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Jabra Elite 65t vs. Elite Active 65t: Which truly wireless earbuds should you buy?

Jabra Elite 65t

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The Jabra Elite 65t earbuds are some of the best 'buds in their class. They have excellent playback control features and auto-connect to your phone, and with the right fit offer excellent sound, including bass, and passive isolation.

Jabra Elite 65t

True wireless freedom

Reasons to buy

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Up to 15-hour battery life with charging case
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Lightweight and secure fit
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Great playback control
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Good call quality
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Excellent sound

Reasons to avoid

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Micro-USB charging
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Case can be finicky

Jabra Elite Active 65t

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For serious runners or fitness enthusiasts, there are no better truly wireless earbuds than the Jabra Elite Active 65t. Their sweat resistance and step tracking offers an advantage to regular model, but the extra price may not be worth it.

Jabra Elite Active 65t

Fitness focus

Reasons to buy

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Non-slip earbud coating
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Sweat- and dust-resistant (IP56)
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Integrated motion sensor for step tracking
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Up to 15-hour battery life with charging case
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Excellent sound

Reasons to avoid

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Expensive
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Case can be finicky
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Micro-USB charging

Before you read this, read this

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

This article was originally published in 2019. Since then, Jabra has released the Elite 75t (opens in new tab) and Elite Active 75t (opens in new tab), 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 65tJabra Elite Active 65t
Battery life5 hours + 10 hours from charging case5 hours + 10 hours from charging case
Charge time~ 2 hours~ 2 hours
Water resistanceIP55IP56
Call and playback controlYesYes
Hear Through settingYesYes
Motion sensorNoYes

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.