Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 vs. Jabra Elite 85h: Which should you buy?

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 render

The Noise Canceling 700s features 20 hours of battery life, superb comfort, and a balanced, non-offensive sound signature.

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

Modern classic

Premium build
Great sound quality
Intuitive touch controls
Excellent comfort
Can charge and listen simultaneously
Non-foldable design
Bulkier/heavier design

Jabra Elite 85h

Jabra Elite 85h render

The Jabra Elite 85h take convenience to the next level with features such as auto-play/pause, auto on/off, and super long battery life. However, you can't charge and listen at the same time like you can with the Bose cans.

Jabra Elite 85h

Modern with a few tricks

Twist to turn on/off
Lightweight design
Automatic sleep detection
Basic equalizer in smartphone app
Mostly plastic design
Inability to charge and listen simultaneously

It's a pretty easy choice. The Bose Noise Canceling 700s don't try too shove too many features down your throat and keep it fairly simple. This makes them a really good headphone for those who want something that just works. The NCH 700s feature 20 hours of battery life, excellent comfort, and a balanced sound signature.

On the other hand, if you're looking for ultra-portability, convenience, and customization, look no further than the Jabra Elite 85h. They work like some truly wireless earbuds in that they automatically play and pause when you put them on your head and remove them respectively, turn on or off when you swivel the right ear cup, and has support for hands-free Google Assistant or Alexa. Oh, and did I mention the ridiculously long 36 hours of battery life?

The differences

These two headphones are fairly similar overall, but what differentiates the two are what will ultimately have you choosing one over the other.

For example, the Bose Noise Canceling 700s feature better ANC than the Jabra Elite 85h. From canceling out the low-end/bass up to the treble where a lot of voices are, the Noise Canceling 700s easily take the cake for this one. It's not that the 85h's are bad at ANC — they still block out a decent amount of low end rumble from planes and busses — but they struggle greatly when it comes to everything else.

The Jabra Elite 85h are great for city commuters; meanwhile the Bose are generally better while flying or in other tougher situations.

It's worth noting that neither of these headphones are that great at dynamic range or soundstage. This is mostly due to how they're both ANC headphones first, which puts overall sound quality in the backseat.

Neither are a bad choice, it purely depends on the type of commuter you are. The Jabra Elite 85h are great for city commuters as it can get most of noise squared away. Meanwhile the Bose are generally better in most other situations, including while flying.

While the Bose Noise Canceling 700s have 11 levels of ANC, the Jabra Elite 85h also have a trick up its sleeve. Rather than having "levels" of ANC, it automagically adjusts its ANC based on the environment around you. This certainly makes using the feature easier than with the Boses — there's no switching through the 11 levels to see what works best for your situation.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700Jabra Elite 85h
Battery Life20 hours36 hours
Bluetooth audio codecsSBC, AACSBC
Charging cableUSB-CUSB-C
Fast chargingYesYes
App-based equalizerNoYes
ANC levels11Adaptive

In terms of sound quality it depends on the type of person you are. The Bose Noise Canceling 700s give a more balanced, neutral sound out of the box. Meanwhile, the Jabra Elite 85h has a much duller, less exciting sound that has a slight boost in the bass, but not the kind that gets you up and moving. However, the Elite 85h has a companion smartphone app that lets you tune the sound by way of a 5-band equalizer.

That brings us to Bluetooth audio codecs. Neither of these headphones are that great when it comes to codecs. Both the Noise Canceling 700s and 85h support the basic SBC codec, with the slight advantage going to the Noise Canceling 700s supporting AAC. When it comes to SBC, AAC, and aptX (non HD, or LL) the codecs aren't that important as most ears won't notice the difference between the three. It's a tie when it comes to audio and will highly depend on which type of audio signature you're looking for.

The Jabra Elite 85h nearly doubles the battery life of the Noise Canceling 700s (36 hours vs. 20 hours). If you're concerned about battery life, the 85h won't disappoint.

In terms of portability the Jabra Elite 85h wins this round as they are able to be folded up and tucked away in the included travel case. This gives it an overall smaller footprint in your bag. Bose removed that ability with the Noise Canceling 700s, and now packs a much larger carrying case. However, Bose makes up for it by opting for much higher quality materials this time around, with the headphones using metals for the headband as opposed to plastic. While this gives it a more rugged and sturdy overall design, it does make it heavier on the head and obviously removes the ability to fold the headphone.

The choice comes down to whether or not you want insane battery life or an overall greater out-of-the-box experience.

Ultimately, the choice comes down to whether or not you want insane battery life that will last for years to come, or an overall greater out-of-the-box experience that compromises on battery life and ultra-portability.

We believe the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700s come out on top when comparing the two. The NCH 700s feature a rather neutral sound signature, superb ANC performance, and are built with premium materials. They are more expensive than the Jabra Elite 85h and the battery doesn't last as long, but with fast charging available, the Bose Noise Canceling 700s make up the difference.

Peter Cao