Since 2018, Jabra has built some of the best true wireless earbuds you can buy. The Elite 65t was a solid all-around option, and the follow-up -- the Elite 75t -- made the leap from good to great. Despite a comfy fit and a host of handy features, that most recent model is still missing one big thing: active noise cancellation (ANC). Today, Jabra is fixing that with two big announcements. First, the company is adding ANC to the Elite 75t and Elite Active 75t via an over-the-air update.
The Orosound Tilde headphones aren't truly wireless--each earbud is connected to the other via a flexible neckband--but they do have a few tricks up their sleeves. These Kickstarter-backed earbuds are designed for "well-being in the office," according to the company. Let me explain: The Tildes feature adjustable noise cancellation, which lets you determine how much background noise is (or isn't) filtered through, as well as a special "talk-in-noise" mode that lets you hear only the person you're talking to. The talk-in-noise mode filters out ambient noise (including human voices) around you and filters in voices coming from in front of you (within a 60-degree "cone"), so you can easily talk to someone face-to-face in a crowded setting. If you use the Tilde earbuds for listening to music or the "talk-in-noise" mode, you'll get eight hours of battery life, while if you just use the earbuds for adjustable noise cancellation, you'll get a whopping 20 hours.
Jabra proved its true wireless mettle with the Elite 65t earbuds in 2018. The company, better known for headsets than headphones, had a worthy contender with its debut model. It returned in 2019 with the vastly improved Elite 75t, and once again earned high marks. But one key feature was missing: active noise cancellation (ANC). Jabra is filling the void now with the Elite 85t ($230), a set of wireless earbuds that takes the best parts of the previous model and goes even further.
These aren't Bose's first "true wireless" earbuds (that is, earbuds with no wires whatsoever). But they are the first to bear the brand's signature Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), a serious feather in their cap. To get here, Bose has made some concessions, including designing an overall package that, while premium in build quality, is larger than most competitors in this nimble space. What's more, as established rivals from Sony, Apple, and newcomer Panasonic have been around long enough to drop in price, the QC's high cost could be a tough pitch to budget-conscious buyers. For others, though, class-leading noise cancellation may well be worth the hefty investment.
Panasonic's first true wireless earbuds finally went on sale today in Europe. The RZ-S500W offers premium noise cancellation, while the RZ-S300W focuses on size and comfort. While we haven't tried the S300W yet, we got a quick demo of the S500W earlier this year at CES and what we saw left us impressed. The big draw of the larger S500W is Panasonic's "Dual Hybrid" noise cancelling technology. They use feedforward noise cancellation, feedback noise cancellation and analog/digital processing to capture sound outside and inside the earbuds.