The Jabra Evolve2 85: a teleworker’s dream come true

Do you work from home these days and have to try and talk with clients while your coworkers (mine are 4 & 7 years old,) are busy having an argument nearby? Is that just me? I expect I’m not alone these days. A lot of us are working from home and the Jabra Evolve2 85 can make this a lot more agreeable by tuning out the world around you as well as letting the world know you’re actually busy with obvious indicator lights that you’re doing something.

Jabra Evolve2 85

TL;DR – astounding business headset, couple of notable issues.

I’m going to preface here, this a business class headset designed for all day use in remote/teleworking situations so you don’t read further thinking this is the Jabra consumer side and find that it’s not going to be great for jogging and have sticker shock at the end.

The first feature that pops out that the Jabra Evolve2 85 does exceptionally well is active noise cancelling. They seem to have a style that just leaves you alone with your thoughts, or in my case makes me realize that I have to do something about tinnitus. It’s so quiet with these on that I really worry that my coworkers have left the house and run away. It doesn’t sound like the ANC I’ve experienced in the past. It doesn’t sound like much of anything actually.

I really can’t stress enough how good the ANC and Hear Through modes got it. I mean I feel a little bit like I have super hearing with the Hear Through mode is on. I mean I’m playing music (fairly low admittedly,) and I can hear my fingertips rubbing together. you can adjust this level in the app in case you need to listen in on your surroundings, as well as many other things.

That said, even with ANC you’re not going to be able to drown out someone talking loudly next to you, but the 10 microphones the unit has does a very good job of eliminating background conversation.

Speaking of coworkers / kids, there’s a busy indicator that comes on when you’re on a phone call. You can also just turn it on from an app or by pressing the vol up/down buttons at the same time. You might require a firmware update to achieve that, we’ll get into that in a bit.

Jabra Evolve2 85
Pictured, busy lights on the Jabra Evolve2 85
They look quite different in real life

There are many microphones in this beast (10 according to the advertising,) and all of them seem to be pretty good at what they do. I can tell little difference between the closed headset and the drop down boom mic in terms of quality, but you’ve got those options. Lowering the boom mic is a visual indicator you’re about to talk to someone and also defaults to answering a phone call, so it’s useful in that regard as well.

The Evolve2 85 doesn’t appear to stop at great microphones though. There’s little to no compromise that I can tell (with my flac test arsenal,) in bass and treble compared with some of the devoted music headphones I’ve had. This is not the absolute best music experience I’ve had, but close to it. It’s is however hands down the best music reproduction while ANC is activated. There’s none of that tinny feel.

The headset can be paired with up to 8 Bluetooth devices and can be connected to two devices simultaneously. I’ve got it paired with my work computer and phone and have been a little more in the zone.

It claims on the product page a 15 minute charge can give you 8 hours of use. I haven’t drained it and done a power / 8 hour test, but that seems like it’d be a life saver in some situations if you’re not docking the thing regularly. They also claim up to 37 hour battery life which I have not managed to reach yet.

Close…but the Evolve2 85 isn’t perfect

Were I to go by call quality and audio reproduction alone, this is a monster that has destroyed all others. However the firmware it shipped with had issues, and the updated firmware also has its’ own set of issues.

The firmware the Jabra Evolve2 85 shipped with cut off some of the words in the onboard speech prompts in certain situations, and when paired with a computer I appeared unable to turn on the busy lights manually on the headset. (This light issue may have been user error, we’ll discuss later.)

Jabra Evolve2 85

There was a firmware update available that was my first bumpy Jabra experience. Update completed, headset cycled and was back up in about 5 seconds, and that was the last my phone wanted to talk to it. I had to forget the device and then the headset just did not want to go into pairing mode. Finally turned the headset off and on again and was able to get it back into pairing mode. The headset never had a problem talking to the Jabra dongle however.

The second firmware allowed me to turn on the busy lights when connected to a computer. I did not appear to have the ability to turn them on when it’s paired to both my computer and my phone. They do kick on when I’m on a phone call, but man, I wanted to be able to kick them on for my own reasons. Sorry coworkers, I can’t get you a puppy right now can’t you see I’m on a phone call? Also there’s no audio indicator that you’ve turned on the busy lights, so unless you have a mirror handy you’ll have to take the headset off.

So after that being my big complaint about these I discovered the following – they do turn on, there is a small click noise that they’ve turned on or off (same noise,) but the instant you take the headset off, the lights turn off. You cannot turn on the busy lights when the headset is not on your head. There’s no unique indicator for busy on/off so if you forgot you left busy on and wanted to turn it on you’re turning it off.

Nitpicking here but the drop down microphone swings about 100 degrees clockwise and ends up a little higher than my mouth than it should be. I realize these things aren’t made for people with insanely large heads, but to properly position that boom mic requires I adjust where the top of the unit is.

Due to the padding, it’s a little bit warm on the ears.

I’m not a huge fan of their phone software interface but I’d be hard pressed to tell you why it isn’t my thing. Nothing wrong with it, just once it’s set right I’m not going to really ever use it except for firmware updates, and possibly the soundscapes.

Overall the Jabra Evolve2 85 wins

It wins. I didn’t even know there was a competition until I spent a couple of days living in the headset.

I’ve been able to make phone calls, listen to music and podcasts, switch between phone and computer audio use with a single button. The whole thing is manufactured pretty much right including that everything you have to press has a distinct feel. You know when your thumb is on the volume down button. You know when it’s on the volume up. You know when it’s on the middle. No guessing. They’re right where they should be.

This is the wireless headset to get work done in.

The Jabra Evolve2 85 is available on Amazon, or on Jabra’s website

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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