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Jabra Evolve 75e Review & Comparison

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I’m on a quest to find the best office headset that I can also take with me when I’m traveling. For this review, the GN Group sent me the Jabra Evolve 75e, the world’s first professional UC-certified wireless headset. Over the past few weeks, I have had a chance to test these professional earbuds extensively and compare them to the Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC and the Bose QuietControl 30 I have used in the past.

The Jabra Evolve 75e offers the best call (microphone) quality of any neckband headset I have tested so far. Combined with a battery life of up to 14 hours, active noise-cancellation, and premium audio quality, the Jabra Evolve 75e I’d give this headset 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Jabra Evolve 75e Review

Jabra Evolve 75e with USB Dongle

Jabra Evolve 75e with USB Dongle

 Pros
  • 14-Hour Battery Life
  • Outstanding Call Quality
  • Multi-Device Support
  • Active Noise-Cancellation
 Cons
  • Counter-intuitive Playback Controls

$259.00 on Amazon

I spend a good part of my professional life in conference rooms giving presentations, and I have seen Jabra audio equipment at various customers. But I have never owned or used any of their products, and so I was excited when Jabra’s marketing team offered to send me the Evolve 75e wireless earbuds for this review.

Since this is not the first review of wireless office headphones, I had specific requirements and features that I was looking for, including:

  • Simultaneous connection to both my iMac and iPhone
  • Excellent call (microphone) quality with background noise suppression
  • Reliable Bluetooth connection
  • All-day battery life
  • Comfort

The good news is, the Jabra Evolve 75e meets all of these requirements and then some, making it my favorite office headset yet.

Technical Specifications

Microphones Three microphones with ambient noise cancellation
Speaker 15mm
Speaker bandwidth – Music 20Hz to 20KHz
Speaker bandwidth – calls 150Hz to 6.8kHz
Active Noise Cancellation 27dB using four microphones
Water-resistance IP54
Talk time Up to 13 hours
Music playback Up to 14 hours
Charging time About 2 hours
Bluetooth version Bluetooth® 4.2 – Bluetooth® Low Energy (BTLE)
Bluetooth range Up to 100 ft/30m with PCs, up to 10m with smartphones
Bluetooth – Supported Devices 8
Bluetooth – Simultaneous connections 2
Warranty 24 months

Design & Comfort

Jabra’s wireless headset features a neckband design that I have come to appreciate. The advantage of the neckband is that I can wear the headset all day without having to have the earbuds plugged in. That’s a significant plus as far as comfort is concerned.

Magnetic Earbuds

Magnetic Earbuds

While the earbuds don’t retract, like you might have seen from other wireless headphones with a neckband design, Jabra added magnets to the base of the earbuds. As a result, they stick together and thus reduce the chance of getting tangled up.

The only minor issue I have noticed is a slight imbalance when you plug the earbuds into your ears. The cable of the right earbud has an integrated microphone, which makes the cable a bit heavier. As a result, it pulls down a tad more than the left side. It’s not inconvenient, and the right earbud doesn’t fall out, but it’s noticeable.

Battery Life

The battery life of the Jabra Evolve 75e is incredible! Even on those long days when I travel, I have yet to run out of battery. Technically, I did run out of juice once when I forgot to charge the headset overnight, but that shouldn’t count. Even on that day, the battery lasted until 7 PM.

On paper, the Jabra Evolve 75e offers the following battery specifications:

  • Talk time: Up to 13 hours
  • Music time: Up to 14 hour
  • Charging time: Approximately 2 hours

Active Noise-Cancellation

What makes the Jabra headset such an excellent travel companion, are the built-in active noise-cancellation (ANC), “hear-through,” and “listen-in” mode. The latter two amplify ambient noise, such as when someone is talking to you, through the push of a button, with or without muting music.

That’s particularly useful if you want to hear an airport announcement or if the person sitting next to you on an airplane starts talking to you. To turn on ANC or “hear-through”, you have to press the dedicated ANC button on the left side of the neckband, next to the Mute button. Pressing that button multiple times, allows you to cycle through the following modes:

  • ANC on
  • ANC off
  • Hear-through

If you long-press the mute button for two seconds, you can enable “listen-in” mode, which stops playback, if you are listening to music.

While the ANC of the Jabra earbuds works well, it’s no match to dedicated over-the-ear noise-canceling headphones, such as the Bose QuietComfort 35 that I also own. But I’d say it’s approximately on the same level as the Bose QuietControl 30 earbuds or the Plantronics Voyager 6200UC.

The primary reason why I prefer the Jabra over my Bose QC35 is that the Bose are bulky, less comfortable and their microphone is horrible compared to that of professional office headphones.

Microphone

Microphone and Busy Light

Microphone and Busy Light

The microphone quality is one of the most important factors for me when it comes to picking an office headset.

To help improve call quality and to suppress background noise, Jabra has added three microphones to its earbuds. These microphones work together to create a so-called “talk-zone” around your mouth by suppressing noise that originates from outside of that talk-zone.

To get the best possible performance and noise suppression, Jabra recommends wearing both earbuds while you are on a call. That’s because the earbuds have microphones that help with establishing the aforementioned talk-zone.

In my tests, the microphones have performed exceptionally and much better than any other headset with a neckband design I have tested in the past.

Audio Quality

As I have repeated many times in other reviews of audio products, I’m not an audiophile. But to me, the Jabra Evolve 75e produce outstanding and rich sound when streaming music from my iPhone or iPad.

Connectivity

You can pair the Jabra Evolve 75e headset to up to eight devices, but it can only maintain two simultaneous Bluetooth connections.

In my case, that meant my iPhone and iMac. To get the most out of the headset you need a USB dongle (Jabra Link 370) when using the earbuds with a Mac or PC. Similar to the Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC, you can pair the headset directly with your computer, but you’ll lose some features, including the integration with VoIP apps, such as Skype.

Maintaining two simultaneous Bluetooth connections often results in a degradation of call quality and reliability. Jabra has solved that problem by prioritizing the Bluetooth device with an active call.

What that means is that the headset temporarily disconnects, for example, your computer while you are on a call using your mobile phone. That reduces the chances of interference and massively improves call quality and reliability. Once you disconnect the call, Jabra automatically reconnects to the other device. That’s ingenious, and it makes a huge difference. However, you can disable that behavior in the Jabra desktop app if you like.

Playback & Call Controls

Jabra Evolve 75e - Playback Controls

Jabra Evolve 75e – Playback Controls

The only minor issue I have faced while using the Jabra Evolve 75e is related to the somewhat counter-intuitive playback controls on both sides of the neckband.

The right side of the backband features three buttons, including:

  • Volume down
  • Multi-function button
  • Volume up

On all headsets I have used so far, the bottom between the volume rockers is for playback control. That’s also the case with the Jabra headset, but while playing music, a single click on that button doesn’t seem to do anything. I would expect a single click to start or pause playback. Instead, you have to press that button for a second to pause or play music. But don’t press it too long (three seconds), because that will turn the headset off. I’d highly encourage Jabra to change that behavior to what everyone else is doing.

That leads us to the second minor issue – summoning a digital voice assistant like Siri or Google Play via the dedicated mute/voice button on the left side.

I’m used to long-pressing the play button to trigger Siri, but on the Jabra headset, you have to click on the mute/voice button to do that. That’s also counter-intuitive, in my opinion, but less so than the pause/play button.

Software

Jabra Direct - Device settings

Jabra Direct – Device settings

To optimize and personalize your headset, Jabra offers Jabra Direct for both macOS and Windows. If you have used desktop apps from other headphone manufacturers in the past, such as the Plantronics Hub, you’ll feel right at home with Jabra Direct.

When I first launch Jabra Direct, it notified me that there were firmware updates for both my headset and the USB dongle available. To perform the update, Jabra Direct had to download an additional app, called the Jabra Firmware Updater. More on firmware updates in the troubleshooting section.

Note that the Settings tab in Jabra Direct allows you to manipulate the general settings of the software only. If you’d like to change the settings of either the USB dongle or the actual headset, you’ll have to click on the “Device settings” button with the little cogwheel next to it.

To my surprise, I couldn’t find an iOS app that supported the Evolve 75e headset. It’s not that I need one, but I figured one of the many Jabra mobile apps would support this headset.

Other Features

If you browse through the device settings in Jabra Direct, you’ll notice a ton of additional features of the headset you might not have known about, including:

  • Audio Protection: Implements decibel limits to prevent damage to your hearing in case of sound spikes.
  • Mute Reminder Tone: Gives you an audible cue when you are on mute while on a call.
  • SideTone: Have you ever tried to plug your ears with your fingers while talking? It sounds and feels odd, doesn’t it? The same thing often happens while wearing headphones. SoundTone creates a more natural sound experience by enabling you to hear your voice when you talk while wearing the earbuds.
  • BusyLight: A visual cue (LED) that lights up red when you are on or receive a call. That’s a useful indication for co-workers or my wife, who often uses gestures to find out if I just forgot to take off my headphones or if I’m on a call. With the BusyLight she can immediately see it.
  • Vibration: The headset vibrates to make you aware of certain events, such power on/off, new Bluetooth connection, or for incoming calls.

How Does Jabra Compare?

Since I own both Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC and Bose QC30, I wanted to share some impressions on how both compare to the Jabra headset.

Jabra Evolve 75e vs. Bose QC30

The Bose QC30 is not a professional office headset, so comparing it to Jabra is like comparing apples with oranges. But both headsets have some things in common, including:

  • Neckband design
  • Active Noise Cancellation
  • Built-in microphone

I like the Bose QuietControl 30 because they sound incredibly good and offer excellent noise-cancellation, considering the form factor. However, the quality of the built-in microphone and its ability to suppress ambient noise is nowhere near the capabilities of the Jabra Evolve 75e headset.

Jabra Evolve 75e vs. Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC

It’s better to compare Jabra and Plantronics because both brands and products play in the same market.

As far as I’m concerned, both headsets offer comparable performance in many areas, but there are some differences. For example, the playback controls of the Plantronics are much more intuitive, and I like the proactive mute alert.

The Jabra headset, on the other hand, offers better microphone performance and battery life.

Troubleshooting

I have only had a few issues with the Jabra headset, and most of them were user-inflicted or fixable. To save you some time, here are a few troubleshooting tips in case you run into the same issues as I have.

Firmware Update

Jabra Firmware Updater

Jabra Firmware Updater

I didn’t bother to update the firmware when I received the headset. That was a mistake because the pre-loaded firmware was over a year old and buggy, causing reliability issue. While looking at reviews on Amazon, I couldn’t help but think that I had the same problems, until I updated the firmware. So I’d recommend updating the firmware of both the USB dongle and the headset first.

The update of the USB dongle was straightforward, but the Jabra Firmware Updater couldn’t find my headset which I had previously paired with my Mac.

What the Firmware Update app doesn’t tell you is that you need to connect the headset via USB to your computer before you can start the update. I wasted almost an hour troubleshooting the issue because I expected Jabra could update the firmware over-the-air. The uncovered USB (charging) port is on the lower-right side of the neckband, by the way. I don’t know why Jabra hasn’t covered it to prevent dust and dirt from getting in.

The position of the USB BT Dongle

When using the Jabra headset with a PC or Mac, it’s the USB dongle that maintains a Bluetooth connection between the two devices. The issue on iMacs is that Apple has put the USB ports on the back of the screen. That’s not ideal because it might increase the risk of interference. If you are having reliability issues, check if the connection improves when you move in the line of sight of the USB BT dongle.

The reason why I suspect the position of the dongle to be an issue is that the connection quality between the headset and my iPhone is noticeably better than that to my iMac.

Jabra Evolve 75e Manual

When I first opened the box of this headset, I could only find a quick start guide, which doesn’t explain how all the buttons worked. That led to some frustration on my behalf because I couldn’t even figure out how to reliably start and stop playback.

So I’d highly recommend checking out the product manual, which you can find on Jabra’s support page. Here is a direct link for your convenience. Jabra also offers technical specifications and a data sheet you might be interested in.

Conclusion

The Jabra Evolve 75e UC is an excellent office headset that offers unmatched microphone and call quality for a device with a neckband design. I mentioned in a previous review that the proximity of the microphone to your mouth plays a critical role in call quality. That’s still true and the case with the Jabra headset, but the company also managed to intelligently use microphones in both earbuds to create a so-called talk-zone, which further improves call quality.

Overall, I’m delighted with the Jabra Evolve 75e and would recommend it anyone looking for a new wireless office headset.

About the Author Michael Kummer

I was born and raised in Austria. I speak German, English, and Spanish. Since moving to the U.S., I have lived and worked in the greater Atlanta area. In my twenties, I was a professional 100m sprinter. These days I do mostly CrossFit. I'm a technologist and Apple fan. I love science and don't believe anything unless there is proof. I follow a Ketogenic Paleo diet and intermittently fast every day. I'm married and have two trilingual kids. My goal with this blog is to share what I learn so that you can spend time on something else. Check out my latest Diet, Fitness, and Technology articles.

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