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Jabra Elite 85t vs AirPods Pro (2021): Comparing Wireless Earbuds With Active Noise Cancellation

The new Jabra Elite 85t’s announcement is already sparking plenty of comparisons with the Apple AirPods Pro. Both wireless earbuds boast active noise cancellation, water, and sweat resistance, as well as all-day battery life. Nonetheless, Jabra’s newest audio device appears to offer more despite being less expensive than the AirPods Pro. Below, we review the Jabra Elite 85t and AirPods Pro based on the key features to help you see which sounds like a better fit for your lifestyle.

Jabra Elite 85t vs AirPods Pro Comparison Chart

ModelJabra Elite 85tAirPods Pro
 Amazon product Apple AirPods Pro
PriceAmazon product Check Price at Amazon
Active Noise CancellationYesYes
Transparency ModeYesYes
Battery Life28 hours (ANC off and with charging case)
24 hours (ANC on and with charging case)
7.5 hours (ANC off)
5.5 hours (ANC on)
24+ hours (ANC on and with charging case)
5 hours (ANC off)
4.5 hours (ANC on)
3.5 hours (talk time on a single charge)
Microphones6-microphone call technology
4 microphones for ANC (2 per earbud)
Dual beam-forming microphones
Inward and outward-facing microphone
Wireless ChargingQi-compatibleQi-compatible
Water and Sweat ResistanceYes, IPX4Yes, IPX4
Voice AssistantYesYes
Available ColorsTitanium/Black, Gold/Beige, Copper/Black, Black, GreyWhite
Release DateNovember 2020, January 2021October 2019

Design and Hardware

The Jabra Elite 85t looks more compact compared to the AirPods Pro.

The Jabra Elite 85t (left) is more compact compared to Apple’s AirPods Pro (right).

When it comes to design, the Jabra Elite 85t and AirPods Pro couldn’t be any more different. Apple’s flagship wireless earbuds come with a stem, a feature that while bizarre-looking for some, is also surprisingly functional.

The stem looks shorter and more streamlined on the Pro compared to the regular AirPods but still gets the job done. It features the force sensor used to trigger a variety of functions, including switching between active noise cancellation (ANC) and transparency modes.

Meanwhile, the Jabra Elite 85t shares the form of other popular in-ear wireless headphones from the likes of Sony and Bose. There’s no stem that juts out from the device. Instead, all the hardware is discreetly enclosed in a compact earbud shell. This should give the 85t a snugger fit.

Unlike the AirPods Pro, however, the Elite 85t uses physical buttons instead of touch controls. While it has pros and cons, it should make accidental touches less frequent — a common gripe against the likes of the AirPods and Samsung’s Galaxy Buds.

The Jabra Elite 85t and AirPods Pro are equipped with dedicated chipsets for ANC. Both earbuds are also water-resistant, coming with similar IPX4 ratings. The Jabra Elite 85T, however, is available in more colors whereas the AirPods Pro comes only in white.

Sound and Active Noise Cancellation

Jabra’s Elite 85t comes with customizable levels of noise cancellation unlike the AirPods Pro.

The Elite 85t offers 11 sound levels which is not available in the AirPods Pro.

Jabra’s upcoming wireless earbuds sport a six-microphone array that also works to minimize the effects of wind and external noise during calls. The Elite 85t also comes with four microphones with active noise cancellation— both inside and outside the earbuds—which work together with the device’s proprietary EarGels for a secure, passive seal.

The AirPods Pro also has a similar setup. Outward and inward-facing microphones help detect unwanted sound so that the device can counter it with anti-noise. In addition, the AirPods Pro comes with three different-sized ear tips, which should help users get that perfect seal.

The Jabra Elite 85t, however, offers manually adjustable levels of sound. With the AirPods Pro, the device automatically regulates noise cancellation. Jabra’s new audio device offers a total of 11 levels, including HearThrough which is akin to the AirPods’ transparency mode. Apple’s wireless earbuds, on the other hand, make it more convenient to switch between ANC and transparency mode thanks to the force touch feature in the device’s stem.

According to Jabra, the new Elite 85t is equipped with 12mm speakers that should make for more powerful bass. Meanwhile, the AirPods Pro boasts a custom-built high-excursion driver that works with a high dynamic range amplifier for clear, crisp sound quality. The same inward-facing microphone that helps in ANC also fine-tunes the audio by automatically calibrating mid and low frequencies.

Other Features

Apple’s wireless earbuds come with adaptive EQ and accessibility features while Jabra’s device gives more control over sound settings.

Here’s a look at Jabra and Apple’s latest wireless headphones.

Now, Apple calls this automatic fine-tuning of the sound output Adaptive EQ. It’s a feature that’s only available when active noise cancellation is enabled on the AirPod Pro. Essentially, the AirPods will tune the sound for a quality that’s best-suited for your ear size and shape.

The AirPods Pro earbuds also come with Live Listen, which allows you to use your iPhone or iPad as a microphone. Live Listen should be a particularly useful tool for those who have disabilities, or users who want to better hear a conversation with someone in a noisy environment.

The Jabra Elite 85t, on the other hand, focuses on giving users more control. Instead of Adaptive EQ, for instance, you get a customizable EQ that can be adjusted through the Sound+ App. The same software will also allow users to customize button settings, similar to how Samsung Galaxy Buds‘s touch controls can be assigned different functions using the Wearable app.

Both devices do come with voice assistants. As expected, the AirPods Pro has support for Siri. Meanwhile, the Jabra Elite 85t works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.

Battery Life and Compatibility

The Jabra Elite 85t has a longer battery life compared to the AirPods Pro.

Jabra’s Elite 85t is compatible with Qi-certified chargers (left); the AirPods Pro in its charging case (right).

The Jabra Elite 85t and AirPods Pro are both compatible with Qi-certified chargers. If you prefer to power up using a regular cable, the AirPods, as expected, come with a Lightning port. The Elite 85t, on the other hand, uses a USB-C cable. Both devices claim over 24 hours of battery life but it does come with the caveat that active noise cancellation is disabled, and you have the charging case with you. Otherwise, you’ll get significantly lower battery life for listening and talk time.

Jabra’s Elite 85t boasts of at least 7.5 hours of power just with the earbuds alone and ANC turned off. With noise cancellation, you still get over 5 hours of juice. In contrast, the AirPods Pro offers a more modest 5 hours of battery life, and around 4.5 hours if the ANC is turned on. Apple’s device, however, charges faster. Five minutes in the charging cases give the AirPods Pro about an hour of listening and talk time.

Jabra’s newest wireless earbuds are compatible with both Android and iOS devices. Both platforms have a dedicated app for customizing the Elite 85t. Apple’s AirPods Pro also works with Android but some of the features will be missing, including Siri, the Ear Tip Fit Test, and audio sharing.


The Jabra Elite 85t can certainly compete with the likes of the AirPods Pro.

Jabra Elite 85t

A solid, budget alternative to the AirPods Pro and other wireless earbuds

AirPods Pro

Best for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS users

The Jabra Elite 85t wireless earbuds are available for purchase starting November 2020, and the recent announcements from the company show a device that could compete with the likes of the AirPods Pro. While it does cost less than Apple’s best-selling earbuds, the Elite 85t offers longer battery life and better setting customizations. Its compact and snug design should also make it a nice choice for those who like to wear wireless earbuds during intense activities like working out or running.

The AirPods Pro, however, is still the best wireless earbuds you can get if you’re already into the Apple ecosystem. It connects seamlessly with other devices like the iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and comes with little to no dropping out issues. And with the different-sized ear tips, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better fit.


📌 When will the Jabra Elite 85t wireless earbuds be available for purchase?

The titanium/black variants of the Jabra Elite 85t will be available starting November 2020. Meanwhile, the gold/beige, copper/black, black, and grey models will be out by January 2021.

📌 Can I wear the AirPods Pro while working out?

The AirPods Pro comes with three different-sized tips for a secure fit, even while working out. Its IPX4 rating, on the other hand, makes the wireless earbuds sweatproof, too.

📌 Does the Jabra Elite 85t come with a warranty?

Jabra’s Elite 85t comes with a two-year warranty against dust and water.

📌 Does the AirPods Pro work with an Android device?

Yes, the AirPods Pro works with Android devices although some features will be missing including Siri, the Ear Tip Fit test, and audio sharing.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.