If you find it as hard as I do to focus in your noisy workplace then you might want to check out the new Jabra Evolve 75 Wireless headphones. Aimed at office workers, this professional noise-cancelling headset is packed with features for pro and casual users alike. But how does it actually compare with popular ANC (active noise-cancelling) headphones out there? Let’s find out.
Build Quality and Design
The business-centric Evolve 75 has a colour scheme that’s well, business-like, and is mostly black with a dash of red and silver to exude a posh gender neutral style. The on-ear synthetic leather cushions are firm but soft, and the rubber headband cushions provide an extra degree of comfort on top.
The big focus here is providing great voice call quality in noise environments, and the Evolve 75 pulls this off with a quality flexible boom mic that snaps to the headband with magnets when not in use. Flipping the boom mic down to your jawline renders it ready for use. The mic looks elegant enough that I wouldn’t mind actually using it on a train full of people for phone calls.
With the Evolve 75 you’ll have both ear cups displaying a bright red LED light whenever you’re busy on the phone – Jabra’s version of a ‘do not disturb’ sign.
Most of the controls are on the right ear cup. A power switch doubling as a Bluetooth toggle, a voice-assistant button, volume controls and a prominent answer call button on the front face. The left ear cup houses the ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) toggle and a button that activates Listen-in mode. There isn’t a button that controls your music though, which isn’t a big deal if your phone’s usually out of your pocket.
It’s possible to plug this into your PC through USB (for audio). However, if you need to jack this into a 3.5mm port, you’re out of luck because the Evolve 75 does not have a standard analogue audio port.
Performance and Features
The Evolve 75’s noise-cancelling works to take the bite out of background noise by acting against some of the lower mid range frequencies. Human voices were noticeably softer but much of the mid and higher frequency noises were still leaking through. Overall, the ANC works but not as well as I’d experienced in more mainstream noise-reduction headsets.
The headphones have a talk-through feature called ‘Listen-In’ which lets the microphones relay to you the sounds in your environment. You’ll need that in case you need to pay more attention to the world outside.
The headphones are certified and optimised for popular conference-call apps like Microsoft Skype, but it will work with Facetime on Mac/iPhone and regular phone calls too. This high-quality uni-directional Mic works with noise-cancelling technology to deliver call quality that was nothing short of excellent. Both participants in calls can clearly hear each other even in noisy environments.
The Evolve 75s support Bluetooth 4.2 with an impressive range of up to 30 meters. I was definitely able to get far more than the 10m range that I’m used to. Indoors, the Bluetooth coverage was much wider and I was able to stay connected even with 3-4 concrete walls in between. It was great for watching videos too. Audio and video were in perfect sync, with a fast buffer.
The Evolve 75 also comes with a USB Bluetooth dongle for reliable tethering to your PC. This is a convenient way to instantly connect the headset without going through the set up process on your PC. You can then download and install the Jabra Suite App for more granular fine-tuning of the headphone’s settings. The USB dongle also works on gaming consoles so you can use the headset for multiplayer gaming.
Once you’re connected, you can connect a secondary device over Bluetooth for music or phone calls. However, without the dongle it is not possible to activate multi-point pairing, a feature that’s relatively widespread in popular Bluetooth headsets.
The Evolve 75 has a gentle clamp and it allowed me to wear this for hours on end. I can definitely see this being used for a full day at the office. However, as these are on-ear headsets without cushions wrapped around my ears, I feel that the clamp should be a little tighter to reduce the chances of it falling off.
Jabra rates its battery life at 15 hours (wireless, with noise-cancelling). I find that to be accurate and got 15.5 hours on a single charge at half-volume. These headphones should last for a full work day or more.
These headphones tend to play on the safe side with its sound signature for music, not leaning towards any particular genre with bloated bass or exaggerated 3D-spatial effects. Unlike other noise-cancellers at this price, the Evolve 75s sounded equally balanced and clear even with the noise-cancelling switched on. (Noise-cancellers tend to compensate for white-noise artefacts by exaggerating certain frequency ranges which affect sound quality.)
You won’t get skull-numbing bass with these but the headphones delivered just the right amount of kick and bass extension. The mids sounded vibrant and detailed, and the high registers sounded pristine with very little distortion.
It was enjoyable to listen to a wide genre of music with these, especially R&B and vocals tracks. Videos were perfectly in sync with the audio over Bluetooth and sounded as natural as it did with music. The Evolve 75 pulled off a full and clean sound signature which is impressive in its own right.
Retailing at S$434 the Jabra Evolve 75 is priced on the premium end and is definitely a pair that would appeal to pro users with best-in class conference call quality, awesome Bluetooth range and (overall) decent noise cancelling. In a rowdy office you’d do well wearing a pair of these for important conversations with a client (or your boss!). You may even get a set that comes with a Jabra professional charging dock, retailing for S$513.
But if you’re looking for a potent noise canceller for after-work use, there are plenty of candidates from Sony, Plantronics, and Sennheiser to consider. For instance, the Sennheiser BTNC 4.50 noise-reduction headphones is a solid performer that retails for just S$299.