Before you read this, read this
This article was originally published in 2019. Since then, Jabra has released the Elite 75t and Elite Active 75t, upgraded versions of the Elite 65t and Elite Active 65t. While there are many similarities between the two generations, the 75t series is smaller and more comfortable, with much improved battery life and USB-C charging.
If you're willing to spend a bit more (they're $180 and $200 respectively), the new 75t series is worth a look.
The similarities and differences
The Elite 65t and Elite Active 65t are essentially identical, with two key features separating them: a motion sensor and slightly better water resistance in the Elite Active 65t. Whether or not that's worth the extra money is up to you. Here's how they compare:
|Jabra Elite 65t||Jabra Elite Active 65t|
|Battery life||5 hours + 10 hours from charging case||5 hours + 10 hours from charging case|
|Charge time||~ 2 hours||~ 2 hours|
|Call and playback control||Yes||Yes|
|Hear Through setting||Yes||Yes|
Again, these 'buds are nearly identical, though the Elite Active 65t have more of a fitness focus. Their ear tips are coated in an anti-slip material so that they stay in, even when sweaty. They also have an IP56 rating, which means they're protected against dust ingression, and it can withstand powerful water jets, which means if you're out for a jog in the rain, you're totally covered and don't have to worry. The Elite 65t's IP55 rating means the same for dust protection, though you get slightly less water ingress protection (just water jets, not powerful water jets).
For truly wireless earbuds, you're not going to find better right now. You just need to decide how fitness-focused you want your Jabras to be.
With respect to playback control, these are both great choices. Their buttons are sort of split into two, where you push more on one side to get one function and more on the other to get others (forward, backward, answer, hang up, etc.). Where that's concerned, both models do it extremely well and probably better than any other earbuds in this class, so you really can't go wrong.
Sound-wise, you're not going to get perfection in either of these, but they do sound very good for truly wireless headphones. There's rich, deep bass that belies the earbuds' size, and while the mid-range can be a bit punchy, and the highs a bit muddy, this is some of the best sound you'll get from earbuds in this category right now. That said, thanks to the rubberized ear tips that remain in the ear while walking or running, the Elite Active 65t do sound a bit better than their non-sport focused counterparts.
Which model you should buy really comes down to how much your value water resistance, non-slip ear tips, and an all-but-useless motion sensor. Yes, the Elite Active 65t's do sound somewhat better, and that alone may be worth the extra few dollars, but for all intents and purposes, the regular Elite 65t should be best for most people.
Best in class
Jabra Elite 65t
The best you can get for truly wireless earbuds
Truly wireless earbuds suffer from just OK sound, but the Jabra Elite 65t make up for it with excellent playback control, good call quality, and great battery life thanks to the charging case.
For fitness fanatics
Jabra Elite Active 65t
Better water resistance and slightly better sound
If you're looking for truly wireless earbuds for every workout, then you want the Active model, which will withstand sweat and rain better and stay in your ears without popping out. If you're picky about sound, you want these as well.
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