Jabra is a Danish audio equipment maker that first came to prominence when inexpensive Bluetooth over-the-ear headsets became popular.
While they still make some entry-level hardware, they also sell some higher-end solutions perfect for business users.
Today we’ll be looking at a new product that replaces one of Jabra’s most successful designs, the Evolve 75.
The new Evolve2 75 promises the same wireless connectivity, advanced noise-cancelling and compatibility with both US and Microsoft Teams as its predecessor, so is it worth getting this over the still-available original?
Price and availability
The Jabra Evolve2 75 comes in two solution-focused variants and either the headphones alone or together with a desktop charging base.
All Evolve2 75 can be either USB-A or USB-C versions, and the charging base is only USB-A. The other choices to make is Microsoft Teams or UC compatible, and all these models come in black or beige.
Both MS Teams and UC headsets on their own are £374 ($374.39), and with the charging base that increases to £418 ($396.49) direct from Jabra in the UK or through the usual online channels.
That makes it marginally more expensive than the original Jabra Evolve 75 which can still be purchased.
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Typically, when headphone maker produces a second version of a successful design, they often retain much of the original structure and technology, primarily to reduce costs.
Jabra chose not to do that here, and the Evolve2 75 is significantly different from the original Evolve 75 it replaces in both form and function.
Everything about the new design is smoother and more elegant, with a shorter retractable microphone boom and a discrete charging base.
Picking these up for the first time, nothing stood out as misplaced or ill-considered. They felt lightweight yet finely crafted and comfortable to hold and wear.
Our review Evolve2 75 sample was the Microsoft Teams compatible USB-A headset with the charging base that comes with the Jabra Link 380 Bluetooth adapter. The headset has a soft carry case that includes a pocket for the Bluetooth adapter and a USB-A to USB-C cable to charge the headset or directly connect it to a computer over USB.
What it lacks are any audio jack options making it exclusively either Bluetooth or USB connected.
The Bluetooth on the Evolve2 is version 5.2, supports the pairing of the headphones with up to eight different devices and can connect to two of those at any one time. This functionality allows you to use two different computers or devices, and seamlessly transition between them.
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While this headset might be inherently easier for a right-handed person to use, this bias isn’t as evident as we’ve seen elsewhere, and the button selection is reasonably well dispersed between the two sides.
The right side mounts the track controls for audio listening, the Teams button that answers or ends calls, and a button on the end of the microphone can mute/unmute or activate a voice assistant.
The left side has pins that interface to the charging base, the power button that doubles for Bluetooth pairing, the USB-C charging port and a button that controls the noise-cancelling function.
A sufficiently simple layout that most people should embrace after receiving a relatively short walkthrough on how to operate them. What especially impressed us was how easily these can be placed on the charger, reducing the possibilities of those awkward moments when you arrive for work and then realise that the headset isn’t charged.
For those that entirely forget about charging, these take 2 hours and 40 minutes to reach the total battery capacity, giving a theoretical life of 36 hours. However, in a pinch, just 15 minutes on the charger can deliver 6 hours of use, and they can be charged with a USB cable while being used.
Most users will remove these headphones from their soft pouch, push the USB Bluetooth dongle into their computer, and think no more about them from that point onwards.
They are that easy to get working. If you want to use the multi-pairing functionality, then some extra work is required, but for less sophisticated schemes, they are ready to use right away.
Another aspect that requires very little intervention is the ANC, or advanced noise cancellation. This feature only has two modes, on or off, but how well it works when active is impressive.
Our test environment is full of equipment and filled with the whirring of cooling fans, all of these fell utterly silent when the Evolve2 75 was used. But, what’s very clever is that while this background noise is wholly eliminated, it is still possible to hear the clicking of our mechanical keyboard.
Therefore, should someone come and try to talk to you while you have ANC active, you should be able to hear them.
The only downside to ANC is that it reduces battery life, reducing talk time from 24 hours to just 18 hours. That said, unless the shifts being worked are entirely illegal, this isn’t an issue that most wearers are likely ever to encounter.
While it is possible to charge these using only a USB cable, we recommend investing in the charger, as it has a dramatically better design than the original Evolve. Instead of the large and awkward frame that the headset hung on, the new charger is small, discreet and the way the headphones land on it is elegant.
It’s an additional cost on what aren’t cheap headphones, but having this item made encountering an uncharged device less likely.
For those using these on a Windows PC or Apple Mac, Jabra provides Jabra Direct, a tool to manage the headphones and apply firmware enhancements when required. Softphone support is provided by default for Microsoft Teams, and Zoom on the MS Teams variant. These should also work well with Skype and Mitac, amongst other popular tools.
For those using an Apple iOS or Android phone, Jabra has similar functionality to Jabra Direct the Jabra Sound+ application.
Typically, this is the point in our business headphone reviews where we explain that the audio solution in these headphones has been optimised for maximum speech clarity and not musical fidelity.
Unexpectedly, these are fine for other purposes. Audiophiles might hear some of the compromises made to achieve their sound profile and the impact of noise-cancelling technology. But they’re not as evident as we’ve experienced on other business headphones, especially regarding the higher frequencies. There is bass, not excessive amounts, but it offers some.
Those using the Jabra Direct software can make adjustments to increase or decrease the output across bass, the mid-range and treble as required.
Overall, these sounded much better than we’d anticipated, and we can see no good reason why these couldn’t be used for other purposes than conference calls when the need arises.
What is more difficult to gauge is the clarity of speaking for those at the other end of the line, as that’s potentially more important than the experience of the wearer.
One big improvement over the previous design is the microphones on the new model, with eight independent sensors that capture sound from the retractable boom and from the speaker housings. It’s the processing of these sources that enable the ANC to be so effective, as the set can easily differentiate between background sound and more relevant audio.
The big issue here is the price. Because almost everything else about the Jabra Evolve2 75 is suitable for those that need to communicate effectively during their working day.
They’re comfortable for extended wear, easy to drop on the charger, and they work elegantly with Teams (or UC) depending on your preferences.
They’re also a significant improvement over the original Evolve 75 design, not that those are bad in any significant way.
It’s tempting to wish these were cheaper, so someone sourcing headsets for many employees wouldn’t eliminate these from a procurement exercise-based purely on the cost per unit.
But being realistic, Jabra made the Evolve2 75 series with exactly this price point in mind, and they’re constructed and specified accordingly. And, therefore a cheaper version of this design probably wouldn’t perform as well or last as long in frontline use.
In short, they’re expensive but bordering on a justifiable cost.
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