Jabra Evolve2 65 Review | PCMag

many bluetooth headsets are designed with comfort and microphone clarity in mind, but very few models also focus on audio performance. Jabra’s new Evolution2 65 ($249) is a well-designed, powerful headset for people who need great clarity on calls, but also provide excellent stereo audio for listening to music. In addition to a great boom mic, an exceptionally comfortable fit, and solid battery life, the headset features MS or UC optimization, comes with a charging cradle, and has dedicated controls for Microsoft gear. it also offers the best audio performance we’ve heard in this category lately, making our editors pick for the high-end bluetooth headset.

design

Available in black, gray or white, if it weren’t for the boom mic, the evolution2 65 would look a lot like a pair of over-ear (in-ear) headphones. The ear pads are lined with a perforated leather-like material, behind which are 40mm drivers that offer a frequency range of 20Hz to 20Khz. the overall fit is light and secure, with silicone-coated foam padding inside the headband for added comfort.

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turning the boom mic up mutes it completely, while turning the mic down turns it on and answers an incoming call. the right earcup houses a three-button array on its side panel, with the center button controlling playback (auto pause puts the headphones into ambient listening mode so you can easily talk in person), and the outer buttons control volume up/down. volume and track navigation. The middle button can also be used to answer/end calls or open a Microsoft Teams notification and launch the Microsoft Teams app.

On the bottom of the panel, the power/pairing switch is located near the charging connections to dock your headphones. An outer ring on the right ear houses a status light that glows red when you’re on a call, so co-workers know not to interrupt.

The microphone system is actually a memory array of three microphones with a frequency range of 100hz to 8khz; more on this in the next section.

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the l-shaped charging cradle has a fixed usb-a cable (or you can order the usb-c version), or you can charge the earphones directly via usb-c. it can be frustrating at first to pair your headphones properly. There are multiple angles at which the earbuds can slide onto the stand and be held, but only when the contacts line up correctly, which is hard to see when the earbuds are docked, does the charging process begin. you have to be guided by the status led at the base of the charging contacts on the support.

the jabra sound+ app for android and ios lets you modify the audio with a customizable 5-band equalizer, as well as turn on/off the busy indicator on call or listen to soothing (and noise canceling) soundscapes like ocean waves , white noise or a waterfall. you can skip the download if none of these extras seem necessary, but the app is easy to use and the equalizer and soundscapes are a solid addition.

Jabra Evolve2 65

The headset will work with any VoIP services and is compatible with Bluetooth 5.0. It supports the SBC Bluetooth codec only, which might disappoint those hoping for higher-quality AAC/AptX codec compatibility. The headset can remember up to eight paired devices, and can be paired with two devices simultaneously, for easy transition between phone calls and computer work. In addition to the cables and dock, there’s a USB dongle for easy computer pairing, available in either USB-A or USB-C. You also get a soft zip-up pouch for the headset only (the stand will not fit inside).

jabra estimates battery life to be around 37 hours, but results will vary depending on volume levels and headset usage. playing music at higher volumes, for example, will shorten battery life. still, there’s no way you’re going to run out of battery after a full day of work.

performance

once the usb dongle is connected to your computer and selected as the audio output, you can go from computer to mobile device seamlessly. Listening to music on a MacBook Pro and making calls on an iPhone 8 was fairly seamless in testing, with audio automatically pausing on the computer when a call was made or answered. however, the audio did not auto-resume on a consistent basis; sometimes it played and sometimes it didn’t. Also, if you have the Music app open on a Mac and on your phone, it can confuse the play button on your headphones and you may end up just switching between the two music sources instead of pausing all music entirely.

see how we test bluetooth headsets

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The three-microphone array offers excellent intelligibility. using the voice memo app on an iphone 8, we were able to understand every word perfectly clearly, with no hint of bluetooth distortion. the recording was crisp and clear, with some low-frequency depth. not only is the mic of solid quality, but the placement of the boom also helps tremendously here.

On calls, people on the other end of the phone could easily understand us and noted the great clarity of the microphone. likewise, our in-ear call audio was ideal, both in terms of understanding the people on the other end as well as hearing enough of ourselves to facilitate speaking at lower, more natural levels. Despite claims that the headphones can passively drown out ambient noise, we were able to hear the horns and sirens of nearby cars quite easily.

For music performance, the drivers on the headphones are more capable than some headphones we tested in this same price range. on tracks with intense sub-bass content, such as the “silent scream” of the knife, the bass depth is substantial and the balance between bass and treble is ideal, despite being a bit boosted and sculpted. at higher volume levels, there’s no distortion, and at all volume levels, the bass feels punchy without overpowering the mix.

bill callahan’s “drover”, a track with much shallower bass in the mix, gives us a better idea of ​​the evolution2 65’s overall sound signature. the drums on this track get an extra dose of bass depth without stray into abnormally thunderous territory, while vocals, acoustic strums, and higher-register percussive hits maintain brightness and clarity.

on jay-z and kanye west’s “no church in the wild” the kick loop gets enough upper-mid presence to keep its attack sharp up to a certain point, but we notice a bit more of the added low-frequency punch, as well as enhanced treble and powerful sub-bass presence. Orchestral tracks, like the opening scene of John Adams’s The Gospel According to the Other Mary, probably contain too much bass for purists, but those who like a little more bass won’t complain, and the balance with the treble it’s maintained well enough that clarity never suffers.

conclusions

The jabra evolution2 65 headset isn’t cheap, but its microphone clarity and comfortable design alone make it worth the price. add excellent stereo audio performance, and there’s a lot to like here. We’re also fans of the Plantronics Voyager 4220 UC Stereo ($220), the Sennheiser Present UC ML Mono ($200), and the BlueParrott B550-XT Bluetooth ($200), a mono headset that specializes in microphone clarity for noisy environments. but for a little more, the evolution2 65 offers something for everyone and earns our Editors’ Choice.

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