriented.

The QC 35 headset is basically the same pair of headphones that put Bose on the ANC map, but with a dedicated boom mic strapped on. While these headphones are billed as gaming headphones, they're sleek and understated enough to fit alongside the Evolve2s. The noise cancellation and sound quality are slightly better with Bose, but the design and call integration is just more office-friendly with Jabra.

Final Verdict

High-end headphones for the workplace.

While much of Jabra’s consumer line (including the very similar Elite 85h) offers a lot of value for music listeners, the Evolve2 85 just couldn’t get away from its office pedigree. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing—I found the call quality, microphone capability, comfort, design, and feature set to be truly excellent for a full day of productivity.

The sound quality isn’t quite as full as I’d want, and the ANC is really at its best when it isn’t doing too much. And of course, the price is higher than you might be willing to pay. But if you want the best for the office environment, it’s hard to do better than the 85 headset.

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  • Product Name Evolve2 85 Wireless Headphones
  • Product Brand Jabra
  • MPN 28599-989-999
  • Price $449.00
  • Release Date July 2020
  • Weight 10.8 oz.
  • Product Dimensions 7.82 x 6.3 x 3 in.
  • Color Beige, Black
  • Battery Life Up to 37 hours, depending on usage
  • Wired/Wireless Wireless or wired
  • Wireless Range 30 ft.
  • Warranty 2 years
  • Bluetooth Spec Bluetooth 5
  • Audio Codecs SBC, AAC
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