Review: Jabra Evolve2 85 with Microsoft Teams

I have been testing several different audio devices for use with Teams in this blog. I can finally add Jabra Evolve2 85 to the list.

Can you spot the matching colors of the headset Teams-connected light and my keyboard? 😂

Jabra Evolve2 85 is the high-end headset for work from Jabra. For it’s high-end headset price is promises a lots of features like

  • Long battery life 37 hours & fast-charge
  • Superb ANC + surrounding noise cancellation microphone (actually 10 microphones)
  • Teams-certified and connected features
  • Superb sound
  • Bluetooth 5.0 + dongle support
  • 2 simultaneous Bluetooth connections, 8 devices “memory”
  • USB-C charging (or the charging stand for table)

Yes – that is a impressive list. However note that these are made for the office so the headset is not water/weather -resistant.

For more tech details check out Jabra product page.

There are also lots of controls available in the headset itself. It is good to have a copy of this cheat sheet available if you don’t use them actively.

What I value in headsets the most

  • It must work and be reliable (connectivity, works with Microsoft Teams)
  • Good or superb ANC to block out ambient sounds
  • And the same for the mic part (no ambient / surrounding noise to others in the call/meeting/webinar/session )
  • Excellent audio quality on calls
  • Comfortable to wear for extended periods (hours and hours)
  • Good basso and music quality
  • Long battery life (less stress, no need to worry it running out when getting back to the traveling in the future)
  • Easy to use
  • USB-C charging

Use of Evolve2 85 with Microsoft Teams

When you use the dongle and Jabra Direct software you get the full Teams Certified experience and you can control the headset features right from your desktop.

Features available with Teams are

  • When you plug the dongle in the headset (or the dongle actually) is selected as default Teams audio device
  • Teams-button you can use to answer or end the call (I used occasionally)
  • Answer a call with lowering the boom mic (I used occasionally)
  • Teams and Busy lights (this are more useful in the office or if you watch yourself from the mirror. They look good in photos but other than that in the home office they don’t provide much other value)
  • Teams button can also open the meeting pre-screen or voicemail. However I see that in my practices I didn’t use this beyond a random test)
  • Open Teams-client and bring it to the top (I used sometimes)

The biggest value on the dongle+app+headset is that it is the selected Teams device on default. That alone reduces a lots of issues like “what are my audio settings”.

You don’t have to use the dongle with Jabra Evolve2 85. Instead these can be connected to the computer via the Bluetooth. You will loose all the Teams certified device special features in the process (like the Teams-button) but it is easy to connect to the computer like any other Bluetooth headset- especially if you have run out of USB ports.

Carrying case

Once, in some day in the future, we get back to the traveling I have to say Jabra has a good case

I really like those added little features like a place for the dongle and wires. And that pocket in the lid is also a great place to add extra wires if needed.

My Experiences

What I really looked forward with this headset and what was my experience:

  • Superb noise cancellation so I can concentrate on the work. It was delivered extremely well. In fact I jumped a couple of times when a family member appeared on the door or behind me – I had not heard anything when I also had music on.
  • Reducing surrounding noises and great audio quality for listeners. Yes – 4 mics used for this purpose do a very effective job. My audience didn’t complain about background noises.
  • Comfortable fit. They can be worn the full day. Yes – I can wear them all day just like I was able to do with Elite 85h.
  • Battery life. I clocked about 20-25 hours of use time. That promised 37 hours is for music only without ANC. For Teams-calls with full noise cancellation the promised talk time is about 20 hours. I didn’t talk 8-10 hours a day but I’d say the battery promise vs expectation is definitely on the good side. I usually have ANC on.
  • Charging time. I didn’t have to pay attention to this really. Fast charge + full charge in 2.5 hours is fast enough with the long battery life.
  • Music sounds really good with these. You can tune the music equalizer to your preference.
  • Mobile app is the solid one. I can tune and adjust the headset via that.
  • Solid connection via dongle. No Bluetooth issues. When using Bluetooth the connection was excellent as well.
  • Take off the headset to pause music and continue it when put back. This wasn’t 100% working for me or there was some delay. Nothing serious – just drove towards the habit of using pause/play manually.
  • Some controls in the headset are rather small buttons and use of them isn’t always intuitive when worn in the head. You just have to remember the ones you want to use
  • Pairing mode: power switch is pressed forward to activate the pairing mode. This is simple, clever and intuitive.
  • Power button. While praising this one in the previous one I really enjoyed the way Elite 85h was turned off when cups were turned sideways. So the power button isn’t the ideal but it works and combined with the Bluetooth pairing mode switch it is ok to be. I got used to that
  • Earcup material isn’t ideal for the summer (in the words of USURA: Sweat!)

Troubles I had with Evolve2 85

It wasn’t the smoothest ride for me when using these headsets. I originally got them for testing during August so I was testing them (while testing some other headsets) out for a exceptionally long time. I had sometimes severe issues and sometimes just strange behavior between two computers. I didn’t have any issues when used these with my mobile phone.

So I was waiting for fixes from Jabra to solve my issues with these. Modern tech can be quite touchy sometimes and there are lots of variable. Some patches arrived and I while some issues went away I still experienced some of those.

Finally I came to the conclusion that the only common nominator I had with these computers was the Teams (preview) and Windows version (insider build). When testing out with Teams that was not in a preview version I was able to rule issues out finally. When looking at the internet this didn’t happen to everyone (if anyone) so getting those bugs seemed to be a very bad luck on my part.

Comparing Jabra Evolve2 85 with other headsets

Comparing this headset with other headsets I have had for testing I have to do some listing here

Surface Headphones 2

  • Wins in the really intuitive physical UI. Not much buttons and volume + ANC dial controls are super.
  • More lightweight than Jabras
  • Very good ANC
  • A great carrying case that takes less space than Jabra’s
  • The most reliable auto-pause function for the music when taken off / put back on

Poly 8200 Voyager

  • Clear and big left & right indicators in cups
  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Earcup material was very good especially during the summer

Poly Blackwire 8225

  • Superb backup headset (no need for the battery charge) and very reliable with wire
  • Really lightweight
  • There are several cons on this one though: Due to on-the-ear structure I can’t wear these for long times and wired doubles as a con…

Poly Calisto Speakerphone

  • I agree this is not a headset but it is a very good speakerphone (to be used when family is out of house or in a meeting rooms in the future)
  • Good option to use when you want to use a headset
  • Wireless and wired option
  • So far the best speakerphone I have came across (note: I didn’t test it in the room scale)

Logitech Zone Wireless

  • Similar to Poly blackwire 8225 but with a dongle and without a wire
  • Good, realiable, headset but I can not wear on-the-ear headset for long periods of time

Jabra Evolve2 85 compared to other audio devices

  • Boom mic can be hidden in the earcup when not used
  • Great quality of sound in the mic
  • Very long battery life and fast charging
  • Best app in the desktop and in the mobile
  • Very pleasant to wear extended times
  • Issues with my Teams preview -version & Windows insider. I keep on testing this one.

I also let some of my friends test Jabra Evolve2 85 and I got comments from there that were on the line like “awesome headset, superb sound, can I keep these” that also enforced my suspicions about having issues with my setup only.

Conclusion

In the conclusion Jabra Evolve2 85 is a high-end top of the class headset but it is not a bomb-proof (well, not at least with my setup) if you run a preview-Teams version. However the battery life, comfortability, charging, connectivity and ANCs are top class features.

If we were to continue traveling today I would choose Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 to go with me – because I would be using my preview-version Teams and I could not risk that I had any issues with my headset. However once the headset updates to work flawlessly with my preview-Teams then this Jabra would be the choice I take to go. The microphone and voice quality is much better than on other headsets without a boom mic. I have used and tested several Jabra products over the years and the recent ones have been very much to my liking but the competition is getting really tough since there are also other manufacturers with great top-of-the-line products. Jabra is still leading with a gap when it comes to overall use.

I got this headset from Jabra for testing.

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